Thursday, March 8, 2012

PHD in internet medicating

I was thinking that there should be a new degree, “PHD in internet medicating”.

I have a few friends who love to diagnose via the internet.

The fun part about this is even the most harmless symptoms can become terminal on the internet.

For instance I am going to Google “runny nose”.

Bet you thought there could not be scary stuff with that one.

“Rarely, tumors of the nasal passages or chronic medical conditions may be the cause of a runny nose.

We all saw that word “rarely” right but if you are my very hypochondriacy friend that “rarely” word is immaterial.

My one friend will immediately be telling me that she has booked an appointment with her doctor because she has a tumour in her nose.

I have tried  before  to point out that it may be a common cold but it does not help .

She cannot possibly get anything as mediocre it has to be the worst case scenario with her.

Despite all the illnesses that she is constantly sure that she must have, she is the healthiest person that I know.

I also cannot tell her anything to do with my body.

Innocent statements like:

“I bumped my toe”

Surely cannot bring up any medical emergency?


I will get dire warnings about internal infection and gangrene.

I took my Mom to the Doctor last month when she was visiting.

She had a problem with a continuous cough.

She would suffer from the internet diagnoses disease, except that her computer skills are terrible. Instead she nagged me constantly to google her symptoms.

Of course the worst case scenario involving serious surgery had to be it according to my Mom.  I tried to point out that there were some other scenarios that fitted her symptoms but she loves drama so I let it be till we went to visit our doctor.

Many years ago when my Mom lived with me we started going to Dr Kaka (yes I know but that really is his name).  There is nothing kaka about him as far as GP’s go he rocks and I think of him as the best doctor in our city.

My Mom told him her symptoms and that she googled it (I always think, if I were a doctor and my patient had to say “I googled it” I would start cringing.)

Dr Kaka has however got the best bedside manner ever.

He asked my Mom to tell him all about the suggestions that the symptoms brought up with genuine interest (at least he fakes it well).

He then did his examination.

The diagnosis had nothing to do with what was on the internet.  All it required was some medication as it was a reflux problem causing the coughing and irritation. The medication worked immediately.

Mom is cured but alas not from internet self diagnosis.  I still get those calls.
Viv, I have my computer on, I have a stinging pain in my left pinkie, how do I google it?”


  1. So Funny!  This is a common problem I think.  Doctors roll their eyes every time a patient comes in after reading something in the internet.  I even find myself doing this sometimes!

  2. Haha! it does remind me of some people I know too...... hmmm, maybe even me!!! LOL. Very good Viv.

  3. Viv you're not talking about anyone on skype now are you????  This rings a bell somewhere  :o

  4. Ha ha Jennie, I think we all do it more often than we like to admit and get ourselves all worked up.

  5. There is a little bit of a self diagnosis via internet  freak in all of us. 

  6. Ha ha Sharon so many people that I know who do this. 

  7. Guilty. Except I never google my symptoms. It's my kids. Something is always wrong with my kids. My husband has prohibited me from taking them to the doctor for anything other than stitches, ear infections and well baby visits.

  8. Last year with when my daughter was sick and we did not know what was wrong I got myself horribly worked up via the internet.  Instead of Munchausen by proxy, Munchausen by internet. 

  9. This made me chuckle, because my fiance is a web M.D. and before the internet, my mother bought a home diagnosis book, and also a book on every prescription medication known to man. I didn't dare answer her honestly when she asked how I was feeling.

  10. Scarey stuff Chris, my Mom actually brings an entire bag full of medication with her when she comes for a visit.

  11. I find myself guilty of googling medical conditions, but I don't imagine the worst case scenarios.

    Nice blog.  Stopping by via LinkedIn's Blog Zone.

  12. Thank you Lynette at least there are more rational people like you in the world or we would have crazy people running in the street shouting "We are all going to die"

  13. I have Googled innocent enough problems just to see what it could be; almost any grouping  of symptoms brings the diagnosis of cancer of some sort or another!

    A great, thought provoking post!

  14. Marc my husband (fortunately a reasonable sane person) always reminds me that if you want to prove or disprove anything, there will always be an argument for it.  

  15. Who needs to Google an ailment when there's a 16 year old hypochondriac step daughter and a  badly informed school nurse, who this year has told her, she could have liver failure, kidney failure (2 separate occasions) and now cysts on her ovaries because she had cramps one day. We've had to put a warning through to her via the school counselor..."Step away from the 16 year old!"...Or maybe this School Nurse Google's too lol

  16. It is amazing I am still alive I used to get cramps that lasted for two or three days.  

  17. you know, I've never done this, but maybe I should start. 

  18. It really is a lot of fun, you can find dread diseases in everything.  Creates wonderful excuses.  If you really don't want to attend something you can call them up and say "I am dying".  You would not be lying either after all you read it on the internet.

  19. I love it.  My best friend is a total interent M.D. and she drives me bonkers. If I let out the simplest of coughs, one that may have been caused by swallowing coffee improperly,  while talking to her, I will undoubtedly get an email or text later stating all the things that the cough could mean and that perhaps I should go to the doctor. I'd love to see my doctor's face if I went in and said I got choked on some coffee this morning but my friend thinks that I may have bubonic plague. Love your site! 

  20. Thank you Sosha, I am thrilled that you commented on my blog.  If anybody reads the comments on my blog keep an eye out for  She is either going to be one of the most famous bloggers in the world or one of the most famous authors, this woman's writing takes you on an emotional roller coaster. 

  21. We had a friend who did this for everything and was sure that she had every ailment and many I have never heard of.  She would also put a surgical mask over her face upon entering anyone's home b/c she was also a germaphobe!

  22. Hi Holly I share an office building with an A type germaphobe and the worst is I am not making it up she really does the things that I wrote about in this blog.

  23. The biggest mistake anyone could make, would be to google their symptoms.  Think about it logically, your GP studies for 7 years, I doubt that he googles every patient's symptoms?

    But on the hand, a good dose of common sense should prevail...if you cant  "heal"  yourself within 48 hours, and you feel really really ill, for peace of mind if nothing else, see your local GP.

    You all know about the inscription on the hypochondriac's tombstone                   "You see, I told you I was sick!"