Read the passage
One day I was setting in the local library, I started to read a medical encyclopedia that was lying on the table in front of me. The first illness I read about was cholera. As I read the list of symptoms, it occurred to me that perhaps I had cholera myself. I sat for a while, too frightened to move.
Then, in a kind of dream, I started to turn the pages of the book again. I came to malaria. Yes, there was no doubt about it – I had malaria too. And I certainly had hepatitis. And yellow fever. And so it went on. I read through the whole book, and by the end I came to the conclusion that I had every illness. There was only one illness I didn’t have – and that was housemaid’s knee.
I sat and thought, and I became more and more worried. I wondered how long I had to live. I examined myself. I felt my pulse. At first, I couldn’t find it at all; then, suddenly it seems start off. I looked at my watch to time it – it was beating 147 times a minute. I tried to feel my heart. I couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t beating. I stuck my tongue out and tried to look at it. I could only see the end of it, but from that I was even more certain than before that I had yellow fever.
I went straight to my doctor, who was a good friend of mine. “What’s the matter with you?” he asked. “I have every illness in the medical encyclopedia.” I told him how I read the medical encyclopedia. Then he opened my mouth and looked at my tongue, and he felt mu pulse, and he listened to my heart. Then he sat down and wrote a prescription. It said:
- 3 good meals every day
- A two-mile walk every day morning
- Be in bed at 11 o’clock every night
- Don’t read medical books!
I followed the doctor’s instructions, and I am happy to say that I now feel quite well again.
(Adapted from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome , first published in 1889)
Answer the questions
- Where this person reading?
- What was the first illness he thought he had?
- What book was he reading?
- What was the illness that he did not have?
- How did he check himself?
- What was the doctor’s advice?
- What do you think of being your own doctor?
- Have you met people who worry too much about their health?
- Have you met people who do not worry about their health?