The following is not FACTUALLY accurate. Details have been changed, things deleted, stuff made up, all to protect identity. But it is 100% absolutely true.
"So what brings you into the ER tonight?"
"I've had a cough"
Did I mention it's 4 am?
"Oh......probably at least for at least 10 years now."
"Has it changed at all? Gotten any worse? Coughing up anything?"
"Nope. It's the same."
Did I mention that his vitals were stone cold normal?
"Any fevers, chills, weight loss, night sweats, etc, etc, etc"
"Nope. Just the cough."
Did I mention that the patient is comfortable, calm, completely relaxed?
"So what exactly made you come into the ER in the middle of the night?"
Did I mention this is the ER, stressing the EMERGENCY aspect of that term?
"Oh, I just thought I should get it checked out."
"And why didn't you go to a primary care doc?"
"Well, I don't like my doctor very much."
Did I mention that there are actually other SICK people in the ER?
"Do you smoke?"
"You, sir, likely have a smoker's cough. Follow up with your primary care doc."
Remember this the next time someone is blathering ignorantly on about why our medical system is becoming increasingly more expensive. Because both your and my dollars went to pay an ER triage nurse, an ER nurse, and a doc to evaluate smoker's cough at 4 am. Never mind the infrastructure of an ER.