Stephen's Lighthouse has a great post about why it's never a good idea to Google your own medical condition. I'd expand that to "doing your own medical research"** based on my experience with my father, the Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics. There was a time when he had severe headaches, and being a research guy, he decided to look in one of those "if you have xxxx symptom, you may have yyyy condition" books. I was on the phone with him when he told me that he had a brain tumor(!!), and naturally I was concerned. When I asked about the prognosis, etc., he said that he'd gotten the information from a book and that he was actually seeing the doctor the next day. I suggested that it was probably far less dire than he was anticipating. The next day, dutiful daughter that I am, I called to see what was going on. He mumbled something about a Z-pack being prescribed, and I believe I was bratty enough to point out that it was an amazing day in the field of medicine when simple antibiotics could be prescribed for a tumor. (Give me credit: I didn't say 'I told you so'!)
So, of course, I remembered all this as I've been dealing with the Sinus Problems that Won't Quit. Steroids? Somewhat helpful. Antibiotics? Not at all. I've seen the ENT, gotten a CAT scan (note to my assistant: I now have proof that there's something in there, it is not just an empty cavern!), and still: nada. My current treatment is to use Nasonex (I wish I had a clip of Banderas saying it, but you're just going to have to imagine that) until after the allergy testing that we now think is necessary.
Of course, throughout all this, I've been trying to find out what's wrong on my own. You see, I have the hubris that many librarians have. I know how to avoid the TheMedicalProfessionDoesntWantYouToKnowAboutThisCure.com sites and the WeveBeenSufferingForYears.org sites and the OurProductIsBest.com sites and stick with NIH and WebMD. I can evaluate sites with ease, because that's what I do for a living, right? I know when it's propaganda/serious bias and avoid it.
Yeah, well, not so much with the "right". Even I can't seem to find a site (or information) that's accurate/non-biased about what could cause barometric-pressure-based sinus headaches that don't include packed sinuses. What if no one can solve this?? Will I have to quit my job? Go on disability? Sell my house and give away the cats?
Yes, I've caught my father's tumor. Shame on me!
And yes, I'll be passing along bits of this to my students this year. Just another example of why you can't trust, or find, everything on the Web.
** I did correctly diagnose my gall stones, much to the amazement of the ER staff - they couldn't understand why I'd researched my symptoms rather than taking something for the pain. Thing One's explanation? "She's a school librarian. They do research, not common sense!"