The past couple of months have seen a flurry of health crises in my extended family. First, my 18-year-old niece was diagnosed with lupus following a flare up that led to a 10-day hospital stay. Then, my father had to have his gall bladder removed while visiting us in Williamsburg. Because of his blood-thinning heart medications, that led to a week in the hospital along with a minor but unsettling complication after returning home. Finally, my son ended up in the hospital for a spontaneous, partially collapsed lung. That’s what you get for being a tall, thin, male in your 20s or 30s!
In every instance, the Internet has been an incredible resource for answering our questions, guiding our actions, and addressing our fears. In 2004, I shared with you some good sites for health maintenance, focused primarily on nutrition, fitness, and wellness. When problems arise, however, accurate medical information becomes a primary concern. That’s when other sites come into play, with different information and pedigrees.
The pedigree is important because there is as much misinformation on the Internet as information. When it comes to the world wide web, the old maxim, “Buyer beware!” was never more true.
I usually begin my search with Google.com, whether for medical or any other information. I’m especially fond of the beta version of Google’s toolbar for Internet Explorer. The best feature of this toolbar is its interactivity. As you begin to input words in the toolbar, Google displays popularly used expressions which include those words. These displays often lead to search combinations I would never have thought of on my own. As a result, I end up with better information on my targeted areas of concern.
Once I have my search results page, I usually steer clear of the sponsored links on the right. Since people are paying for these ads, they obviously have a financial interest in drawing you to their website. That interest does not necessarily translate into tainted information, but why take the risk? I stay with the normal search results.
I then look for results from sites I have come to know and trust. I usually check several, in order to compare and contrast the information. Here are six good ones:
Once I have the gist of what I am looking for, I move on to look at other sites in order to read other points of view. I enjoy www.wikipedia.com as well as www.drweil.com, partly because of their information and because of their links to other sites. When it comes to a Google search for medical information, I usually scan quickly through the top 20 pages of results to see if anything catches my eye. Then, I write down my questions and concerns to talk about with doctors and other medical professionals.
Writing out those questions and concerns is important, since doctors and other medical professionals do not have a lot of time for conversation. It’s easy to forget things without a written list. As Lance Armstrong makes clear in his book, It’s Not About The Bike, we are responsible for the quality of our medical care. It doesn’t help to take a passive posture. The more active we become in accessing information and making decisions, the better our care and healing will be.
Coaching Inquiries: What medical conditions do you face? How have you learned about them? Are you managing them well? Who could assist you to stay on track?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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