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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pinky knows Dr Google can diagnose anything!


Arriving at the doctor’s surgery today I was painstakingly careful not to touch the front door with my hands. I gave the front counter a wide berth as well, conscious of the plethora of viruses and germs gleefully teeming around on it. The waiting room was packed with patients snuffling and wheezing away like asthmatic chain smokers so I sat as far away as I could in the circumstances, considering the dearth of available seating. 

I was there to pick up a prescription for a minor non-contagious ailment and I didn’t want to take any lurgies home with me. 
Filthy places those doctor’s surgeries. 

While I was sitting checking the text messages on my phone the doctor sauntered out with a plastic sheet and placed it on the seat beside me. A fortyish woman followed him out, “Just sit there for a minute.” said the doctor directing her to the chair. Oh God, what is wrong with her? Panicky thoughts flooded my paranoid mind. I’ve got to get away, I inwardly screamed, but I can’t just get up it would be too obvious. 

Why was she sitting on a plastic sheet? Was something going to ooze out of her? Her husband and a couple of kids moved towards us. Thank God, I thought, a means of escape. 
“Here take my seat.” I offered magnanimously and quite insistently.

I realised about five minutes later that it wasn’t a plastic sheet but a raincoat and she was taking her little girl to the doctor for her needles. Oh well, doesn’t hurt to play it safe.

Usually I avoid visiting the doctor like the proverbial plague especially since Dr Google set up shop. As a confirmed hypochondriac I regularly check out any tiny but strange symptom on the internet and I’m always delighted to discover there are many idiots out there just like me. 

No matter how obscure the symptom I still manage to find pages of questions and answers. I once looked up “creepy crawly sensation on left shoulder close to a mole” and found fifty-six other neurotics who’d looked up exactly the same thing, even the ‘left’ bit.

Before the internet I relied on medical books from which to glean knowledge and fancied myself a bit of a health expert, particularly in regards to kids.

Dragging Jonah into the doctors one day I self-assuredly announced, “Dr Mullen, I’m fairly sure these spreading sores on Jonah’s leg are the result of a white-tail spider bite.” (I’d seen an article about white-tailed spider bites in the Sunday newspaper.)

“No Pinky, it’s actually called Impetigo.” he replied tolerantly. Oh! I thought, I’ll have to research that one when I get home. “Sometimes people call them school sores.” he added.

Oh…not quite as glamorous as a white-tail spider bite. 

Dealing with five kids and their various illnesses over the years eventually turned me into a bit of a bloody know it all.

My sister Sam rang me for advice one day at the same time I had Cyril the painter at home doing some work in the lounge room. Sam’s baby daughter Kathleen had a fever.

“So have you given her paracetemol?” I asked over the phone.

“Well that’s good. Does she have a rash? No? That’s good. Is she drinking a lot of fluid? Good. Make sure you keep those fluids up,” I added confidently, “and if her temperature goes up put her in a tepid bath. Dress her in loose, cool clothing and keep her somewhere cool. Okay, no worries, bye bye.”

Cyril looked at me admirably, “They never leave you poor doctors alone do they?” he chuckled in reverence.