Now that I’ve been to medical school for all of two terms, I sometimes feel adequately confident in my half-cooked knowledge of various diseases to work out what’s going wrong with me.
For example, I recently completed a module on hypertension (high blood pressure) and cholesterol disease. My first reaction was of elation. Yes, I finally thought I had worked out what was wrong with me. Then a couple of weeks later we were learning about diabetes. I immediately changed my self-diagnosis from hypertension to diabetes. Because clearly I was fitting all the required symptoms. Lethargy, drinking lots, peeing lots. The fact that I didn’t manage to get a blood sugar reading during our practical session only made me more nervous. It was a sign. A sign that I definitely had diabetes. But the following week I knew that I must have hypothyroidism. For goodness sake how could I have thought it was diabetes? I’m definitely suffering from thyroid disease.
As if this wasn’t enough I decided to then google my symptoms. Because obviously a free internet search is totally equivalent to years of learning, years of debts and uh being a human rather than a computer. But still my computer was on and my GP was closed.
Here is what transpired:
Me: I have every symptom that you could possibly ever have and feel ill and tired all the time
Google: Would you like to try a free symptom checker quiz?
Me: Of course!
Google: From your results you could have a common cold, a bacterial infection, anaemia, pneumonia, a rare genetic disorder, an even rarer genetic disorder, the name of a disease which hasn’t even been invented yet (its that new), and finally you could also have cancer. Actually yes, you probably do have cancer. You should be anxious and scared right about now.
Me: Panic call the mother
Mother: Go see someone qualified…
So I haven’t managed to actually go and see someone qualified just yet. But this is what I imagine will happen:
Doctor: What’s wrong with you today?
Me: Like everything. I can’t walk, I can’t sleep, I’m tired, I’m too short, I’m in pain…
Doctor: What ideas do you have about this? What are your concerns? What are your expectations?
Me: Google told me I have cancer
Doctor: Right. Lets do some tests and investigations. But lets take a clinical history first. What’s your favourite colour…?
after 10 minutes
Me: Hey Doc, What’s wrong with me? (Actually I don’t think I’d say Doc. Who even says doc? My doctor and I are on first name basis anyway…as if)
Doctor: Given your current occupation and tendency to self-diagnose. I have with great thought and care diagnosed you with: Medical Student Syndrome
Me: Excuse me?
Doctor: It’s true – google it (LOL. No really it is true)
Me: So what’s my treatment?
Doctor: Next time don’t google just come and see a doctor
Doctor: Oh and one more thing…
Doctor: Get a life.
I feel that I should further explain how terrible I actually am at diagnosing anything. My friend messaged me recently to ask about a damaged knee. Literally the only useful advise I could give her was to go and seek advise from someone else. On the other hand, after my abysmal performance on the practical exam I tried to really work at improving my clinical skills. I can now proudly say that I definitely know how to do a cardiovascular exam. On my dog. What? No one else volunteered…
Happy Easter y’all if you’re celebrating and all.
And remember just because it’s a national holiday doesn’t mean you can’t get ill. And seriously if you’re ill talk to somebody who is qualified. And that means somebody who isn’t a medical student or indeed Dr. Google.
P.S: This was written as a joke (except that part about googling your symptoms- don’t do it) and in real life doctors don’t tell you to ‘get a life’.