There are certainly always times where our rational self argues with our irrational self, but this occurs the most often with me when I’m sick. Since it’s such a rarity, I consider it a major inconvenience. Having to take time out of your day to see a doctor who is usually rude, not to mention the exposure to other sick people, makes a trip to an office a harrowing journey. Here’s my typical thought process for being ill:
(The moment something feels off)
Rational me: Probably nothing
(Symptoms persist, textbook for X condition, X being strep, flu, cold, etc)
Rational me: I should probably check on this.
Rational me: Yep – looks like I might have X. I wonder if I should go to the doctor?
(Enter, Irrational me)
Irrational me: It might go away. You might not even be sick. You’re being a hypochondriac and overreacting. Just give it another day. You don’t even feel that bad!
(Wait a day, symptoms persist, sometimes getting worse)
Rational me: I need to go to the doctor. This is silly – I could be a day closer to feeling better if I just went yesterday.
(Check the wait times at nearby Minute Clinics, where you can sign up to reserve your spot in line, 3 of which are within 20 minutes of my house)
Irrational me: 118-minute wait time! No way! Ain’t nobody got time for that (choosing to ignore the save your place in line function). Again, I don’t even feel that bad. Won’t this go away on its own?
Consult Dr. Google again – “Will X go away on its own?”
Read various articles, all of which say “not likely”
Rational me: Ok, that’s it. I can’t just flush this out of my system by doubling my water intake. It’s actually something that responds to antibiotics. It’s not a virus, and all of these people are saying even if they did get better on their own, they wouldn’t recommend that to anyone just because it can get worse without treatment.
Irrational me: I should probably read a few more articles and a Reddit message board first. Americans are over-medicated anyway! Doctors prescribe antibiotics for everything these days! I really don’t want to kill all of the good bacteria in my stomach for nothing.
Read another article and a Reddit message board for more of the same – some anecdotal evidence of it clearing on its own, most people recommending a doctor visit.
Rational me: Americans are over-medicated. Doctors do prescribe antibiotics for things that don’t need them. But if I have X, and I think I do, antibiotics can treat it, and I don’t have to feel this way anymore.
Go to Minute Clinic.
Test positive for X.
Get prescription for antibiotics.
The happy ending to this story is that I feel better tomorrow! Crossing my fingers.
Also – check out the “Nurses to the rescue!” episode of the Freakonomics podcast. It talks about things like Minute Clinics staffed by Nurse Practitioners, like the one I saw today. And for the record, My NP was delightful – better than almost any doctor I’ve seen.