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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Google with care

Google is a dangerous thing. It can lead you down a very scary road to a small padded cell if you're not careful.

You know you've done it before. Something seems off. You don't feel well. And instead of making a doctor's appointment like any sane person would do, you run to your computer and Google something like "why does my pee smell like celery". And BOOM! Up pops hundreds of thousands of search results. You skim past the rather benign ones, and zero in on the results that make your gut clench.

It's scurvy!

No, it's Lyme disease (never mind that you haven't been anywhere near a wooded area in 10 years)!

Actually, if you're a wily veteran of all things Google searching, you know that plugging in any symptoms of any kind will always result in a diagnosis of cancer.

But...

I do wonder how many times Google has saved a life? Or prevented a child from getting very, very ill? How many times has a Mom been pooh-poohed by their child's pediatrician, but going on a gut instinct decided to Google terms like "my child is always thirsty", or "2 year old is peeing a lot"?

And when page after page about diabetes popped up, did that mother feel an icy chill in her heart, and a slow, sinking feeling of recognition in her gut? I wonder if her Google search gave her the confidence to go back to the pediatrician and demand a BG test.

These days I refrain from Googling symptoms too much because it's always a very short trip to Freakout-ville. I think it is such a double-edged sword. It's good to be informed, but too much (of the wrong) information can make you a little nuts. I'll end this post with a rather funny story:

A few months ago, I took Mattias into our pedi's office because he had some sort of sore on his man-bits. Since it was a Thursday, our regular pedi wasn't there, but the poor doc who got stuck with me listened as I rambled on about all the many things I was concerned with (this was during the height of one of my worried-about-D frenzies).

She looked him over, checked his BG (79), and took a urine sample (negative for sugar and ketones). She then gave me a sheet of paper with the diagnosis on it and proceeded to tell me NOT to Google what she had diagnosed him with because D (sugar in the urine) will come up as a cause. I believe she started the sentence of with, "I can tell you like to look things up on the Internet..."

Even though she quite possibly called me crazy, I'm okay with that. Because it's true... you just can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

And sometimes you need to Google with care.



20 comments:

  1. I google diagnosed my 2 y/o D-son with c-diff in January and I was right! In fact I call myself Kristin webMD!

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  2. Great post, Friend.
    I have diagnosed everyone in my family - - - I love the comment above. Too funny. I'm stealing it - - - I'm Laura GoogleMD. :)

    I dxd Jim's appendicitis
    Nate's T1
    Sophie I was close - Crohns or UC
    Me - ectopic pregnancy & all kinds of crazy!

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  3. @ Laura - you were the person I was thinking about when I wrote that sometimes Google might just save a life!

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  4. This is soooo me!lol Thank you for the laugh....I needed it!

    Now, back to googling...

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  5. Great post! I definitely think Google can be a good thing (and even help save a life)...but it's sometimes hard to sort the reliable info from the unreliable...and it is easy to come up with some horrible search results and send yourself nearly over the edge!

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  6. PreDx, I googled about the thirst and peeing and didn't understand why all this diabetes stuff came up...there was NO WAY it was right...well the next day I found out it was indeed T1 Diabetes, I was in shock!!!

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  7. OMG i just about choked on a choc chip from laughing. hilarious. it can be good and bad. when reubs was dx, there was teenage girl dx too - she had 'googled' her symptoms and self diagnosed, consequently checking herself in at hossy...

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  8. Oh yeah.... Google after google after google... All roads led to D, which i knew before I googled.

    That pic is hilarious!

    I'm all kinds a crazy, too. Don't feel bad!!

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  9. I googled "sudden onset bedwetting" and that started me down the path we're on now.

    On the flip side, I recently caught Fifths Disease from a child in my class. When I googled symptoms in adults I was convinced my life was ruined! Thankfully (and I suppose, predictably) I ended up suffering only the mild discomfort that most adults have.

    Oh, the double edged sword!

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  10. LOL! I am not allowed to google.

    I get way to carried away!

    Buuuut yes it can save a life!

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  11. great comic...and so true, no matter what I type in it always seems like the conclusion is cancer, hmmm...
    Hope things are going better now that the hubby is back - more sleep, right, maybe, I hope!

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  12. Google is such a frie-nemy isn't it?
    Good post.

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  13. When I had symptoms in October and my mom came to visit, she diagnosed me by Google. She was so worried, though, and didn't want to scare me. So for the longest time, she was just like, "Maybe you should go to the doctor. Just see why you're too thin." After I finally went and was diagnosed, she told me she'd been suspecting for a couple of weeks. She just didn't want to freak me (or herself) out. But her Google diagnosis definitely saved my life. Thank goodness for moms. :)

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  14. LOL! You are right, google can come up with some crazy things, but like you said it can also lead to an accurate diagnosis. I googled diabetes the night before I took Natalie's urine sample to the Dr. and confirmed the diagnosis. I had been putting off googling because I knew the symptoms and didn't want to read them. Stupid google just had to be right that time.

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  15. Had to come back and tell you that I thought of you and this post the whole way home from the children's hospital today. I linked my post to this one. :)

    Google can be a friend or foe. LOL!

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  16. So true..what a great post! I always google with caution. As much mis-information is out there and as much as ALL the information out there can make your head swim..I am glad we have the ability to quickly access health info. I also believe it can save lives!

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  17. I have successfully google-diagnosed many things. :) In fact, my SIL recently google-diagnosed herself with some rare pregnancy complication. So rare her doctor didn't want to test for it, but she insisted. When the tests came back positive, they had to induce her early, because it came with a risk of stillbirth. Anyway... I love google. :)

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  18. I have been a Google Dr for many years. lol You're right. It can be good or bad.

    When Bee (My T1 daughter) was 22 months, she was in PICU with something the Drs could not figure out for over a week. When I Googled her symptoms (thinking I knew more than the Drs. lol) the info I got was SO scary. According to google, she had a rare blood disease with no cure and a very short life expectancy. So it was a bit of a relief when the Cardiologist finally figured out what she really had and she immediately had surgery to repair it. (Her first surgery of 3 so far)

    But on the other hand, Google did help diagnose her T1 and I managed to catch it very early on.

    So, it can be both scary and helpful. In the case of helping to diagnose T1 it was good. But the other case was extremely scary (adnd WAY off). I'd like to say I have quit Googling everything, but I haven't. I really wish I could, though. lol

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  19. Great Post! Google just feeds my hypochondriac mind! I just can't help myself sometimes though!

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