Where do you get your medical information?
Ever get sick or injured, and turn to Google for help, only to come away thinking you caused permanent damage, you are going to lose a limb, and no one is going to ever love your horribly disfigured body EVER again?
In 2010 I dislocated and fractured the distal end of my clavicle (collar bone) because instead of getting a bird bath we got a kiddie pool for my backyard in Chicago. In the ED after the X-rays and morphine, the orthopedic surgeon came in and said we needed to operate next wk. He explained that because of the location of the fracture I risked permanent immobility.
I went home, took the meds, and did my research. GOOGLE scared the shit out of me! And I’m a nurse!! Permanent paralysis, nerve damage, decreased mobility, pins, etc. Yet surgery wasn't promising anything better.
I was still in my toddler years of practicing Ashtanga yoga and this injury devastated me. (Can we say Attachment!?!) Two months before this injury I learned how to come up to standing from urdhva dhanurasana. How was I going to keep practicing?
Surgery seemed worse than not having surgery. The ED ortho said it NEEDED to be done. But being a nurse meant that I had resources from the clinic I worked at. So I checked with the Orthopedic MD that we referred our patients to. He said, 'Wait. After the bone heals if there is any permanent paralysis or damage then we can go back in and while you are under re-break the bone and set it correct with surgery.'
I liked that option.
Under the guidance of an awesome Orthopedic surgeon and Ashtanga teachers who supported me I became aware of a desire that motivated me to work through this moment. I continued to practice 6 days a week like a total bad ass and everything healed as normal as normal can be.
But at the time of injury I was scared, confused, frustrated and desperate. There’s some really great information on the internet. MOST of the information is helpful. But there are no filters and the most popular content that shows up on top isn’t always the clearest.
I had some fun years working phone triage with nurses far better than I was at the clinic. Sometimes patients would read an article about a symptom that is possibly a sign of an incurable rare disease. They received their MD license from www.google.com after reading the article and demanded to be seen and treated for this thing. Google fail.
Zebra is the American medical slang for concluding an exotic medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is likely.
‘When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras.’ -Dr. T. Woodward
A large chunk, but not all, of the the information provided in a google search returns medical zebras. But where do we go for trustworthy information on healthy living, diseases, vaccines, immunizations, travel health, etc. when GOOGLE does more harm than good?
I know you don’t have time to ‘surf’ the web and filter out the trash. I know you don’t have a medical degree and can’t tell the difference between horses and zebras. I also know you care about your health!
I know that when crises happens, when you are sick, we don’t always have clear level headed thoughts.
Every doctor, nurse, physician, tech, janitor that I have worked with, the good one’s at least . . . know that they don’t have all the answers. We turn to each other for help.
Compiled below is a list of websites that I and fellow colleagues turn to for help.
Ashtanga Nurse RX:
Create a bookmark folder called HEALTH and bookmark these websites under that folder.
The next time you or a loved one is sick and you have question you will have informed resources. This list is constantly growing as is medicine and the internet. If you have links that you think will be helpful please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can update this list. Thanks!
And I don't regret for a second getting that kiddie pool instead of the bird bath!