Every man is his own physician, and you can’t even sue yourself for malpractice

I’ve always had a somewhat laissez-faire attitude about my health issues. Or, more to the point, I’ve always had faith in the inherent wisdom of my body, and that if I just left it alone it would naturally restore itself to a state of balanced good health.

For example when I was in my 30s I hurt my back very badly one day playing basketball in the park. I was in so much pain I practically had to crawl my way back to my apartment. And for the next two weeks I felt like a cripple. It’s like I went overnight from being this strong, vital young man to being this fragile old man. But for some reason it never occurred to me to go to a doctor. I just figured the problem would eventually work itself out on its own. Which it eventually did. (Later I concluded I probably had a “pinched nerve” in my back. Which is sort of like having your dick stuck in your zipper. The nerve is stuck — pinched — between your spine. Which is very painful. But thankfully after several weeks of long hot baths the nerve finally slipped out of the zipper and I was back to normal.)


But this laissez-faire attitude can sometimes backfire on me. One time when I was 50 I was hit with Shingles. I didn’t know it at the time that it was Shingles. All I knew was that overnight, half my face had developed this incredibly painful sore and ever-growing scab. I just figured it would just take care of itself. So I didn’t do anything about it for a week. But it kept getting worse and worse. So finally I went to this doctor. And he told me it was Shingles. This flesh-eating virus. That would have continued to eat all the flesh right off my skull if I didn’t get immediate treatment. He prescribed this medicine. And it immediately started fighting off — and eventually defeating — the Shingles virus. Though I still have a scar on my forehead (I gained a lot of respect for Western medicine with that one).

But that’s the rub I guess. You don’t want to become a hypochondriac and go running off to the doctors for every real or imagined illness. At the same time, sometimes you really do need medical help. It’s a fine line.

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