Beware – Little Things Become Big Things

It was a Monday, and when I backed out of the drive for work, I felt an almost imperceptible rhythmic bumping from the front of my car. It was such a faint sense that if the road was too rough, I couldn’t feel it. After a week, it got a little louder but still not enough to alarm me. I grabbed a flashlight and looked under the car and couldn’t see a thing. Finally, I was driving home from work and – BANG! – I thought a SCUD missile hit the car. A tire blew out and I don’t mean started leaking air. I mean it shredded. It blew a hole large enough to shove a soccer ball through.

So here is my take-away: take care of little things before they become big things.

When I first felt that bump, I could have taken the car to a tire shop and had them poke around. They would have told me that the steel belt inside my front passenger tire is delaminating and, if I don’t replace it, it’s going to go on me. When I’m driving. Instead, I wondered about what was going for two weeks. Then the tire blew. But not at home and not near a tire store. I was twenty miles from home and pulled over into knee-high grass along the side of the road. I got out my mini sledge-hammer to remove the wheel from the car because it’s rusted on. And I’m hoping like hell that the donut I have for a spare will get me to the station. Then, I have to do everything I should have done earlier. Just take care of things, will you?

Closer to home, I remember when my Father’s shoulder began to hurt him. He was in remission from cancer so he was hypersensitive about anything odd with his body. If he dug hard, he could feel a little ‘BB’ rolling around deep inside the joint. He called a friend – a physical therapist who taught at a medical university – who said he had probably just pulled something. Had he attended to the small things, he would have gone to see his oncologist at the first sign of something amiss. He didn’t and we learned later that he had developed a treatable lymphoma. In time, his shoulder pain grew worse. When we finally went to the doctor, cancer had spread through much of his body. Would immediate diagnoses have changed the outcome? I don’t know. What I do know is that your best chance for anything to do with health from a cold to cancer is early diagnosis.

Big things start out as small things. Wisdom tells us to attend to those little things. Laziness tells us to ignore them. So, just like every journey starts with a step, and just like the road to better health can start with one decision,  the path to disease, illness, and injury can start with a simple scratch that goes uncared for.

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