I often have talked about stubborn farmers who make less than desirable patients. My late father never sought medical care. He often self-diagnosed himself — not on WebMD, but through the Merck Manuel. He wholeheartedly felt that a hot bath could cure just about everything. That, and a coffee mug filled with vinegar, honey, and a dab of iodine would prevent you from visiting the doctor. By the way, it did not. Dad eventually landed himself in the emergency room with a stroke at the age of 68.
So, I never really had the best of role models in that avenue. But, I also just don't feel that every runny nose or cold needs medical attention. I believe in preventive care — annual check-ups, vitamins, rest, and a balanced diet and exercise go a long way. When it comes to me visiting a doctor for other alignments, I'm not a big fan.
After recently trying to self-diagnose my injury, I finally drove to the orthopedic urgent care last week. Let me tell you, that doctor was not amused that I had tried to self-diagnose myself or with the fact that my leg was bandaged with vet wrap. Or that I waited eight days after falling to have my knee checked out.
Now I get to sport a brace for the next four weeks due to torn ligaments on both sides of my right knee. My 7-year-old thinks I'm cool, which I'm sure is a first.
My husband, Scott, couldn't disagree more, stating I'm stubborn and stupid. He shook his head and said, "Karen, I don't want you to say that dairymen are the worst patients any longer. Clearly, you are!"
So, don't take after my lead. Listen to your body. When something is popping when it shouldn't and sizably swollen, and walking up and down the stairs become pretty much impossible, have yourself medically checked out. Don't wait eight days.
And, yes, I've learned my lesson.
Karen Bohnert is a second generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.