A family has no one perfect make-up. It really should be a simple concept to behold, but so many people have so many opinions about what they deem right and wrong. But maybe everyone should talk to people with experience on certain topics before they judge. It's a new day and people are realizing that romantic and true love for others can carry to more than one significant other.
Redditor u/AydanZeGod wanted to hear about what it's like to have more than two heads of a household for the little ones by asking.... Children of poly relationships, what was it like growing up?
Dinnertime...dinner twins GIF by Boomerang Official Giphy
When I was younger I didn't realize mom and dad were poly, but now it's funny to see my friends faces when I say "my mom and her wife and my dad and my dad's girlfriend and his other girlfriend and I are gonna get together for dinner tonight."
just more players on the stage.....
When I was young my folks dated a couple of couples. One was very long term, we were military families but they managed to finagle a transfer together. So wow, that would've been like 8 years at least? They kept in close romantic contact when they separated, but idk if they qualify that as still being together.
They were my aunt and uncle, essentially.
We and their kiddos got sent off to grandparents (theirs and ours) together to give them alone time. It was kinda a given that we'd all see each other every couple days, either they'd come to our house or we'd go to theirs. Not for them to sneak away for sexy time, but just to spend time together and be a family together.
I knew I could go to them about anything I could talk to my folks about and even some things I couldn't. That closeness continued even when my own folks split, idk what standing they had with them after that tho.
Unfortunately, my aunt kinda had a psychotic menopause and we had to go to NC with her.
Nobody knows that I'm still in contact with my uncle tho. Idk how my mom would feel about it. But he stayed a rock for me when my own dad didn't.
Same drama as any other family I guess, just more players on the stage.
Thanks for the Slime....
I had a therapist in a poly relationship and they all 3 had a child together that was around 9 when I met them, 2 dads and one mom.
Unfortunately, they couldn't be fully open about the fact that the 3 of them were in love since before she was born because the one she called dad worked for a religious college and that information getting out at all could have cost him his career, so she only called 2 of them mom and dad while she thought of the other like an uncle that visited every day.
She seemed normal, she liked to make slime.
Too Many Voices....pole GIF Giphy
It was fine.
The poly part didn't really become known to me till I was 13 or so. The only weird bit was if I was bringing home a friend or someone I wanted to go out with I had to kind of explain what to expect beforehand and some people got weirded out. 🤷♀️
I'm an adult in a monogamous marriage now - I saw first-hand that getting 3 people to come to a consensus on anything was exponentially more difficult than just getting 2 on the same page.
Edit : I just realized too - how I was raised also made me very comfortable with taking about sex and boundaries in a relationship, where I think a lot of me peers were more easily pressured into things they weren't comfortable with.
This will probably be buried but it happened to my husband who didn't even realize it was happening. When he was a kid his father lived with his mothers, one of whom he thought was his birth mother and the other was an identical twin to her that he just called his aunt. He said it felt pretty normal, he never knew it was poly until much later in his life.
Several years back, his mother had passed away and his aunt contacted him again asking if she could move in with him to have him help her as her caregiver. He agreed, and just before her passing he received a letter from her lawyer (written by the twins and his father) finally explaining everything. Turned out his aunt was his actual birth mother who had kids with his father too before he was born but who had passed away in a house fire.
The mother that raised him was completely sterile and in fact had a hysterectomy at a very young age. He was in complete shock, but said it made sense how close everyone was in the house, despite keeping all the adult stuff behind closed doors. His big shock seemed more the fact that his father kept up two relationships instead of just one, and he was either scared, impressed, or both.
When in the States...
I took a class with a Dr. Awasom at University of Houston - Downtown for a while. He would talk about his childhood growing up in Cameroon in a family with one father and about a dozen mothers. At mealtime, the kids would run a route from one mother to the next, all grabbing a bite from each. He says he was, IIRC, 12 when he learned which mother gave birth to him. When he came to Houston to study, he applied at Rice University.
When filling out the application, he asked for an extra page to provide the names of all his mothers.
In his culture, he was considered to be the reincarnation of his grandfather. At a special ceremony every year, he would offer his grandfather's advice and answer questions on his grandfather's behalf. It was also in his authority to prescribe punishment for his father on this occasion. When Awasom came to the states, he would attend the annual ceremonies by phone.
Edit : Apparently, Dr. Awasom passed away last year. There's a brief tribute to him here:
Hard for me to believe there isn't more about him online. Would love to have had his memoirs.
Honestly I think it's waaaaaaay more boring than most people would think. Most of the time, my mom wouldn't introduce a partner to me unless it was a long term relationship, so most of the time I got the single mom experience. I think the most exciting thing was going out for dinner to meet someone new, and occasionally my mom would date someone who had a kid my age, and we would awkwardly play together while our parents were on a date (as in, we were playing in my room upstairs and a movie date or something was going on in the living room downstairs).
Really for the most part it was so completely average other than knowing my mom had 2 girlfriends and eventually I also got a stepdad. The worst part was around 6-8th grade when kids found out and started bullying me for it, asking all kinds of disgusting sexual questions about my parents (no one wants to think about their parents having sex).
Eventually I learned to just not tell anyone unless we were close and I new they were cool. I only ever had one person I trusted enough to actually come to a family picnic where my mom's partners would all be there. My mom's partners aren't my parents but they are part of my life and my family. They're wonderful and supportive, and have helped me through some horrible dark spots in my life. I'm grateful to have such a wonderful, loving family.
So yeah, not very exciting, I know. But it's my life!
Oh the Hippies....camping free people GIF by MOST EXPENSIVEST Giphy
I grew up in a small town and 1/2 of the town were hippies.
In the 3rd grade one of my friends couldn't go on a field trip because he returned a permission slip with the word "parent or legal guardian" crossed out and signed by the "group representative". Of course in the 3rd grade we didn't know what was going on until my mom explained it to me. But when the kid was told he couldn't go the whole hippie commune came over to class explaining to the teacher how all their kids will be raised by the group and it's damaging if they see a single person as their parent or guardian.
I am 15 years old, and my parents often have potlucks where they invite their partners over. My parents are good people, and everyone they invite over are good people and have become my friends. I also usually will meet their children and become friends with them. It really is just a wonderful environment, but it is very difficult to maintain. More partners = more drama, and a lot of times two people will get in a fight and cause the whole group to split for a while. But all in all it's pretty great.
Edit: this really blew up and there were a few questions in the comments so I figured I would elaborate a bit. My dad is bi and my mom isn't, and the group of partners that they have (called the polycule) consists of well over 50 people, but not everyone is on a romantic relationship. And in any group of 50 people, their are people who can't stand each other. So my parents circumstance is a bit of a special one, but it only leads to meeting more good people.
A Better PersonKids Swag GIF Giphy
Can't really say it felt weird or odd as it was just what I was used to but I think I can honestly say it's made me a more open and loving person, I'm not afraid of being close to people because my parents were always very close with their friends (for reasons that are obvious now but less so at the time).
I also grew up getting to know my parents friends quite well because my parents were very close with them and trusted them enough to look after us, although I'll admit this was probably more so they could have the house free of children. It does mean that I'm still quite close with a lot of them and consider them friends of mine outside of my parent's friendship with them and I also have a few more parental figures to choose from, meaning I can pick the best ones from each to try and emulate.
All in all I'd say I'm a more well rounded person as I got to know a lot more people as family growing up as well as exposing me to many different personalities.
My parents have been a triad since 1998.
It was hard I wont lie, they dated a lot of 4ths who brought their own children into the mix then later break up with them. It was really difficult to constantly have parental figures and siblings come and go. The most being 13 kids and 4 adults in a 2 bedroom apartment.
I am glad though that I grew up with it, I'm poly myself and it was never something my parents encouraged or forced on us. In fact they always say not to try it unless you're a specific type of person. It introduced me to a wide arrange of people and broadened my mind to what family actually is which is the people who love you and make you feel safe i.e. chosen family.
No Need to Explain....
Hey, a question relevant to me! honestly, though, it wasn't super different than any other way of growing up i assume, i just have one extra dad than everybody else. that's just always how it's been, and i never really thought about how 'abnormal' it was until high school. Even then it was more just thinking whether i really cared enough to explain to other people, or just go with a white lie on paperwork or whatever. Biggest difference i can think of while growing up is that there was ALWAYS someone home, which can be frustrating for a rebellious teenager.
What's your #?tracy morgan bingo GIF by Team Coco Giphy
My mother was involved in a poly relationship for a while when I was a kid. It was very confusing. For a while there were 4 of us kids around, me, the kid of the other woman, and the two kids of the man. We were all pretty confused and resentful. Our favorite joke was "pick a number and wait in line."
Not so Great....
My friend described it as "like going through the stress of your parents divorcing and meeting your moms new boyfriend, but forever".
He cut off his relationship with his parents (and refuses to even call the dude who isn't bio related a family member). He hardly talks about it, but that's the explanation I got out of him.
My parents weren't poly until I was a toddler, I guess? I thought of the other couple as just nice people my mom and dad were close with, they met online and came to visit, they all clicked well, and eventually the other couple moved in with my family. I didn't make the connection they were all together until I was a teenager, I suppose I thought they were all just roommates of sort (though bed swapping and sharing was occurring the whole time!).
By that point, my mom and dad had divorced and so had the couple- my dad married the other woman, and my mother married the other man. My mother has divorced and remarried again, and my father and stepmother are still together, almost 20 years later.
tl;dr in retrospect, it's just kind of an odd situation, but I honestly didn't even realize my parents were poly growing up and now my dad is married to the lady instead of my mom.
Show me costumes....christian grey anastasia GIF by Fifty Shades Giphy
My parent were swingers. They went to bondage clubs and things like that. I found out in my late teens, so I didn't really care all that much.
I learned of it through my friend who told me his mom told him that my parents asked if they were interested one night when they were chilling in the hot tub.
Started to put the pieces together after that... All the "Halloween costumes" in that box that I always overlooked... It's weird, but whatever more power to them. Don't think they do it anymore though, they're getting a little too old for that life.
It all depends....
I know 7+ families with poly parents and more with open relationships.
The kids are... kids. Some are great. Some are anxious or manic. It varies by parent and child, not by the poly.
The poly parents that aren't great parents are pretty comparable to the normative parents that aren't great. And the poly parents that are great are pretty comparable to the normative parents that are great.
The biggest differences I can think of are going to be about communication, affection, and love, but even that's just a tendency and not a definitive distinction.
That's my experience anyways.
Had a friend several years ago that grew up with poly parents in Kansas. What he described seemed like a pretty healthy family/upbringing, and I would describe him as a well-adjusted, happy human. I don't think either parent was particularly promiscuous, but throughout the years they would have other partners. He was a proponent of polyamory and had a pretty good way of explaining it - basically no one person can satisfy your everything, so polyamorists have more than one partner that allow them to experience romantic partnership on a fuller level of their being.
Polyamory isn't my cup of tea, but it is possible to have healthy relationships with this lifestyle, including that of a family.
My son is a member of a throuple with two women. The first is his college gf who always had an open relationship, during a long distance period of their relationship he started very casually seeing girlfriend 2 but over time it got more serious and now they all live together. Things are happy and wonderful for them but I really do worry about how the dynamic would change were someone to fall pregnant.
I worry about jealousies and inequalities rising up, but mostly I worry for my future grand babies. The societal pressures and teasing from outside the home as well as possible resentments and issues within the home. I can see how, if things work the way they are planned, it could be a wonderfully supportive and rewarding way to grow up, but you know what they say about the plans of mice and men!
So I actually really appreciate the insight of this thread, I want to be supportive of my beloved throuple but part of being supportive is discussing possible pitfalls in hopes of avoiding them and this has already highlighted some. It's also pointed out some of the positives, so thank you.
Who?Ummm GIF by memecandy Giphy
When Dads said "Go ask your mom," I was always confused.
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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!