Google has been our most effective family doctor

October 1, 2010 § 4 Comments

As a mother of four young children there is nary a week that passes that doesn’t see one of my family members  develop a new affliction.  Anything from bug bites and obscure rashes to cold/flu symptoms and fevers.  Back when I was a first-time Mom, I was quick (and at THAT time, able) to rush to the doctor’s to get an assessment for my child, and some piece of mind for myself.

Times have changed. I now have four children, which quickly compromises the “able” part of running to the doctor each time, and as far as “willing”, well, let’s just say I’ve developed a new decision-making process  before hauling the whole clan over to my family doctors (potentially exposing them all to new calamities!).  Why do you ask, well let me tell you.

Perhaps it was the time that I was sitting in my family doctors office asking about the most recent affliction of one of my brood, and the doctor cocked her head in wonderment (bafflement?) and said (I kid you not) “let’s check Google”.  She didn’t see my jaw drop to my knees because she had turned to her monitor and already begun typing in my kid’s symptoms into the search window.

It also could be my conscientious sub-conscious (meddling all the time!) reminding me that each time I take my kids to the doctor and they tell me: “I’m not sure what could be causing it, must be a virus. We’ll monitor it – come back in a week”, I have not only wasted a ton of my own energy and time, but also that of our struggling health care system.

Ultimately however, I think it is because Google has been our most effective family doctor yet! I can access multiple opinions and scenarios from my kitchen, in my pyjamas, at 2am in the morning (which let’s face it, is when the really concerning symptoms always present themselves), and I can avoid the “frazzled-mother-trying-to-mobilize-four-young-kids-in-a-small-space-and-under-tight-time-constraints” spectacle that, while entertaining  and conversation-provoking for spectators, is nonetheless exhausting for me.

Some of you will ask: “how can you be sure you are diagnosing correctly using the internet?” and my response is, of course, you can’t.  But in my experience, you can gather enough information on the problem to make what I fondly refer to as “a mother’s diagnosis”, and that is this:

1)      Is it serious enough for me to drag four kids to the doctor and try to juggle potty trips, escapees, and removing things from my toddler’s mouth all while discussing the ailment with the doctor?

2)      Are there things at home I can do to relieve symptoms (cause let’s face it, nine times out of ten the  doctor is likely going to default to the catch-all prescription pad to solve the problem anyway)

3)      How do I contain this thing (do I need to quarantine my child in their room with books, crayons and a DVD player?) so we don’t have a mini-epidemic through the rest of the five family members.

There will always be times when a trip to the doctor is my best bet, but for now, I give props to Dr. Google – my sanity thanks you!


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