We all pretended to be sick at least once when we were children to get out of going to school to avoid a test, game, or assembly we'd been dreading.
Some people still might not have given up the habit of feigning illness, as a means of avoiding work or other occasions that they are less than eager to attend.
Sometimes, simply telling people that you're "sick" is all the information you need to share to get out of it.
Whether or not more concrete proof is needed, others might go a step further in faking their ailment, be it a cold or fever, and often pull off fairly convincing performances.
Sometimes even fooling a doctor.
Redditor LegoYoda420 was curious to hear about the most outrageous instances doctors have witnessed of people concocting an illness or ailment, leading them to ask:
"Doctors of Reddit, what's the biggest case of 'faking it' you've ever seen?"
That's One Large Pain Threshold...
"Taking trauma call during surgery residency, had a prisoner come in after a fight and claimed he couldn’t move or feel his legs."
"All the CT scans and MRIs were normal, but we would shield his legs so he couldn’t see them and poke them with needles and other sharp objects, with enough force to cause pain- he never flinched or moved his legs at all."
"He was diagnosed with SCIWORA, spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality."
"He stayed in the hospital for a week, no improvement."
"Always had one guard with him."
"One night they were down in the lobby watching some television but the guard needed to use the restroom."
"The patient said, 'where could I possibly go?'"
"Guard left him alone for two minutes."
"Patient last seen sprinting down the road, naked butt cheeks flapping in the breeze."
"Made it to a city four hours away by car before he was caught again."
"I have never seen anyone fake it so well."
"Truly playing the long con!"- Wine_and_sunshineseason 8 episode 23 GIFGiphy
You'll Have To Do Better Than That...
"Patient was convinced she had a melanoma and needed a biopsy and would need to be on workers comp."
"I told her it looked like ink from a marker."
"She demanded a biopsy."
"I wiped the area off with an alcohol swab and showed her the ink and that there was no spot on her skin anymore."
"She stormed out threatening to sue."
"I'm just glad I cured her melanoma."- Richter915
No Complaints Here...
"Had a patient come in for a fall who now couldn’t move their legs at all."
"Did a bunch of tests, didn’t find anything."
"The patient was not at all phased by suddenly being paralyzed which was the first red flag."
"Didn’t really believe anything was wrong but the patient was still not moving their legs."
"My options are to admit for a huge work up or get them to walk."
"So I update them saying everything is fine, tests are negative, you can go home."
"Patient gets up, gets dressed and walks out without a word."- meropenem24
There's Clearly One Issue She Wasn't Faking...
"Not a doctor but worked in health care for nearly 20yrs."
"While taking a break from the ICU, due to it being emotionally draining, I worked in home health for a bit."
"I had a patient who clearly had Munchausen syndrome."
"On a daily basis she would call her insurance to see what things would be covered if she was diagnosed with this or that."
"She called her Doctor's office an average of 5x during my shift with her, she would report all kinds of non real symptoms."
"She pestered the doctors into doing exploitive laparoscopic surgery, of course nothing was found."
"One day I walked in and she was rubbing her incisions with rotten cabbage trying to get it infected."
"She wasn't seeking pain meds, except to sell, really she was just as happy with antibiotics or stool softeners, anything, as long as they wrote her a prescription and she got to go to the pharmacy where she did a whole song and dance for them too, claiming allergies and reactions."
"She always increased the exaggeration of her story too."
"One time she fluttered her eyes, after making sure I was looking, and said she lost consciousness in that half a second."
"She called the doctor and claimed she lost consciousness for 5mins, she called the insurance and claimed it was 10min, she called the pharmacy and claimed it was 30min, then she called 911 and told them she woke up on the floor after losing consciousness for 4hrs."
"The worst thing about her was she was a mom."
"Her son was 28 at the time and by all the stories of his childhood illnesses and all her saying how he is severely disabled I knew she basically f**ked up his childhood with Munchausen by proxy."
"She portrayed him as being severely disabled and that's why he would never find a wife."
"I met him, he was healthy and of average intelligence."
"He wasn't looking for a wife, he was gay, but she refused to accept that."
"Working with her was so miserable that I took a couple years off from any and all healthcare after that."- invisible_for_thisGiphy
She Only Thought She Was Faking It.
"Young, 18-20, Woman went running into small rural hospital ER pretending to have abdominal pain."
"Police officer had tagged her going 40+km over the limit which was ‘stunt driving’ as per the new law in Ontario, impound and licsence suspension automatic."
"Cop followed her into ER and apparently said he’d be waiting for her when she left."
"Locum staff such as myself were housed at a small B&B about 15 mins away, and the ER had pre-printed order sets to be done before we arrived."
"When I arrived she flat out admitted that she just came in because she freaked out and didn’t stop."
"I told her we’d give her 45 mins to call her parents/family before I booted her."
"Except, bHCG came back positive, and subsequent ultrasound came back showing extremely early ectopic."
"Officer figures out something is up when he hears air ambulance call come in over radio."
"She was completely asymptomatic and just worked out that she dodged both charges and a life-threatening issue by accident."
"It was definitely a WTF moment."
"A little more info, small rural hospitals in Northern Ontario often service areas from more than an hours drive away and still only have a catchment area of 2000-3000 people."
"When on-call it was just that, we would do our days in the community clinic, then maybe hospital rounds, then go home and be on call; we wouldn’t be at the hospital, there wasn’t an on-call room where you would stay for example."
"There were lots of times that you’d go a full night without being woken up, or maybe just a call from the acute care inpatient wing."
"Locums were short term contracts for places that didn’t have full time medical staff for whatever reason."
"It’s hard to attract clinicians if you don’t even have broadband internet in the community."
"They generally pay very well."- Graigori
Lighten Your Load!
"I'm not a Doctor, but I have a hilarious story to tell of my ex faking it."
"So my first abusive ex is a compulsive liar."
"She would lie about ANYTHING, big or small!"
"She lied about a serious spinal medical condition, until I found her medical report that states she does indeed have an infusion of only 2 lower vertebrae."
"But not the condition she claimed to have."
"After I discovered this, she immediately quit her bullsh*t."
"But only for about a year."
"It was a long time ago now, but she basically claimed to have a much more severe condition, involving her WHOLE SPINE."
"She used this to get out of practical lessons in College, but what made me suspicious is the fact that she ALWAYS carried around the HEAVIEST backpack."
"I had to go through her bag to sort out what she needs and doesn't need, just to lighten the load, with consent, of course, and it did stop her complaining about back pains."
"However, after finding the note, she stopped using her back as a way to not do practicals, and she stopped using it as a way to not do any work outside of College."
"It was a miracle!"
"The story with the doctor starts here, though."
"One day, she laid on the couch, way after the spine lie fiasco, complaining that her back hurts and she can't breathe."
"I lifted her backpack, and wouldn't you know it?"
"It was really. F*cking. Heavy."
"We went to College 3 days a week, which she would carry this thing all the way around for the 8 hours each day!"
"But, she also carried it everywhere she went outside of College, meaning work, too."
"I'd carry it at times, cuz I'm not a d*ck, and would prefer to keep her happy and healthy."
"Anyway. I left her bag alone, didn't empty it just in case."
"I left her alone on the couch, cuz I knew she was over-exaggerating."
"Yeah, I know, I was a d*ck."
"Honestly though, after all the abuse, lies, and the many many times she wouldn't accept a breakup, I just kinda gave up caring, but I could always tell when she was lying."
"She's a terrible liar."
"Later, my mother decides we're taking her to the hospital."
"Apparently she wouldn't stop moaning."
"So we went, my mother dropped us off, and we waited in the waiting room after checking in at the desk."
"The beginning was still the play, but I explained again that it might just be the bag."
"She still wouldn't agree, so we sat there, I gave her love and attention, and we had normal lovey chit-chat."
"I kept observing her bpm (breaths per minute), and noticed that they lowered from quick and short, to normal, while she focused on talking to me or playing games on my phone."
"The immediately came back when we were called, though."
"She wanted me in with her, as she was nervous."
"So I went in with her, she talked to the Nurse about her difficulties, no mention of back pain this time, while I held her hand."
"During the ECG, I stopped holding her hand of course, and I had to quickly shush her when she wanted to speak, not rudely, it's just because vocal vibrations can alter an ECG's results."
"And then there was the stethoscope BPM observations, etc."
"The Nurse seemed to be sure there was an issue, but then some people would agree with the casualty to avoid confrontation."
"She said she'd have to get the Doctor, and left."
"My ex then rubbed it in my face that there was something wrong with her after all."
"I was never nasty to her, I was loving and caring throughout, after trying to help in the beginning, but not giving too much of a sh*t."
"So this was unexpected, and kinda ticked me off, but I stayed calm."
"I still gave her love, care and attention, but told her politely that we'd still have to wait for the Doctor."
"The Doctor arrived with the results, and asked my ex a few things."
"My ex's face was a suite to behold!"
"She couldn't answer anything he was asking, because he was asking questions that obviously implied there was nothing off with her results!"
"Meaning there was nothing wrong with her at all, and I was right!"
"Anyway, he asked the questions he needed to ask."
"I don't remember the exact questions, but they were basically 'what have you been doing recently?'"
"'Have you been doing any strenuous exercises?' etc., and she couldn't answer."
"Then he asked me what I thought could be the issue."
"I hadn't spoken to the Nurse or Doctor until this point, bear in mind."
"I told him about her backpack."
"THE backpack that my ex BROUGHT WITH HER TO THE HOSPITAL!"
"He said that is the most likely cause of her discomfort, and advised I carry the bag for her and empty any unnecessary items to make it lighter."
"I agreed, and we were dismissed."
"My ex's face was the ultimate face of defeat!"
"I didn't rub it in her face though, like she did to me. I actually hugged her, grabbed her bag for her and walked out with her, holding her hand and ensuring her she'd be okay."
"Basically just being a loving and supportive boyfriend."
"She stopped the rapid breathing and complaining of breathing difficulties after this."
"Although, she actually stopped just before the Doctor came in the room, so yeah."
"Thanks for reading!"- Dregar12all good thumbs up GIF by PBS KIDSGiphy
They Weren't Entirely Wrong About Being "Humiliated".
"Once when I was in elementary, I got really bored and decided I would fake being sick."
"At the time, the word 'humiliated' was a new word for me, but I didn't know what it meant."
"My brain thought it was something like flustered or nauseous."
"I told the secretary at my school that I was so sick and was feeling humiliated."
"I was so stupid."
"Another time, my friend decided to try and skip school and twisted up some tissue paper into some kind of stick. "
"He shoved it up his nose until his face was red and his eyes went teary."
"It was a successful plot!"- the_prophecy_is_true
Don't Trick Your Parents Too Many Times...
"It’s kinda the opposite way round, but when I was little, on Christmas Day, I was sitting at the table and my stomach starting to hurt."
"I was a good kid and never misbehaved but for some reason my mum thought I was exaggerating or faking so she told me to stop being silly and eat up."
"I couldn’t eat."
" I felt horrible and was in a lot of pain."
"My mum just would not believe me and thought I was trying to get attention."
"About 5 more minutes of me crying and she realized something was wrong so called the doctor and put me on the sofa."
"So, that was the Christmas I missed because my appendix had burst."
"I spent a couple of months in hospital due to complications with the surgery and missed both Christmas and my birthday."
"Apparently they had caught it just in time as it could very well had been fatal."
"My family still donates what they can to the children’s wing of that hospital as that was the first of 3 times they saved my life."- PastelCurliesstomach GIFGiphy
Faking Illness To Cover A Real Illness...
"When I was between the ages of 4 and 13, I suffered from persistent UTIs."
"Actually, I was a mystery case in my hospital."
"No one could figure out the reason they just kept coming back."
"Anyway, this meant I would occasionally get the sudden need to pee, extremely intensely."
"If I wasn't within two meters of a bathroom I would pee myself."
"Obviously, being a teenager at school this was excruciatingly embarrassing."
"I often faked foot or leg injuries so I could either sit down and try to suppress the urge, or cover up my wet clothes."
"I was once discovered by my PE teacher to be faking, when she offered to bring a wheelchair out."
"Of course I tried to stop her, and it miraculously got better, whoops."
"Anyway, not much point to this story apart from bladder/kidney issues truly suck and I would never wish that upon anyone."- abisexualqueen
If Anyone Should Believe You, It's Doctors...
"Other way around for me."
"When I was 8 I went to Michigan to visit family with my dad."
"I got really sick on the flight back."
"So my dad took me to the hospital in the city we where in."
"The doctors and nurses thought I was fake wheezing and coughing."
"Then I passed out then woke up in my home town hospital with my parents grandparents and my pediatrician."- Noble611
"We have a guy that comes into the ER all the time faking seizures."
"Best actor I’ve ever seen."
"Sternal rub and he doesn’t flinch."
"Last time it was so bad he got intubated and right as they pushed the meds he stopped and said 'ahhh that’s the good stuff'."
"Welp now we gotta tube you dude."
"Problem is he’s a drunk who falls a lot so he could in theory really be seizing."
"Biggest rule of medicine is even fakers get sick sometimes."- cbelle4
It's hard to blame someone for faking illness to get out of something that they really don't want to do.
But when you actually try to get doctors involved in your deception, you might want to question if it's really worth it.
After all, let's not forget the story of "the boy who cried wolf"...