The Google Effect

Today’s Wellness Wednesday message is brought to you by ‘take your own freakin’ advice for once you douche’.

So yesterday we had our check-ups; me with my obs for the very last time. I was legitimately sad that I wouldn’t be seeing him again. I love my obs, he’s a sarcastic son of a gun and we’d trade stories from the front line.

I love him, but not enough to have another baby. DONE. SO SO SO DONE.

Mr. OT also had his 6 week check-up, with the amazing paediatrician that we fell in love with when Miss DP was in special care and diagnosed with a ventricle septal defect. He’s amazeballs. We switched to him after having a paed who would give me panic attacks if I saw her in the corridor of the hospital. It was the right move.

I was expecting to be in and out of his office in a jiffy, with him lavishing praise on the gorgeous little creature sitting in the capsule before us.

I forgot that he’s actually a specialist and it’s written into their medical oath to be at least 30 minutes late for each appointment.

So 30 minutes later I expected to be out of there in a jiffy with a clean bill of health for Mr. OT. Which we did. Kind of. The doc checked him over, and I mentioned that the little guy sometimes seems like he’s shivering- his little jaw quivers, even when it’s 31 degrees. So the doc looked at him further.

“Ahhh yes, looks like he has clonus”

Say what? I give him a half puzzled, half panicked look, while trying to remain cool and calm. No one wants to hear their kid has something. Unless it’s a ticket to MENSA.

Doc proceeded to explain in a very patchwork fashion what clonus was (I think hiding all the gory details for my benefit), but was quick to add that he was sure everything would be fine and Mr. OT would grow out of it. He also added “I know you’re going to look this up when you get home, but I’m pretty confident he’ll be fine”. He knows me too well.

Despite the fact I absolutely loathe it when clients come in and tell me they’ve googled their symptoms (all roads lead to diagnosing yourself as an anxious depressed, manic psychopath on google. No need to look it up anymore, I’ve saved you the hassle), I am a Dr. Google addict when it comes to my kids.

Got yellow speckled snot? I’m all up in google’s grills. Weird sweats? I’m on it. Not eating green food? Let me google that for you.

From the Left Field google ariel meme

I asked a million questions at the appointment, and all I could get out of the doc was “….cerebellum…immature nervous system…. Did you drink like 10 cups of coffee a day?”

I froze. Fuck. I DID drink coffee in this pregnancy. I’d avoided it like the plague when pregnant with the girls. “I did have some coffee- it was a weak shot of coffee each morning. “ I feebly respond to him.

He’s onto me. I’m going to be reported to child services. WHY DID I DRINK THAT COFFEE??

Doc looks at me and chuckles “oh that’s nothing. One cup won’t do a thing. I mean it would have to be serious coffee consumption and then withdrawal”.

That’s not enough of a reassurance for me. I’ve read Google.

My mind starts to race- was it all the stress from the shit I copped at work this year? Did I give my kid a twitch? Was it the coffee? Those beans were potent. It was the coffee, wasn’t it? Did I take too many vitamins? Was it my jogging? Maybe I jogged the poor baby into clonus?

Google will confirm all this and more I swear.

I’m stuck on this clonus like a rabid dog. The doc is giving me wary looks and trying to brush past it with his witty one-liners. You’re not fooling me buddy, my kid has something. HE HAS SOMETHING AND I DRANK COFFEE AND NOW HE HAS SOMETHING.

I stare down at my little cherub, who is sound asleep and consequently not jittery at all. His life flashed before my eyes. A life with clonus. Or maybe it would only be a couple of months with clonus, but that’s not nearly melodramatic enough for me or Google at this stage.

From the Left Field google ecard
It’s like you’re reading my mind….

A follow up appointment was set for six months time and a gentle “just keep an eye on his development” given by the paed and we were on our way. I know this shiz, I use those lines on parents of my kiddies I work with. Hah! Nothing to worry about eh?

So home I went, and Google was beckoning me to jump on and immerse myself in obscene and worthless panic research. Bad move Dr. Sash, bad move.

Two main things came up; cerebal palsy and epilepsy. And sometimes Autism, but let’s face it, you can sneeze and catch Autism according to Google. I should know if a search on Google can tell you that vaccinating your baby will cause Autism, then it’s not exactly the most credible place to go looking for stuff on your kid.

There were also numerous sites that came up with the same explanation as the doc- that it was a normal thing in infants and most will grow out of it by 9 months. If they’re not too floppy, not too stiff and are hitting developmental milestones they’re all good. But why would I want to focus on those ones? Oh wait.

I got a good dose of empathy for all the clients and their parents that I see. Who needs rationality when it comes to our kids? Or anything that can be googled?

Moral of the story? Psychs are just as messed up as everyone else and Google is everyone’s best friend. Or worst enemy. Step.away.from.the.Google.

Proper psych tip: stay calm and listen to your health professional. More often than not the worst case scenario is never going to eventuate. (I had to throw something half profesh in here for Wellness Wednesday, right?)


Are you a google-aholic too? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve diagnosed yourself or your kids with?

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  • Oh man, guilty!! I’ve given myself cancer, bipolar, Crohns and pregnancy via Google. All wrong. Step away from the Google!! Xx

  • Well, according to Dr Google, I should have died last year. So it turns out he’s not very accurate after all but he is quite the scaremonger. I emailed my doctor with my “findings” (dude, why didn’t you tell me I only had 2 years to live) to which he laughed and told me to take everything on the interwebs with a pinch of salt. Much of the stuff on the internet is either outdated and unless you know the parameters of the study and all, totally irrelevant. Step away from the computer, and have a coffee instead! xx

  • michelle barrington

    My second nephew used to do the exact same little shiver when he was born. Our brilliant paed joked it was a third baby ‘thing’. Turns out is just an immature little nervous system and they grow out of it. I am not going to even begin on the horror of Google I have experience with the Tiny Dictator and his medical history. Why do we always need to be the 2 %