I hate going to the doctor.
You wouldn’t think I’d feel that way considering how many doctors I have in my family, but I think that my hesitancy to go to a doctor actually stems from that. My mother’s brother was our go-to phone call as kids when something was wrong, and he can be kind of a jerk. I remember asking him about a rash I had one time (it turns out I’m allergic to sunshine. Seriously. If I spend more than three days on the beach, I get bumps on my fingers and a rash on my legs. Dr. Google, however, told me the correct combination of vitamins to help me stay in the sun longer.) and he said amputation was the only answer.
As a teacher, it drives me up a wall when people who have never done my job try to tell me how to do my job. So I’m fully aware that my tendency to self-diagnose via Google is the single most annoying thing on the planet to doctors. I decided a few weeks ago that Rosie, my oldest dog, had a mast cell tumor based on Dr. Google, rushed her to the vet, crying hysterically, only to be told that it was a “waxy comedone,” aka, a “schnauzer bump.” (To be fair, my vet is awesome and DID agree that the bump seemed suspicious until she did a fine needle aspiration and looked at the cells under a microscope. That or she thinks I’m completely psychotic and was humoring me. There’s a distinct possibility that that was the case.)
And the fact that I correctly diagnosed Jacob’s torticollis using the internet when our pediatrician thought he was fine both makes me extra convinced that I’m good at using Dr. Google and makes me extra annoying to doctors. So I always feel like a doctor is not going to understand how good I am at Googling and not believe me when I tell them what the problem is. Yes, I could just describe my symptoms and let them figure it out, but my doctor is NOT House, MD. And I don’t feel like getting poked and prodded when I already know what medicine I need.
But now I have my own personal family doctor because my brother is one. When I was younger, the idea of my brother as a doctor terrified me. Partially because he’s my kid brother, but partially because he went out to observe at my other doctor uncle’s hospital when he was sixteen, saw a surgery, then claimed he could take my gallbladder out through my belly button and chased me through my parents’ house with an X-acto knife trying to prove it. My parents thought this was cute. I did not.
With that said, my brother has become my knight in shining armor since having a baby of my own because I can run my Dr. Google ideas by him to determine if a visit to the pediatrician is necessary or not. This works well because A) no matter how much I annoy him, he’s my brother and he can’t get away from me, and B) I know he loves his nephew to pieces and therefore is giving me the best possible advice. (Although when I called him about a lump in my hand, only 30% convinced I had hand cancer, he told me it was a ganglion cyst and to slam a book on my hand as hard as I could to get rid of it. I’m not sure he loves me as much as he loves Jacob*.)
*BUT when I had an adverse reaction to the motion sickness patch while in Greece two summers ago and my vision got too blurry to even use my phone to Google what was wrong with me, he took my call at 4am his time, told me what was happening, why I was having the reaction, and what to do for it. So in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, he’s a pretty awesome brother/doctor.
Meaning that when Jacob was taking less of his bottle than usual last week, then threw up, that felt too dire for Google and I called my brother.
“Sounds like a stomach bug,” he told me. “Rest and Pedialyte and keep an eye on how much he’s peeing.”
When that answer didn’t satisfy me, he asked, “What are you afraid of here?”
“That he’s sick,” I said.
He sighed. “Babies get sick. It sucks for a few days, then they get better. He’ll be fine.”
“Can he throw up in his sleep and choke on it and die?”
No,” he said. “Babies are good at being sick. He’s fine, you’re fine, have a glass of wine and chill.”
See why this is better than Google or going to the doctor? Jacob’s pediatrician is nice and all, but she’s not going to prescribe a glass of wine when I’m freaking out.
Of course, I called him back the next day to tell him his diagnosis was wrong because Jacob hadn’t thrown up again, but was still refusing his bottle and fussy and I thought he was teething. And Dr. Google told me that teething can sometimes make a baby throw up even though pediatricians always say it’s a stomach bug.
“Okay, then he’s teething,” he said. I could hear him rolling his eyes through the phone.
Then, a day later, when Jacob was still refusing his bottle, we went to the pediatrician, who told us it was either a virus, teething, or constipation. Which was a pretty broad spectrum of issues, but at least she ruled out an ear infection, strep, and a bowel obstruction (none of which I thought he had).
That afternoon, Jacob woke up from his nap with an insanely runny nose and we had our answer. I still think he’s teething too, but based on the sore throat that I woke up with the next morning (yes, he sneezed on my face again. Thanks, kid.), I felt confident that I had solved the medical mystery of why Jacob wasn’t taking his bottle.
With a little help from my brother and Dr. Google. Thanks guys!