julianna margulies, ER, doctor, self diagnosis

I am practically a doctor

“I have plantar fasciitis,” I announced to a friend a couple of weeks ago. This is when the fascia covering the tendon in your foot becomes inflamed and it’s painful to walk on. She didn’t ask if I’d been to the doctor, she just accepted it – that’s because after years of watching ER, I am practically a semi-qualified medic. This is probably why a drunk called Derek collapsed down a stair well in front of me once and I had to dial 999 and then help the paramedics untangle him from the railings before bundling him into the back of the ambulance. Even in his drunken stupor, Derek had the wherewithal to pick a passer by who does not shy away from a medical drama to pass out in front of.

There was also the woman who dislocated her shoulder at the cinema when I went to see The Revenant, who I had to stabilise before she caused extensive damage to her glenohumeral ligamentsAs we waited for the (other) professionals to arrive, the only thing that calmed her down was me whispering what was happening (“Leo has now slit open a horse, he’s pulling the guts out, he’s taking his clothes off and getting inside the carcass…”). Whatever works.

Apparently doctors are being driven mad by self-diagnosing cyberchondriacs turning up with endless pages of speculative googled info, called a Google stack. Obviously this is not good when you kick the door in screaming, “I HAVE GOT CANCER” when actually, you just hurt your thumb, but this is what happens when medical information does not meet a medical mind. Like mine. I treated my own plantar fasciitis with foot padding I bought off eBay, ice packs and close observation and now it’s gone. Which, OK, means it probably wasn’t plantar fasciitis, because it went away too quickly – but let’s not split hairs. I AM CURED.

I remain a keen self-diagnoser. The doctor was wrong when she told me I had tennis elbow earlier this year. It WAS referred pain from my shoulder. Now, just hand over your stethoscope and we’ll say no more about it.

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