Dr. Chris Steele, Dr. Ranj and even Doc McStuffins have got nothing on me when I decide to be a ‘have a go’ doctor. Oh yes, we’ve all done it haven’t we? Running a temperature, heartbeat racing faster, I’ll just type it into Google and see what it says…usually finding out within a couple of clicks that it’s something horrendous, or even worse, terminal. Cue adding sleep deprivation to the list of symptoms as you absorb the facts from the modern font of all medical knowledge.
I’ve TRIED to get out of the habit numerous times but it’s just so bloody tempting, especially when you have kids and are like Miss Marple trying to get to the bottom of their ‘mystery illness’.
I remember when my little boy was just a few weeks old and I’d put him in his moses basket to sleep at night and found him soaking wet the next morning, despite having a nappy on. His little vest was soggy but his bottoms were pretty much bone dry. This happened not just one night but continued for about three and by then I’d convinced myself that there was something seriously wrong.
‘Oh my god…excessive sweating’…what does that mean???
There’s only one thing for it…Dr Google!
So, I found myself (already in the ‘new baby sleep deprived state’) lighting up my dark bedroom with my mobile phone as I searched for the definitive answer.
Oh my god, oh my god!
I woke up a very grumpy and tired husband (who had already told me under no circumstances to ‘go on Google’) and, like a screaming banshee, proclaimed we had to get our son to hospital ‘right now’ and ‘I KNEW something was wrong’!
After being made to take a series of deep breaths and calm down, I started to look less like the woman from The Exorcist and decided to meet him halfway and ring the maternity unit’s 24hr helpline first.
Shaking I pressed in the number and put the phone on speaker so we could both hear.
“Hello there, my little boy has been wet through for three nights after being put down to sleep and I’ve just Googled and it says he has heart disease, should we bring him in?”
It came out so fast that my teeth were tripping over my tongue!!
“Can I ask if his nappy is on right?” she asked.
“Of course it is, this isn’t my first baby, I know how to put one on,” I hysterically snapped.
“Was your first baby a boy or a girl?”
“Girl” I answered thinking ‘cut to the chase here Matron, we might not have much time…Google says it’s serious’.
Silence. Followed by…
“Can you do me a favour and loosen your sons nappy and look to see in which direction his winky is pointing…”
I carefully followed her instructions.
“Up” was my answer, confused as to why this was relevant.
“I think you’ll find that little boys need their bits pointing downwards when you do up their nappies. It seems that your baby has been sprinkling upwards for the past few nights.
Give it a try and I’m sure the problem will be resolved.”
My husband stifled a laugh and turned over. I hand palmed my head in embarrassment. What a neurotic idiot I’d been! And how much had I gotten myself into a state thinking the absolute worst.
What followed was the usual ‘I told you not to Google it, now turn off your friggin’ phone’ from the husband along with him mumbling about how his new son must have ‘a very effective winky’ to be managing to spray that far over himself these past few nights.
I’m not gonna lie and say I no longer consult ‘Dr. Google’, because I still do, I’m like an addict in rehab slowly weaning myself away from the web and its unreasonable medical verdicts. I take solace in the fact that I’m not alone – I know there’s others out there like me. To those parents I say, repeat the mantra ‘Google is a guideline only’ and remember if you want a proper diagnosis speak to someone who isn’t made up of pixels and, finally, if you have a baby boy right now and you are going through something similar….point it south!!