This week my doctor took me off Google. That’s right. I am no longer allowed to search the internet for ailments and their freakish causes. And I’ll tell you why.
First, let me preface this column by acknowledging that I have issues. The truth is, if you’ve read more than two posts, you are acutely aware of this fact and have probably laughed unabashedly at my expense, grateful that there are people out there in need of more therapy than you. That’s okay. I’m totally at ease with my dysfunctional self. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Right, Dr. Phil?
So this is my big issue: I have the tendency to worry. Excessively. Now for some people that would simply be a character flaw. For me it’s an occupation.
For example, just two weeks ago I took Zack to the pediatrician, again. He had been having headaches and instead of assuming it was caused by bad vision, child migraines or even dehydration, I jumped to the frightening conclusion that it was a brain tumor. It wasn’t, but I was more than willing to pay a $20 co-pay to have a doctor say as much.
And while we were there I asked that she check his urine. Frequent trips to the bathroom during church had me assuming, you got it, he also had juvenile diabetes. Not a urine infection or excessive hydration, but juvenile diabetes.
I fondly refer to myself as Worst-Case Scenario Mama. Give me a problem or a symptom and I immediately imagine the worst-case scenario. I’m good at it. If only there were a game show.
My most recent self-induced scare involved a numb toe—my numb toe. For nearly two years the big toe on my left foot has been numb. For nearly two years I had chosen not to worry about it (I was a little preoccupied). But for whatever reason I decided to start worrying three weeks ago. And by worry I mean Google.
Worse than Google is wrongdiagnosis.com. It’s a breeding ground for hypochondriacs. All the worse-case ailments I had imagined were there as well as a handful of conditions I hadn’t even considered. I was in Fright Heaven.
After much internet searching I diagnosed myself with a nearly fatal disease. And regardless of the fact that I’ve never had any medical training, for two and a half weeks I grieved, begging God to let me raise my children into adulthood.
You laugh, but it’s true.
So this week my doctor told me I have a compressed nerve.
“You mean I don’t have a nearly fatal degenerative nerve disease?” I asked.
She cocked her head. “Uhm. No.” she said.
And that’s why I’m no longer allowed to Google my symptoms.
Or my children’s symptoms.
Or the symptoms of my neighbors, friends and family.
Which makes me wonder—what does excessive worrying cause? I bet Google would tell me…
(And no, that doesn’t count. It’s preventative…)