Do you recall being at school when your teacher said, “Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question.”
Yet, I admit that I was more than a little afraid of being laughed at by my classmates if I asked a stupid question.
In the very 1st year of my chiropractic career, I remember a patient who was responding very well to treatment for headaches. However on one particular visit, he said he wasn’t doing well and felt very weak. He felt aching in his low back and his abdomen and also down both of his legs.
Then, he looked at me in a somewhat embarrassed fashion and said, “I hate to ask a stupid question doc, but do you think this might be sciatica?”
“Where did it hurt first?”
“Actually the pain started in my gut and then spread down to my low back. Now I even feel it down the front of my legs.”
Loud warning bells went off in my head as I feared a very serious and perhaps life threatening problem. I could feel a pulsating mass as I gently pressed on his abdomen. The pressure also caused pain down the front of his legs.
To make a long story short, I called the patient’s family physician and explained my findings to him. He rapidly arranged for emergency surgery.
My patient had a severe abdominal aortic aneurysm that was about to burst. In fact according to the surgeon, it had already started leaking. Without this life saving intervention, he would have been dead.
Apparently, my patient had experienced the pain in his abdomen for quite some time, but did not report it to anybody. He later said he still felt stupid asking me that question.
So, the moral of the story screams out loudly. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!