05 December 2009


Most people I have known in my life don’t go to the doctor for every single little thing. You get a cold, you just tough it out. Going to the doctor can be inconvenient and costly and sometimes it becomes a whole exhausting process of lab work and xrays and test results and follow-up appointments and prescriptions.

But about four years ago I got the flu. Influenza. It was awful. I went to the emergency clinic early-early on a Saturday morning because I felt like the pounding headache was going to collapse my brain and I was concerned that my throat might just tear apart if I coughed one more time. They gave me a dose of tamiflu and within 24 hours my symptoms were gone. I was back at work on Monday. That was way better than toughing it out for a week or more.

Then three years ago I had a real emergency involving a blood clot. I wasn’t sure what was happening at the time, but I was experiencing severe pain and knew something was not right. I went to the emergency clinic, again early-early on a Saturday morning. Everything eventually turned out OK, but it was a frightening experience and it impressed upon me the importance of seeking prompt medical attention.

Yesterday after work, I felt so sleepy I decided to rest for a couple of hours. I fell asleep and at some point later awoke to a very sharp, pronounced pain in my lower leg, just above my ankle. Flexing, walking, stretching did not seem to work. Minutes passed. More walking, but still the same sharp pain. It seemed to move, ever so slightly in my lower leg. My mind traveled back to that other emergency related to the blood clot.

I went to find Cristy and told her I thought I might need to go to the emergency room. She started asking what was happening and, just like that, my symptoms started clearing up. She encouraged me to take a couple of Tylenol. By the time I had water glass in hand, the pain was completely gone. What's up with that?

So was it a case of phantom pain? Is this a new-fangled cure for unexplained aches and pains?

Or maybe I am becoming a hypochondriac.

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