>These are the two super cool gifts that I received from my husband for Hanukkah:

When normal 29 year old husbands give their wives sleepwear as a gift, they tend to buy sexy nightgowns or slinky camisole pajamas. My husband is definitely not normal, as evidenced by these rocking fleece footie pajamas that he bought me. I decided that these pjs can be sort of like a sleek cat suit, one that happens to be made of fleece and is bubblegum pink with bright yellow duckies on it. Sexy, right? (I tried to show in the picture that adult size fleece footie pajamas can be sexy by flashing a bit of cleavage. I hope it worked.) I think they are awesome other than the fact that I might sweat to death in them. In NYC, landlords tend to overheat buildings during the winter so they don’t have to deal with old people bitching to them about being cold. (My grandmother should move here.) That means that unless it is subzero outside with a raging wind for several days in a row, it is about 4000 degrees in my apartment. A fleece body suit is a bit too warm in such conditions. Still, I like to tromp around in them when I can.

The second gift my husband gave me for Hanukkah that was just too good to not share is the book “The Hypochondriac’s Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have.” This book is perfect for me because I always worry about potential ailments. For example, say I am tromping around in my fleece bubblegum pink cat suit with bright yello duckies on it, and I find that I have become insufferably hot although it is cold in the room. My first conclusion would be that I came down with a sudden fever. Logical, right? Or one time I found a scratchy dot on my stomach and just knew that I had shingles. This pocket guide allows me to look up symptoms and match them to an exotic disease that I may have contracted within the past five minutes.

Let’s test it out: say I have nasty boils. I look up boils in the index and find two potential diseases: mycobacteriosis and myiasis. Mycobacteriosis, also known as fish-handlers disease and swimming-pool granuloma, occurs when “your pet fish infect you with their mycobacteria.” Other symptoms are: inflammation, joint pain, lumps, rash, lesions, ulcers, malaise, nausea, and/or vomiting. There is a ton more info on the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, as well as prevention. However, I realize that I only have one other symptom – malaise – but that probably results from my general dissatisfaction with our society. I also don’t have fish, handle fish, nor swim in pools. So I must be safe. Cool.

Myiasis, on the other hand, is a disease “in which maggots crawl around beneath your skin.” Besides boils, symptoms include: pain, swelling, sores, fever, itching, and/or moving sensation beneath the skin. (This sounds seriously unpleasant. I think I’d rather have mycobacteriosis if I have to have one or the other.) The disease is contracted when a flesh fly lays eggs on skin, an open wound, or in a body cavity. (It is more important than ever to wear underwear that fully covers all holes!!!) It is just too nasty to think about, and I don’t think I’ve been near any flesh flies within the last week. I hope. And since I don’t really have boils (just pretending for the example, remember?), I am not going to worry too much about myiasis.

Anyway, the best thing about this book, other than helpful self-diagnoses guidance, is the disclaimer on the front of the book. It says, “This is a work of humor. The diseases and the information on them are real, but some facts may have been omitted because they were boring or to make room for gratuitous profanity. This is not to be used as a medical text.” Wow! It’s just like this blog. How great is that?!?!

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