"18 year old comes in with mild left sided headaches. He was convinced it was cancer. He had seen Saw III and Kramer had a brain tumor (from a prior existing metastatic cancer) that needed improvised surgery. This was his stated basis for thinking he had cancer. It was actually seasonal allergies improved with Tylenol and Zyrtec."
"ER doctor here. I had a patient insist she had a fever once and when I pointed out that our thermometer did not record a fever she told me "I'm not sure they taught you this in medical school but when Asians get a fever their temperature doesn't go up."
Yup, I missed that lecture."
"My mom worked at a dermatology office. A man came in insisting that he had bugs living in his skin. He had sores everywhere that were opened and infected. He brought in little pieces of the bugs that he had been able to pull out of his skin.
Under a microscope, those "bugs" were really just hair, dust, and lint. The patient had a psychological disorder where he imagined that his skin was infested with bugs. Makes my skin crawl thinking about it."
"My dad is a physician, and he's got a lot of great stories! This is from memory, if anyone is interested I can ask my dad about a few more stories, but my favorite is when a little old lady who didn't speak English came into the clinic with a live chicken. She claimed the chicken had the spirit of her dead husband in it, and it was giving her nightmares. She told the check-in desk she wanted to talk to the doctor about what to do. So my dad, the only guy who spoke Spanish at the moment in the clinic, listens to her and doesn't quite know what to do. He asks the lady if she has tried getting rid of the chicken, the lady says no she doesn't want to get rid of the chicken, she wants to keep it alive it's a pet. She tells my dad she wants the doctor to cleanse the chicken of her husbands spirit so he can rest in peace and so she can stop having nightmares. My dad tells her he doesn't think he has anything to fix that particular problem, and asked if she'd tried anything already. (At the time he is working on a reservation in the southwest, and traditional healing practices tend to take place along side modern medicine) she says yes but it didn't work, that's why she went to the clinic. She said thank you and left with her chicken."
"Not a doctor sorry but ED staff. This just happened a few hours ago.
This kid comes in and I do my usual "Hi there, what do you need to be seen for?". Kid says he has a concussion.
Me: "Oh no. How and when did you hit your head? Did you lose consciousness?"
Kid: "I didn't hit my head. I was nodding my head to music last week and I nodded too hard and now I have a concussion"
He was in and out in 30 minutes after telling the doctor that. He a) did not have a concussion and b) got a referral to a psychiatrist."
"Had a patient come in once due to weight gain that she thought was due to being pregnant. Made sense, except she'd taken more than half a dozen pregnancy tests and they were all negative. She was convinced she was pregnant though, and wanted me to check. I tell her ok, I'll do a blood test, since we can detect pregnancy earlier with that, and she refuses. Says that she just wants to pee on the stick in front of me and have me read it. So I say sure, and lo and behold, it's negative.
Little more questioning, and it turns out she'd been eating literally nothing but chicken wings for weeks. When I asked her why in the world she would do that, she replied that she just really liked chicken wings."
"I've had several patients state that they think they have multiple personality disorder, but really in the bigger picture, not many. I've had many parents bring in their kids stating that they think their child is psychotic (not quite self diagnosis, but close enough), when almost always they are a total waste of time, and kids don't have the cognitive capabilities to mimic real psychosis, so it's REAL easy to tell, and often related to behavioral problems. "The voice in my head told me to destroy my room and tell you to 'f--k off'". No, that's your inner monologue, you're just a shitty kid."
"...I'm an ED RN. Had a 23 yr old girl who had intermittent bleeding from her gums for about a year. She was a manager at a restaurant, and one of her servers who used to be a nurse in Guatemala convinced her this was a sign of cancer. She'd "had a bunch of really specific dreams lately" that pointed to her having cancer, I'm sure completely unrelated to her friend trying to convince her she had cancer. Guess what? Like most ED patrons, she just needed to brush her teeth more often."
"If my doctor used reddit he might tell you all about me years ago....
early 20s male, played a lot of acoustic guitar without a shirt on. The top of the guitar rested right on my right nipple and pressed against it, causing a gland to swell up and create a lump behind my nipple.
After a couple weeks of it being sore and swollen I went do the doctor because I thought I had breast cancer."
"I had an ex who was, among other things, a raging hypochondriac.
I woke up one night at 3 AM to find her standing in the bathroom, staring in the mirror while shining a flashlight down her throat.
"Come here! Quick! My tongue has tiny bumps all over it!"
She was referring to the lingual papillae which we all have. I opened my mouth and showed her my own tongue, but she insisted that this was a very serious illness caused by... eating some bread.
Her logic was that bread contains yeast, and because yeast causes dough to rise, it was now multiplying in her stomach and spreading throughout her entire body cavity. She begged me to take her to the emergency room before the "mold" killed her.
When I tried to explain things rationally, she began talking in a very high-pitched Mickey Mouse-type voice, saying that the infection was changing her vocal chords.
Reluctantly drove her to the emergency room, because she wouldn't go to sleep if I didn't.
The doctor who examined her didn't find anything. Wow!
The next day, she goes out and spends over $125 on... you guessed it, essential oils. The oils will be used to "burn the mold away."
She ended up back in the emergency room that evening for ingesting concentrated clove oil, which is so caustic that a few drops of the stuff actually melted away the plastic surface of my alarm clock.
We stayed together for about three weeks after that"
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