Here’s the story: For the last three days I’ve had a sore throat, the kind where your tonsils swell up like golf balls and grow nasty white spots on them. I’ve also been running a fever and have suffered from alternating chills and sweats. When I woke up this morning, my throat felt like raw, swollen sandpaper.

And so, I reluctantly concluded that a visit to a medical professional was called for. I hate seeing doctors, and I especially hate seeing doctors on weekends, when my regular doctor is not available.

Alas, I only get strep on weekends. Last time, my dad took me to the emergency room. Thanks, Dad. This time, I tried a different strategy. I went to the “Care Plus” walk-in clinic.

I told my tale of woe to the nurse, who swabbed my throat until I gagged. The sample went off for the quick strep test, which I’ve been told is highly inaccurate. I waited patiently in the exam room, having brought a book along.

About 20 minutes later, I heard the doctor in the hall, grousing loudly about being second-guessed and otherwise mistreated. I paid no attention, as it had nothing to do with me. I hadn’t even seen the woman yet.

The doctor came in the room and told me my strep test was negative.

“Oh come ON!” I exclaimed, thinking I’d killed the whole morning I could’ve spent sick in bed and was going to leave empty-handed, “those tests aren’t accurate.”

“About 70%,” she retorted, “but I also go by what I see.”

Looking angry, the doctor was unimpressed by my temperature (the ibuprofen I took brought my fever down, I hastened to explain) and equally unimpressed by my bright red, swollen, spotty throat.

She said “I think you have a virus, but you are obviously EXPECTING antibiotics, so I’m going to prescribe them.”

Taken aback by her hostility, I said “I appreciate that.”

She pulled out her pad and started writing. I decided to push my luck and asked her to prescribe zithromax, which means a five day course of once-a-day pills, instead of a ten day course of three-times-a-day pills.

Well, that pissed her off even more. “You realize that amoxycillan is the recommended drug for what YOU THINK you have, but I’ll give you zithromax. You’ll get better while you’re on it, and then you’ll think you were right.”

Oooookay, it was clearly time to shut up, lest she change her mind. As I left, the nurse patted my arm sympathetically. Heck, I should feel sorry for HER, she has to work with that bitch.

Technogeek’s response to this story: “Imagine what she would’ve said if you’d asked for painkillers.”

Now, I know that antibiotics are over-prescribed, and there will be dire consequences for humanity, but jeez, I was just a sick person seeking treatment. Did I deserve such a hostile, rude response from the doctor? If she really, truly believed I did not have a bacterial infection, she should not have prescribed the antibiotics. But she did, and I’m taking them. I hope to feel much better tomorrow.


I woke up feeling much improved, and the tonsil spots are gone. Fever has vanished, and I am functioning without ibuprofen for the first time since Thursday. Was Zithromax my knight in shining armor, slaying the streptococcal dragon? Or was it a virus that ran its course? We’ll never know for sure.


20 thoughts on “

  1. I do not like doctors either, I try very hard to avoid them. Many of them have the bedside manner of an employer at McDonalds during the lunch hour, and on top of that they are also snooty and believe the rest of us do not even know what is on the menu. Maybe a McDonalds in France then?

  2. If the doctors were really concerned about antibiotic over use they’d make a fuss about them being in meat.  I’m glad you got your drugs even if it was the hard way.  It’s sad that people have to stick up for themselves so much when they go to the doctor.

  3. Maybe her delightful attitude (McDonalds during lunch hour was a pretty good description) is why she is working in a doc-in-the-box clinic, instead of in her own practice.  I’ve had a lot more unpleasant experiences with clinic docs. . .I love my pediatrician.  And my OBGYN (who’s a friend from church) will call me in antibiotics over the phone, when I’m sick, since I don’t have a regular doc.  When you have 5 babies in less than 9 years, you really don’t need to see any other kind of doctor. 😉
    Feel better soon, by the way. 🙂

  4. She should not have behaved that way, HOWEVER….strep throat does not swell your tonsils and give you spots on them.  That’s tonsilitis, and it is a virus.  Antibiotics do nothing for a virus.  She is probably frustrated with people thinking that tonsilitis is strep…and tired of arguing with people about it, and figured she didnt want to do that with you.  Maybe she had a fight with her husband before she left for work, who knows….
    But you shouldn’t even take the meds, your right, takeing them when not needed does lower your resistance….all you need is some salt water, orange juice and a couple tylenols….
    Either way…I hope you feel better.  Having a sore throat is no fun, no matter what has caused it.  Get well!  ~D~

  5. The tonsils are glands.  designed to fight infestions.  Swelling of the tonsils happens for a variety of reasons, and is not always caused by Strep.  The swelling of the glands does in fact signal a warning, but they themselves can be infected, and it does not always mean there is a bacterial infection.  Because there is an infection present, for whatever reason, you will have a temperature.  The tempurature means your body is fighting SOMETHING.  It can be a virus, or a bacterial infection. 
    As a friend…I’m only telling you this because I know what being resistant to antibiotics can do to a person first hand.  I also know what leaving strep go untreated can do.  I have a very close friend that lost both his kidneys at 19 because he didn’t get treated for strep, and has had to deal with being a kidney transplant patient for the last 16 years of his life.  So, it’s not my point.  My point was just that, not every ailment means you need an antibiotic.  Really, the swab tests ARE most reliable.

  6. Wait, you had the quick strep test right?  Can’t you hold off on the antibiotics and have them send your swab to a lab?  Or can’t you take the antibiotics fro like 2 days?  If it is step you will feel better and if it’s viral you probably won’t.  p8indme , I thought spots usually did mean strep, but swollen ment tonsilitis Oh, what doI know, not a doctor, and we, knock on wood ,don’t have much step around here.  Good luck and feel better either way. 

  7. If she’s working in a clinic, she has a boss (or more likely, several bosses).  Write to them.  I could forgive her for being rude.  (C’mon, Rabbit, you’ve dealt with rude before.)  But she either treated you for a disease she didn’t think you had OR she had so little faith in her own diagnosis that she allowed you to essentially write your own scrip.  She probably shouldn’t be allowed to practice…

  8. I hate doctors too, but you had the doctor from hell.  DO get well.  *I* always prescribe chicken soup, but what do I know?
    Of course I don’t hate all doctors.  My next blog MIGHT mention Dr. Mitchell, whose latest success story involves a friend of mine who woke up from a 6-day coma four days ago.  No way can I hate Dr. Mitchell.  My friend’s doing better each day, and we all thought she’d never wake up.  Miracle is the word that comes to mind.

  9. So now doctors have bad handwriting and bad manners.  Are these courses they are required to take?  Prescription Writing 101, prerequisite, Bad Handwriting 100.  Bedside Manner 203, prereq, Rudeness 103.  I’m so glad I live in the outlands of Nebraska–the trends take so much longer to get here!

  10. Sheesh. Why didn’t she just amputate your arm, while she was at it?I get the whole overuse of antibiotics thing too, but there’s no reason to be rude, and I hate those quick strep tests. I don’t trust them either.

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