Scientist + Pessimist = Hypochondriac


I’ve always enjoyed learning about how the body works. (This probably comes along with being fascinated about how nature works at the subatomic scale.) Recently, I’ve been having some tummy issues [1], and I’ve found myself spending my free moments looking up obscure ailments on WebMD.

I’ve run into an inverse-problem (like this one) since ‘symptom space’ tends to be much smaller than ‘diagnosis space’ and the map from the former to the latter is usually multi-valued. As a result, I’ve now convinced myself that I’m on the verge of mortal disaster and that I need to work really hard or else I’ll have made no contribution to science in my [soon-to-be-truncated] lifetime other than being  the 197th recorded case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis [2].

Anyway, I suspect my adviser has his own “doctor’s” prognosis of what might happen to me if I don’t fix the bugs in our program soon… 🙂

All these long nights staring at a computer screen can’t be good for my tummy.

[1] Nothing to worry about, I think. Though I did get a rather illuminating view of the NHS a few weks ago… maybe I’ll share that story another time.

[2] Did I mention I watch too much House M.D.?


2 Responses to “Scientist + Pessimist = Hypochondriac”

  1. Dear Tummy,

    Hello. I’m the thing attached to your ‘input’ valve. We haven’t really had much occasion to talk to each other, but we both know the past month has been really rough. I realise that I made a poor decision to have ‘old leftovers’ for lunch one day, and that the result was probably an onslaught of hostile bacteria that was the equivalent of a microbial Iwo Jima.

    You survived, though. Just barely. And now you don’t trust me. I don’t blame you. You probably still have pockets of hostile baceteria causing trouble and are probably still *freaked the hell out* about the pandora’s box of I unleashed last month. I’m sorry about that.

    Now every time I try to eat anything other than chocolate, you try to force it back out of distrust. I know, since I’ve moved to England you haven’t had the usual foods that you’re used to… bubble-gum ice cream, sushi, quesadillas, you know the list. But we’ve got to work together on this.

    Remember the good old days? We used to go out for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and have BBQ chicken pizza. No matter how much I’d eaten, you’d always leave room for a key lime pie for dessert. Or do you remember the night when we ate 15 krispy kreme donuts? Or the evenings of naan ‘n curry, CU Sushi, and gelato in Berkeley? Why can’t we go back to those days?

    I know I’ve got a long way to go before I can earn back your trust. These occasional 15 hour work days don’t leave much room for meals other than toast and lots of herbal tea, and anything much heavier ends up coming out in a bad way. But let’s try to work through this, ok?

    I promise, anything I eat from now on will either be cooked or overcooked. I’ll even chew it sixteen times on each side of my mouth. Just the way you like it.

    To a better tomorrow,

  2. Hello Flip,

    I took the liberty to tag you for one of those internet memes… See here


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