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The Case for Complaining

by | Jan 25, 2016

I’m not much of a complainer.

It’s not that it takes a lot to get me to speak up. If I’m bothered, I’ll speak up.

I’m just not bothered by much.


It’s a pretty great way to live, most of the time.

But sometimes being unbotherable isn’t so great.

Let’s back up a few months.

Feeling pretty crummy, I ran through my go-to health boosts that usually get me back into balance. Cut back on sugar, cut coffee, make sure my workouts include everything I should be doing and not just what I feel like doing, sleep more.

Not only did I get through that entire list, but I also researched my typing fingers off trying to find whatever condition matched my symptoms, and whatever supplement from the health food store would fix it.

My symptoms led me to disease in general. All the sicknesses, I had ’em, said the Internet. Any and every body system could have been broken.

So, I made an appointment with our family doctor. I imagined it would go something like this…

Hello, hello, how are the kids, great, chief complaints? I’m tired and I forget things. 

And then she would blame the kids, as I’d done for so long now, and off I would go.

Except, that’s not at all how it went.

She was working with the intuition that comes with a formal medical education, and residency, and thousands of solved medical mysteries under her belt. She saw some things. She’s been my whole family’s doctor for years, and with frequent baby well-visits and three kids bringing home frequent bugs as they do, we’re in there quite a bit. I know her exam style well enough to pick up on concern. This time, her exam was unusually silent, and she asked me question after question to which the answer was a telling yes.

Next thing I knew, I was sent across the street for bloodwork with a big red STAT on the order, and the room was filling with a blur of scary language like heart risk, transfusion, lung function…

“No, it’s not horrible like that. I just have to take breaks,” I said, trying my best to minimize what was happening.

“I can tell you’re not a complainer,” she said. “You’re probably pushing through your days feeling pretty awful.”

I suppose it was awful enough that I could open an herbal supplement outlet with my attempts at feeling better.

We found out later that day I was so severely iron deficient that I would be on an insane dose of iron for months at least. In and of itself, that doesn’t sound all that bad, but my numbers were dangerously close to causing major problems.

Lesson learned. Now, I’m trying to pay attention to how I feel, and take breaks when I need to take breaks.

And if I’m especially wiped out, I may complain a little.



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