Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stupid doctor or just me? You decide!

So on Tuesday my mother calls me in the middle of dinner. I figure it's another one of her "I just wanted to see how you were doing calls" so I was a little abrupt with her. Then she makes the quick comment that she went to the doctor and she needed me to look something up for her on the internet. Well, didn't I feel like an arse then for being abrupt.

So up I go to my office and I get her back on the phone to look it up. And here's where my rant begins. She went to the doctor due to dizzy spells that made her feel ill. They send her to an ear specialist (I think he specializes in other stuff too). After diagnosing her and doing some sort of "maneuver" he writes down what it was and tells her if she wants to find out more info then go on the computer and "google" it. Begin rant:

1 -- My mother wouldn't know how to turn on a computer much less "google" something. So simply sending her on her merry way to try and navigate through the web to find the information she's looking for would be asking a bit much (hence the phone call to me).

2 -- In my opinion no doctor should simply tell a patient to google it. Do they realize how much wrong information can be found with a simple google search? Sure, the correct stuff tends to float to the top but that probably wouldn't stop my mother from scrolling down to the page that describes some home-made remedy for this that involves standing on your head while smoking a joint. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but still, if the information is on the web then give her the address of a reputable site and don't just tell her to google it.

3 -- Okay, this is just for me but do you know how frustrating it is going through pages and pages of information on this condition while my mother's on the other end of the line asking "what does it say about this scenario?", "what would happen if this happens?", "does it say anything about this?", "why can't you answer any of these questions? Isn't the answer there? How much are you reading?" All the while I'm trying to understand the workings of the inner ear. I snapped back that these were things that she should have been bringing up with the doctor and that he should answer. And I could sense her frustration as she said how he told her to google it and that she thought that's something I could easily do.

4 -- Some of the websites mention other things a patient can do at home but the ones I saw as reputable avoided describing these things saying that they should be shown to the patient by a doctor. I'm sure I could find one that did describe some actions to take but there's no way I want to be explaining to my mom over the phone some trick that some website describes with basic little diagrams. I'd much rather the doctor go through those with her in person.

So yeah, I feel like garbage for snapping at my mom but I was really frustrated with the doctor and still am. I don't think the internet (or in turn, myself) should be acting like a doctor and answering my mom's questions. These are things he should have covered with her, given her some information on, or at least pointed her in an appropriate direction instead of booting her out the door with the task of googling it.

In the end, the condition doesn't appear to be too serious unless the "maneuver" that the doctor tried doesn't work. And last I heard it seems that it did. So yeah, I'm not really in my happy place.

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