I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, because I’m currently riding a DayQuil high that will likely result in some kind of NyQuil-hangover crash/six-hour coma fairly soon.

For the second time this year, I am sick. Which is weird, because I never used to get sick. I’d like to blame the fact that we’ve been traveling too much, but it probably has more to do with the fact that because I don’t have an office to report to every day, my immune system is rarely challenged and has turned into a weak-ass fighter. Do some cardio, immune system!

Regardless of the cause, I’m pretty sure this is what my throat looks like right now:

How did my cold even get a meat cleaver?

At this point, that’s neither here nor there. Let me take you back to a simpler time, when my cold and I were just getting to know each other.

It all started a few days ago, when I noticed a rattling in my chest, which I was obviously very concerned about–it’s been a little more than a month since the Mr’s aunt died rather shortly (six weeks) after discovering that her lungs were filling with fluid.

Desperate to learn the cause of the rattling in my lungs, I turned to the Internet and eventually WebMD–like a FOOL. And for reasons that can only be explained by my feverish delirium, I was genuinely surprised when my willful idiocy (seriously, self, STOP Googling your symptoms) resulted in WebMD handing me another cancer diagnosis.

By now, it’s a well-documented fact that I hate WebMD (I will punch you in the stupid, WebMD), but yesterday, I had a revelation. I believe I’ve finally uncovered the secret algorithm used by WebMD’s symptom checker.

As far as I can tell, it works like this:

I realize that I have compromised everyone’s safety–most of all my own–by revealing the secrets of WebMD’s diagnosis tool. I fully expect the lives of everyone who has read this to turn into some thrilling version of The Bourne Identity, where the creators of WebMD seek to destroy us for what we know. (WebMD is the perfect evil villain.) I’m sorry, in advance, for the time where you break your ankle jumping from roof-to-roof in a crowded city in the hopes of escaping some Christopher-Walken looking government spook.

Oh, hey! It’s those NyQuil hallucinations I was talking about. It’s been really nice knowing y’all.


16 Responses to WebMD’s secret algorithm revealed

  1. LLA_Princess says:

    You my friend are frickin brillant… even when hallucinating, and potentially dying of some sort of plague or brain tumor. Love it!!

  2. jillsmo says:

    I am now desperately afraid of your throat

  3. Little Big says:

    I think every search term in WebMD should be all “You’re dying!… Just kidding. It’s only cancer!”

  4. MamaRobinJ says:

    I think you’re right! Our local health authority has a symptom checker and it always tells you to GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

    I Googled symptoms the other day after I had the flu. Turns out, rather than having sore kidneys because they’re processing my flu crap, I am about to undergo renal failure. Who knew?

    Sorry you have cancer, though. It’s been nice knowing you.

  5. Kelley says:

    This is bad news, The Mrs. BAD news. I was hoping to live my life without that C word interfering, but I see that it is hopeless. Thanks for clearing it all up! At least you used a really awesome graph to do it with, though.

    • the mrs says:

      The good news is: I have no idea if you’re actually going to get cancer and neither does WebMD. The way I see it, the algorithm is just designed to TELL you you have cancer. But if I had a dollar for every time WebMD said I had cancer, I would have 9 dollars and no cancer.

  6. Sandra says:

    You’re so smart! Now if only you can tell us the secret of how they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bars!
    I love your cartoon. I think that pretty much sums up all you need to know. Cancer wouldn’t be hacking at your throat with a machete. It just sort of sits there and replicates. But you already knew that because you googled it! 🙂

  7. HeathRobots says:

    Looks like we’re both riding the cancer train outta here this week because it turns out according to WebMD & other reliable internet sources my headache/dizziness was a brain tumor and not merely allergies. Hooray!

    Do you think the cancer train is more like the Polar or Hogwarts Express? I’m just glad we’ll be together for the journey. I call window seat!

  8. Well at least we’ll all go down together in a big, cancerous heap. Have you seen, or I guess more aptly heard, the doctor network on XM radio? It should just be called the hypercondriac network, because that’s what it’s given me.

  9. Suniverse says:

    I am so in love with you right now.

    Ditch the Mr., I’ll ditch the husband, and marry me, please.

  10. DawnA says:

    You should do a PSA telling everyone to stay off of WebMD if they want to stay healthy. Asshats.

  11. I think I met your cold this week? It was either your cold or some other knife/cleaver wielding maniac in a green shirt.

  12. Mommie Daze says:

    That is hilarious! I too have been convinced many times by WebMD that I was dying. It turned out to just be hang nail though.

  13. FranceRants says:


  14. OMG I nearly died laughing. Thanks for this, I needed it. My toddler is coughing so badly he’s hacking his lung up and neither of us have had much sleep. And I’m not going to WebMD thanks to you.

    Love your blog, will be back for more!

  15. Kara says:

    Thank God! When searching about my fever and accompanying symptom of forgetfulness, I was given a prognosis “typhoid” from Dr. Google. Now, I can just succumb to the inevitable cancer, and the added bonus is, I won’t remember much about it. Whew!

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