Suffering From A Bad Case Of Bias

, , , | Healthy | December 5, 2018

(This takes place shortly after my 19th birthday. I want to get a tattoo, much to my parents’ dislike, but since I am an adult now, they relent and my father goes with me as I get it done. I get a Gallifreyan circle — from Doctor Who — on my left forearm. It comes out really nice and I love it. However, a few months later, when it is fully healed, I develop some little red bumps over the tattoo and the skin is very itchy. I think it’s a rash, but it doesn’t look serious. I go to my family doctor to check it out, since I rarely get rashes at all. For context, my doctor is originally from Germany, and she has a thick accent. She also doesn’t have any sense of humor and is really blunt, which makes it hard to talk to her sometimes. I go in for my appointment and show her my arm.)

Me: “I think I have a rash on my arm, but I don’t know how I got it. I don’t have allergies to anything, so I’m not sure what triggered it.”

Doctor: “When did you get the tattoo?”

Me: “In May, a few months ago.”

(It’s August now.)

Doctor: *cutting me off* “You’re allergic to tattoo ink. No more tattoos.”

Me: *thinking* “If I’m allergic to the ink, wouldn’t I have had a reaction immediately?” *out loud* “Are you sure? It’s been a good amount of time since I got it, and I didn’t have a reaction when it was healing.”

Doctor: “You’re allergic to tattoo ink. You can’t get any more tattoos. You’re lucky you came in now; it could have developed into something worse. “

Me: “If I got this rash right after getting the tattoo, I would agree with you. But it’s been about three months, and it’s fully healed. Is there any possibility it could be something else?”

Doctor: “You’re not listening to me. You. Are. Allergic. To. The. Ink. Do not get any more tattoos. And don’t get any more piercings, either.”

(I only have my ears and nose pierced, but I don’t know why that mattered since they also healed fine. I was skeptical, but didn’t push it further. She prescribed a rash cream and said to use it until it clears up, or come back to see her if it doesn’t. I decided to call the tattoo shop I went to to ask them about it, which I now know I should have done in the first place! They told me not to worry, since it was fully healed, and it wasn’t a typical allergic reaction, especially months later. I used the cream and the rash was completely gone about a week later. I now have four tattoos, and have never developed another rash. Allergic, indeed!)

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