We had a friend named James who gamed with us regularly for a couple of years. He was always pretty good-natured and willing to give any game a try at least once, and he became a fixture at our weekly game nights and other game days we’d hold.
Then James got sick with a really nasty cough. We told him to get it checked, but he didn’t. The cough got worse. Before long James was in the hospital, and we thought that, while drastic, at least he’d get whatever it was he had treated.
Then things spiraled and James passed away right around Thanksgiving of last year.
While there was sadness and disbelief, I also felt a little bit of anger. That he could have gone to a doctor long before things got this bad and had this taken care of. That a little less stubbornness would have saved him a lot of pain and his friends a lot of grief. That anger came with no small amount of guilt for feeling it. But while I don’t know the exact details of his condition or what led to his death, I can’t shake the feeling that letting it go for as long as he did took his life much too soon.
Which is why I’m taking this cough I have right now a lot more seriously than my jokey posts might indicate. I went to the doctor yesterday, convinced I’d be sent away with advice to rest and drink lots of fluids and maybe stand in a nice warm shower for a while. Instead, I ended up on a nebulizer for ten minutes and sent home with a fistful of prescriptions, including antibiotics and an inhaler for congestion in my lungs, which might possibly become — or already be — pneumonia. Now the doctor treated all of this as more precautionary than urgent, so I’m not super worried. But it did make me glad I didn’t let stubbornness keep me from going at all.
All told, with the co-pay and the medicine, my visit cost me $42. While that’s not pocket change, it’s a ridiculously small amount when the outcome is possibly keeping yourself alive. And it made me think about James, and how it might have just taken one trip to the doctor and forty-two bucks to still have him around. That’s less than what some of the board games we play cost. And it could have bought a lifetime of games.
So even if you think it’s nothing, even if you think it’s a waste of time, don’t be stubborn. Don’t let some little thing become a big thing. Go. Spend that forty-two bucks. Because the alternate price is way too high.