As I sit dangling my feet off the edge of the table in my rheumatologist's examining room, I can't help notice the notice on the wall which reads, "Five Reasons You Should Not Google Your Symptoms before Going to the Doctor." All well and good. I get it. With all one can find out there on the internet these days, you may end up thinking that you have some terrible disease and worry yourself half out of your wits. (And if you're anything like me, the first half of your wits may have disappeared a long time ago.)
But what about patient portals? The information found there is real stuff - stuff pertaining to you - like results of your blood tests, biopsies, and things. Do not let me look at this, people! And so I present to you, "Five Reasons I Should Not Look at Patient Portal Results."
- If you take 20 vials of blood from me at my first visit, I may not have regained all of that volume back by the time the results come in, causing me to be even more half-witted than I normally am.
- I then have to worry about why you felt the need to run each of those tests in the first place. My personal favorite is the Diluted Russel's Viper Venom Test. Who was Russel? And why did he have a viper? And just why, doctor dear, do you think I have anything in common with Russel's viper's venom? I never reported a snake bite to you. And if you gave to me, thank heavens you diluted it before you did!
- At least the snake charmer test was in the normal range. What about those tests that aren't? Holy smokes! First high, then low. All these things that I don't know! Could so much really be going wrong in my body?
- You have now forced me to become an amateur pathologist, as I'm sure you don't have those results of my lip biopsy correct.
- I now feel both validated and violated. Validated, because I knew every inch of my skin, bones, and muscles were hurting. And violated, because I didn't want to collect any other autoimmune diseases.