The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have

The title really says it all. This pocket (really, it's about 4.25" x 6.5") guide to horrible diseases would make a great gift for someone with an odd sense of humor. Each entry features a brief description of the disease, a list of symptoms, how it's diagnosed, the prognosis, tips for prevention, treatment options, and in most cases, a short extra fact. Distinctive B&W line art accompanies each entry: the illustrations* look like they sprang from an old-timey medical journal.

A few samples:
"LEPROSY. In which your hands and feet go numb and eventually fall off. [...] Prevention: Cleanliness is key. Always wash your hands thoroughly after shaking a coworker's gangrenous stump. Also, do not incur the wrath of God (just in case)."

"MYIASIS. In which maggots crawl around beneath your skin. [...] Prognosis: If you take nothing else away from this book, take this: Having maggots inside of you, eating away at your soft tissue and squirming around a lot in a disgusting manner, is not good for your body."

It's a reasonably quick read, though ripe for skimming: the kind of book you might, say, leave in your bathroom for guests to peruse at their leisure. I would not, however, suggest giving this to someone who actually is a hypochondriac. You wouldn't want to encourage them.

*Point of Irritation: I couldn't find a credit or source for the illustrations anywhere in the book. Presumably that means either the author drew them (unlikely?) or they were gathered from public-domain or otherwise old medical texts (also unlikely?). Publishers, give your artists and designers credit!

The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have by Dennis DiClaudio. Bloomsbury, 2006. 208 pages (incl. index).

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