Once upon a time, I had no health insurance. That being the case, I suffered through many an injury and illness without medical care, and while I did (obviously) live, in retrospect, I made some bad choices for financial reasons. I remember cutting my finger at work, and bleeding for two weeks straight because I couldn't afford stitches. I also remember accidentally stabbing myself through the palm with a knife, and waking up to a blood-soaked bed because I bled enough to soak an entire beach towel (again, no stitches). I've had debilitating back pain, dangerously high fevers, and sinus infections that were so painful I literally wondered if I could die from pain. I was once so sick that I started to hallucinate faces in the walls, talking to me-at that point, however, I did end up going to the ER, where I was soundly rebuked by the doctors for waiting so long to come in.
In most of these cases, the financial factor wasn't the major obstacle to my seeking medical attention-it was my procrastination, and my "eh, it'll get better soon" mentality. Yes, the lack of insurance played a role-but even when I have medical insurance, I will wait to visit a doctor until I either can't move due to pain, or fear actual death. It's not fear of the doctor that keeps me away, it's the convenient "forgetting" that I see every day in my practice. People have short memories when it comes to pain, and they also tend to build up a tolerance to it. I have seen people who can barely walk, who have waited years to seek medical attention, simply because they have adapted to the suffering.
So today I ask of my readers: what point do YOU need to reach before you will seek assistance for a pain condition? I'm not talking about a pain that involves fear of a deathly illness, I'm talking about your basic pain condition that is not life-threatening. What is your motivating factor for seeking pain relief?