Don’t Take Your Health Lightly


I’ve found this to be an almost natural – and quite comical – attribute to the Lebanese person (and possibly applicable everywhere too), which is: there’s nothing wrong with me unless I can’t stand on both feet anymore.

Take my mother for instance. Yesterday evening, she was shaking and trembling, suffering from acute pain in her lower back area, and she was hypothermic. I insisted we’d take her to the hospital because what was happening to her was not normal. But she vehemently refused. And soon enough, after taking a collection of over-the-counter drugs, she felt good enough to function.

My dad woke me up this morning, a scene that is oddly deja-vu, to tell me that we have to take my mother to the hospital. Why? She was having the exact same episode she had the night before. So we took my mom to the hospital and she got examined by an ER doctor who determined that she might be suffering from kidney stones. Further tests need to be done, obviously, but this is not something that over-the-counter drugs can fix.

The scene of my dad waking me up to take my mother to the hospital is deja-vu because it happened eighteen months ago when, after suffering from a mild stomach-ache which she dismissed as stomach flu, my mother couldn’t walk from pain in her lower-right abdomen the following day. Yes, you guessed it: appendicitis.

And the “funny” thing is that this doesn’t apply to my mom alone. Have you ever found yourself in the midst of those visits where people start chit-chatting about their health and prescribing drugs to each other? Well, if you haven’t  let me lay out the scenario.

Person A knocks on person B’s door. Warm Lebanese greetings ensue. Person A enters and sits down. Person B goes to prepare coffee or calls up on the maid to do so. Coffee is served. Person A and Person B start chatting about the most mundane of things. Then Person A mentions that they’ve been having this weird rash on their back. Person B knows just the thing for that! This ointment that he got prescribed by Person C who got it from Person D, etc…

It baffles me how some people can conceive and fully accept the idea that they know more about their health than a physician who went through a decade long educational process and who – in his/her most rudimentary mental form – knows at least a little more about that rash or ache.

So people, instead of seeking help from people who’s only medical knowledge is what they watch on Doctors, how about you go see a real doctor next time? Pain is the body’s way of telling  you something’s wrong. Consider it as a text message. You always reply to text messages (when you have credit). How about a text message that might be the difference between you staying alive or dying?