The moment an injury occurs or an illness begins, our bodies begin to repair or heal the wound. It is impossible to list all of the conditions that would benefit from a clinic visit, so we have to use our knowledge, experience, and common sense. You can ask yourself some basic questions:
- Am I in danger?
- Is the pain severe or out of control?
- Are you getting worse? Preexisting conditions like Diabetes, prior cancer treatment, or young or old age are additional considerations.
Our new health care system places our physical health in conflict with our finances by increasing our out-of-pocket expense when we need health care. Be careful. A study a few years ago by an HMO found that people with high deductible insurance presented to the ER (Emergency Room) with a ruptured appendix more often than those with a low deductible policy. The cost for the delay is obvious.
Trust your partner, family or close friends when you are ill. Sometimes our judgment is clouded by illness.
Some situations are obvious: a piece of metal in the eye, a possible broken bone, severe rash from poison oak, a blistering and painful rash from shingles, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, etc.
Others are more difficult:
- Chest pain from heart disease waxes and wanes in 10 minute intervals, so it is easy to deny the possibility,
- Heartburn that is not too severe may progress to a bleeding ulcer, or
- Skin infections can progress rapidly to and MRSA abscess that requires drainage. Abdominal pain is one of the more common and difficult conditions because of all of the potential serious underlying conditions.
Again, be a strong self-advocate and use common sense.