Mo’5: Early Detection

From the Edge of the Deep Green Tea.

It has been 14 days since I had a Coca-Cola. In celebration I went out to the nearest Teavana store to reload on premium green tea. The salesperson attempting to open the big tin the tea is stored in grimaced and explained he was having, let’s just say, an issue.

This one didn’t even require me to explain my fledgling, “to catch a predator” mustache.

His story I’ve heard many times before. The gentlemen felt that something was wrong, but he was afraid to go and get it checked out. He was worried about what he would end up finding out.

Let’s stop right there. We’ve identified that something is wrong. Not only is it wrong, but it’s now affecting how we live. We know our bodies better than any health professional. We know there’s a noticeable difference between a sudden onset of extreme pain and run of the mild aches and pains.

The challenge many face are external barriers to seeking care; lack of money, health insurance, transportation, potential time away from work, not having a primary care physician, etc etc.

There is also one extremely paralyzing internal barrier; fear. Here’s the problem with fear, it’s counter intuitive to this scenario. The fact that we’re feeling fear is a good thing. It means, “run, go get help!” It doesn’t mean, “stand here and wait for the bear to maul us.”

The alternative is to wait, hope, or pray that the event passes and life moves on. Unfortunately, many health problems that we detect early can potentially go into remission, then flare up worse than before when we least expect it.

From a health care perspective, it is easier to fix small problems. The longer we wait, the more complex the course of treatment will be. It may involve weeks of antibiotics (sometimes intravenous). Should surgery be necessary, the procedure will be more complex, under less than ideal conditions, leading to an increase in pain, extended recovery periods, and higher risk of complications.

If we end up waiting, all of our external reasons for delaying care suffer as well; the health care will cost more, we’ll be out of work longer, and the pain from the disease and recovery will be prolonged. Lastly, there’s always the potential that the health issue becomes permanent or even life threatening.

What I want people to take away from me this Movember is to be proactive about their health, listen to their bodies, and seek a medical professional before health issues become major problems.

You’ll probably call me a sadist initially for encouraging you to embrace the pain and fear, but thank me in the end. Trust me that dealing with health issues head on is the best way to get back to maximizing your pleasure in life.

I’ll be thinking good thoughts for this man and hope he takes me up on this advice.

Remember, it’s better to get whatever it is, before it gets you.

-Nurse David

Donate to the Nurse David Movember page.



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