Empowering individuals to build a stronger community
Recently, I gave hope to a perfect stranger who, just the other day, thought he was not going to get to see his little boy grow up. He was told this week that he would be on the transplant list after a shocking health discovery that took nine years to find. It turns out that I happen to have years of history researching this very same diagnosis.
How did we come to have that hour-long phone conversation across the miles? Through social media and the same group that offered me hope years ago. As with everything else, Facebook is wonderful in many ways, in spite of the negatives we sometimes place upon it.
When you are suffering from a health crisis, sometimes it is hard to know where to turn for help. Often the illness precludes the patient from doing research and finding the right help. A trusted doctor can head us in the right direction, but sometimes, the array of tests and specialists leaves the patient in a state of confusion. A family member in a health profession often can serve as an advocate for you and attend doctor’s appointments with you. There are professional patient advocates who are paid to help you with doctor visits, medical bills and insurance claims. It is a great comfort to a patient to know a loved one or professional is by their side.
Medical research is one of the most common uses for the internet. Every day, people are using “Dr. Google” to look things up. You have a comprehensive medical encyclopedia at your fingertips! The biggest challenge is to sort out the credible sources from the boundless misinformation. Looking for the silver bullet to cure your ills? Someone will be happy to sell you a product. Some reliable sources of information are listed below. Medical information changes all the time so notice the dates of publications.
Do exercise caution in contacting individuals for help and be careful when self-diagnosing or treating yourself. It is always best to be seen by a medical professional but going to your appointment prepared with knowledge and a list of researched questions will help you make better health choices.
You can find research papers on anything by doing a pub-med search. You can enter medical libraries for the most current papers. The list below is a starting place. Support groups are freely available today by simply typing a condition in the Facebook or Google search bar. Social media groups help you find caring individuals who are amazingly supportive and will share their journey with you.
Your public library can provide the tools for research and help with researching websites. Making copies of materials or saving links to important documents is easy with the help of your librarian! Sharing links to medical documents can be extremely helpful to family members.
In truth, knowledge is power. Do your homework, stand up for yourself, and ask your doctor those questions on your list. Maybe you can find a clinical trial. Maybe you can find another person with your condition that can offer support. Maybe you can find someone with a spark of hope that leads you down the path to healing.
https://medlineplus.gov/ Searchable database of medical information
http://www.webmd.com/ Much medical information can be found here
http://www.healthline.com/ Symptom Checker, Find a doctor, and Pill Identifier
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ Searchable published medical research papers.
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ Current clinical trials you may qualify for
http://www.patientadvocate.org/ How to find or become a patient advocate
http://www.mayoclinic.org/ Symptom Checker, First Aid for emergencies
www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary Johns Hopkins Medical Library
www.Drugs.com Dosages, interactions, adverse events
www.CDC.gov Center for Disease Control – statistics, recommendations, travel warnings, epidemiology
Marge Lewter, DVM, Library volunteer
Dates to remember:
Bake Sale at Memorial Day Celebration, Porch of Old Brick Hotel. May 29 from 10-11 a.m.
Books and Baseball, through August. Register to win tickets in the library when you check out a book.
Book Sales are every day. Just ask the librarian to let you browse the Book Barns for bargains!