Calling Doctor Google

Driving my baby girl to the ophthalmologist last week, I was bracing myself for the bad news. We had noticed a few weeks before that her right pupil was a lot bigger than her left. A quick consult with Doctor Google and the diagnosis was made. It wasn’t good news. Trusty old Dr G sat me down, held my hand and explained. He was certain it was an optic tumour. The prognosis wasn’t good. He went into great depths with his descriptions of the different types of tumours it could be. He explained that the treatment process would be lengthy. There would most certainly be surgery, which would then likely be followed by radiation and finally, months of chemotherapy. Even after all this, he couldn’t guarantee my daughters outcome.

ImageI was beside myself. I was losing sleep and struggling to keep my worries in check. The panic and anxiety was all consuming. After having worked very hard to kick my comfort eating afflictions this year, I was back with my hand in the cookie jar. I started buying large blocks of chocolate again, and not sharing. A trip to our family doctor for some reassurance was met with a distinct lack of commitment either way, and a hasty referral to the Ophthalmologist was made.

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It was a very long two weeks waiting to see the specialist. My ever efficient mind went to work, busying itself with the planning of logistics. We would surely have to go to Auckland for her treatment. Auckland is an 8 hour drive from Wellington. How would we juggle this? The best plan would be for me to go with my daughter and my husband to stay at home with our son. We’d have to arrange childcare for the days when Mr4 is not in Kindy. Should we just pack up and move back to Australia before the treatment? Would she get better care in Sydney? In all, it was a very productive 2 weeks. By the time our appointment came around, I had all the logistics very clearly mapped out.

Sitting in the clinic room while the Ophthalmologist examined my baby girls’ eye, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. The palpitations of my heart were thumping at my eardrums, making it hard to hear. I had to work hard to concentrate on what the specialist was saying. He talked about all the different things he looks for when someone presents with an enlarged pupil (which of course I already knew about, thanks to Dr Google). He then said that our baby girl didn’t have any of the other symptoms that would give him cause for concern.

I had to ask him to say that bit again.

She was going to be fine. She simply had one pupil that was about 1mm larger than the other. It was called Physiological Anisocoria, and it was nothing to worry about. Casting my mind back, I recalled Dr Google mentioning something about it possibly being entirely benign. Interesting how we quickly brushed past that fact in our long discussions.

So, thankfully our baby girl is completely healthy. There will be no trips to Auckland for treatment, and family life can continue as normal. Reflecting on all the anxiety of those few weeks, I wonder why, oh, why I consulted with Dr Google over this? He never, ever brings good news; and it’s no secret to me, that he is so very often wrong with his diagnoses. It makes me wonder if he actually has a medical degree!?

Do you consult with Dr Google?

Has he ever given you palpitations?

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7 thoughts on “Calling Doctor Google

  1. Glad to hear it all worked out okay. Trying to play doctor can be cruel. My wife does this sort of thing too and like you her mind starts going crazy with scenarios. Of course, it’s good to obtain knowledge, but it can be dangerous.

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  2. Yep. Dr Google has been my most visited kind. That’s because I’m allergic to the real doctor, and I have very little faith in what real doctors say too. But, they are certainly a better bet than my own interpretation of internet medical advice. Recently, our real doctor made noises about Nino being very very tall, and he wants to ‘keep an eye’ on his growth, in case it causes trouble later. He wasn’t specific about what sort of trouble. I went home royally freaked out. Looked up Dr Google. Gigantism the greatest fear. Associated problems. IMAGES.
    Quite frankly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him. But, I’m actually glad that the doctor is paying attention to things. I just wish he gave me reassurance, rather than the freakout, due to lack of knowledge.
    I feel for you darlin. Health stuff is really the scariest. So often we second guess ourselves wanting professional advice, when in actual fact it’s the best thing to do. I think every mum consults Dr Google though. It’s just our desperate need to keep control over it all. And it’s very normal.

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    • Oh AJ, I can imagine the freak out after that GP appointment! It is a shame that our real life doctors don’t offer up a little more reassurance in situations where they don’t really know. I love our GP. She’s usually awesome and I have a lot of trust in what she has to say. I only wish she could have given me a little bit of reassurance this time around. When I asked if she thought it could be a tumour, she was very non-committal. I know that she couldn’t tell me yes or no there and then, but just a little bit of reassurance that maybe it wasn’t could have made all the difference? It was her distinct lack of reassurance that made me sure we were looking at the worse case scenario.

      Before becoming a parent I really and truly believed that knowledge was power. If you could arm yourself with lots of knowledge, then you could face down anything. Now I just think that knowledge is paranoia! If you need me I’ll be hanging out in the “ignorance is bliss” camp from now on ;-)

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