Okay, nobody expects youth be able to set your own broken bones or organize your own chemo doses. But, like… By the time you’re 30, you should understand how your own genitals work.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1. I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldnt matter “because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use.”
I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the condom with hot water and soap before he used said condom again.
2. Had a patient who came in with blood sugar in the 800s. Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and the such. Pulled Burger King and gummy worms out of his backpack and proceeded to eat them. Like bro, do you even know what diabetes is?
3. Got placed doing a rotation in the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in a rural area of Southern California. I was doing my rounds and saw a patient out of bed and walking around the floor following a knee replacement. She had a cane in her hand that she was carrying like as a solider would carry a rifle.
I asked what she was doing and what she thought the cane was for. She replied she thought the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she’s now “handicapped” rather than to help her walk post surgery.
4. I had severe asthma as a kid. I was intubated for a severe attack a few times. My parents were instructed to take better precautions in our home: more dusting, washing bedsheets, and the big one – NO SMOKING inside the house. So my parents agree to all of this.
A doctor who recognized me came over to talk to me then bent over and smelled my head (I’ll never forget that. I thought it was so weird). He told a nurse to sit there and not let me leave with my parents. When my parents showed up he asked point blank:
“Did you not understand what I told you last time? Do you understand these attacks could be fatal?”
“But we open windows and have stopped smoking in her room when we put her to bed.”
5. There was a nursing student I had once who laughed loudly during a lecture and exclaimed, “How can you possibly get an STD in your mouth?” Ahh the innocence of youth.
6. I actually had to explain that having sex gets you pregnant. It was a 20+ year old woman who couldn’t grasp the idea that sex leads to pregnancy. She thought that in order for a man and a woman to have children, they needed to be married first and then have a baby. That sex was just an act unrelated to it.
7. My human sexuality professor in grad school had some interesting stories. He worked a lot in very conservative Christian communities where a lot of people got married with no sex education. He had one couple who couldn’t get pregnant.
Turns out they thought sleeping together literally meant sleeping in the same bed. Another couple was in therapy because neither one of them enjoyed sex or ever had an orgasm. After having them talk through step by step what they did in bed, he learned the guy was just sticking it in and nothing else.
He told the guy to move back and forth next time and see what happened. They couple came back one more time to say “THANK YOU!!!!!” and didn’t need any more sessions.
8. I had a woman who seriously came to the ER to get a pregnancy test done.
I mean, you can do that if you want. But its very, very expensive. Apparently she didn’t know you could buy one at the Rite-Aid down the block. Seriously, don’t come to the ER for a pregnancy test, cause the test results won’t be the only surprise you’ll be getting.
Also, I constantly have to explain that if you have diabetes, you need to take your medication. No, ‘getting fatter’ isn’t the worst that can happen. The worst that can happen is that you’ll die. That’s why you’re in the ER with diabetic ketoacidosis and suffering organ damage. It’s why you’re gonna lose your toes. Take your meds.
9. My friend is a student doctor and is on placement at a small town doctor’s office. She had a 70-ish year old woman come in with complaints of a small but painless growth that was visible at the back of her throat.
Turns out it took her 70 years to notice her uvula.
10. A mother came in with her son to discuss treating his acne. Son was about 15 years old and didn’t really care about the acne, but his mom did. After going over treatment options, she asked if he just needed to “do it” to get rid of the acne.
A grown woman with a child thought that by him having sex his acne would magically go away.
It seems that many people think that being a teenager = acne, thus having sex makes you a man and you would no longer have acne. Odd thought process.
11. Patient comes in at 2am for insomnia, clearly tweaking her brains out, heart rate over 200. Can’t sit still, bouncing off the walls. I suggest maybe easing up on the cocaine. “But doctor, I LOVE cocaine.” Okay, I dont think youre getting it.
12. The number of American 20-somethings that don’t know if they’re circumcised or not is surprisingly high.
When one with urinary tract infection symptoms needs to give a specimen for testing, I ask, “Are you circumcised?” If not, I have to tell them to pull back the foreskin before peeing in the cup. The number of guys who have asked, “What’s that?” is way too many.
13. I had to explain to a patient that the 30+ cups of coffee he was drinking every day could possibly be the cause of his anxiety and insomnia. He said he was not willing to give this up or try decaf.
14. Lady had a broken jaw. She comes in after 2 weeks with an open mandible fracture. Referred her to the hospital for immediate surgery. She never went because it “doesn’t bother her and she’ll see if it gets better on its own.” Whew.
15. As a veterinarian, I had a 10 minute conversation with an owner explaining which side was the dog’s left side.
16. I saw a patient for a follow up after three ER visits in as many days for asthma. He was from another country, so this was the first time I ever met him. His lungs sound absolutely terrible, but he swears he is taking the inhaler every 2-4 hours with no relief.
This raises suspicion to me, as the same meds are working in the ER. I ask him to show me how he is using it. He holds it about a foot away from his mouth and does two puffs and swallows. I felt really bad, he had never received any education about his illness or medications.
17. Patient made an appointment and literally brought in his poop in a box.
He was concerned about the size of his turds, and if they were normal. All he got from the visit was, “Normal turd. Yes, it’s pretty wide.”
Turd box was set out with biohazard waste. Waste guy thought it was a misplaced package and put it on the front desk. Secretary got quite the surprise the next morning.
18. My dad had to tell a patient that they were not pregnant. The patient was male.
19. Had to explain that taking some weird plant they bought from a “pharmacy” online isn’t 14.324 times better than chemo and doesn’t only attack cancer cells because it likes the acid environment of carcinoma cells.
20. You can’t swallow a tapeworm to lose weight. I mean you can. But tapeworms can cause horrible diseases like neurocysticercosis. It was amazing to me that someone thought this was a good idea.
21. My mother helps the Amish get dental care. One Amish woman complained that she needed new dentures. When asked why she thought so, she replied, “Well, I’ve lost weight, and you know that when you lose weight, you lose it in your gums first.”
22. My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80’s. One afternoon they had a patient come in who was running a fever and was complaining of pain in her pelvic area. Mom thought that the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her. The doctor arrives and closes the door.
The doctor questioned the patient about her sex life: was it protected, non-protected, etc.According to mom, the patient told him “No doc, we always use a rubber.” That’s when the door realized what the problem was. (continued…)
The doctor looked down and noticed that there was a small rubber band extending from the woman’s vagina. The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone’s mouth… one rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes.
Finally once they were all removed, the Doctor had “the talk” with the woman about sex education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by “wearing a rubber.”
23. A 32-year-old grown man asked me if the hot spells he was experiencing at night meant he was going through menopause.
24. I’m a dental hygienist and once was telling a patient after a cleaning that she had gingivitis. She replies with “I must have caught it from my boyfriend”. Had to explain to her that it’s because she doesn’t brush/floss enough. She was 36.
25. I had to explain to a grown man I still work with that tampons don’t break down in a woman’s urine after they were finished using them. He’s been married 12 years. It was not his best day.
26. My wife had to explain to a 40-year-old patient that brown sugar did, in fact, contain sugar and that is most likely the reason why he now has diabetes. The same man also adamantly insisted his wine consumption was not an issue because he “only drank the dry stuff like chianti so it doesn’t have any sugar.”
27. “I don’t want my baby to get a vaccine because Jenny McCarthy’s book says her son got Autism from a vaccine.” A couple things:
Jenny McCarthy is a one time playboy model who wants to sell you her books.
Measles killed 135,000 people in the world LAST YEAR.
Autism has a strong genetic component. If one identical twin has it, there is a 75% chance the other will as well.
Andrew Wakefield faked the research linking autism to vaccines, lost his license to practice medicine, and made millions helping lawyers sue actual doctors and selling books.
I went to school for 11 years, spent 10,000 hours studying and just want to make sure your child stays healthy. Quit thinking your 5 minutes of internet research means anything, get over yourself, and vaccinate your damn baby.
28. So I’m an EMT.
I had to tell a patient with severe pneumonia (and the patient’s family) that you don’t get sick (i.e. catch a cold) by leaving your skin exposed.
The family was vehemently debating me on the fact claiming that I had no idea what I was talking about because I’m not a doctor.
29. My own mother doesn’t have a good grasp on the reproductive system so I had to be the one to explain that:
Getting my tubes removed did not remove my ability to get a period.
That we women have a urethra, a vagina, and an anus–babies do not come from the urethra. This one was strange because she had me and my sister, so…
That when you neuter a dog, you just remove the testes, not the penis also.
30. We had someone come into the ER because they needed their nails redone They genuinely thought it was a good idea to go to the emergency room to have their fake nails taken off and redone because they had gotten too long and become uncomfortable.
31. Our doctor had to have a chat with my sister because she thought you could get pregnant from oral sex. She was 21.
32. I was checking the carseat and walking a postpartum mom out of the hospital. Mind you, this was her fifth child. Five. She had raised 4 other children to adolescence. But for this one, on the way outside, she took a blanket and tucked it around the baby’s head and face, nice and taut. Kid easily could have suffocated.
33. My cousin was in his first year in a clinic and people went there to have an appointment because he was good looking. Elder ladies loved him particularly. The worst case was when this elder lady goes in with her granddaughter, around 8 years old.
She had a severely infected wound in her head. Upon close inspection, he saw the wound crawling with small maggots and the smell was terrible. He was pissed, of course, and asked why she didnt wash the wound. She said she thought it would heal with time and was afraid to wash it, lest water enters her brain and kills her.
There was also this woman that took her 6 year old daughter there to ask why she hadnt hit puberty.
34. I did a patient’s glucose the other day and it came back in the 500s. I reported the number to the nurse and, while we waited for insulin, the patient asked me to bring them ice cream.
Because that’ll totally solve the problem… I mean, I’m a bigish girl, and I’m no stranger to emotional eating, but when your blood sugar comes back so high that the doctor has to drop everything to come treat you, it’s probably no bueno to reach for the sugar.
35. My brother is a general practitioner in rural Tennessee. Enough said, right?
He says most of his patient visits go about like this:
MD “Well, person, you’re pre diabetic, have high blood pressure, and are complaining about joint pain. Have you been exercising and cutting out sugar and carbs?”
Person “yeah I have, doc, but it doesn’t seem to help. Do you have any better meds you could prescribe?”
MD “well, let’s talk about your diet. How much water do you drink a day?”
Person “I don’t like water, so I get extra ice in my sweet tea every day to make sure I get enough water.”
36. My sister is a doctor and 25 years ago she had her very very first patient out of residency. This patient refused to allow her to see her breasts (which were sore and needed a mammogram to check out a lump). So sister asks why and this girl who is about 30 and single said matter of factly “oh. That’s lesbian. We can’t do that. It’s against the lord’s wishes.”
37. Had to explain to an adult you have to brush all the sides of a teeth. Like… no, just the side that shows when you smile is not enough. And yes flossing is not just a thing for rich people.
38. Both my parents are doctors. My dad told me about an extremely religious male patient who was concerned about his nocturnal emissions. He saw it as a offense to God and wanted to know what he could do to stop it. My dad’s response: “Well, It’s gotta go somewhere guy.”
39. The number of times I have to explain colds to adults. You’re 40 years old, you’ve probably had 100 of these, how have you not figured this out yet?? Do you come to the doctor every time??? Antibiotics won’t help, drink fluids, take cough medicine, and dont waste your time coming to see me.