Working in the medical profession simply builds a whole lot of heartache. Doctors watch, day after day, as some of their patients fall ill, only to never recover.
It's a part of the job to break gentle news both to the patients and to their families that their loved one is most likely not going to make it. Having to tell someone they're dying, and force them to deal with their own mortality, brings up a special kind of hell.
Some people have had to develop coping mechanisms to get through it.
Redditor roblixepic asked:
"Doctors of Reddit, how do you tell a patient that they're dying?"
Here were some of those answers.
Compassion Goes The Distance
"My dad’s surgeon discovered what he called 'cement' in his abdomen from cancer that had spread so aggressively that it damaged his colon and required emergency surgery. I asked the doctor while waiting for my dad to wake up if it was terminal."
"The incredible man told me he was not God and could not declare certainties. He said other patients with similar onset had anywhere from a few months to five years. He told me could not tell the future but suggested we discuss care options with my dad."
"I asked his opinion if we should tell my dad right away or give him time to recover from surgery. I’ll never forget his response: 'In my experience, patients know when their bodies are giving up. He will know before you or I do.'”
"My dad had almost 3 years after that conversation. When his body was finally giving out, he asked my mom to take him to the hospital, and for the only time ever in his adult life, he left the house without shoes. My mom said he must have realized he wouldn’t be walking back into the house."
"That was almost 9 years ago. Cancer sucks. But some of my dad’s doctors were incredible and compassionate, and the ICU nurses were amazing."-OlderAndTired
Simple And Direct
"If you’re an amazing doctor like my dads doctor was, you say, 'I gave it my last shot, buddy. I gotta turn you over to hospice now but know I don’t want to.'”
"And he had a tear in his eye. He’d been my dads doctor for a long time (and a few other relatives, actually. This guy had been our end of life a few times-no fault of his own though!). I’ll always remember his compassion in that moment. It was simple, direct and caring."-MonsoonMermaid
"ER Doctor: Sit down with the patient and family. Introduce myself. Explain clearly in layman's terms what has been found on the scan/lab/test etc. and the accompanying poor prognosis."
"I then pause because reactions vary considerably here. Some people cry, some people are frozen with shock, many in between."
"After patient/family has had their reaction I ask what (if any) questions they have for me and reassure them I will be in the ER until whatever hour (end of my shift) to help them or provide clarity."-Fancyphones123
"I heard a neurologist tell a brain cancer patient once: 'Some illness have cures, and others treatment. We have reached the end of all possible treatments with respect to your wishes. What life you have left depends on will and time.'”-CriticalCareTaker
Here's The Plan
"In the US, we have an agreed upon guide at my institutions surrounding end of life care. Here's what we do, if the patient is lucid:"
- Initiating the conversation.
- Clarifying prognosis
- Identifying end of life goals
- Developing a treatment plan
"Actual conversations and details are tailored to the situation, patient, and culture."–thewaybaseballgo
These unimaginable situations are a daily occurrence for some people.
It's Important To Find The Pain Source
"I'd had scans and tests done for unknown stomach pain. The doctor came in and told me the results were back and the news was not good. Explained that I had a cancerous tumor on my bowel that had ruptured and spread to other organs."
"That it had spread too much and couldn't be cut out and chemo wouldn't make it fully go away. He told me unfortunately it was terminal and he reassured me that they would do all they could to give me more time and make me comfortable. At this point I began bawling my eyes out and crying 'my children, my poor children.'"
"He was compassionate towards me and gave me time to process it. Then came back later to explain things in greater detail once the shock had worn down a bit. There's no easy way to hear your dying in your 30s but he did an ok job."-SquelchingNoises
"There are actually pretty structured and formulaic ways to do it, but each person ultimately has their own style. Step one: hand your pager and cell phone off to someone else or silence it."
"Two: walk in, very clear introduction of your name, role, etc. if meeting them. Sit down, and don’t let anyone between you and the door. Ask the name and relation of anyone in the room. Ask if they prefer having someone else in the room (or FaceTime now because of Covid)"
"Three: ask what they know or have heard (I had patients outright say 'I know I am dying.' Or 'Everything is fine right?'). Ask what their understanding of that diagnosis is."
"Three: Warning shot and brief pause. 'Unfortunately, I have bad news.' Or 'I know we were hoping for X, but I’m sorry to have to tell you it isn’t what we were hoping for.' Pause. Let the patient panic, then they start listening again.
"Four: Be very clear, very direct when possible, and absolutely honest. Pause. At this point, I usually want to word vomit or backtrack but you cannot do that. The pause is awkward but they are thinking a million things. They will want to cling to, 'but this is curable right?!!'”
"At this point I ask if they want me to explain, give them a moment, call someone, etc. After I’ve explained, I ask them what their understanding was of what I just told them. Go from there."
"Finish by having clear plan for what happens next (oncology appointment, chaplain, etc.) and how to contact with questions. That’s my mental checklist. It’s a process."-ConEffe10
It's Not Easier For Vets
"Different perspective here, as I treat animals vs people, and thus I'm not explaining it to the patient itself."
"I usually tell people that we've reached the limit of what is possible and fair as far as curative treatment goes, and outline what they can expect as far as progression of disease and palliative care options."
"And, as I'm treating in a realm where this is a legal option, I also discuss what euthanasia entails and discuss at what point it will be warranted."-Moctor_Drignall
The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
"We knew my mum was dying and that she didn’t have long. It was one of her nurses on the ward, clocking off her shift just before 2 days off. She knew she wouldn’t see her again."
"She hugged me, and hugged my mum, and told her that it had been a pleasure to care for her. We stepped outside and cried together and it was in that moment I knew. She passed the next morning, about 12 hours later."-juneradar
"Hospice and Palliative care doc here Do it every day I work. I do it with straightforwardness and honestly and compassion. I tell them most of my patients say they aren't afraid to die but are afraid of suffering along the way. Most agree this is how they feel. And I get to assure them me and my teams entire career is committed to making sure that they do not suffer emotionally, spiritually or physically."-Idontsuckcompletely
These Conspiracy Theories Are Easy to Debunk | George Takei’s Oh MyyyThere are some bizarre conspiracy theories out there. Like Australia isn't actually real... seriously? Any conspiracy theory that requires many people to kee...
And it never gets easier, despite its frequency.
It Becomes The Process
"Not a doctor but a nurse. My last job I was the one you didn't want to come talk to you and I got oddly good at it."
"You tell them straight and make sure they understand exactly what you are saying because denial can be a hell of a thing. You don't joke. You be human and be upset too as that gives them permission to break down too."
"You listen and stay as long as they need but not so long that you annoy them. Answer any questions as best you can but don't give false hope. More than anything, be straightforward and be honest. That goes a long way."-rhett342
What An Awful Moment In Time
"They wouldn't tell my Dad. He took me and his sister in to see a CT scan and it looked like he swallowed golf balls the cancer (pancreatic) was everywhere."
"Dad asked about surgery and chemo and the Doctor just said it wasn't really an option. I spent the last two weeks watching Dad get worse and worse. He couldn't sleep, couldn't eat and couldn't get comfortable."
"We managed to get him into hospice the last few days where his girlfriend wouldn't stay in the room with him so I would only leave to grab food from the vending machine."
"I had to tell her he passed. She thought he was getting better. Wouldn't wish pancreatic cancer on anyone."-Auferstehen78
How To Take Care
"It's never easy. You have to be sincere, make sure you don't give false hope but you have the have the people skill. Trying and say something like 'we have exhausted all resources' or 'we have tried all angles,' because it should be true and coming from the heart."
"Be polite and sensitive, not all the way, but to them and the family. Say you're sorry and that you'll try the best to make their time worth. Allow visits as much as you can, send them home, if allowed."
"Make sure you talk to their families and let them know they fought to the end, even if it's not true. Treat the family as you would like to be treated, as the family. It sucks but it's the least to do."-eat_the_canvas
"‘I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t lie to my patients. And although this is the first time we are meeting, you are my patient today. You are dying. We will do everything we can to assist you and keep you comfortable. Do you have any questions for me?’ My friend shook his head no. ‘Ok, then, the nurse will be in shortly to….’"
"Doctor left the room and I followed him out as I had questions. My friend was in the last stages of lung cancer that had spread. He passed within three hours. I had so much respect for that doctor. He gave it to us straight, but his voice was full of compassion." – friendofjay
An Observer Weighs In
"Not a DR but saw this on 24 hours in A&E and the person seemed to take it really well…"
“I’m afraid that you are really ill, in fact you are the illest person in Wales right now. We have tried XYZ but unfortunately they haven’t worked, we are going to keep trying whatever we can but there’s a high chance that you may die, so we are going to try and help you with being as comfortable as possible. We have your family here who are going to be by your side, I think it would be a good idea to say your goodbyes. I’m really sorry there isn’t more I can do”
"It was beautiful and the DR was calm, cool but also very moved and clearly very sad."-Hour-Cow-4348
Putting It Bluntly
"i took my mom to the ER in september cause she couldn’t move the right side of her body. they immediately took her into a CT scan and a white coat doctor walked in 30 minutes later, leaned on the counter in front of my moms bed and said 'we found 3 tumors and we think you have cancer”' i don’t remember much after that cause i was in shock and crying, but he basically outlined everything that would be happening from then on and then left the room. she did have cancer and she died a month later"–straightupgong
Being in a profession dealing with people's lives is an upsetting occurrence, and you have difficult things and situations to navigate almost on the daily.
Developing a system might spare you some of the more acute pain of doing the unthinkable.
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June is a happy and exciting month for the LGBTQ+ community, being Pride Month.
Where people can proudly celebrate who they are and who they love.
And the crowds at these events seem to only grow bigger every year, as more and more LGBTQ+ allies also partake in the celebration.
Some of these allies might be late to the party, as it were, owing to the fact that they once held homophobic views, and only recently became more educated and changed their minds.
Redditor aestheticbear was curious what exactly it was that led former homophobes to change their previous views, leading them to ask:
"Former homophobic people of Reddit: what happened that made you stop being homophobic?"
It was what they were taught.
"Like many here, I grew up around people where homophobia was the norm."
"I come from a Latino, Mexican, background and I'm really ashamed of how much homophobia/hate in general there is in our culture."
"Since most Mexicans are Catholic, I grew up around the church a lot, especially since my father had once been a Catholic priest, long story."
"Growing up, and to this day, I was surrounded by lots of hate towards the LGTBQ+ community."
"My parents would often make remarks making queer people seem almost as if they were crazy."
"They would often say that they were crazy for wanting 'gay rights' and even saying 'yuck' if they saw a movie scene where 2 people of the same sex where kissing."
"As a kid, I was sort of brain washed into all of this."
"As I grew older, I learned more about the world around me especially learning from friends who had come out."
"I especially owe a lot to a teacher of mine who had opened my eyes up to many issues of our world."
"Now I'm a proud pansexual."- davvaz62
By simply getting to know them.
"I met some gay people."
"As it turns out they were just people"- moolord
By witnessing unjustified judgment.
"Not homophobic, but I woke up at about 10 when my mom said my uncle was banned from coming to our vacation condo by my father because he was gay."
"Before then I kind of let the arguments and both sides bit wash over me, but that was a crystallization point where I started noticing it as pure bigotry."
"I'm sorry the nicest dude in the family full of domestic violence and white collar drug abusers cant come to Christmas because he's gay?"
"You're both cheating on each other, sanctity of what marriage now?"- Robin_games
My mother knocked some sense into me
"My mom slapped me and told me everyone has a right to be happy."
"That was in 9th grade 13 years ago."- Bloodllust
"Homophobia was the norm when I was growing up."
"Then I got older and the political landscape changed which made me question my belief and I came to the conclusion it just didn't make any sense to be homophobic."- LuciferIsFallen
"Realized that, fundamentally, being gay is just 'what' you are. It’s not 'who' you are."
"I came out as gay."- pethal
"Stopped listening to my homophobic family and left their religion."
"Oh and also realized I myself was pretty gay."- Raidden
Just one moment of clarity
"I wasn't super homophobic, just a 'love the sinner, hate the sin' kind of guy."
"On my last day in high school, someone said 'Why do I care? They're not hurting me'."
"Cured me in three seconds."
"I still remember how magical that moment was for me."- Dirgonite
"There are 20 years between myself and my youngest brother."
"I, and my SO, was raised in an explicitly homophobic/biphobic/transphobic fundamentalist religion, that I left with my SO in my early 20s.
"So I had a lot of internalized, conditioned, toxic beliefs about the LGBTQ that needed to be deconstructed."
"My little brother was obviously either gay or bi and it was obvious from the time he was six imho."
"He came out to my sisters, SO, and I as bi when he was 11 and we were like 'tell us something we don't know lol'."
"I think watching him just grow up, it was obvious that he hadn't chosen to be that way, it was just how he was."
"This false narrative that LGBTQ are somehow defective or sinners became more disgusting to me over time."
"I can't remember exactly when it happened but my SO and I were like 'if our future child happened to be LGBTQ, could we teach that child the things we were taught about the LGBTQ?'"
"'We were like 'no, that would be evil'."
"Now, we have an 18yo niece that recently came out as lesbian and we feel honored to be the only family that she trusts enough to introduce to her first GF."
"Spending time with her just reaffirms the fact that there is nothing wrong with the LGBTQ, it was our upbringing that was defective."- Jormungandr91
It's amazing how so many ignorant people don't realize that all one needs to do to see a little more clearly is to open your eyes.
Here's hoping that they help others who remain as ignorant as they once were to open their eyes as well.
Everyone has unusual phobias.
Things which they simply can't bear the sight of, and are forced to turn away when they find themselves in the presence of it.
More often than not, these things are usually habits or behaviors which one normally wouldn't do in polite society.
But, have you ever been repulsed by something that the majority of people might consider "normal"?
Something that's just an everyday occurrence in life?
Redditor Allthelights011 was curious to learn what "normal" things fellow Reddit users were disgusted by, leading them to ask:
"What’s a completely normal thing you find disgusting?"
Fun to do, not to watch.
"Watching people eat."- elladeighthecat·
Just not my style
"Gauged ears, or is it gaged ears?"
"I don't know."
"Big gross holes in people's ears gross me the f*ck out."- alienanimal
Blood? No problem. Saliva on the other hand...
"I was a nurse for 6 months before I found a better paying job and I could deal with blood, feces and urine no problem but if someone is drooling or spitting it grossed me out."- sayziellwatching arrested development GIFGiphy
Just because it's nature doesn't mean it isn't gross.
"When animals are 'doin' it'."- Colonelfudgenustard
"I know it's completely normal but just the initial cramps and mood swings honestly suck."
Mmm, that's good.
"Licking fingers while eating."- scapstickoscar isaac eating GIFGiphy
Not pleasant to watch or do.
"The feeling after you puke is terrific."
"It's all the sh*t you feel beforehand and the act of throwing up itself that weirds me out."- geico_fire
No one needs them or needs to see them.
"I know people can’t help them and they’re painful to remove but they make me physically ill."- Stealthnt13
Wash your freakin' hands!
"Dirt in your nails"- dejavuthrills
If I didn't actually have to, I wouldn't...
"Pooping!"- stormwaltzToilet Pooping GIF by Alberto PozoGiphy
Perhaps what's most difficult about these particular aversions, is that ignoring or avoiding them, or simply looking the other way might not be possible.
Leaving one no other choice than to grin and bear it.
And maybe occasionally withhold the vomit you feel coming...
Chances are, you've been told to try new things ever since you were a little kid. I know I was.
Sometimes, certain activities or experiences seem crazy, and you don't even want to give them a chance.
This could be true of some things. For example, there is no reason to ingest tide pods.
Sometimes an activity or experience that seems crazy only seems that way because you haven't tried it yet.
I thought nothing good could come of mixing buttery popcorn with Swedish Fish, but now it's my favorite snack!
Redditor TheUnthinkableVids wanted to know about other things that seem crazy, but should be given a chance.
"What’s a “don’t knock it till you try it” experience that you would weirdly recommend?"
Having Fun Doing You
"It has a bad reputation of power tripping nerds deluding themselves in public with seemingly no self awareness, but give it a go."
"I found it was more like sparring with a stunt troupe. It was harder than it looked, and everyone was having fun doing their thing while ignoring the haters, which was pretty cool I must admit."
The Perfect Sauce
"Balsamic glaze on pizza."
"Have it on Vanilla ice cream. Amazing."
"Basalmic on watermelon is refreshing!"
"Climbing onto your roof"
"I like how most of the responses in this thread are "try psychedelics" or "go skydiving" or "see a therapist" but you're like, "have you ever been on your roof?""
"Gotta admit though, I've been on my roof and it's strangely satisfying. You get a vantage point to see something that you see everyday, just a little higher up."
"A lot of computer noobs think that they would never use more than one monitor, and they don't see the purpose behind it. Bruh. It's magical, trust me."
"I could use a third tbh"
"I was one of those computer noobs for the longest time. A second monitor changed my life. Then I eventually got a third.... And I can't lie if every now and then I didn't tell myself "a fourth monitor would be quite convenient in this situation....."
Cheese And Everything
"Fresh Mozzarella and honey"
"Or really any cheese and honey. I love eating sharp aged cheddar with hot honey."
"Cheese and jam on toast"
"Cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches! (On toast)"
Pampering Is Always Good
"Pedicure for men."
"My mom made me get one with her when I was a teenager. It rocked. Adult me gets a pedi at least once a month now. $25 to sit in a massage chair while someone cuts my toenails and massages my feet/legs? Yes please!"
The Magic of Salt
"Black pepper and salt on watermelon"
"Salt on pineapple!"
"A little sprinkle of salt in your coffee"
"Salt in Fanta"
"Draw a bath, turn the shower on, turn the lights off, prop up an umbrella, have a headlamp, a beverage and a good book."
"You look crazy, but try it, you’ll like it."
Be Your Own Best Friend
"Go to a restaurant on your own. Cinema on your own."
Jumping Out Of A Plane...Safely
"Skydiving. I did a tandem for my 60th I wish I had of done it when I was younger and learnt to do it solo."
"Tandem skydiving instructor here - I wish everyone would try it at least once, it isn't as bad as most people expect, and is much safer than the general public is willing to admit! Glad you had fun :)"
You don't even have to try something if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but sometimes pushing boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you.
Give seemingly crazy things a chance, and who knows what could happen? You could end up finding a great new hobby... or at least something delicious to eat!
Wise people tend to glorify the past for good reason. Simpler times seemed to indicate just that. Less life drama.
While many technical advances have also made our current life easier, it certainly has come with its share of complications that never existed prior to another time.
Curious to hear from strangers online, one Redditor asked:
"What was actually better in the past?"
People found traveling, particularly flying, was less dramatic back in the day.
"This is true. We used to go to the airport to go to the cafe within the airport, watch the planes take off, people watch."
Comfort In The Skies
"Flying in general."
"More seat space, meals included (and a choice of meals), actual metal utensils, luggage included, no need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight..."
A Proper Send-Off
"And you could say goodbye to your friends at the gate. Get there early before the flight and grab a leisurely meal with them. Man, airports used to be fun."
"In the 90s airport security took half as long."
Many Redditors believe living in the present is a huge economical inconvenience.
"Prices vs earnings."
"Psh. Try childcare. Our childcare cost for two children is more than our mortgage. When I was the same age, it cost my parents about $50/week. Today that would be roughly $135/week per kid. We’re paying $500/wk and still don’t have full time care for both kids. Sh*t’s crazy."
Criminals seemed to have a field day once upon a time.
"Being a criminal. If there was a security camera, it was too low resolution to make your face very identifiable."
"also DNA analysis and fingerprinting wasn't as good, no Internet to track you."
Leaving The Country Undetected
"It used to be that it was possible for someone to commit a serious crime, move across the country, and never be caught. As communications technology has improved, that’s no longer feasible."
How people occupied their time in the past seemed to be more favorable.
The Life-Line Device
"Smart phones too, Reddit is the only social media I use and still I stare at this f'king thing 5 hours a day. I know I’m addicted to it and I’d love to punt it but unfortunately it’s also my phone, my map, my camera, my tape measure, my dictaphone, my Walkman etc. etc."
The sentiment that the past was better stems largely from nostalgia.
Aside from accessing our Gameboys and Tamagochis, my friends and I would ride our bikes or skateboard out in the cul-de-sac.
We would scrape our knees from falling, get knocked to the ground playing freeze tag, and come home with dried mud on our clothes from a day of roughhousing.
It was some of the best times of my childhood, and I feel for today's youth who still have the option of playing outside but choose to live on their iPads and iPhones instead.
They don't know what they're missing, TBH. Maybe it's just me.