Doctors see all sorts of scary things on the job.
But believe it or not, they see more than their fair share of ridiculousness, too.
After Redditor kilgoretrouted asked the online community, "People always say not to be embarrassed to see your doctor because they've always seen something worse, so doctors, what's that "worse" thing you've seen that makes other nasty stuff bearable?" doctors and other medical professionals got really specific.
Oh, dear. We don't envy them.
Warning: Some sentsitive material ahead.
Worst was a guy who had let a cancer growth on his arm grow unchecked for many, many years. He had a psychiatric illness which caused him to stay inside most of the time.
The cancer had almost eaten up his entire lower part of one of his arms by the time someone else saw it and urged him to go visit the doctor.
The smell of this cancer was horrible. I guess the smell was so bad because cancer is unchecked growth but also unchecked cell death - and we were smelling the decay of his flesh in his arm.
...So I guess ... if you feel like you've got a weird skin growth - I've seen worse.
If you think you smell... I've definitely smelled worse.
Diabetic patient, with wounds on his legs, filled with maggots. He didn't notice them for several days as he had no sensation in his legs.
"During my clinical rotations..."
During my clinical rotations, when I was still in school, I was assigned a patient with a wound. No big deal, it's pretty typical to deal with pressure wounds (bed sores) as a nurse. However, I knew that this wasn't a regular wound before I even walked into the patient's room. It smelled like death in the hallways outside of their room. Like rotting flesh. I proceeded to enter the room and gagged from the stench immediately.
I couldn't physically bring myself to enter the room until one of the RNs gave me some Vick's to put above my lip to mask the smell a little. It helped, but did not cover it up completely. When I walked into the room and saw the patient, they had an abdominal wound that was big enough to fit my whole fist comfortably. She had a stoma (surgically created exit from the intestine to the outside of the body) on the edge of the wound that was collapsing into the wound. The flesh in the wound was necrotic as hell and looked like if you left a steak out in 90 degree weather for two weeks. That is a sight that I've never forgotten. It made every dressing change to date feel like a walk in the park.
"All other genital exams..."
Saw a patient with Fournier's gangrene (google at your own risk) once. All other genital exams have been pleasant compared to that.
"Imagine a tube..."
Not my grossest by a long shot, but more of a just be honest with why you're there. I had a patient present with a complaint of shortness of breath for asthma. So there I am expecting to go into a room with a patient that's wheezing and breathing rapidly. The moment I walk in, he whips out his penis and expels copious amounts of rancid flowing pus from his urethra. Imagine a tube of toothpaste that's mixed cottage cheese and smells like sour cream that just doesn't stop leaking. Straight up nasty. Shot of meds for his STD, unfortunately nothing to treat his level of dumb.
"Got called into a treatment room..."
Psych here, once worked as a trainee in a drug treatment facility. Got called into a treatment room to see an "interesting" case. Guy was a heroin addict who had blown out all his veins ... except the one he could access in his penis. Ended up with a huge crater in his peter, rotting away and needing debridement. Doctor asked him how he managed the pain, guy said "I shoot more dope."
"There was a young lady..."
Imagine a busy labour ward in a developing country - at least 40 term pregnant ladies about to deliver. There was a young lady with a large horseshoe perianal abscess - definitely needs a drainage prior to delivery. Or else risks a systemic infection or severe infection in the newborn.
It was decided in hurry that she needs the drainage in THE FREAKING SAME WARD..!!
Then came a period of utmost unbearable stench and a LITRE OF PUS pouring out from the incision.
Never in my sane mind I had thought of a time when the labour ward be quiet. Trust me, all the ladies in the labour pain could not risk smelling it had they screamed and became mute. I still pity those souls to have experienced that in a time of excruciating pain.
"Now this man..."
I used to be a nurse and we had an elderly man as a patient (93 if memory serves correctly) who had a catheter, he came in on a regular basis to have it changed.
Now, this man would masturbate regularly despite of the tube (which is actually perfectly possible) but he did not clean himself properly meaning we always had to change this crusty catheter which smelled like stale urine, old sweaty socks and a hint of shit. Nasty all around (we would take turns because honestly, no one wanted to deal with him, his habits or his smell).
Then one day, he is rushed in by his family, doubled over in pain. Lucky me...I was the only one available as I was on my break. The doctor and I rush in to this guy cursing and holding his crotch as a smell of pure horror hits our noses (the doctor actually gagged). The man takes his pants off and lo and behold...
He had dislodged his catheter a few days prior while wanking, still came meaning the seem got stuck behind the inflated balloon and nothing came out. Wriggled it back up a bit to where he didn't feel discomfort from the balloon (which was still inside his urethra, not his bladder) and continued on with life as usual. He only noticed his bladder feeling relatively full and the catheter leaking quite a bit (he thought the tube had sprung a leak). His penis was purple, swollen at the base and shriveled misery at the tip (foreskin even crustier than normal) and when we pulled the catheter out...
Imagine a green and yellow mudslide, including chunks and smelling like an open sewer on a hot summer day. After that I had to sit this guy down and ask if he please could stop masturbating.
"On a daily basis..."
Derm here. On a daily basis, I see:
- People bringing in plastic bags with nail fragments or hair or tiny pieces of lint from their bodies.
- Boils or pus bumps throughout the body.
- Blisters throughout the body.
- Flaking and scaling that covers the floor.
- Open wounds. Some that go down to the bone.
- Bleeding growths, some of which are cancers.
- Warts. On the face, the hands, the feet, the genitals...
There is literally nothing you could come up with that would gross me out.
"Once looked after..."
Nurse here. Once looked after a man who had necrotising fascitis that ate away his testicles.