This post could also be named "Why I Should Not Google Unsupervised"
"Googling and Pregnancy Do Not Mix"
"This is Meredith's Anxiety-Ridden Brain After Using Google To Diagnose Herself"
"Meredith Is Not A Doctor, and Shouldn't Play One on Google"
Do you see where this is going? Justin does. My Dad does. I'm sure Lisa and Sara do. They all know that I'm kind of a hypochondriac, and also a Google MASTER, which is not a good combination. Let me explain.
Some of you might remember that sometime in August, I developed this crazy, itchy rash all over my hands and my feet. They were just small, flesh colored bumps, that were mostly on my fingers, but I itched EVERYWHERE. It was the worst thing ever, and NOTHING helped. Not antihistamines, not oatmeal baths, not Sarna lotion, not Aveeno, not Benadryl. I slept with bags of ice of my hands and feet every night. It was miserable. People were constantly stopping me on the street to diagnose me, and usually they suggested that it was psoriasis. However, my doctor told me that he was pretty confident that it was either an allergic reaction to something that I came into contact with, or just one of those weird side effects of pregnancy. Basically, when I asked my OB about it, he responded something to the effect of, "Meredith, you are allergic to THE WORLD. Of course you are itching like crazy and have a rash." Anyway, the rash just eventually went away all on its own, and the world was well again.
Until earlier this week, when I noticed the pesky bumps again and knew that the rash was coming back. I immediately put a Band-Aid over the first bump. I don't know why I thought a Band-Aid would help, but I figured that it probably couldn't hurt. And every morning, I would peel off the Band-Aid, and swear up a storm when I saw that there were more bumps than the day before.
So this morning, I did something very stupid. Something that Justin often yells at me for doing (but he wasn't home, so he didn't know to yell at me). I googled it. "Third trimester + hands and feet itch". And that was a very bad idea.
(Click the "Read More" link below to read the rest of the story)
Tons of hits came up (apparently, there are lots of things to make your hands and feet itch in the third trimester), somehow my little brain centered on Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Now, I quickly learned that Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a very rare condition that occurrs in something like 2% of pregnant women, which occurs when bile doesn't flow properly through the liver, which causes bile salt to accumulate, and consequently causes "itching from the inside out"--or an intense rash-less itch on the hands and feet. The risks to the mother are small, but the risks to the baby are pretty great, and usually force an induction earlier than 37 weeks, and in rare circumstances, may even cause stillbirth.
Now, did my mind see "rash-less itch" and think 'Oh. I have these small bumps on my hands, so that probably doesn't apply' ? No, it did not. (My mind also did not see that stillbirth is a result in less than 1% of the pregnancies where this issue is a factor, which again is something like 2% of all pregnancies...so we're talking 1% of 2% here...I'm not a math person, but I know that's a small number). Rather, my mind clung to an anecdotal reference in one of the articles that mentioned that sometimes when there's a rash-less itch and a UTI, it's not a bad idea to test for Cholestasis of Pregnancy.
And immediately, my brain went, "OH MY GOD, I JUST HAD A UTI! I HAVE UNDIAGNOSED CHOLESTASIS OF PREGNANCY! MY BABY IS GOING TO BE STILLBORN!!!!" And then I kept Googling. And worrying. And man, did I ever keep itching!
After a near-hysterical freak out (while home alone), I calmed down a bit and told myself that (a) even if I have this Cholestasis business, I am being induced on Monday anyway, (b) there is nothing that I could do at this point about not being induced sooner, especially since I hadn't even been itching sooner, and (c) let's face it, I probably don't have Cholestasis of pregnancy, because I lack as many symptoms as I actually have (last I checked, I didn't have jaundice).
So for good measure, I downed about 8 glasses of water in an hour, as increased water intake was one of the suggestions that one of the random websites I came across suggested for managing Cholestasis. And guess what? The itching pretty much stopped.
Seriously though...why do I do that? Why do I get so worked up over something that is not only such a minute possibility, but is also something that I have absolutely no control over? I don't know why I do it, but I do know that I need to be supervised to use Google between now and Monday!