Daniel Hoelbling-Inzko talks about programming

Medical Guesswork

Posted by Daniel Hölbling on June 23, 2009

Warning: This post is strictly non-technical. No .NET code was harmed during the writing of this and if you go on reading this you may lose 10 minutes of your life you’ll never get back! So proceed with caution and only if you don’t mind reading about my personal life.

My girlfriend recently went to see an orthopedist because her right wrist was hurting. After examining her for some time he said:

Could be [weird desease that involves necrosis inside the joint], let’s run some tests.

And off she went with an appointment 2 weeks down the road, waiting for the tests to prove that she has a necrotic bone inside her right wrist.

At 21 you don’t take such things very lightly (especially if they involve permanent damage to the right hand), and those two weeks of waiting for the “real thing" proved to be quite stressful for her. Thank god the tests came back and proved that the pain was caused by something else!

Now, fast forward one month, I went to see the same doctor because I felt pain in my left wrist over the last week. After doing a 3 minute examination (if you want to call some touching my wrist that way) he said:

Could be carpal tunnel, otherwise the wrist looks fine. Let’s run some more tests.

He then gave me the number of 3 other doctors to go to and run tests, to find out if I’ve really got carpal tunnel.

Guess what? I don’t care. I won’t go to see any of those and I certainly won’t ever go back to see that one again.

Why? Simple: I’m a programmer, my wrists are a very very valuable thing to me. I just wanted to make sure that everything is ok, not embark on a 3 week roundtrip to 3 doctors with the thought in mind “This CTS thing could ruin my life”. (And the pain was really just a small annoyance I wanted to get checked out, nowhere near actual pain)

Seriously? What doctor tells his 21/24 year old patient his “first guess” at a diagnosis? Especially such a bad one? Do I walk around my customers and tell them “Hey, from the look of the app I get the impression this codebase is unrecoverable, I’ll run some analysis but prepare to pay for a rewrite.”?

I guess you have figured out that I’m slightly annoyed right now. But rest assured that I am currently at perfect health. If my wrist-pain comes back I’ll see a (better) doctor – I promise.

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