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.
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