Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

We consult medical experts when we don't feel well because we assume they have all the answers.

And let's face it, going down the Google rabbit hole for self-diagnosis only exacerbates our anxiety.

But are doctors always right?

Sometimes, a person's gut instinct about an ailment can be accurate and being told otherwise can be fatal.

Wondering how often patients saved their own lives, Redditor OutsideXtraGuard asked:

"Doctors and nurses of Reddit: What self-diagnosis of a patient suprisingly turned out to be right?"

Medical experts – as well as former patients – shared their experiences involving a variety of cases.

Common anecdotes involved people who knew they had a progressive disease and wound up having various stages of cancer after previously being told they were fine.

So if you ever notice a strange lump behind your ear that appears to be the source of excruciating pain and are told it is nothing life-threatening, you may want to insist on a thorough examination.

What do you have to lose? Exactly.

The Suspicious Mole

"A man came in, saying he had an aggressive cancer on his back. He also told us that he'd run no tests, so we were skeptic, tbh. When we ran the test, though, we saw he was right. Seriously."


They Know When It's Time

"My mom is a nurse supervisor at a nursing home. Multiple times, patients have walked up to her and said goodbye, that they're going to die that night. Even though these residents have been perfectly mobile and "with it" they have always been right."


It Wasn't "Heartburn"

"My grandfather never went to doctors. He wanted to go out the way he came in--no drugs and surgery and machines. He got chest pain and decided to see a doctor, so right there, it's clear that it was unusual. The doctor dismissed it as heartburn (because hey, what else could it possibly be in an elderly man who's hardly ever seen a doctor and has chest pain? /s ). A couple of days later, he died of a massive stroke. My grandmother wanted to sue or something, but everyone was like eh, it's not going to bring him back, and he went out the way he wanted to, anyway."

"Seriously, a 70+-year-old man with chest pain? My father's had two weird "episodes" and got sent to the ER both times. Neither turned out to be "anything" on tests, but normally, people don't fuck around with that. "Chest pain" is a magic phrase, usually."


The Lump

"My sister had a lump behind her ear that was causing her pain and was growing. My mom used to be a nurse and she thought it didn't look right, it wasn't just a cyst so she kept monitoring it and started to become worried that it might be cancerous. For a whole year my mom went back and forth with doctors asking them to take her seriously and one doctor finally agreed to go in and biopsy it. Lo and behold my sister had stage 1 cancer, and it was a rare form at that."


You're Never "Too Young" For It

"Not a doc or a nurse but back in the early 80s my mum (30 at the time) could not convince several docs that she had breast cancer. It was different to just a lump or pain. They all responded with 'you're too young.' Finally got one doc to write a referral to a specialist so she would shut up about it. She had breast cancer. Was told she may need a mastectomy but after going in they were able to remove enough without having to go that far."

"She went back to the original doc and had a go at him and said if she ever heard his name come up for malpractice in the future she would make a statement against him (she was in medical industry). Told him to NEVER tell a woman she was too young for breast cancer."


"Oh Look ... It WAS A Kidney Stone"

"Not a doc or nurse but a patient. I was having a kidney stone and my BF at the time took me to the ER. The nurse kept asking me what I did to myself (because I was practically screaming in pain). Through tears I managed to get out 'it's a kidney stone.' I then sat in the waiting room practically passing out until my BF somewhat yelled at the ER staff. They came over to get me and I couldn't even walk, the nurse said 'well are you coming back.' My BF said get her a f'king wheelchair."

"6 hours and a round of morphine later I passed the stone. The nurse said 'oh look at that it WAS a kidney stone.' Like seriously wtf."


A Collapsed Lung

"I had a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung) that came out of nowhere when I was 17. Had to go to the hospital and get a tube hooked up to my thoracic cavity to reinflate my lung."

"A week later I was in statistics class and I felt my other lung collapse. I immediately knew what it was. Kind of a weird but very distinct feeling of pain and shortness of breath. Cut to me in the school nurses office trying to explain that I had a spontaneous pneumothorax and I need to go to the hospital. Yeah...she didn't believe me at first."


Shingles Doesn't Discriminate

"Not the doctor but I went in because I had shingles. Told them upfront I thought it was shingles. The doctor kind of chuckles and she says, 'Well, you are far too young to have shingles. It's impossible.'"

"So I lifted my shirt and showed her my side where it was and I instantly saw her eyes widen as she goes, 'Oh my, that is definitely shingles...'"

"The doctor and nurses were a little sheepish and apologetic but they did a great job helping me get better. I was the youngest case they'd ever seen (early 20s at the time)."


The Voices In Her Head

"I read about a woman who had a voice in her head that kept telling her that she had a brain tumor. She eventually got tested and it turned out that she did have a tumor and it was causing the auditory hallucinations."


Don't Dismiss Everything You Hear

"I work as a caseworker for adults with severe and debilitating mental illness. A team member had a client keep complaining that she had 'worms in my brain.' All her doctors would dismiss her because of her mental illness. My team member finally got her doctor to refer her for an fMRI. Turned out she had terminal, inoperable brain tumors.... It's unclear whether or not her death could've been prevented if she had received treatment at the onset of whatever symptoms she was experiencing that she was unable to describe."

"Often people with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, will describe ailments in bizarre ways. It could be worms in their brain, possession, bugs in their stomach, etc. It's important to acknowledge that they may have a very real problem they are unable to verbalize, and we must not dismiss them."


Another Close Call

"My mom went to the doctors complaint about a pain in her lower back by her kidney. The doctor did a quick check up and told her it was nothing that she was probably just sleeping wrong."

"My mom mentioned cancer and the doctor said that it wasn't very likely because people with kidney cancer dont usually feel anything. She was adamant that something was wrong so she went to another doctor that told her the same thing but said he would run some tests to show her that it wasn't cancer."

"When the results came back from the test, it turned out she did in fact have cancer on one of her kidneys and because she caught at such an early stage, they were able to remove it before it spread."


Bleeding Brain Ignored

"Long time ago a patient of mine in the mental health unit had a delusion that he had a bleed in his brain. Kept on it for a month. One night he actually did have a massive spontaneous intracerebral bleed. Poor guy died after that."


Ocular Shingles

"Patient in a care home was complaining of eye pain and facial tightness. She told me it was shingles."

"I reported it to the physician and supported that it did look like shingles. Doctor did not believe me or the patient. Poor lady suffered for several days until the night staff sent to the hospital. Guess what? Occular Shingles."


Disc Herniation

"Patient here; got into a car wreck and right arm started going numb a few weeks later. Self diagnosed as disc pressing on spinal cord, requested they do an MRI, doc said to take more painkillers and it would go away, I don't like drugs so I insisted. Footed bill for MRI that insurance wouldn't cover because I requested it against doctors wishes. Bulging disc on C5/6. 7 months of PT and other non painkiller drugs arm works again."

"F'k insurance, f'k doctors that push painkillers. Nearly done with the debt hole that entire debacle put me into."


Unexpected Brain Surgery

"'Not a doctor but' I started having severe excruciating headaches come on when standing, or coughing, laughing, etc. They became so severe they'd make me scream and vomit, but would disappear as long as I was bent over and hanging my head or if I took crazy amounts of caffeine. Because the headaches were positional I thought it was a CSF leak and that I needed a blood patch. One morning my husband drove me to the ER, which triggered a headache so I walked into the ER bent with my head hanging and saying I had a CSF leak and needed a blood patch. They did an MRI and it turned out leaks from Chiari, so I was right about the leaks but wrong about the treatment and I got brain surgery instead."


Mother Knows Best

"My dad is a neurosurgeon and my mom thought I was having absence seizures (I basically zone out and forget what happened from the past ten minutes or so) and my dad said I was just ignoring my mom, my mom took me to go get a EEG and turns out I have seizures pretty strong ones. EEGs can take up to two to three hours long and mine was fifteen minutes. We walked to my dads hospital and my mom walked in flaunting the papers saying 'I knew it!! I'm smarter than the neurosurgeon!!' Haha 😂"

"Edit: I just remembered something when I had my seizures(I was on meds and now I'm off, we are waiting to see if they'll come back), I had to have someone check on me every few minutes to make sure I hadn't drowned. I couldn't drive(still can't) or swim or hardly do anything by myself. Makes you appreciate alone time lol"


Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

There's a million things that can happen to you while out on on the road.

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