Thursday night around 10pm, I was getting myself ready for bed when I heard 8 gunshots outside of my house. I live in a safe neighborhood in the suburbs. It was rare to hear such a thing. I checked if my husband had heard it and he confirmed without any doubt that they were in fact gunshots.
I immediately called the police to report the incident and within minutes saw the squad cars circling my block. It should come to no surprise that I wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon. My husband had no problem falling into a very deep slumber, as I lie awake watching my 3 month old daughter sleep.
Out of the blue, she wakes up to clear her throat and without warning starts choking. I’m not exaggerating here. She made no sound and started frantically waving her arms about in a panic. I quickly picked her up, flipped her over and started hitting her back as I learned in CPR. After about 8 hits to the back, a thick clear mucus came out of her nose and mouth and she started to cry.
Despite my loud screams to my husband (who was sleeping peacefully in the next room), he didn’t wake up or even hear me. I then was faced with a decision. What to do next. The baby was now fine. She wasn’t even upset and went back to sleep. I however wanted an answer. I wanted it now.
I called the only person I know that is always awake, my Aunt Wendy. She advised that I call her pediatrician. I talked to the doctor on call who said to elevate the babies bed and call in the morning for an appointment. I followed her advice.
At my appointment the next day, her doctor asked about the incident. He had no idea why it had happened and said not to “lose sleep” over it. Seriously?! Well that’s ridiculous advice.
After being given very little useful advice from her doctor and not wanting to “wait for it to happen again”, I started Googling. The research continued for several nights as I sat awake while my daughter sleeps. Finally, I stumbled upon something that made sense… a possible solution to my problem. I learned about milk allergies and mucus in infants. The symptoms aligned with her symptoms, which I hadn’t noticed before. As a first time mom, I thought all babies were noisy breathers while they sleep. I thought dry skin was normal for her. Her ridiculous amounts of gas, well I’ve always thought that was excessive and painful for her, but didn’t think there was anything I could do about the “colic”.
As I read more and more, I decided to change her formula (I was unable to breastfeed.) I switched her to a formula that if she were allergic to milk she should start (most likely) sleeping better. I called her doctor back on Monday to tell him what I’d done and he said it was “an appropriate” solution.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN TO YOU?
Well, healthcare has changed. Patients like myself are now used to finding our own health solutions online. We don’t completely trust doctors anymore. We see physicians and medical providers pushing patients in and out with less and less time for appointments daily. We respect doctors, but feel that we can find the information ourselves online.
When providing a diagnosis to a patient, you should give him/her material to read. Information about the diagnosis. Periodontal disease for instance can effect your patients overall health, lead to tooth loss and cause halitosis. You know this, but your words no longer carry the same kind of weight as the almighty Google.
THE PROBLEM: PEOPLE CAN FIND WHAT THEY WANT TO FIND
If I want Google to tell me that I don’t need periodontal disease treatment, I can find an article about treating periodontal disease at home. I can also find a mouthwash that fights periodontal disease instead of making an appointment for treatment. Since search engines show results based on your search, all results are biased.
A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE
My mother called this morning. She told me about the headaches she’s getting because of her TMD/TMJ. Her dentist told her to just wear a night guard, which she didn’t feel would help, since she’s tried this before. She is now looking for a TMJ specialist in her area. You may be the best TMJ dentist in your area, but if patients like my mother cannot find you with a simple google search for TMJ services, you are missing out on patients. Other dentists, some of which are less qualified are getting the patients that are searching for you online.
10 years ago, a patient may have just gone to his/her general dentist and asked for treatment or a referral. NOW, Google is the solution for all of our health problems.
(It’s been 2 days since my daughter’s formula change and she’s already breathing better. I’m looking forward to my first night of sleep tonight.)
(My beautiful girl)