Example: from time to time I wake up in the morning with a sore throat, cotton mouth, a splitting headache, and absolute killer death-breath. According to WebMD (the Internet is a wonderful thing, no?), I might have Sjgren's syndrome, or acute kidney failure, or constipation, or mono (which I'm pretty sure I already had when I had "the flu" in college for six damn weeks, but who knows?), or even leukemia -- OK, leukemia isn't technically on the list, but I know that different kinds of cancers manifest in different kinds of ways.
Of course, what I really have? Is a hangover. It's the great-goddamn-grandmother of all hangovers, but still. God. Weirdo. (But I can't really help it that I'm allergic to having a good time.)
But the point of all of this is that right now I have a cat with the sniffles, and so of course I am freaking the fuck out. You can ask my husband about last night, when I lay in bed weeping and shrieking hysterically because I was terrified, absolutely inconsolably convinced, that something is seriously wrong with the cat. Practically at death's door. Making funeral plans and picking out an outfit and everything. I mean, come on! He's been hanging out in the bathtub, ferchrissakes!
Plus I recently discovered WebDVM, which is like WebMD for animals, and ... Christ on a cracker, the horror! Owen has been sneezing and coughing, which could mean kennel cough, or feline herpes, or heartworm. He also has the sniffles and some congestion, which could be COPD, or distemper, or pneumonia. And he's been drinking a lot, which could be diabetes, or kidney failure, or a thyroid problem. Every single one of these things sounds horrible. A simple cold, which is probably what he actually has, is almost anticlimactic now.
I figured out what will fix him, though: Valium. Lots and lots of Valium. Or Zoloft, or Xanax, or Prozac, or some other mood stabilizers. Oh, not for him, though. They're for me.
UPDATE 12/14/07: G took Owen to the (craptacular) emergency backup vet today, because he wasn't sounding very good overnight into today. Poor little bugger is on antibiotics ... and now I need to watch out for amoxicillin allergies, because cats can be allergic to amoxicillin, and since I'm allergic to amoxicillin you just know the O-Bert will be. If Something Bad happens we might have to give him steroids or epinephrine. Like what happens to me, only I don't know if you'll see his hives under his fur. Oh, and feline herpes is apparently a possibility. Sometimes the worst-case scenario is actually possible. Oy vey.