2021 Grateful 41: A lesson well learned

Cursed these past few weeks with what my neurologist describes as tension headaches, I went for an MRI. They told me I’d have the results in three working days. It was a Friday so I figured a least the middle of the following week. I had them that evening. Cue panic stage 1.

If they came back that quickly, there had to be something wrong. Right?

The results were in Hungarian so I decided to wait and see what the neuro had to say. By Sunday, though, curiosity had gotten the better of me and I ran the letter from the radiologist through Google Translate.

And yes, I should have known better.

Medical English makes little sense to me. But I can do the math. I saw two sets of measurements. Cysts of some sort. A mention of swelling.  I had to know more.

I Googled the various terms that I didn’t understand and was led through a web of interconnected articles that ultimately told me, worst-case scenario, I might have only five years from diagnosis to death.

And yes, I should have known better.

I had signs of mild chronic ischemic ischemia. I mentioned it to a mate who has doctors in the family.  They said seeing the word ‘chronic’ was a relief. But in my semantic world, chronic is as bad as it gets. Apparently, acute is worse. I saw phrases like bleeding residue, Willis circle, and FLAIR measurements. Despite assurances, I was working myself up to high doh. They had a quick look and said I could go to work on Monday 🙂 But the translation was imprinted on my brain.

And yes, I should have known better.

Another mate, a nurse practitioner, told me it was all normal, age-related stuff. I most likely have some form of sinusitis.

My GP, a woman I have the utmost respect for, and not one to talk around an issue, told me during our telemedicine call that yes, indeed, I should have known better.

She explained it all in English I could understand and bottom line is, there’s no reason to panic.

Since then, I’ve been to my neuro and I’ve another MRI in June when we’ll compare measurements. Like with like. Until then, life continues for what passes for normal these days.

My heartfelt sympathy goes to those working in medicine. I wonder how much of their time is spent talking their patients down from a Google ledge.

How many people self-diagnose and don’t get medical help because in their mind it’s a done deal (particularly these days, when no one wants to end up in hospital in case they bring home something other than their dirty laundry).

Armchair diagnosticians, even with the best available information, are not trained in interpretation.

The skill isn’t in having the knowledge; it’s in applying it.

Now there was a lesson well learned, one I’m grateful for. Next time, I’ll leave it to the experts.





7 Responses

  1. I’ve always known you had plenty of flair, but I never thought of it as a medical condition . . . Stay healthy, golden girl of the west!

  2. “talking their patients down from a Google ledge” Love it! I can so relate … I can go from mindless, reckless optimism and certain immortality to death’s door fears after a coughing session. Comes with the age, I guess!!

    1. Mad isn’t it? On a bad day, when I imagine stuff, I want whatever it is to have an exotic name. Nothing common like – something different 🙂

  3. I’m not sure leaving it to the experts is the solution either… Dr. Google is better than my outdated Grey’s Anatomy textbook and PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference). That’s why you check with your friends during the weekend. I just keep asking till I get an answer I like. Stay healthy!

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