COMMENT: A tangled web of self diagnosis
SATURDAY evening came with pain. Searing, eyeball-popping pain the like of which does not usually accompany your common or garden mouth ulcer.
After being reliably informed by my wife that it was ‘nothing’ and that I should ‘pull myself together and stop whining’ I took the only route any self-respecting man would and called upon my mistress for a second opinion.
An hour later and Madame Google had provided me with some interesting insights…
1) I have swine flu
It seemed somewhat unlikely. Swine flu, even in the mass media’s scare-mongering coverage, is unlikely to affect teeth and gums before anything else. I dismissed this one rapidly when it turned out the diagnosing website was based in Thailand and continually misspelled the word ‘doctor’.
2) Cancer of the mouth
This seemed like a possibility. A lot of my symptoms were marrying up with those mentioned on the forum I was reading.
Then… disaster struck…my wife walked in, looked over my shoulder and asked what ‘IANAD’ was an abbreviation for. Apparently it is ‘I am not a doctor’ and so cancer of the mouth was duly dismissed as misdiagnosis provided by a bloke called Terry.
By Sunday evening the pain was unbearable and even my wife had admitted that it may be something other than the mouth equivalent of man-flu.
Diagnosis? At first it seemed so – until the American website declared that what my symptoms matched was an addiction to diet pills and a physique as – ahem – carefully planned as mine cannot be achieved with mere diet pills.
Unless those pills come in the form of meat pies.
Tuesday morning arrived and, although the pain had subsided somewhat my face had swollen to create a passing resemblance to Sloth from The Goonies. Try as I might NHS Direct are non-committal when it comes to Elephantitis and seemed insistent that it was more likely to be an abscess.
Finally, my dentist appointment arrived and my God-amongst-men dentist concurs with my wife that it is probably ‘nothing’ and I should take some antibiotics and come back to see him in a fortnight.
It appears that when it comes to medical diagnosis, the internet is a web of lies and I do not broach the subject of self-diagnosis with him.
Adam Maxwell is the founder of Northumberland web design company Superhighwaymen www.superhighwaymen.com