Friday, October 8, 2010

Reality Check

Sometimes when you become hum-drum about life, something comes along that can snap you out of it, and often in a surprising way.

My mother, a real go-getter in her 70's (but still with more than her fair share of health issues), has complained the past couple of days about her side hurting. Earlier today I convinced her to see the doctor, just to get it checked out.  She did like I would do.  She hummed and hoed and said we'll see.  I badgered her about it (as she'd do me in a reverse situation) until she went. Then a simple day turned upside down. 

Turns out she had appendicitis, a rarity in someone her age according to the doctors.  She went from the ER to a CT scan to confirm then straight to OR!  Luckily, the surgery went fine and her appendix was removed before rupturing (which probably would have happened within the next day or two if it'd gone unchecked).  She's recovering and will probably be back home soon.

Stories like this make me realize how much we, as women, take ourselves for granted.  I know I do, and I've seen over and over how my mother does as well.  We feel a twinge of pain or discomfort, and we put it aside.  Hell, we have kids to raise, animals to care for, a husband around the corner to check on, not to mention the cooking and cleaning and bills and well -- everything else that needs to be done!  We cannot (we let ourselves believe) pause our lives to go see the doctor who will only pat us on the heads and send us back home.  Our ache is probably nothing, anyway.

Way too often I've heard stories (and yes, it's happened to me as well), where we let ourselves go unchecked only to have whatever issue is wrong with our body grow worse to the point where we have no choice but to go to the doctor - usually the ER, where now we're fighting a bigger battle.

I strongly believe culture, over the years, has given credence to this behavior.  For too many years in the past, doctors would pat a woman on the head because she just had the "vapors," or a bit of a "headache."  I don't know about you, but aside from believing the world will erupt if we're not there to take care of it, I cannot stand to go to the doctor and be belittled for something that I know is wrong with my body.  I don't know exactly what, that's why I go to the doctor to begin with.  But then to have him scribble an innocuous script and send me on my way...

Okay, got a little upset there, but I'm cool now.  All this is to say that I'm thankful my mother is fine and to remind myself that if I do not feel quite right, I need to make myself be seen by a doctor sooner rather than later.  Even if I have to force him or her to listen.  I hope you do the same. 

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