Dr Google

I have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

My Dr gave me the results of the blood test:

“Well, everything came back normal, Ms Spaniel, but your B12 levels are lower than they should be.”

“Oh” says I, “What does vitamin B12 do then?”

“Errr. Well, it helps your body absorb stuff, and helps make red blood cells work”. Says the Dr, looking a bit uneasy, like he was rather hoping I wasn’t going to be this intelligent, nor ask him too many probing questions.

“I see. So, what kind of symptoms might I be experiencing with this kind of deficiency?”

“Weeeeellll…..” He says, and reaches forward to his computer keyboard. “What I’d like to do, is get you to have a high B12 diet over the next month, and then undergo another blood test.”

“OK. What foods contain a lot of vitamin B12, then?”

“Let’s have a look” says the Dr, and I realise he’s got the Google search page up on his computer screen!

Yes, Google. I looked at him carefully. Does he look like a proper doctor? I don’t know. He’s fairly young, asian-looking, cool clothes. Not a white coat or a set of elbow-patches in sight. How would I know if he was just a bloke on a work-placement scheme?

I was just about to aske to see his qualifications, when the computer screen came up with the results of the search.

He clicked here and there and gave me the details. I can read off the internet, too, I thought to myself.

Here’s what he told me:

Yeast Extract, Offal (especially Liver), fortified breakfast cereals, dairly products like milk and cheese.

I gave up and went away. I think the Dr learned something though.


4 Responses to “Dr Google”

  1. 1 wakeupscared 6 August 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Hmm. The foods he listed are ones you’d usually associate with iron; I guess B12 levels improve the body’s ability to absorb iron and so on.

    Maybe the “Dr Google” was really the previous patient who had cunningly killed the Dr but then knocked the “next patient please” button in error with his elbow 🙂

    Seriously though, a GP is meant to be the “jack of all trades” in the medical profession (master of none?) I remember in the years before Google that my GP would often pull out one of his many books and refer to that. Somehow, that just seems more professional.

  2. 2 Moobs 6 August 2008 at 3:56 pm

    This has always troubled me about doctors. They never seem to look at your records in advance and they never look anything up before you are sat in front of them.

  3. 3 drunkenspaniel 6 August 2008 at 5:14 pm

    You know, Wakeupscared, this did occur to me. If he had pulled out a leather-bound volume from his well-stocked bookcase, would I have felt more reassured? I realised I would have been.
    The old ‘lets look it up on google’ did not leave me feeling reassured.
    I made it clear I knew what he was up to – I even suggested he put the word ‘vitamin’ in front of B12 to get better results – which he then did.

    Moobs, I think you’re right. Not their fault, really – far too much to know, so little time. I wanted him to at least pretend a bit. But no. I probably knew as much as him.

    I wouldn’t be a GP for all the tea in China.
    Mind you I wouldn’t want to work in a restaurant, either.

  4. 4 anotherblogger 7 August 2008 at 8:13 am

    Googling what the vitamins do and where they can be found is ok, I think (they don’t cover nutrition very much in their training). Googling to check where the appendix is, say, would be less forgiveable.

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