Roths Hate Doctors

11 February 2010 · 6 comments

I’m not sure why, but my family has a history of avoiding doctors. When I was a boy, I remember that my mother hobbled around on a sprained (broken?) ankle for days (weeks?) before going to get it checked out. When I was a freshman in college, I broke a finger while playing touch football, but just dealt with the pain for days before I finally sought medical attention.

There are many other such examples in my family’s history. (Remember my knee injury?)

Well, after my recent head injury, I headed down this same path again. After getting conked on the head on Sunday, I didn’t go to the doctor. After experiencing dizziness and nausea on Monday, I didn’t go to the doctor. After being unable to sleep Tuesday night because of neck pain, I didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t even go to the doctor yesterday, despite almost getting killed because I couldn’t turn my head far enough to see a car on a cross-street.

Yes, I was stupid.

Finally, today I went to the doctor. He scolded me for waiting so long. “This isn’t anything to mess around with,” he said. Then he looked me over. He checked me for dizziness (I had a little more of that today), and he checked my range of motion. In the end, he told me his diagnosis: “You have a muscle spasm,” he said. “One of your neck muscles is switched on and doesn’t want to let go. And it hurts.”

What does he want me to do about it? The same thing I’m doing already: Take naproxen (Alleve), do some neck exercises, and just take it easy. And next time, go to the doctor as soon as I get hurt — not wait four days.

1 Mom February 11, 2010 at 22:21

I’m glad that you went to the doctor. It sounds like you are doing the right things. Naproxen is good stuff for pain. I take it for my knees. I can’t make it up and down stairs without it.

The injury I suffered that you were referring to occurred years before it actually became a big problem. I was walking fast on the boards we used as a walkway for the mobile home we then lived in and my left foot slipped and twisted underneath me. I did go to a doctor in Woodburn (despite your dad’s protests) and had it x-rayed and the guy said there was too much bruising so he couldn’t tell if I had a break or not. He wrapped my poor swollen foot in an Ace bandage, told me to get some crutches, and that was it.

Several years later, I developed a lump at that spot and it became terribly painful to walk. I mostly sat around with my foot propped up. Finally, I went to an orthopedic surgeon, who x-rayed and found that I had broken a piece off of one of the bones in my foot. He said that material had calcified over it. I had surgery to remove the offending bone chip and calcification. I was on crutches for a while after that, while it healed, but I was fine after a few weeks.

Virginia and her girls (Gwen, especially, I think) may remember that time because they took some of my laundry to do and came back wearing Steve’s overalls and maybe some clothes of mine. They were funny!

I don’t care much for going to doctors, it’s true. I’m very glad that I can e-mail mine at Kaiser if needed, although unfortunately my internal medicine doctor is going on maternity leave soon. Anyway, I consider them a necessity if a person is ill or hurt.

2 Marisa February 12, 2010 at 12:27

Glad to hear it wasn’t anything serious. My family is somewhat crazy about avoiding the doctor.

One example of several: my father managed to completely sever his achilles tendon (he was passing a heavy packet of roofing shingles up to someone on the roof, and pushed so hard that his achilles tore). He waited three days to go in – apparently the folks in the ER couldn’t believe that he was able to walk, much less that he was walking around for three days first. I think he finally went in because it was his left foot and he couldn’t drive his (manual transmission) truck and so was forced to use his wife’s car.

3 Andy Baio February 13, 2010 at 02:30

But he told you to do exactly what you were already doing!

4 jdroth February 13, 2010 at 13:11

Andy, that’s what all doctors do! That’s one reason Roths don’t like to go see them. They’re just going to tell us things like, “Well, you’re sick. You need to stay in bed, drink lots of fluid, and watch Adam-12 re-runs.” Or, “Well, your neck is sore. Take Alleve and do neck exercises.” It seems so pointless to go in sometimes.

5 jammer(six) February 13, 2010 at 17:24

There’s no sense avoiding the doctor if you’re just going to give in and (eventually) go. If you really want to be reckless with your health, you need to own that decision and actually avoid the doctor instead of just being wishy-washy. ;-)

6 Dave February 15, 2010 at 15:13

“…that’ll be $85”, said the physician’s assistant.

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