The Paris Review


There are so many ways to be ill: Cat’s Cry Syndrome, Precocious Puberty Syndrome, Geographic Tongue, Maple Syrup Urine Disease, and more.

A hypochondriac’s guide to rare diseases.


I recently made a wrong turn out of the parking lot of the Danbury Fair Mall, where I’d indulged in a bag of Auntie Anne’s pretzel nuggets and a pair of cheap earrings at Claire’s. Bemoaning my love for this soulless crap—and not paying attention to my route—I found myself at the entrance to NORD, the National Organization for Rare Disorders. 

I’m a hypochondriac. I’ve also been a state-licensed EMT for nineteen years. EMTs and the national tabloids, is far reaching.

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