You're not supposed to self-diagnose and leave it to the experts, but the truth is, those experts are human too. It turns out googling your symptoms and listening to your body might be what saves you from taking an extra trip to the hospital, and even death.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
This Father Wouldn’t Back Down
“My dad, who is a great person but also occasionally a jerk, took my 3-year-old sister to the ER with the flu.
Thing is, there was a meningitis outbreak in the area, and the ER was packed. My dad, being a jerk, told the nurse he suspected meningitis to bump us to the top of the list.
The doctor was ticked off because my sister didn’t have any meningitis symptoms – no stiff neck, no fever. They get into an argument. The doctor finally ordered a spinal tap ‘since her dad is concerned.’
My dad would not back down at this point.
The results came back positive for meningitis.”
A Father’s Intuition Is Always Right
“A guy was out mowing and his toddler was close by. The kid suddenly started screaming, and when dad went to calm the kid, he noticed he had a tiny little nick on his back. He took him to the local doctor who said it was probably just a rock thrown up by the mower that scraped the skin because the kid seemed pretty calm and not too sore.
The guy thought it was something more, and so he brought the kid to our larger hospital, and when we ran an abdominal X-ray, there was a 10cm segment of metal wire embedded in the kids back. We then ran a CT scan and the wire ran parallel to the abdominal cavity and going through one of the kidneys and just nicked the largest vein in the body.
Hard to say how bad it would have been if it was missed for much longer. If the wire shifted, he may have bled to death, but given it was a wire that had been outside for awhile, he may have ended up septic.”
Self-Diagnosis Isn’t Advised, But Can Be Quite Beneficial
“It took me four years to get a sleep disorder diagnosed (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder).
I started being unable to sleep early and wake on time. I went through a million insomnia diagnoses and every management therapy possible. No improvement. I ask doctors if it could be a sleep disorder. Not possible – ‘too rare, don’t exist, your fault,’ and so on.
I start checking out different sleep disorders. Based on my management therapies and symptoms list, I start ruling them out one by one. Researching your own murky disorder was a stupid idea, I knew. But hey, if not a single doctor has been willing to take your case further, what are you to do?
Severe untreated DSPD can make it hard or impossible to study, work or have a social life at all. Life is at stake here.
I come to the conclusion that it might be DSPD. Not trying to push anything. I’ve got a symptom history and a detailed sleep diary of over 24 months by this point.
Five doctors in the UK all tell me, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about. Go to bed on time.’
A sixth doctor begrudgingly allows me to see a sleep specialist in Oxford.
The sleep specialist takes one look at my sleep history, symptom history, and survey results. She curses the five previous doctors for being proud idiots and not allowing me to make an appointment with her earlier. She then diagnoses me with DSPD within a single month of testing.”
Google Was Doing A Better Job Than These Professionals
“My sister suffered from years of issues that doctors kept writing off as neuropathy, fibrosis, kidney infections, and other ailments. She kept saying, ‘I think it’s Fabry’s,’ but she kept getting ignored. One doctor even laughed at her and said she needed to stop using Google and listen to the people with years of medical experience.
Just last year she set up an appointment with a geneticist, and it turns out, she was the 1 in 100,000 to have the disease.
Now she’s being treated properly and has found an amazing support group, and is able to much better handle the pain and complications that come with her disorder.”
“It Felt Like An Elephant Was Sitting On My Chest”
“I had arthroscopic knee surgery on a Wednesday morning. I felt great Thursday, and then I woke up Friday and had a little tightness in my chest but attributed it to having been intubated. I woke up Saturday and felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Even walking 30 feet to my bathroom made me so winded it was like I ran a mile.
I called the on-call surgeon and explained my symptoms. He brushed me off and said I shouldn’t worry given my age and overall health. I hung up and immediately called my mom to come to drive me to the hospital. I knew something was seriously wrong.