Ignorance is not bliss. At least when it comes to your health.
The past few days for me have been characterized by no appetite, fairly severe exhaustion, and confusion about what my body is trying to tell me with its bizarre and painful symptoms.
The fatigue is at levels you would expect from a mono patient, yet I lack the fever and sore throat typical of the infection. All other symptoms point toward a 24-hour stomach flu, but I’m going on my fourth day of illness. Not only am I in pain every time I eat (even gentle foods, like rice and bananas), but I’m also experiencing the mental pain of not knowing what’s wrong with me.
It wasn’t until Saturday night when sharp abdominal pain sent me to the emergency room concerned about appendicitis that I had any answers.
What I got from the ER doctor was less than satisfying though. It isn’t appendicitis, and I’m not pregnant. That’s really all she could tell me. “We could take a blood test,” she said when I had already been at the ER for four hours, “But I think it’d be better at this point for you just to go home and rest, and to see the health center on campus on Monday.”
Obviously I would’ve appreciated a prescription to treat the pain, but more importantly, I wanted answers. Tell me what’s wrong! I wanted to yell. But yelling wouldn’t have produced a diagnosis. And it probably would’ve made my stomach hurt more.
Not knowing is frustrating. When we don’t know something, we guess the answer or search for knowledge or fabricate one to avoid showing our ignorance. For most people, clarity is bliss.
Knowledge can’t solve everything, but would I feel better if I knew what was wrong with me? Probably.