Sunday, January 25, 2009
Self Appointed Doctors
Have you ever noticed how some people read a little about health or psychology, then they think they are experts? They think that any time they see something that relates to what they read, then it has to be the illnes or syndrome they have read about. For example, I have a neighbor who in college studied how numbers and statistics can be manipulated. Now, whenever I tell her about some statistic that doesn't jive with her political views, she cries foul. She says the numbers have been manipulated. Interesting how when the statistics support her views, then they are correct. This just proves the adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
But let me give you some health examples. Somewhere along the way, my kids have heard that many women, when their children leave home, have empty next syndrome. When I got my dog, my older children began telling me that as they left home for college, I was replacing my kids with animals. In fact, this couldn't be farther from the truth. I've always had a dog and a cat in my home, even when all of my children were here. I don't think it odd to have them now. But because they somewhere read something like this, they think it always applies to everyone. They do this all the time with me, convinced they can diagnose all of my quirks as some sort of emotional trauma. In reality, some times a person gets an animal because they like them!
My siblings and I laugh about this all the time, but my mother attributes all health problems to several things. If you are thirsty, you are diabetic. If your kids are skinny, they have worms. Some of her diagnoses are connected with how much soda you drink. She needlessly worries about things that aren't even there! For example, when my daughter was born, she was born "Frank breech". She was born by cesearean section. "Frank Breech" means that her bum was coming first. She was doubled in half and her feet were literally on each side of her head. My mother was convinced that she was going to have hip displacement and wouldn't be able to walk. Even when she did walk, my mother was convinced that she would still have problems. This in despite of the fact that the actual doctor never found anything wrong with her hips.
I have to admit, that I have had certain health problems that have distinctive symptoms. If I hear someone talking about having the same symptoms, I do suggest to them that they be checked for the same thing I have had. But that's where I drop it. For example, I happen to know that it is very common for someone with a bad gall bladder to want someone to pound on their back in a certain spot. If I see someone doing that, I ask if they have ever had their gall bladder checked, and explain the symptoms I had. But I dont' attribute all stomach problems to a bad gall bladder.
My mother and I were joking recently that we should start a health blog. People could comment and tell us what their symptoms were, and we would diagnose them. My mother would tell them the following: Stop eating sugar. Stop drinking soda pop. Be treated for worms. Maybe I should suggest to my kids that they start a self help psychology blog as well. :P