If you have Apple Care you can download a program called Tech Tool Deluxe, which I hear does create boot disks, and also has a bunch of other disk utilities on it and may help. Highlight the hard drive (not the partition), and see if at the bottom of the disk utility window, does it say SMART FAILURE? If so, then the disk is dying, replace the hard drive, and hope your backups are recent... Worth noting that if you have another Mac with an external drive and a wireless network, you can backup wirelessly using Time machine. And wives never tell you they need backup - you're supposed to read their mind! Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
For the routines below, keep in mind that you can only verify the boot volume, and will not be able to repair it.
In most Mac systems, the boot drive will be using Apple’s Mac OS Extended (HFS ) filesystem format, which is a collection of fast-access “B-tree” databases that store where a file is located on your drive, its logical hierarchical organization, and attributes such as file ownership and access permissions.
If damage occurs to your filesystem structure, then data-access problems can occur, leading to slowdowns, hangs, or crashes.
Hard disk maintenance is one of the few regular maintenance routines that I recommend people do for their Macs.
Your hard drive’s formatting is the structure used by the system to store and retrieve every file saved to the drive.