It's one thing to get yourself into an awkward situation - it's another to make it a million times worse. Here, 22 people share how they managed to do just that.
1/20. There was a guy that really needed to fart in class so he comes up with a brilliant idea. The idea was to take a textbook, drop it on the floor and fart at the same time so the loud THUMP would hide the sound of his fart. He picks up his textbook, drops it on the ground and a loud THUMP happens. Now the whole room is quiet and everybody is looking at him. And then he farts.
2/20. Me and my GF at the time where making out on my bed. There was also quite a lot of touchy feely (I was 13, doing things I probably shouldn't have been, but was proud of at the time).
So when I heard the front door open, which is right next to the door to my room, I hopped up faster than an animal noticing or was being hunted.
I look over at my girlfriend, she is trying to get her shirt and bra on quickly, with two arms in the head hole, her head in the shirt hole, the bra in her grasp just dangling hilariously, bare boobs just sorta there.
I look around for some sort of distraction, a way to give her time to get dressed and come up with a cover story, and so I grab a custom bionic toy I had created earlier (some sort of auto gun or whatever, bionics were cool AF) and I ran towards the door....
Too late. My uncle is standing there, and in his view he probably saw this:
Me standing there, my arm outstretched with a silly kids toy in it, pants around my ankles, and a look of pure desperation/fear on my face, and my girlfriend, (who he didn't know at the time) standing there in her hilarious shirt entanglement, boobs bouncing around frustratingly.
Needless to say, the extended family Olive Garden dinner that happened later was awkward for the 3 of us, but my uncle was a bro about it, he left the room, gave her time, didn't talk about it, gave me some condoms after dinner, and never told my parents.
3/20. Several years ago I was sitting at the lunch table, not listening to my friend. He finished his story and I said, "Cool story, needs more dragons." Apparently he was talking about his friend who had recently died in a house fire. I pay more attention to what people are saying now.
4/20. I was sharing a tent with my buddy and our mutual friend, a girl. I'm a heavy sleeper, but I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of her whispering. I quickly realized she and my bro were having stealth sexy time right next to me. My response..."When is it my turn?" Silence followed...lots of silence...I went back to sleep.
5/20. A guy I know told a story of when he and his friends were kids having a bonfire in the backyard, roasting marshmallows and such, when they heard a bunch of firetrucks and commotion coming from just up the street.
They all ran to see what was going on and apparently a neighbor's house was burning to the ground. Like five alarms burning to the ground. The kid was looking around and saw that the whole family was outside and safe, but was staring at him and his friends in total disbelief.
Apparently in their rush to see what was going on, they brought whatever was in their hands with them and were now standing in front of this family's burning house with marshmallows on sticks.
Continue reading on the next page!
6/20. I wore my headset in the office to listen to music and to take calls as needed. It was a great headset because it canceled out a lot of noise.
One day, one of the guys is saying something about going that I can't make out all that well, but I see him getting ready to step out. Hoping it was for a coffee run, I asked "Oooooh, where are you going?"
I didn't understand the shocked stares from the people around me until after he left silently and they explained that he was fired.
I never lived that one down and every time I run into a former colleague, they bring it up.
7/20. During high school, there was this girl whose mother had passed away from cancer the previous year. Well, to make things worse, her father was also pretty sick. One day, in the middle of history class, someone from the school administration comes into the classroom and privately pulls her aside to tell her the bad news: her father was dead.
Everyone in the classroom understood what was going on, and there was silence, and everyone felt really bad for her. You could see the pity on everyone's face.
Then this kid named Kevin who was late for class comes in, sees everyone's faces and says "WTF, DID SOMEONE DIE OR WHAT?"
Then the whole class shouted "KEVIN SHUT THE F*CK UP".
8/20. Once I had a teacher let me do a presentation after school. I missed the days before when the presentations were going on so really I could only do it after school. Presenting to one person is kind of weird though. My teacher was young and awkward, but really likeable and definitely didn't want to be as awkward as he was. Anyway, my teacher was probably making sure I wasn't too nervous or whatever and he asked me, "Are you comfortable doing this?"
Now I'm not sure why but I just said, "Yeah. Are you comfortable doing this?"
Ugh it made it so much weirder.
9/20. First Thanksgiving with my girlfriends (now wife's) family. Table full of her relatives. Don't know many. As the new guy there, some of the uncles/cousins would make untoward remarks about me and her getting physical in a romantic way to try and rile up her father.
At one point, someone made a passing joke that she was pregnant. Immediately afterwards, the conversation at the table got quiet as group conversations tend to do. Unfortunately it was at this exact moment that I chose to finally respond to one of the uncle's jests. While everyone became quiet I simultaneously uttered the words, "And we're keeping this one."
10/20. I was at my ex-girlfriend's grandmother's funeral reception. I dropped and broke a plate. Awkward enough.
But my response after the room has gone quiet and everyone is staring at me?
"See, this is why you can't take me to nice places."
Continue reading on the next page!
11/20. Freshman year of high school, gym class. Our class shared the locker rooms with the weight lifting class. So a bunch of tiny freshman having to change/shower in a locker room full of juniors/seniors that are MUCH farther along in puberty.
The routine was simple. Undress, walk to the shower with your towel wrapped around yourself. Hang up your towel outside the showers, clean, towel off and wrap up. Get dressed.
Everything was going well, until it was time to dry off. My towel is gone, someone took my towel. I had plenty of options, I chose the most embarrassing one.
I strode into the middle of the locker room, buck naked. I planted my feet apart in an aggressive stance. One that just happened to also let my genitals be as visible as possible, which I only realized AFTER I had planted my feet.
I shout out to the whole room "WHO THE F*CK TOOK MY TOWEL?!"
Dead silence. I now have close to 60 other males in various state of undress all staring at my nude, pale form.
Someone quietly asks what color my towel was.
Still naked, still angry, I shout out my reply.
At that point someone threw me my towel and I strode away to get dressed.
Outwardly I handled it well, inside I was crying.
12/20. A girl asked to have a sip of my drink as I was chewing on ice. Not knowing what to do with the ice, I spit it back into the drink. She seemed upset and as she began to say "never mind" I assured her I could remedy the situation by digging my disgusting fingers through the drink to get the ice out. That girl is now my wife of 8 years.
Just kidding I never talked to her again.
13/20. I was at a housewarming party being held by the girls that lived in the apartment above us. We only knew a couple of the girls who lived there, but the place was full of their friends (mostly other college girls).
Anyway, out on the balcony I was getting introduced to a few people, and was shaking a couple of hands. The next girl I went to shake hands with put out her left hand instead of the normal right. Thinking she was trying to be weird or pretentious I said, laughing:
"What's with the weird handshake?"
The balcony went silent. The most earth-shattering awkward silence I've ever heard. I glanced down and the girl's right hand was horrifically burned. Like, it was deformed and lifeless.
I said nothing and waited for the conversation to move on, which it did, even though I was still getting looks from everyone there for the rest of the night.
14/20. A lady tells the man next to me, "Nice shirt!" I say thanks thinking she was speaking to me. I then notice she wasn't and I said, "What about mine?" I got a big glare
Continue reading on the next page!
15/20. I was at a chain fast food restaurant and one of the girls making my sub sandwich had a mark on her neck, pretty obvious it was from her boyfriend biting her. So I say, "Did your dog bite you?" and she smiles and says, "Yeah kinda."
Fast forward a couple days, same restaurant but different girl making sandwich and she also has a mark on her neck. I use the same line again but another girl working there starts shaking her head and motioning me to shut up. Upon closer inspection, I see that it's not a hickey. It's a rash or a birthmark or acne, something that probably isn't going away anytime soon. I'm smooth like that.
16/20. First time ever having sex.
There was silence.
Then I spoke:
"Better out than in, I always say."
We didn't have sex again for 3 months after that.
17/20. I work at a local self-serve frozen yogurt shop. It's not too much of a hassle. People come in and take some froyo, add some toppings, get me to weigh it for them so I can determine how much to charge them for their yogurt. Not really too much there to mess up.
I remember it was dead quiet one afternoon and an elderly gentleman came in. He went to weigh it up and pay, everything was great. At the end of the transaction he said, "Have a nice day", and absentmindedly, I replied, "Love you too".
He looked at me for a moment and said, "Haha, what?" This wouldn't be too bad usually. People slip up, it happens. All I had to do was say, "Haha whoops, sorry. I meant you too", but in an effort to not appear like an idiot, I quickly followed up with, "Sorry, you reminded me of my dad". I have no idea why that's the first thing that came to my mind but I went with it.
He looked sadly at me for a minute, then left the shop. I hated myself for the rest of the day.
18/20. I had to attend a reading for the people in my program (a masters program for creative writers) where first-year students would read their work in front of a bunch of important faculty, professors, alumni, and peers.
One of the people in my class read a fairly graphic sex scene in which a sexually-repressed, religious girl masturbates with a pen. That was it essentially, no other context or larger story mentioned in the excerpt. She just read this sex scene.
After the reading, we went up to congratulate the readers and I was making small-talk with her. I was already feeling kind of awkward because, well, she basically narrated a porno to all of the important people in our program, which takes a lot of courage that I don't have. I didn't really know what to say so I jokingly asked if the girl was based on someone she knew (since she'd said that the setting of the story was somewhere where she'd grown up).
She said, "Oh, the girl was based on me. I used to be like that."
Me: "Oh... well... that makes sense... you ARE from Kansas, after all..."
She just gave me this really strange look and said, "Yeah..." and walked away. WHY?! Why did I say that?! What does Kansas even have to do with anything?! I'm still cringing, ughhh.
Continue reading on the next page!
19/20. My friend and I got onto an elevator together. She was extremely pregnant. Another woman got on, and with the best of intentions she started asking my friend questions.
"How far along are you?"
My friend was courteous but short with the woman. She knew where this line of questioning was going and she didn't want to encourage this stranger to ask more questions. "Eight months"
"Oh wonderful! Do you know what you're having?"
At this point I'm getting really uncomfortable. I'm screaming in my head as we're stuck in this elevator: "Stop! Stop asking questions!" We aren't making eye contact, we aren't smiling at her, we aren't being polite strangers. She doesn't take the hint.
"And is this your first child?"
"Is your oldest excited for a baby sister?"
There was an awkward pause for a moment when my friend decided to be honest to this nosey stranger.
"My first child died a year and a half ago."
It was so uncomfortable in that damn elevator so I did the only thing that made sense - I laughed harder than I've ever laughed in my entire laugh. The most satisfying, all encompassing body laugh I've ever had.
20/20. Me and my good buddy were hanging at my house with two female friends. Buddy is fiddling with the tv as he offered to set up the movie we planned to watch. Me and the two female friends are on the couch facing him.
I dont know what or why he did, but he farted. But he didnt just fart, he decided he'd match the pitch of the fart with his voice and hum the note before turning it into "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. I guess as a quick save to make sure no one heard him fart. We're just sitting on the couch awestruck. Female friend pipes up: "Did you just fart and try to cover it up by humming Single Ladies?" Buddy denies it. Instantly becomes noticeably flustered and stumbles on his way back to the couch. Slaps a glass of water by mistake and sends it all over the table. Oh how we laughed.
Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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