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Paris Goodnight: Don’t put off that trip to the doctor just because you can take the pain

Don’t wait if you’ve got something telling you to get help.

That would be my advice if you’re hurting or need assistance with something you can’t get over yourself. It’s easy to avoid this advice, but things usually end up better if you get help.

I say this only because I watched my wife in agony the other night trying to tough it out before figuring out later what had awakened her in the middle of the night — an appendicitis. That wasn’t discovered until a trip to the emergency room for diagnosis, followed by transport to a surgeon for an appendectomy.

Luckily, she’s 100% better now that the offending appendix is out and she’s begun the recovery process. But if you read about horrible wait times in emergency rooms and overstuffed hospitals, it may make you think twice before going. Don’t do it.

Our first check of emergency rooms didn’t look good, even in the middle of the night. Many of the nearby options had wait times of nearly an hour or longer. But the Lane Street facility that is closest to us actually had the shortest wait time at under 30 minutes, and when we arrived we were the only people in the lobby so we were taken right back.

It wasn’t a quick turnaround there. It was later in the afternoon before we ended up at Carolinas Medical CenterNorthEast for the surgeon to do his work. But that was better than just trying to tough it out, if my sympathy pains are any indication.

Don’t believe in sympathy pains? Well, you’ve probably never felt the kick in the gut like I got from either childbirth or a gall bladder that needed to come out some years ago. Of course, I wasn’t the patient for either of those, just close enough to feel the pain.

I’m not one who takes going to the doctor without an arm twist or two beforehand, and I know I should be better about it, like my wife is. She had just gone in for an annual physical the day before. So there was no reason to believe she would be writhing in pain that very night. I guess an appendix doesn’t jump out and say, “Look closely at me, I’m getting ready to pitch a fit!”

There are plenty of other things that don’t surface easily in the normal tests that are sent to a lab. So, who knows how many things could be just on the edge of eating away at me right now and I don’t even know it? As I write this, I’m planning to go in for a doctor’s visit. So, maybe I’ll bring up all those things that I’ve been wondering about that could be wrong with me, just to see if he has some professional advice about what I should take care of first.

Then again, that might not work out as I would hope, considering it’s usually another pill added to my growing list of medications to take as I get older or a directive to get some more exercise since I’m not in the best of shape for cardio. It could be one of the various things Ester Marsh urges us to do on our Lifestyles pages each week.

Stretching? I can’t remember the last time I tried it.

I do remember the last time I wrote a column for the Post, and man was it a doozy — I ended up being handcuffed on the sidewalk just off Fulton Street for something … well, maybe that really was a story for another day.

But if you have something gnawing at you, don’t follow the He Man Club mantra of staying away from the doctor unless a limb is falling off. Something simple could be corrected relatively easily, and whatever pain and agony has you wondering now can be put off to another sunny day when the tax bill comes due or some similar malady arises.

Paris Goodnight is night editor for the Salisbury Post.

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