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Why You Need to Take Care of Yourself

As a healthcare professional yourself, you know the importance of going to the doctor when you’re sick. So why do so many avoid it?

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If I asked you, “do you take good care of yourself?” how would you answer? Probably a half-hearted “Sure I do…” 

OK, let’s try another, more direct, question. The last time you were sick, did you go to the doctor?  Hmm, I sense a pause. It seems that since we're in the medical field, we would not need to have explained to us the benefit of seeing a trained professional when we are sick. However, being the TYPE of medical work we do, we also do not have a lot of extra cash lying around to go spend at the doctor — let’s face it, it’s expensive!  In fact, MUCH more expensive than veterinary care! So why do it, especially if we think it’s a simple illness that will pass with time?

I have a cousin, who felt much the same way about spending money at the doctor.  So despite some bad headaches, she didn’t go.  She tried all sorts of over-the-counter stuff, to no avail.  Then, her eye became infected.  She couldn’t avoid it any longer, she popped into one of those 24-hour care marts that you see everywhere now.  The doctor took one look at her eye, and said he couldn’t help her, she would need to go to the hospital ER.  Well, she made a terrible mistake in waiting to get care.

Turns out some odd infection that started in her sinuses, then went into her eye and finally to her brain.  After brain surgery to have the infection drained and treated, she had a series of strokes, and now she lays dying in hospice.  

I know, I said it was going to be an extreme example, but sometimes it takes a wake-up call to, well, wake up and take care of yourself.  So last week when I was four days into a nasty cough, I went to the doctor. Chest radiographs showed no pneumonia, although I feel like I’m drowning.  So I’ve laid in bed for four days, drugged with codeine cough syrup, and feeling more exhausted than ever in my life.  Today, I’ll call the doctor again, because I have made no progress.

Please, just take care of yourself.  When you’re sick, go to the doctor … OK, give it a day or two, but then GO to the doctor. My cousin didn’t want to spend the money, and now she has lost her life.  Sometimes it takes an extreme example to wake us up, to realize that sometimes we need help, and yes, sometimes we have to pay for it.  You can make payments; they’ll let you.  When you get the bill, after the shock wears off, send them $25 a month for as long as it takes — that’s what I’ve had to do.  But life is too precious to lose because you needed help, and didn’t get it in time. 

Please.

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