discharge diagnosis : problem cause unknown.

On a recent evening after work I paid a visit to the fifth avenue apple store because the $$$ Airpods I’d bought three months ago weren’t working as intended.

For readers unfamiliar with the repairs appointment process at the apple store: first I initiated an online chat with a representative who tried to diagnose the issue and resolve it. After twenty minutes of back and forth rapid-fire Q & A and eventual helplessness he said I’d have to go to a store and get a genius consultation and found a same day slot for me.

I reached the makeshift apple store (the flagship one is under renovation) at the designated time..Thanks..MTA?? The registrar scrolled through her  company issue iPad, found my deets, ‘arrived me’ and pointed towards an empty chair saying my genius would be with me soon.

I said hellos to other patients gathered at the table waiting for their respective geniuses. They had  issues with iphones, macbooks, iclouds, batteries.

My genial genius arrived and post weather pleasantries went over the case notes as transcribed by the chat apple representative…asked me extensive history about my  Airpods usage while parallelly taking furious notes into his ipad…satisfied he asked to handle the Airpods for examination…simulated my problem and found my complaint legit and said,”I have to update your phone to the latest IOS and see if that fixes the issue.” He took my informed consent to start the upgrade and walked away to service other clients with a promise to return once the requisite event was done.

While waiting for the update to go through I did not have access to ibooks on the iphone and barren of any reading material I resorted to every new yorker’s ideal passtime  – people watching.

The lady to my right was having charging problems and her genius suggested swapping out the battery. The gent on my left had dropped his macbook and cracked the screen but luckily had applecare so was confident he would walk out with free replacement. The couple sitting diagonally from me were having problems restoring their backups from icloud.

The software update on my phone completed successfully and the genius came back as well. On trying to see if the issue with my Airpods had resolved : Fail.

So he resumed  typing into  his ipad and after a while said he’d be replacing my Airpods for free as it was still within the 1 year warranty period. Armed with shiny new Airpods we tried to see if all was well, so I could be discharged. But the FAIL State continued.

The genius now said, “maybe it is your phone that’s at fault and not the Airpods.”

So he began to run extensive diagnostics on my phone. I said it is not possible that my phone is faulty because I am a stickler for proper phone upkeep – I follow all the good practices and for an almost FIVE years old phone it still works flawlessly. The genius brushed away my comments and continued to run the ‘root canal’ like diagnostics and was surprised by the results..he said, “your phone is in amazing condition for an almost 5 years old model..looks like you really take excellent care of your gadgets.”

He called over an another genius to show him the fabulous diagnostic report and said to him,” I don’t know man..I don’t know what’s wrong because the Airpods are compatible with his iphone model. I have replaced the Airpods, updated the  phone, still no sauce. At this moment I’m at my wit’s end.”

To which the other genius replied, “Let me try connecting these Airpods to my latest iphone Xs (or whatever it is called..I can’t tell anymore)” and presto! they worked as intended.

But the moment I tried connecting them to my phone the problem was back.  Three of us were now frustrated. With his mandated break coming up my genius handed over the case to the next genius. She did the same battery of tests and arrived at the same conclusion ‘problem cause unknown.

She went and spoke to a Mr. Manager who said, “We cannot fix this issue because we don’t know what it is…maybe it is a manufacturing/engineering defect/limitation on the older iphones which is not widely know..if he wants he can spend a few hundred dollars and get a new iphone because the problem doesn’t seem to be occurring on the newer devices. We can give him a discount of $100 if he turns in his current old phone.”

I was pissed.

I told my genius, ” I have no intention of spending any money today let alone for a new phone. Apple failed to solve my problem and wants me to spend more money  lol.”

I replied ‘no deal’ and began packing my bag,”…I am switching to a samsung probably…airpods work with android devices right?”

The genius said, “sounds like the right thing to do…they should work..If you don’t mind I will list your issue as an educational/learning opportunity in our system so that it will get added to our knowledge-base.”

I was like whatever and thanked her for her time and left. Back on the train to home I had a startling realization. The whole experience was exactly like the one I had in a hospital a few weeks ago…

After the registrar ‘arrived me’ and the patient navigator gave me consents, the NP took vitals and while I was waiting to be seen, I spoke to the other waiting patients about tax returns and on finally seeing the doctor for my chief complaint of randomly flaring up pain in the left flexor digitorum longuscase.

My doctor wouldn’t stop typing into the EMR while simultaneously trying to maintain eye contact and evincing all possible medical history.  (I’m sure he coded a level 3 E/M of – 99203)

Unable to isolate the cause he said, “We can do more tests, refer you to specialists etc. but that won’t really help…just live with it and hope it goes away. Discharge Diagnosis problem cause unknown.

apple store waiting area

appl genius bar waiting

Clinic waiting area

hosp waiting

found someone discussing the same problem as mine in this reddit thread :

1 result found


Trinity : Please, just listen. I know why you’re here, Neo. I know  what you’ve been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, and why night after night you sit at your computer. You’re looking for him. I know, because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him, I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did…

Neo : What is the Matrix?

Trinity : The answer is out there, Neo. It’s looking for you…and it will find you…if you want it to.

– –


Morpheus : I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there…like a splinter in you’re mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

– – –


A blogger’s search for Parveen Babi’s fabled magazine cover

Ten years ago, in his last year at college in Nagpur, Vinayak Razdan opened his local newspaper and learned that the actor Parveen Babi had died at the age of 55. Growing up, Razdan had idolised her. He was troubled by the manner of her death. The Times of India headline that day read: “Parveen Babi dies, alone in death as in life.” In her final years, Babi, battling mental illness, had confined herself within her home in the Mumbai suburb of Juhu. She suffered fatal organ failure in her apartment one day, but no one had realised this for a while. Milk deliveries piled up at her doorstep for days before her housing society had the police check up on her.

The young Razdan had had a rough year himself, wracked with anxiety about what career he would choose after graduation. He was, like Babi, living alone. “I had no clue about the future,” he wrote to me in an e-mail this October. “Her lonely death didn’t help.” Of the many mysteries of Babi’s life, one relatively minor one captured Razdan’s imagination: the famous Time issue. He knew Babi as the first Bollywood star to have appeared on the cover of the American magazine, although he had never actually seen that cover. Upon her death, each obituary mentioned it. Frustratingly, however, none of them ran an image of it. So, in 2005, Razdan began to look for it himself. He may not have imagined, at the time, that the quest would take him over five years. [full]

– – – –

1. My quest.

Somewhere in the vicinity of December 2001, during the dial-up internet yahoo messenger era in India, I used to hangout in a chatroom where someone had shared a link to an article about an unlikely literary sensation discovered in a slush pile. I read the article and made a mental note to find the book when I had the requisite opportunity. (read wherewithal)

In September 2008 when I finally had the means (via the first check from the on-campus uni job) I couldn’t remember the name of the book or the author or the exact link to the article. I sort of remembered the heading of the article and tried looking it up online with no luck. The article heading was stuck in my head  because it was very unique/quirky ‘lady gets out of bed..takes a dump…writes a bestseller.’ 

After my initial failures to locate the the book /the author/the article, I put the issue on the back burner of my mind and proceeded with my regular shitty life. But the fact that I couldn’t locate the article gnawed at me (because those who have witnessed my google-fu will attest to my find rate of 98%) and at least once every few years since 2008, I’ve tried to find the said article. No luck tho.

Which brings us to December 2018.

I was reading some article on independent.co.uk  when something struck me (the font used)…maybe,maybe..this was the site on which I’d read that article all those years ago. A few custom search queries and no results later, I was pretty disappointed. But by now I was convinced the article was published by a UK news service.

After querying a few more UK News publications and all failures later, I arrived at  Telegraph news. I was giddy with anticipation because the font used site-wide definitely looked like the one the article was written in.

search query…moment of truth..FAIL.

I was like fuck this shit.

Then I  did a random last search for ‘Publisher’ + ‘woke up’ + ‘wrote a book’ and lo,there it was, the lone result:

Woke up, got out of bed, had a fag… and wrote a bestseller

The mistake I’d been all these years was I remembered the heading of the article all wrong. Looks like I made up my own title. And based on that flawed memory all my subsequent  years of searches had been fruitless. But I was so very sure of my memory.SAD.

I slapped my desk in excitement after the curtains down on my quest. A YUGE mistake for it was 3AM on a Wednesday. The missus woke up all angry and asked me why the ruckus. I explained my celebration. She let out a groan and said,”When you were reading Ready Player One you were complaining about how silly you found the writing because Wade obsessively kept combing James Halliday’s memories in search for  clues…what were you doing just now?”

link: [&7&]