Doctor Mom, at your service

Healthcare professionals have to hate me. I am one of those grossly irritating people who loves to do Google Diagnostics. Also, I watch too much TV. And, I work in a hospital, although what I do has nothing to do with clinical work, and in fact has about as much to do with treating patients as cutting my toenails has to do with solving world hunger. Nonetheless, because of my proximity to the healthcare field, I feel like I'm something of an expert. That, and Google, of course. And Dr. House, Gray's Anatomy, and Private Practice. I've practically been to medical school.

Just over a year ago, I had "biliary colic," better known as a gall bladder attack. The first attack was strange, but I chalked it up to other weird health issues I have, and when it was over, I went back to sleep, unperturbed. The second time it happened, though, I knew that this? This is something! Thrilled, I ran, in between wild bouts of vomiting and searing pain, to my computer, and typed in "pain in upper back and vomiting" and poof! Google instructed me that I was having a gall bladder attack and to proceed to the nearest emergency room. Will do! I felt triumphant, all self-diagnostic and smart.

Having a baby has only increased my problem, as I have now diagnosed my kid with slapped cheek, roseola, milk intolerance, and various other "he's teething, so that's why he has fever and diarrhea" sort of illnesses. Even my husband is impressed. "Yep," he tells people, "she usually knows what's wrong with him. She can spot an ear infection a mile away."

All of this is not good, because it only feeds into my delusion that I'm a diagnostic wizard. Which isn't that hard, when you have Google Images showing your pictures of exactly the same rash your kid has all over his body. But I still like to take credit.

Also, it's not good, because it tempts me to not bother with trips to the doctor. "It's viral!" I tell my husband. "There's nothing they can do for him! They'll just tell me to give him Tylenol!" And I know they sigh when they see me coming. "Oh this one. She thinks she knows already what's going on." (Cue eye roll.) But I do take him in, even though I have my own mad diagnostic skillz. I drag him faithfully to the pediatrician. Tomorrow, we're going to double check his ears to make sure we cleared up that infernal infection, even though I'm 95 percent sure he's all good.

I'm not sure if all of this readily available medical information is really all that good for us. I mean, look at me. I've taken on a new identity as "Doctor Mom", and my husband and I like to sit around and look at freckles on the backs of our hands and convince ourselves they're flesh-eating diseases. And look at my ankle! I think I have elephantiasis! And yesterday I coughed and this morning I found a really long hair on my arm! What does it all mean, Google?

It's the layman's equivalent of the full body scan. Too much information in the wrong hands, is potentially dangerous to your health.

Now I'm off to look at keloids on the internet, because my pierced ear is looking a little funny today.


7 years, 9 months ago

love this column, i thought i was the only one that was thrilled about self-diagnosing. and now that i'm almost 40 i'll have a whole legion of new things to research. how did we ever get by without the internet? internet, i love you.

NurseMommyLaughs 7 years, 9 months ago

Cute post! Looks like somebody is thinking about going back for another degree!!! :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.