Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year Resolution #1: Swear Off WebMD

I swear this mole wasn't there when I went to bed last night.

I saw a small round brown spot on Auggie's back the other day. He was sitting at the table shirtless after his shower, a sight I know well since he gave up clothes at age two, and I noticed this dark, chocolate like syrupy dash. Almost like someone had started a comma on his back and decided on a semi colon instead.
Picture it? Please take a moment, and do, because you will see what I saw: irregular in shape. To those of us who take our whispered 3 a.m. health anxieties to our internet best friend WebMD, your stomach just dropped.
Because irregular in shape. On your kid's back. Where once before there was only the silken velvety blanket of unmarred skin.
Did I look at his back and think, Hmm. Freckle.?


I gulped in air, choked on my spit, then almost split my ribs open jumping over the kitchen stool to get to google so I could type in while grabbing water for my nervous cough:


And then, just to be sure, I entered "child" twice. So WebMD would understand the gravity.

Why do I do this?
Because I am a WebMD alarmist. Because years ago I believed their promise of being "an online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health and well-being." Ha, to me they have been anything but a disburser of information that led to health and well being. Why would I inform myself first and then panic last when it's much easier to panic first, and panic last? What's the use of assuming the tiny map of Madagascar on my son's shoulder blade is nothing when I can WebMD myself into a loss of 5 lbs from a liquid stomach instead?  That's the whole ugly mess right there.

I should know by now that WebMD does not teach a gentle lesson—its target audience is not the breathe relax breathe relax population. WebMD knows me better than I know myself. I am not the one who wants to know statistic probability. Because the numbers 1 in 13,000,000 chance means the Number 1 lands squarely in my house when it's given out.
I love the internet, at times, and googling is great, sometimes. Like when I'm looking for when a movie starts, or checking on the third round of renewals on a book I'm reading from the library. I depend on the internet but I do not want to lose my mind to the internet. So I have to break my online Doctor dependence—I want to go back to the land of let's ask the real life Doctor. I mean, what more proof do I need of this then when my kid starts coming to me, holding out a scratched finger, asking me to “Google it, Mama—it could be worse than a paper cut!”

I’m going to start listening to what my instincts are telling me, because WebMD never tells me anything good. They don't enter information that begins with, “Pshaw. You worry wart. It’s gonna be fine! No need for big toe amputation—just check for a pebble stuck in your shoe.”

WebMD must go from my life. Because unless I want my the days ahead of me imaginarily cut short because of a sensitive ingrown toenail, WebMD serves me no good. Everything I read, I remember, and this “oh my god!” with each twinge of pain I feel is going to kill me. And until the day WebMD begins with balanced coverage, say listing possible causes of back pain as “Bad Mattress” alongside “Spinal Degeneration”, I must stay off.

The voice I want to hear in my head from now on is not, “Heeeeeere’s your death!” but the reasonable one that says, “Take it easy, let’s see what time the Doctor's office opens tomorrow.”

I here, today in the first week of the year 2017, resolve to swear off WebMD. Not going on to that site is the only road back to a less anxious state in 2017. (as if 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 is going to be smooth sailing as it is *coughtrumpcough*)

I swear off all internet diagnoses. Promise.
Right after I find out about this new onset of upper right foot tenderness.
Oh, crap, it says here, "see lymph node nodule."
ETA: Auggie's mole: Upon the laying of hands on my precious child, my fingers slid across the fearsome spot, which was actually sloppy chocolate chip mixing during breakfast making on my part. xo  
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