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This Doctor Knows All About “Cold”

, , , , | Healthy | September 9, 2021

I’m twenty-three and I’m working in the UK for a year. English is not my first language, but I know enough to work in an English-speaking company so it’s not too bad.

One day, while I’m at work, I start feeling bad — fever, sore throat, coughing, etc. Since I am only here for a year, I did not think about registering with a general doctor, so I was not sure where to go to get seen by a doctor. My manager told me about “walk-in centers” where you can go without appointments. 

I check out of work, take a taxi, and manage to get to one of these centers. I wait for some time and then get to see a doctor.

I’m kind of shy and new situations can stress me a lot. I’ve never been to a doctor on my own at this point since my parents always had to drive me to the doctor’s office, and I had the same doctor from the time I was born.

I enter the doctor’s room. He barely looks at me and does not invite me to take a seat or anything.

Doctor: “What’s your problem?”

Me: “I feel like I have a fever and I feel pain in my throat.”

Doctor: “Okay, well, that’s a cold. What do you want me to do?”

I’m kind of shocked. In similar cases, my doctor always did the basic tests, like looking at my throat, measuring my temperature, making me breathe, etc. I try to insist.

Me: “Well, I just wanted to be sure it was just a cold.”

Doctor: “What could it be other than a cold?”

I’m thinking, “You’re the doctor; you’re the one supposed to know.” I try proposing an illness without knowing the English name — “angine” in French, which in English is called “Tonsillitis”.

Me: “Well, I really don’t know… It could be an angina? I’m sorry, I’m not sure of the English name.”

Doctor: “Nope, angina is a cardiac illness.”

Me: “Well, like I said, I’m not sure of what it’s called in English.”

He does not try to understand or do any tests. He just asks for my age and then says, in a very condescending way:

Doctor: “Well, you’re twenty-three years old and you never dealt with a cold before? Just get some paracetamol for three weeks. Goodbye.”

I went out of the center, and I almost cried out of stress and anger. I went home and called my parents, who helped me think and told me to go to a pharmacy to get a syrup for my throat. The syrup helped a lot — the weekend, too — and I recovered quickly.

I know this was a free consultation, I know doctors don’t have a lot of time allowed per patient, and I know the NHS has budget issues. But I was sick, living on my own in a foreign country, and just wanted to get something for the pain and to be reassured that it was just a cold.

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