The title demonstrates a dilemma I wrestled with on last evening. Let me lay out the story for you, so you can understand the question.
As I walked to the kitchen on Saturday morning, I felt a severe pain in my right abdomen. I assumed it would go away after a little rest. But, it only got worse. By Sunday morning, I was pretty sure that I had a muscle strain.
We had walked six miles or more on the trail four out of the five previous days. The first three miles on some days were all uphill, but I had not felt any twinges or anything to worry me. I had tried to get Douglas to walk further, actually.
But, yesterday, as a cessation of the pain proved elusive, we went to urgent care. I told the physician’s assistant that I thought I had a pulled muscle. He was about to order some tests to confirm that when my partner in crime, my husband, Douglas, told him of my history of colon cancer. Upon hearing that, he chose to send us to the emergency room at the local hospital.
We arrived at the hospital just around 12:30 in the afternoon, and after waiting over an hour, I was escorted back. Once again, I tried to say that I thought it was a muscle pull, but Douglas proceeded to give them my medical history of cancer, back surgery, lung surgery, and diabetes.
The young doctor agreed that it seemed a localized event. But, because my last Cat Scan of the abdomen showed that I had colon cancer and kidney stones, she decided on doing a Cat Scan on yesterday. This meant an IV and using contrast. She wanted to be thorough, and I could see her point.
What I feared about going to the emergency room came true. Four sticks to try and find a vein for the IV for the test. I was fit to be tied by the time they were finished poking on me. They had to get use an ultrasound to find a vein! But, they had given me a strong pain medicine by the IV, so I was feeling pretty good.
Well, the scan was negative, and all I had was a pulled muscle of the abdomen. I read the discharge papers that advised using cold compresses and to take some Tylenol or Ibuprofen for the pain. The doctor told me not to exercise for a week, and then, to start out at two miles or so, forgoing the six miles. It was nearly 8:00 PM by the time we left.
I was furious at the amount of money the visit will end up costing, beyond the $90 co-pay. To me, it was money wasted, because I didn’t really need an expensive test and bunches of blood tests and an IV line. I thought of all the books and dinners I could buy with the monies I will have to pay, as the last scan costs me nearly $400 for my share.
This morning, I was still fuming, but something changed in my thinking. I had to ask myself, “What is your health worth?” What if I had been wrong and something bad was happening, but I refused to go to hospital, thinking that I knew best.
Yes, I am addressed as Dr. by my students, but that is a PhD, not an MD. I haven’t attended anyone’s medical school, so who am I to think I know better than trained physicians? And shouldn’t I be thankful to my heavenly Father that I have a husband who cares enough to want me to have the best care possible?
Well, the answer is that you cannot put a cost on your health! These things happen, and I am thankful to God that it was nothing more serious. Having survived colon cancer, any time something twinges, my first thought is,”Could it be cancer again?”
I have a zest for life, with so much more I want to experience. So, the trip to the hospital, with all of its discomforts was worth it. After all, life is priceless, and I know from reading others’ posts, that I am blessed that it was nothing more serious.