Monday, April 8, 2013

The Internet "Doctor": A Cautionary Tale

I started to write a post about my recent experience with Atrial Fibrillation (Afib for short) and well it was just too boring. So instead, here is what I really want you to know:

Do NOT go the internet "doctor" if you think something may be "wrong" with you. Go to the EMERGENCY ROOM or at least the REAL doctor.

Otherwise, this may happen to you:
  • 7 different doctors and 20 or more nurses will be astounded at your stupidity
  • You may get 9 days of "vacation" you did not count on
  • Your family may alternate between high levels of concern and high levels of abject hatred for you while you are on your "vacation" (but they'll hide both well)
  • If you are lucky, you will get "stuck "only a few times.  If you are unlucky, you will get stuck 19 times, not counting the last- resort "pick" line when you run out of viable places to poke.
  • You might get to take more different meds (at once and every day) than in your entire life to date.  
  • You may get to swallow a tube so they can take a look at your innards. But if you are really lucky, you won't remember much.
  • You will get a whole new medical vocabulary
  • You might learn more about the ICU than any conscious person should know.
It's not all bad news:
  • I met a few dozen highly caring, warm and extremely professional nurses, doctors, aids, and housekeepers; I have never received finer care.  
  • I didn't have a stroke. I can't say that enough. And I will likely be fine. This could have been far, far worse.
  • I found a "bonus" physician for my daughter; a wonderful internist since mine isn't taking new patients.
  • I discovered Seton Williamson County has delicious food; really. 
  • I actually did get to read a lot of books and, this is important,
  • My nails have never looked better! There is nothing like a vacation from housework and untying shoelace knots to improve your manicure.
  • My family and I were showered with love and support, especially from our church family. Karen, Anna, Gina, Candace, Leonore, Roberta and Denise (and back to Karen again) - thank you for loving my family in this way; you know how much the ministry of hospitality means to me.
  • I was treated to some wonderful visits; no matter how dull I seemed, those visits meant the world to me. Bless you.
  • And last but not least, I received last rites for the first time (ha, ha). Father Dean dropped everything to get there before my "procedure" while on his way to a very important Holy Week Chrism Mass. I was not nervous a whit and even though they didn't get to shock my heart, all went well.
So it could be worse. But in truth, a lot or all of this trauma may have been avoided by not self-diagnosing my heart's regular Watusi. Don't do as I did. See a doctor.  The end.
(Photo credit: Mary Chanelle)