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Confirmation bias and the Second D


I went to the urgent care clinic this morning. I've had a fever for the last three days, thankfully starting after XOXO had ended. I'd call it my XOXO flu, except that I am unsure what it really is. Three days of fever, including headache, chills and vomiting? Yes, urgent care it is.

I struggled a bit with the intake receptionist. I handed her my insurance card, paid my copay, then stood there as she told me my insurance card wasn't valid, it was for 2012. No, I said, it was valid FROM 2012, not expiring in 2012, but she insisted. "Look," I eventually said, "I don't care about the insurance card, can I pay cash? Or credit card, here's my credit card. I've been coming here for 15 years, I just want to be seen." Apparently there's a form you can sign for "established patients without proof of insurance," which says the patient is responsible for payments. As I signed it, I wondered when patients aren't EVER responsible for payments. Seemed weird. Are you sure you're responsible for the payments? Are you REALLY sure you're responsible? Are you REALLY REALLY sure? Yes, I'm f'ing sure, just let me see the doctor already, or I'll take off this mask, lick my hands, touch you, then cough all over you.

Not really. Didn't think of that last part until now.

Turns out, the insurance company FORGOT THE SECOND D IN MY NAME. GDMF how many times is that F'ING D going to screw me in this lifetime? I love my name. It's an awesome name. It pisses me off sometimes.


I sat in the examining room for all of maybe 40 seconds before the doctor came in and introduced himself. He did it this way, "Hi, I'm Doctor M---. I hear you're here for a bad cold?"

My first reaction was, "No."

My second reaction was to suppress the question, "Do you always diagnose your patients before even meeting them?"

He had a piece of paper that said I had a fever for three days, white mucus along the back of my throat, was wearing a mask. He didn't know about the chills. He didn't know about the nausea. He didn't know about the repeat incidents, this being the third time in as many weeks I've been knocked on my ass with fever, chills, nausea, sore throat, aching chest and swollen lymph nodes. He didn't know about the massive headaches three weeks ago that led to my taking tylenol like candy. He knew none of this, but immediately, without knowing anything other than my fever, that I had a bad cold.

Okay, yes, when you hear hooves behind you, don't expect to see a zebra when you turn around. I get that. Go for the simplest explanation, it's likely correct. However, you can't diagnose an illness from a piece of paper.

To his credit, after listening to my lungs and asking more questions, he did a couple tests to see if I had strep (I don't, thankfully) or staph (I don't, thankfully). I appreciated that he did the tests, but I am not confident he did anything more than confirm his paper diagnosis. My throat still hurts. I'm still achy. I'm still feverish. I'm still eating very little. I'll be much happier when I can start running again.