If you want to properly piss off a medical professional, try telling them you checked something about your health online. Seriously, give it a try sometime when you’re discussing your health with a doctor. Even the more seasoned and controlled professionals will usually give you a look of disgusted disdain as you bring up symptoms, treatments or anything else that you may have found on the internet. Ah, the ol’ “Dr. Google!”
One good example I can provide is many years ago during my management days, where I felt absolutely floored all the time, regardless of how much sleep I got or my overall diet. I had gone to a couple of doctors who usually just diagnosed me with being tired and pushing myself too much and giving me a note excusing me from work for a few days. Not only was this pissing off my employer, it wasn’t working. So, I decided to check my symptoms online.
Basically, when I looked at what I was experiencing, I was always tired and sore, even when I had slept all night but even when I slept, it was fitful and rarely attributed to bad blood sugars. This would leave me with the feeling like I had recovered from a bad cold and I had difficulty concentrating. When I combined all of these things online, I was shown something called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I remember bringing this up to the next doctor I saw, who actually got ANGRY with me because I dared to suggest something she hadn’t thought of.
I would think that a wise person would want to examine ALL the possibilities but apparently I was wrong. But the point of today’s post isn’t about doctors disliking Dr. Google… I’ve written about that before. The point is being wary of what you find online and what actions you take in accordance with those findings. In my story above, the outcome was that I DIDN’T have chronic fatigue. Dr. Google was wrong.
Many would argue that there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of research in order to ascertain why something may be happening in your body. Prior to the early 1990’s, that was usually limited to accessing medical books at the library or going to the actual doctor’s office. Of course back then, getting in to the doctor’s office was far easier and faster than it is now. But these days, individuals literally have access to the world’s information at their fingertips. This can be a great asset. It can also be incredibly dangerous.
The danger comes from how an individual chooses to interpret the information they receive. For example, if you went online and searched for something with symptoms including pain and numbness in the left arm, you would no doubt be directed to pages describing a heart attack. This won’t necessarily mean you’re having a heart attack but you can see how one can become paranoid of their actual physical condition when reading all of these things.
The important thing to remember is that although there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to find some information online and even discussing it with your doctor (whether they like it or not), one mustn’t let paranoia set in and believe that they may be afflicted with something they don’t actually have. Online information is great and you’re kidding yourself if you think doctors aren’t searching online in certain respects as well. But medical professionals are the only ones who should be interpreting that information and assessing your health. Don’t let paranoia get to you; you don’t have everything you find online. ☯️