I was once hit in the face by a volleyball. The hitter was a tall powerful person who really knew how to spike the ball – and I was in the way. My contact lens popped out and I had a massive red eye and a shiner as well. I went to my ophthalmologist the next morning. He examined me and announced that it would be fine in 10 days. Sure enough, ten days later the redness and swelling were gone.
I saw the doctor at a dinner a few weeks later and asked him how he knew that I’d be all cleared up in ten days. He said, “It’s always ten days.”
In my experience, most medical-type problems resolve themselves in about ten days – UNLESS there is something seriously wrong. Our bodies naturally heal themselves, given enough time. This is a FACT that many of us have forgotten, especially in these days of powerful drugs and insurance payments.
There’s an old joke about the common cold. If your doctor prescribes something for you the cold will clear up in about seven days – and if you don’t do anything, it might take a week. Again, supporting the idea that our bodies heal on their own.
Many of us run off to the doctor or the urgent care place at the first sign of symptoms. We demand the latest and best – and, often, most costly – treatment and we want it now. As my stories demonstrate, the best treatment might actually be time, not drugs.
What’s a person to do? A little common sense goes a long way in almost every medical situation. Think about it this way. If symptoms suddenly appear, you can be highly confidant that they will resolve themselves in a week to ten days. If, after ten days, the symptoms linger, or have gotten worse, it will be a good time to get to a doctor. There’s a substantial difference between waiting ten days and waiting six months.
When the Ten-Day Rule fails. It should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that emergency situations aren’t going to resolve themselves in ten days. If you’re hit by a train or wounded by a machine gun, get to a doctor immediately. The Ten Day Rule does not apply.
Original Date: July 8, 2009. Updated June 21, 2018