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Take it from a middle-aged guy who made the mistake of complaining about a tiny little pain in my chest and before I knew what was happening I was in the ER where I spent the night and 5000 dollars to find out I had a pulled muscle.

Do not go willingly into the maw of American health care unless you're twitching helpless in a ditch.

Then you might still try to walk it off.

Left side, huh? Probably not appendicitis, then (although it can't be totally ruled out). Still, anything that hurts bad enough to make you lean over definitely needs to be checked out.(Says the guy who suffered for a week with a pain that felt like someone slowly driving a roofing nail into the joint of his big toe).

Good luck, Jeff.

Yeah, you don't want to fool around with stuff like that, Jeff.

Let us know what you find out.


If it's a kidney stone you would have pain more towards your back than your side and you probably would have given in on the doctor before now. I'm guessing muscle problem, but it's better to be sure.

Jeff, just in case, I should probably explain that I am not a doctor. Do not take medical advice from me.

My wife has been trying to get me to see a physician over this growth on my shoulder for months. Now that the growth has begun to talk (in French!), perhaps I should go in for a liitle look-see.

As annoying as doctors can be (I do know where you're coming from David) it's much better to go to one than to research these things on a web. The web is a huge hypochondriac. Just for example, the web told me I was having a stroke, when it turned out to be an inner ear infection. Let us know what the doctor says, Jeff, and good luck!

They say pain builds character. Bullshit! I'll raise a glass to your health tonight, Jeff.

At the risk of making a gross over-generalization, writers by nature are 1) terrible hypochondriacs and 2) really bad about going to the doctor.

It goes together, doesn't it? Isn't it more interesting to imagine that you have dengue fever than to learn it's just tendinitis?

But if you can't sit comfortably and you're leaning to one side, it could also be a ruptured disc... best to get it checked out, anyway. Feel better!

After spending a while at the doc's office this morning, here's what she told me:

"I'm not sure what it is."


My two guesses are still in the mix, but she's added a few more of her own, guesses that will, of course, require x-rays and MRIs and other things that will probably cause my insurance coverer to vomit and then try to figure out a way to deny the coverage. (None of her guesses, btw, are anything too serious.)

Advil has me upright and in much less pain than earlier. I swear it's gonna turn out to be indigestion.

(And thanks to all for their concern - I'll keep you updated.)

I've been checking in since this post showed up on CrimeSpot. Thanks for the update, Jeff.

Thanks for the update. I hate when the doctor says "I don't know what is wrong with you. It could be [insert anything]."

Feel better.

At least its not a mysterious rash.

I can't remember ever getting this much entertainment out of my mom's health problems. You rock, Shelby.

But your response from your doctor is all I ever get from my doctors.

Allow me to expand. Back in the 80's, I awoke with a horrible pain near the bottom of my rib cage. Jenny was visiting her mother at the time so I drove myself to the ER and they X-rayed me and found a HUGE cloud on my right lung.

The MDs freaked. I freaked. No one knew what it was. Having smoked or snorted ever substance short of my dad (nod to Keith Richards) I was game for it being anything from cancer to an inborn twin.

Over several weeks they took my x-rays, watching the cloud grow to twice it's size. It wasn't a tumor, they said, because tumors don't grow that fast. I suspected an alien. One day I went down to radiology to have another chest x-ray and the tech said, "So you're the guy. Your pictures are the most popular in the hospital. Everyone's looked at them."

That, despite my craving for popularity, did not make me feel better.

The doc wants to admit me. I'm out of work and the pain is gone. I tell them that if I'm going to die, I'll die at home and not leave my wife and child with a huge hospital bill they can't pay. They argue with me. Finally, the head of the doctor Tong says, "We can treat the x-rays or we can treat the patient. How do you feel?"

I tell her I'm fine. They send me home. Two weeks later the cloud is gone. The doctor asks if I want surgery to find out what it was. I say no. She says, "If you can live with not knowing, we can, too."

I still have no idea what the "infiltrate" was. But I'm thinking it was Jim Born's evil spirit causing me pain.

Because it's the same reaction I have to his prose.

I hope you feel better, Jeff. Take care of yourself. I'd hate to live on a planet without you.

Sometimes the worst pain is a pulled muscle, or gas. It's that sneaky, frog-in-the-water-pan pain that is gonna kill you.

I'm betting on the pulled muscle. Honest.

My husband said his shoulder was killing him, and getting worse. He said he'd made an appointment with our general practicioner. I hit the roof. What the hell was the general practitioner going to do except give him pain pills that didn't address the problem? So he went to a certified personal trainer for one hour, and he (Tony - he's great!) laid out a plan that we both use for our middle-aged shoulders, and there is no pain. And no addiction to Oxycontin, either.

Probably not good advice, but if it were me, I'd ride that pain out for another week.

Nobody knows anything these days anyway, including doctors.

And we flat know that hospitals can kill you.

But just in case, take an aspirin every day with your cornflakes.

Gerald, you said: "It could be ' insert anything'". I'm surprised your mamma never told you, "Never, ever, go to a proctologist!"

My experience with doctors? You have two choices: One, you can go, listen to them say nothing is wrong with you, pay for a visit, go home and find out what's wrong with you on the internet, return and pay for a second visit, during which you inform the doctor about what's wrong with you, and finally get treatment; Two, you do the research and then go to the doctor, they immediately tell you you must be wrong because, after all, you came up with this diagnosis without a med degree, you pay for the visit, go home, discover you were right, return for a second visit, pay for the second visit, and finally get the correct treatment.

OR, they think you don't mind paying thousands of dollars for a diagnosis. What the frick good is a diagnosis if you're just going to shrug and say it'll heal in a year? Or that you can take this or that (and what they don't say is that they haven't found a successful treatment or cure, yet, because they'd rather waste your money and use you as a guinea pig).

I don't suppose you can guess how I feel about the state of our medical system.

I'm sure it can be remedied with a good, cold beer.

But seriously, dude, don't die. Okay?


Any update on Jeff? Any of his fellow bloggers know what his status is?

Felicia Donovan

After a bunch more exams on Friday, it's been determined that I have severe back spasms. Painful, but not serious. So I will be pretty drugged up until the imaginary machete removes itself from my side and back. Attribute all off the wall remarks to the drugs.

Thanks to one and all for their concern - it's much appreciated.

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