I went to a walk-in clinic last week.
I informed the Dr. that I had a mild bladder infection but had developed a sudden low back pain along with fever and chills. I expected to get antibiotics for a kidney infection.
The doctor did not take my temperature (or ask – it was 103). He asked ‘how bad’ the chills were. Since I was only covered with goose-bumps while in a sweater on a plus 30 degree day and not violently shivering, I said OK.
The doctor poked my back (without looking) a few times and after he hit a sore spot, told me he thought it was muscle soreness. He then asked if I had been camping recently or slept on a hard mattress.
I am 30. I am active. I know what sore muscles are and aren’t. I was fuzzy and feverish and couldn’t think.
I left, went home, and collapsed in febrile exhaustion.
The next day I saw someone though my own clinic. Within minutes I had my temperature taken and a urine sample being analyzed. The new doctor asked questions I had not thought of but were obviously relevant. She poked my back in one spot to confirm it was kidney pain and I had my diagnosis.
The first doctor called me back 4 days later asking if I would come in to get blood work done. I would have been in the hospital had I waited that long.
What was the difference?
I know medical professionals often take the symptoms of women less seriously and the first was an older man perhaps more likely to have such a bias.
I wore a pink sweater which made my grey, green and purple face look pink.
I said my symptoms in an unemotional (and fatigued) tone of voice with no exaggeration.
Maybe walk-in clinics just don’t care as much.
Maybe my regular doctor and her team are exceptional.