LOS ANGELES—This Tuesday, area man Oliver Howard reportedly had trouble determining if the pain in his lower abdomen was more of a “burning” or “stabbing” sensation.
“WebMD says I don’t need to see a doctor unless I’m experiencing a ‘burning’ pain, but I believe a more accurate description of this would be ‘stabbing,’” stated Howard, clutching his side in pain as he broke out into a cold sweat. “Then again, I’ve never been stabbed, so perhaps my frame of reference isn’t properly calibrated here. I need more time to decide.”
Howard reports that his abdominal pain began over a week ago, but he refused to seek medical attention until he could say for sure that it counted as a “burning” sensation. His other symptoms include a 104-degree fever and “what can only be described as liver spasms.”
“What exactly counts as ‘burning’ pain, anyway? In what ways would that differ from, for example, a ‘pins-and-needles’ type of pain? Really makes you think,” stated Howard, writhing in agony on his kitchen floor after vomiting blood. “I know for sure that this isn’t a ‘dull’ or ‘aching’ pain, though. So at least I’ve narrowed it down a little.”
Many medical professionals have applauded Howard’s decision to wait before seeking help. Dr. Alicia Benitez, who works at the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, notes that an accurate description of a patient’s symptoms can greatly aid the chance of successful treatment.
“As a doctor, it is vital for me to know exactly what my patients’ symptoms are,” stated Dr. Benitez. “If I have a patient with burning abdominal pain and I accidentally prescribe him the medicine we give to guys with stabbing abdominal pain, he could be dead within the week. I’m glad that Mr. Howard understands how important it is to communicate with your physician.”
While Howard is unsure if he’ll be able to decide anytime soon, he remains hopeful that the answer will become clear to him shortly.
“This one’s a real doozy, but I’ll keep thinking on it,” stated Howard, slipping in and out of consciousness as a result of severe dehydration. “I think I was approaching a breakthrough during my last seizure. Perhaps I’ll figure it out during the next one.”
At press time, Howard was found unresponsive on the floor of his apartment.