“Don’t give up when you know something is wrong”

You’re not feeling well. Having some pain. Simply way too tired for days on end and not feeling like you used to. You just know something is not right. Yet, you’ve been to the doctor/the nurse practitioner and they tell you to rest, take some ibuprofen and wait. Their sense is that this too shall pass. You’re not so sure.

If you’ve been feeling this way recently – that “something” is wrong with you and the most conservative treatment has not improved your general health – what do you do. Many of us continue to feel lousy and hope for the best. Our doctor has assured us that there’s nothing seriously wrong and we should patiently and tolerantly accept our situation until it changes spontaneously. It’s often what the health care professionals call a self-limiting illness – it will heal on its own with time. But, you continue to feel poorly and in fact, you’ve begun to feel worse.

What’s your next step? How patient should we be as patients? In other words, how long do we wait when we think something is wrong with us, we’re not getting better after having seen a doctor and we keep feeling more and more ill. More importantly, WHY DO WE WAIT?” Do we feel we must not question our healthcare professionals? Do we sometimes feel intimidated in the presence of doctors? Maybe we are fearful of hearing what is truly wrong with us or living in hope that this problem will resolve naturally.

Most of us have experienced one or more of the above sentiments that has kept us from seeking further medical opinions and information. It’s true that many illnesses do resolve on their own as your doctor said. And, of course, we don’t want to receive a prescription for a drug that we really don’t need. But, after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed and our health continues to worsen, it’s really okay and more importantly, necessary to take the next step, i.e., get a second opinion, a referral, or see a specialist. Often a new pair of eyes will view your concern differently, and may put you on the path to better health.

Don’t ignore that nagging, little voice in your head. Trust yourself to help yourself.

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