Life Lessons from the Library: Don’t “Google” Medical Issues Unless Your Critical Thinking Skills Are Healthy

“Never Google medical stuff!” This was the advice from Emily, one of the Mayfield Librarians, after reading the Jolly Librarian yesterday. One would not think the Jolly Librarian would need reminding of such a basic fact, especially since I have gone through my share of mystery illnesses over the years. But we all have our days when we don’t do the right thing, and yesterday was mine.

I was scheduled to have a routine test done this morning, which required a day of preparation, mostly not eating anything solid for the day before and nothing after midnight. Now, I am a girl who likes to eat. And I like to eat a lot on a regular basis. And I like my snacks. At first, things were not so bad. I didn’t get up until mid-morning so there would be fewer ‘awake’ hours of hunger. I had a cup of tea (sugar but no milk). Then two hours later, I had my first allowed food: an orange popsicle.

But then the real hunger set in. I had a bouillon cube and hoped for the best. But to be four hours in the day with a grand total of  a hundred calories was not pleasant, so I looked for something to help me pass the time. Unfortunately, that was searching online for other people’s experiences of this preparation.

Yikes! Okay, here is a  basic truth about medical chats. Those who sail through procedures tend to go on with their lives and not go online. Those who have things go wrong post and post often. So I discovered, to my horror, that the medicine I was going to have to take in a few hours tasted terrible, many people couldn’t get it all down, and some vomited it right back up. (The Jolly Librarian dislikes throwing up as much as she dislikes not eating.) Obviously, I was not looking forward to step two.

But step 2 turned out to be fine. The medicine didn’t even taste bad to me. I mean I’m not going to start ordering it with meals or anything, but it was not excruciatingly bad. I drank it all down, and I never once became nauseated. So I was home free, right?

No, apparently my hunger was making me mildly insane, because I returned to those sites and read some more. There, I learned that things can go wrong at any and every point of the process. There were people who woke up in the middle of the procedure!!! There were those who were rudely awakened by the nurse to say that the preparation hadn’t worked right and it would all have to be done again. And we had not even gotten to the purpose of the test: to see if there were any malignancies.

Many people reported not being able to sleep the night before the test, and I was one of them, not because of any effects of the medicine, but from my own anxieties built up from reading these posts.

The good news was that all went fine. I was home three hours later, and I have already a meal (and a snack). Life is good.

Still, I have to reflect that 99% of the bad times I had the past two days came from not listening to Librarian Emily. Ignore librarians at your peril. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way.



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