Sickness propels more Internet research

Posted on August 18, 2003

There are a lot of things the World Wide Web can do for you, but healing you is not one of them.

Not that I really expected it to heal me, but my medicine didn't work. Trying to sleep a little more didn't work. I didn't think it would hurt to plug an Ethernet cable into my ear and eat a bowl full of Toasty Megabytes for an extra protein supplement. Unfortunately, the only thing I received from this was another Dork of the Month plaque. At least the color on this one was platinum, which of course matches the color of the credit card I used to purchase the new quirky goth skill candle holder off ebay.

Luckily, I have felt a little better the past few days, after being sick for month, or in Web developer years, about 32,145 years. I've seen three doctors, two X-ray technicians, a handful of nurses and countless outdated magazines in waiting rooms. I did find out, while waiting, that we finally landed on the moon and the Cuban missile crisis finally ended, so I guess it was worth the trip.

Although the Internet, by itself, cannot heal you, there are plenty of online resources to potentially help determine your problems. I'm not a doctor (although I'm working on my PhD in candle-holder making), but I can give you pointers on determining if you need to see one ... or if you should just go to bed and hope for the best.

First, record your symptoms. I managed to compile close to two pages of notes on how I was feeling at different times of the day, what ached, my mental aspect and so forth. These notes will be crucial if you need to go to the doctor, but more importantly, this will help with your research.

Second, go to Google and type in a couple of your symptoms. For example, let's say your chest hurts, and you are having difficulty breathing. Type the most important words when performing a search: "chest hurts difficulty breathing." You will notice a huge assortment of matches appear.
Next, scroll through the first few sets of matches to determine if any of the results sound similar to your problem. The good thing about Google's search is you will be able to see the first couple lines that appear within the link.

If you determine specific names of conditions or diseases while searching, perform additional searches for those items. The nurse called me last week and said my blood work came back OK, and that I didn't have diabetes, mono or Ethernetitis. But he said I could be anemic, so I have to go back for more tests this week. Immediately, I found Anemia Lifetime and learned a little bit about what that really meant. I'm hoping that my new set of results are negative, though, because I'm a frequent blood donor.

Maybe you've done this already and have read plenty of articles and cannot seem to heal at all. Fear not, the Internet is still useful in this type of situation. Maybe your illness can be attributed to not just physical items, but perhaps mental ones. There are plenty of inspirational avenues online from which to choose, but at this time, I would have to recommend Sermons by Joel Osteen from Lakewood, Texas. A friend sent me this link, and I must say that even while feeling sick just about every day, reading the sermons listed were spiritually uplifting, regardless of your denomination.

I'm feeling even better now that I have completed my column for the week. If you think you are sick, and your Internet research shows you may have something serious, I suggest you visit your physician immediately. If not, at least the information you have obtained should help in case you do ever come down with anything. I guess I should return to my other pressing work, like finding places for my new candle holders and cleaning the earwax off my Ethernet cable.