Paging Dr. Mom

Published 3:26 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As little children, we liked to emulate adults by playing dress up, playing doctor or Mom by baking cakes with our easy bake oven. I loved to pretend like I was grocery shopping, checking out and being all grown up. It was fun.

Unfortunately, we grow up and we discover it isn’t so much fun to be an adult. We face many hardships and responsibilities and rarely dress up. The real adult oven is not so much fun and the mess we make has to be cleaned up. Bummer.

Grocery shopping is a major chore, especially when accompanied by greedy-gimme children who want all the wrong foods and draw our attention away from the formidable task in front of us, to buy healthy products with limited cash. Hence, we have a childhood obesity problem.

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However, there is one pretend game that many are still playing, which I encourage, and that is playing doctor. I may not have a stethoscope on me, but I have access to the internet and a curiosity to diagnose myself and my family. With all my medical knowledge, I should have a computer generated license displayed in my home office that reveals my certification to practice medicine. Just call me Doctor Mom.

It is so easy. Got a symptom, no problem. Type it in the right blank spot online and click… click… you have a diagnosis. Man! I discovered I have several new diseases, disorders, and dysfunctions. It is a hypochondriac’s dream.

This is power that should be used wisely; to inform and enlighten and not to replace real doctors. You won’t find me taking out the twin’s tonsils any time soon. I am too squeamish to practice surgery. I have to look away during the gross scenes during Grey’s Anatomy. Yuckee…

You can get carried away into unsafe waters with being your own physician. Isn’t there a saying that a physician has a fool for a doctor or was that a lawyer? Same applies. If you get too involved in your doctoring muscle, you may end up ordering your own medications from suspicious websites that may not be safe for consumption. Next thing you know, you’ll have to sue yourself.

Don’t worry, I have some sense in my practice; I take only prescribed medication from a true practicing physician that I picked up at a neighboring drugstore.

I may have discovered several dysfunctions about my health but I ain’t crazy! Or, at least I haven’t reached that diagnosis yet. Maybe I should play psychologist next?

Probably I should classify myself as a physician’s practioner because I practice being a doctor while not actually being a doctor. Make sense? I guess it’s like celebrity lists, you can either be on the A, B, or D list by your popularity points and so the backup person is really a B list doctor. Ok, I have no idea what degree of doctor the practioners are but they are the ones I have to see when I can’t see my real doctor.

With medical issues running amuck in my family, I have made a few diagnoses that doctors had not even caught. I liken it to being a writer, you do your research in a certain specified area and make yourself an expert on the information, but just knowing about something doesn’t really make you skilled. My teen can read all day long about how to drive a car, he can pretend to drive a car on video games, he can learn about the mechanics of a car, but when he gets behind the wheel… he cannot drive a car!

As your own physician, you should research any conclusion administered by your doc, be the second opinion or even a medical private detective if you have to be. Do not simply take your busy doctor’s advice and prescription and hope for the best. You have to be an active advocate for yourself and your family members.

I can name many folks who had good physicians that missed something. It takes a village to raise a kid; well, it takes a village to diagnose a problem as well. Study, read, listen, and for goodness sake the most important thing is to ask questions!!

Too many times, we go to our doctor’s office and give just enough information and hope he plays twenty questions with us to find out all the other things going on with our health. Get to the point, just as if you were on a date, and ask him about his credit!

Or rather, be prepared to ask questions about things going on in your body that you may not understand. Follow up his answers if something is unclear. Interview your doctor and come away with true understanding. And don’t wait till his hand is on the doorknob before you blurt out that you have passed out a few times.

Being involved and asking questions still may not keep mistakes from happening because they do happen. I try to be on top of this stuff and it still happened to me. It is how I realized that I was prescribed the wrong medication for three weeks. This happens a lot. Sometimes you have to play pharmacist too. They don’t give out those small print side affects and information sheets for nothing. Although, if I read all those side affects, I generally talk myself into having all those side affects! Hypochondriac!

Finally, our talk-show infested television programming has produced a show we all can benefit from watching, “The Doctors.” Not only do you have a good looking (McDreamy or McSteamy) doctor on the show, but you can learn so many things about ailments, how your body works, what to do in case of an emergency or learn new and innovative treatments. It is very informative and entertaining.

You can send in embarrassing questions that you were not brave enough to ask your doctor and you know you have them. Not since “Super Nanny” have I learned so much!

Questions like “Why am I so bloated?” “Why do my feet stink?” “What should healthy poop look like”? Or, the dreaded sexual difficulty issue that no one wants to talk about except in spam emails. “Why do I have to visit every bathroom I get near?”

Oh well, It is time for me to put my lab coat on, strep throat has hit the twins’ friend and I must get my sanitizer, over the counter medications, and a box of chocolates for me — I’m going to need it!

Doctor Mom is in the house! And she makes house calls!