When You Really Should Complain

therm Nobody likes a whiner—we all know that. We hear someone start to complain, and we flip our internal switches to off. And if we’re married to a whiner, well, it’s even worse. We tend to lose sympathy over time—it’s just a natural thing to do.

And it’s good to try not to be a whiner … but there are times when you really do need to complain. Not in an attempt to solicit more attention (although, if that attention is accompanied by backrubs and chocolate pudding, I don’t blame you) but as a way of possibly saving your life.

There are certain health symptoms that, by themselves, don’t mean a lot. But when you add them together, they point to a certain illness or disease. It’s important that you tell your spouse if you don’t feel well, and to explain what your symptoms are. If you pass out on the floor, and the paramedics come and start asking your spouse questions such as, “Was there a fever?” or “Was there vomiting?” your spouse can paint an accurate picture for the paramedics, and possibly help indicate the cause of your illness much sooner than they’d be able to find it doing a bunch of tests.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you go to the hospital or to a new doctor, they take your history. If for some reason you are unable to give yours, your spouse can do it for you. You should also sit down with your spouse and discuss what diseases run in your family, any accidents or illnesses you had as a child, etc. Such sharing of information could be vital to your future health care. If you happen to be married to someone who is habitually forgetful, you should write this information down and carry it in your purse or wallet.

But your current symptoms are definitely something that needs to be brought to your spouse’s attention. They are your first responders in case of an emergency. Make sure they know how you feel. It’s great to be brave and uncomplaining, but if it means a delay in getting you the proper medical treatment, don’t be a hero – talk about your symptoms.

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