Men in general (including me!) think they are invincible when it comes to their health


Men tend not to talk about their own health, I know I don’t.  Most are reluctant to ask for help or admit they have a problem about anything.  Did you know that more than one in five men have not visited a GP or healthcare professional in the last 12 months, according to a recent survey?  Included in the survey was the fact that a third of men will only go to see a doctor if their partner encourages them to, or if they really have to go.  Women are far better at looking after themselves.  We really should take a leaf out of their books!

When I first read these statistics I was shocked but after thinking about it I have come up with all kinds of excuses over the years.  Anything from I will see how I feel tomorrow or I am too busy to go.  In fact 12 months after leaving the Army, I still haven’t registered with a doctor.

New Year’s Eve 2018 – My Story

My latest excuse was “It’s just a headache, I’ll take a paracetamol and I’ll be fine”.  I woke up at 0300 with a headache that came on like a hammer to the head.  I couldn’t open my eyes or stand any light at all, my chest was tight and I couldn’t stop peeing.  My temperature was high but I felt freezing cold and all I wanted to do was sleep.  I spent 36 hours in bed unable to move, talk or eat.  My wife wanted to ring the out of hours but I wouldn’t have it.  Eventually she ignored me, rang 111 and described my symptoms. 

Before I knew it the paramedics had arrived.  With a temperature of nearly 40 degrees I was whisked away to hospital on New Years Day.  I kept telling them that I was fine and there were sicker people who needed their help.  I was told that my symptoms pointed to an infection and a possible bleed to the brain.  What followed was a 4 day hospital stay consisting of a CT scan, a Lumbar Puncture, a MRI scan and hours on various drips/painkillers.

The Outcome

Thankfully there was no bleed to the brain and I was diagnosed with a severe infection.  The doctor said if I been carrying any excess weight or my heart wasn’t as fit and healthy as it is, I would have been in a far worse position.

Putting it bluntly being told I could have a bleed on the brain was pretty sobering and it scared the crap out of me.  I should have known better.  Whilst I’m not going to rush to the doctors with every sneeze or cough, I will be registering with a doctor next week and I won’t come up with every excuse not to see them.  I was lucky on this occasion, others aren’t.

Don’t be stupid, if you feel ill see your doctor.  Prevention is better than cure, no-one is invincible no matter how fit and healthy you are.  Treat yourself like you would treat someone or something that you really love!

I am hoping the second week of the year is better than the first!

Make the Change



  1. Damon Dagnall January 6, 2019 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Glad you’re OK mate.

    • Chris Oakes January 10, 2019 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks mate – on the mend now!

  2. Ian Sutherland January 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I had a related experience over Christmas. After a trip to New York I developed a cough. After a week (enough time, I think) I went to the Doctor – yes, first time in over a year. She said I had a viral infection, antibiotics would do no good and that I just had to tough it out for maybe three or four weeks.
    Wife and daughter were not impressed especially when the cough developed into something I have never experienced before. It was primal and irresistible. It came as a bark from deep behind my sternum and essentially bypassed my throat. Days on honey and lemon drinks, sleeping on the sofa (for everyone’s sanity) made little difference. Wife and daughter were pushing me back to the Doctor, but we were still within her diagnostic so I resisted. Now three and a half weeks later the cough has gone and I feel welcome back in society.
    Yes, we should take more care of ourselves, but there is still an element of judgement.

    • Chris Oakes January 10, 2019 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Glad you are on the mend!

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