Posted inEditor's Pick

Cyberchondria: D.I.Y. Diagnosis in Overdrive

Barry Newman | Longreads | August 10, 2016 | 2,698 words

In researching his chronic headache on the web, veteran journalist Barry Newman takes a terrifying walk down the Via Dolorosa of digital self-diagnosis.

Posted inEssays & Criticism, Featured, Nonfiction, Story

Cyberchondria: D.I.Y. Diagnosis in Overdrive

In researching his chronic headache on the web, veteran journalist Barry Newman takes a terrifying walk down the Via Dolorosa of digital self-diagnosis.
Illustration by: Ari Saperstein

Barry Newman | Longreads | August 2016 | 11 minutes (2,698 words)

My headache arrived just after April Fools’ Day, moving into orbit around my right eye, with side trips to the back of my neck. It was mild as headaches go, but persistent, there at bedtime, still there when I woke up. The previous autumn I’d had a cataract replaced by a wafer of plastic. Now I was in the eye surgeon’s exam chair for my six-month follow-up; this headache was three-weeks old.

Since the operation, I told the surgeon, my eyes seemed to be working to form a single image. “A lack of coordination,” I said. And now my head hurt. She pressed a lacquered fingernail to my forehead. “The headache is here, centered above the brow?” It was. “Maybe it’s from strain.”

“I assume it’s an aneurysm,” I joked. The surgeon said, “It sounds like strain,” and sent me away with the name and phone number of a neuro-ophthalmologist, for an expert opinion.

Continue reading “Cyberchondria: D.I.Y. Diagnosis in Overdrive”