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“I don’t feel well,” my husband informed me over the phone.

“I know, honey,” I said as I perused the chicken soup selections at the supermarket for him.

“I mean, I really don’t feel well,” he clarified.

“I know honey,” I repeated. “You have a cold.”

“No, it’s not a cold! He protested vehemently. “I looked up my symptoms on the Internet and I figured out that I either have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Australian Sea Lion Poisoning.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t even play on one TV, but I was pretty sure my husband did not have either Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Australian Sea Lion Poisoning. I was pretty sure what he had was just a cold. It might have something to do with the fact that every other member of our family had been sick with a cold in the past two weeks. Or maybe it was that in order to have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, one would have to have been bitten by a tick in the Rocky Mountains… and we’ve never been to the Rocky Mountains. Or that in order to have Australian Sea Lion Poisoning, you would have to had eaten tainted sea lion liver.

“Honey, have you been eating tainted sea lion liver behind my back?” I asked him.

“No,” he admitted.

“Then you couldn’t possibly have Australian Sea Lion Poisoning.” I informed him.

“What about the Spotted Fever?” he asked. I put him on hold and looked on my cell phone at the same Internet site he had looked to for his diagnoses.

“Headache, nausea, body aches,” I said, reading the symptoms.

“I know! I know!! I have all that!” he said excitedly.

“And malaise,” I continued.

“Mayonnaise?” he repeated.

“MA-LAISE. Lethargy. Extreme fatigue” I explained.

“Oh. No; no malaise,” he said, dejectedly.

“And no mayonnaise, either, right?” I asked.

“You’re a riot,” he said.

“Headaches, nausea and body aches are also symptoms of Ebola,” I told him dryly.

“You think I have Ebola?!?”

“NO. YOU HAVE A COLD!” I shouted. I felt bad. I knew he didn’t feel well and I wanted to be sympathetic, really I did. But in addition to having a cold, my husband suffered from an acute case of Cyberchondria, and it was driving me crazy. I decided that whoever had the bright idea to create websites where people could self-diagnose their symptoms was, a) probably a man who, b) most likely had a wife, who c) didn’t give him any sympathy when he had a cold because he was such a big baby when he was sick.

“Hey listen,” I said sweetly. “I’m bringing you home some chicken soup and orange juice and also some cold medicine”

Cold medicine?’ he wondered.

“It’s OK,” I said. “The label says it also works for symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Sea Lion Poisoning, Ebola and the Bubonic Plague.”

“That should cover it.”

“And I also bought some aspirin.”

“What’s that for?’ he asked.



©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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  • Molly Campbell

    The roles are reversed over here. I may have tuberculosis.

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Are you STILL sick? Oh Molly. I’m sorry. Can I bring you over a vat of homemade chicken soup. I had to make it for the Man Cold!!

  • Anne (@notasupermom)

    This is so me. I had the plague last month. *cough*

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Remind me not to kiss you when I see you at the next conference!

  • Cheri Thacker

    Soooooo true. My first husband and I both had the flu one Christmas while we were traveling because of a family emergency. We had to stop mid-way and stay in a hotel. In the wee hours of the morning, he called me from the bathroom where I almost completely had one lung coughed up, and asked me to go out in a strange city at 3 a.m. to get HIM some Tylenol. Oh, did I forget to mention that I was due with our first child in two weeks?

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      HAHAHA! I found smothering him with a pillow is much more effective than Tylenol!

      • Cheri Thacker

        I did smother him. Did you not catch that I said he was my “first” husband? LOL

  • Estelle Sobel Erasmus

    I love this. Cyberchrondia. I know a lot of people who suffer from it. Maybe there should be a telethon for these people, so they can hear all their tales of woe, and share links:)

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Or maybe a support group for Men suffering with Man Colds. Other guys would be much more sympathetic than their wives!!

  • Ellen Dolgen

    The first time my husband had a cold we had only been married a few months. He proceeded to bundle himself up in wool PJ’s which I had never seen before as we both slept naked in those days (pre-kids!) then wrapped himself up in a heavy bathrobe to sweat out the cold….All I kept thinking was this was not in the marriage contract that I signed! YIKES!!! You would have thought he was deathly ill…and so it goes 37 years later…Now I laugh and giggle and let him go through his Man Cold…he has to do it this way… comes with the penis I guess. Don’t know, thank goodness I got the vag – colds are not big deal for me!

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      that’s so funny. My husband has a Man Bathrobe that he only wears when he has a Man Cold. I agree… it must be something on the Y chromosome. Along with inability to multi-task or get his socks in the hamper!

  • Sharon Greenthal

    Oh my. When my husband gets sick, he climbs into bed, pulls the covers up to his neck, turns on TCM and moans. Poor baby.

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      I would moan watching some of those movies on TCM too!

  • haralee

    Too funny! I love the medical term that I am sure is a real term used, just don’t know if insurance will pay. I once told my Doctor I had ear cartilage cancer,(Glands) and she thought I was serious because so many patients were coming in with cyber diseases she thought this was one more!

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      LOL! I told my doctor I suffered from Nanorexia which is when you think your are thinner than you actually are. (this is also known as (“fat Denial”)

  • Cathy Chester

    I’ve got a ton of homemade Jewish penicillin sitting in my freezer that I’m told cures everything! PS I think I have to buy your book to get my cool back while living in suburbia NJ!

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Maybe you could bring some of that soup over here cuz I’m just giving my husband plain ole Campbells! 🙂

  • Carol baron

    It ‘s not just your husband … It is a male genetic trait. He can’t help himself. Just keep doing what u do so well.

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      You mean telling him he’ll live?

  • Astra

    I loooooved this! So very true! If I even try to suggest that I, too, have a cold or just got over the exact same cold, it’s always “You couldn’t possibly have felt this sick. No way.” I loved that video too! WherEVER did you find it??

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Someone sent it to me once after I suffered through the last Man Cold. We are day four of this now. I may have to shoot him. 🙂

  • Carol Baron

    Who is thej female in the picture after the article? Mom

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      That’s a youtube video. You might not be able to see it if you are reading this on your phone or iPad.

  • energywriter

    Great story, Tracy. Cyberchondria is now an official disease. Before people had to get their symptoms from television. sd

    • Tracy Baron Beckerman

      My husband does that too!

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