Life is short and death is inevitable, two rules to live by. We're often told when it's your time, it's your time, so don't be scared but... what if we could hold off on that expiration date by just being smarter and healthier? EMS workers see death and tragedy all of the time and they admit, a significant amount of pain is highly avoidable just by realizing human error.
Redditor u/WapitiTal wanted to hear from some of our medical heroes who are hard at it in the field by asking.... EMS workers of reddit, what's the most avoidable death you've ever seen?
Slippery when Wet.Giphy
Not completely sure if I'm interpreting this right but people who take off their medical alarm (well known brand life alert) to shower. It seems like half the dead bodies I go on have a medical alarm but they took it off and slipped in the shower or while getting out. Those things are usually water resistant and that's an extremely common place to slip and fall. thereWasAnAttempt42
Probably anytime someone could have worn a seat belt but didn't. itfosho
Totaled my car a couple weeks ago. Without my seatbelt I would've gone through the windshield. As it was, I hit the airbag hard enough to pop it and spiderweb out the windshield in front of the wheel.
All in all, I got out with a couple friction burns on the inside of my forearms. Everything on the passenger side was shoved back about a foot or so.
Ps. State Farm "Emergency" Roadside Assistance was over 4 hours late to dispatch a driver, even after I called, cancelled with the automated system AND a phone operator. G_E_I_R_A_V_O_R
Take your Health Seriously.
When patients don't take their medicine. Lots of type 2 diabetics don't take their Metformin or change their diet/exercise simply out of denial or they are too set in their ways. End up with bad kidney failure or heart problems.
Additionally, had a patient who refused to take their medicine for their high blood pressure. No reason, just refused. Ended up with a brain bleed on his brain stem, was a quadripeligic, on a ventilator, could not speak, move, or breathe on his own.... he was in his 30s.
Take your medicine people. shocked_caribou
As an ER MD:
Me: Sir, you are having a heart attack. The cardiologist will be here shortly, and we will be taking you to the cath lab as soon as we can.
Patient: I'm going outside to smoke.
Patient rips off ecg leads and defib pads. Walks out despite warnings from myself and others.
EMS Radio (15mins later): XXX year old male cardiac arrest. CPR in progress. AndyEMD
It's hard to narrow it down to a specific one but I assure you it involves family that said "we just wanted to wait and see what happened." medic8388
I used to be an ambulance officer and on the job it was suicides. I had a guy slash his forearms with a knife then realize he didn't want to go through with it... we got half way to the hospital roughly before he checked out. The most avoidable death I've seen was my grandmother though she went to hospital with a broken wrist. She then developed a Staph infection which meant a couple of days stay supposedly, the orderlies then dropped her while moving beds and broke her hip which then lead to her getting pneumonia and her subsequent death. From a healthy 69 year old woman with a broken wrist to dead in a bit over a week. tungstenfish
The Simple Bleed?
Guy had a simple rectal bleed (eg fissure or tear in colon or intestine, blood comes out the anus). He got out of bed and tried to clean it up in the bathroom. That didn't help so he sat on the toilet and tried to stop it. That didn't help and it was getting messy so he went had a shower. Still didn't help so he went out into the bathroom and at that point, probably weak, he sat down in the ground and tried to wipe it up with toilet paper.
We found him dead, stiff with rigor mortis the next morning. Cell phone on the bathroom counter.
It was all pretty obvious from the trail of blood and bloody hand stains on the doorknobs, mirror, walls, toilet, shower knobs, floor... everywhere.
Folks, if you are bleeding a lot out of your butt, there is nothing you can do to stop it and your priority isn't cleaning it up. It's embarrassing but isn't worth dying over. Pjpjpjpjpj
In times of War.
I was an Army combat medic (EMT-B). The worst completely avoidable death was when we got a call that an Afghan soldier nearby was having chest pains, and their own medic was really concerned about it, so they sent him to our base.
On the drive over, their convoy had to stop suddenly. One of the guys riding in the back of a pickup truck fell off the back because he wasn't wearing any kind of seatbelt or harness. He probably would have been okay, but the truck behind them wasn't able to stop as quickly, so he got caught between the two. He probably would have survived, but he wasn't wearing his helmet either. His skull popped like a grape.
Of course, in my opinion, 100% of the deaths I saw were completely avoidable. Especially because after nearly two decades of war, the US military pulled out and the Taliban immediately retook the area. Men, women, children, and my brothers died for nothing.
Oh, by the way, the chest pain guy was completely fine. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him. Lovebot_AI
Drunk drivers. Way to many drunk drivers and the poor souls unlucky enough to be in their path. andrewdmc
Drunk driver killed my first husband. Drunk drivers are scum. So avoidable. I don't understand how people who rack up multiple DWI's aren't in prison. NiDonnaNaiz
Leave the Stickies!Giphy
Person in the hospital kept taking their EKG leads off because they didn't like the stickers on their chest. They kept doing this after being warned.
Had a heart attack and didn't get found until they couldn't be saved. Keep your damn leads on people. Bird_of_the_Word
Save your Blood!
I had a 32M admitted for multiple pulmonary embolisms, turns out this was his second admission within 2 months because he stopped taking his anti-coagulant that was prescribed during his previous admission. His reasoning? They didn't feel like they were doing anything so he stopped taking them. Due to this, he was then started on a different anti-coagulant that requires weekly blood tests, so instead of just taking a pill with little follow-up he had to live with weekly blood tests and a higher risk medication! toolate4ogusername
Can you Hear Me Know?
Not answering the phone is common, family will call for a welfare check. Sometimes a family member comes to visit. Old people also do this in assisted living and nursing homes but in my experience those rarely result in death. thereWasAnAttempt42
Nothing is Obvious.Giphy
Obvious answer would be all of the overdoses but also many incidents in nursing homes, where a patient will be found dead and the staff state "they just saw them 30 minutes ago" when that is definitely not the case.
The worse is a parent rolling onto their baby while asleep, I haven't had that call yet but other crews did recently and it is just devastating to all involved... family, medics, police, fire.... everyone. FuzzyMeep7
Never Go Back!
Was an EMT, but this was prior to that when I was just a Volunteer Firefighter... got called to a house fire when a grandmother had woken up her grand daughter and got safely out of the house. Unfortunately she decided to go back into the house and died of smoke inhalation mere feet from the door. Since it was a ways out in the county by the time we got there, the house was fully involved, meaning we couldn't go in had to fight the fire back to get through the door. Moral of the story, don't go back into a building in fire where everyone is out safe, things can be replaced but you can't. moderndaygypsy13
Guy stationed on a coast guard ship got hit in the head by a crane when it fell over. The crane operator didn't put down the outriggers (the big metal feet that stick out to stabilize the crane) and it fell over. Victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time, left behind four daughters and a wife. SpyingForTheNSA
Dude caused massive internal bleeding from using a jack hammer incorrectly. By the time his wife called 911, he was all but dead, and had filled several small trashcans with blood he had vomited.
Big guy too. Had to use firemen and the sling to get him down the stairs. The whole time we were working on him and getting him down the stairs, his wife was nagging him about not hiring someone to break up the pavement, that he was such an idiot for trying to do it himself. She didn't know these were the last words he'd hear from her. nitewake
Too Much To Bare...
Not an EMS but my friend died of AIDS because he "got tired of" taking his medication. He was born with it and was always a little crazy in an offbeat kinda way. Our friend group never knew he was sick until he got hospitalized. Even then, we didn't know anything but he had pneumonia. When I went to see him his spine was visible and he kept telling us how they'd give him anything for pain, whenever he asked, which we all laughed at. He died a month later, laughing til the last day. He expressed regret at having stopped his drugs. His girlfriend, who he'd infected, was devastated as they'd just had twins. He had watched his mom die from it. Completely avoidable death. SexceptableIncredibl
I Know THAT Look!
I've posted this before but I once had a patient who had "the look" of someone with one foot in the grave who had near complete blockages in all three of the main blood vessels that supply the heart. That's not super unusual, and with open heart surgery she probably had an excellent chance of a good outcome. What was different about this case was she had apparently she'd had the same thing happen (to slightly less degrees) not once, not twice, but THREE times over the previous six months and had refused surgery each time in favor of a Mediterranean diet.
She decompensated very quickly, was immediately sedated and intubated, and flown out to the big city hospital for the surgery she should have received six months ago. I'm pretty sure she did survive, but did not have a great quality of life. ggrnw27
Not EMS, but in my lab at school they talked about safety in the lab and shared how there was this girl who was in a lab with lathes (operated by spinning) and her hair was long and got caught in the machine and pulled her to it and she died. Must wear a bun in those labs, not even a pony tail will do you good. bluesapphire731
Don't be Dumb.Giphy
People doing dumb things on the job. Moving an industrial generator? Sure, stand directly under it while the Loft is lowering it down. Have a truck load of 7,500 pound i-beams that need to be offloaded off a flatbed? Sure thing, do it by yourself with a forklift. Have a wood planer at a furniture factory that gets jammed? Go ahead, stick your arm in there to unjam it. IndWrist
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 https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Sometimes you just don't have any money and you have to make it work. I learned how to make the most out of bargains at the grocery store and know how to make food that is hearty and will last more than a day or two. Beans and rice are your friends, by the way. You'd be surprised by how many delicious meals you can make with just these two basic ingredients.
Being poor requires you to be creative.
Penny pinching is an art, as we were so deftly reminded after Redditor naranja_cheese asked the online community,
"What is the most penny pinching you've ever done?"
"I used to steal..."
"I used to steal half-used rolls of tp when I was a janitor. Lived off white rice and Worcestershire sauce for months. Got a job as a cook & always saved a few scraps while plating people's food so I would have something to eat without paying for a meal. Also worked at a butcher shop& would take home bones to roast and make a stew with. I can share hundreds of things like this."
"I worked part-time..."
"I worked part-time in school, but was pretty broke. I wasn't being paid until the following day, and I needed soy sauce for my extra super tasty stir fry. I literally had negative funds in my account. So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a sushi tray, threw a ton of packets of soy sauce in my pocket (they don't charge you for these), wandered a bit, pretended I changed my mind, and left."
"While at the grocery store..."
"While at the grocery store, putting back that pack of chicken breast that cost $2.98 for the other pack of chicken breast that cost $2.95."
"Things were insanely tight..."
"Used to make my own laundry detergent during a time when we had relocated and our prior home had not sold so we had rent on top of a mortgage for 18 months. Things were insanely tight in those days, to say the least."
I definitely know what this is like.
"I took some cedar boards..."
"I had no money for Christmas gifts. I only had enough to pay rent. I took some cedar boards in the backyard, cut them, burnt them a little black as I had no money to finish them. Then I passed them off as cutting boards."
"One Friday night..."
"One Friday night in college, my two buddies and I had a grand total of $3 to our names. I bought a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can(!) of escargot, and three Lil' Debbie Star Crunches. We had a full meal with starch, protein, and dessert."
"I lived on pasta..."
"When I was at university my entire budget was less than £40 a week. I lived on pasta and stolen sauce packets from the Students Union. The cafeteria ladies would always take pity on me at closing time and give me free burgers."
"I lost my job..."
"I lost my job and lived in a $1400/month apartment where electricity (which included heat) and internet were ludicrously expensive. $400-450 a month in the winter because the building was an old mill with huge windows and no insulation. Fortunately, gas and water were free."
"I only turned on my lights when I had to, turned off the heat entirely, and heated my apartment by boiling a huge pot of water on the gas stove 24 hours a day and going to the business center to use the free DSL connection to apply for jobs. I ate rice with frozen vegetables and spices for three months."
"It sucked, but I got by."
Hopefully things are much better now.
"If I ate fast food..."
"If I ate fast food or takeout food, I would ask for extra sauce packets or garnishes that they give out for free. I would stock up on them, use them when I cook instead of buying the stuff from the store. For example, a $1 box of pasta, a clove of garlic, and 2-3 ramekins of parm cheese, half ramekin of chili flakes, and a pinch of Italian herbs I got from a pizza place makes a quick meal."
"My local mall..."
"My local mall used to do paid surveys, you'd watch a video or try some new soda or whatever and they'd give you a couple of dollars. Then I'd use that to buy a meal."
Sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. It's not easy.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Now, this isn't going to be a long, "Let's all pile on how bad the internet is and only think about the good ol' days when the rocks were soft and we could only communicate using cans with string."
People old enough to remember life pre-Internet, what are some less obvious things you miss about that time?
Many habits we used to possess were made completely irrelevant thanks to the internet. Not that we didn't enjoy doing them, we just started asking ourselves, "What's the point?"
Completely Devoid Of Technological Interference
"Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with."
No One Needs 24 Hours Of Nonsense
"News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with "news." And when you saw "Breaking News" on the screen you knew something serious went down."
You Mean We Actually Have To Go?
"It used to be a lot harder to bail on things. You'd have to call the person at home and tell them yourself, or at least leave a message if you wanted to be risky. Typically if you were gonna bail you'd give at least 24 hours notice. Nowadays people can let you know they're bailing last second since you're always reachable."
"RSVPing mattered. If you said you were going to be there, you made sure to be there. None of this facebook invites that everyone blows off without any form of social repercussions. If you said you were going to go and didn't go, you were the a--hole and everyone knew it."
You can get almost anything on the internet. Almost. Still no sign of real working Lightsabers anywhere out there, but the internet has eliminated many of our purchasing practices.
Just In Time For The Holidays!
"The Sears catalog. That was how I found out about all the cool new toys."
"Catalogs in general, for me. Before the internet made mindless browsing of stuff you didn't need ~really~ easy to do, we still liked doing this without having to drive to the mall. The solution? Sign your mom up for those cool seed catalogs, those not safe to browse at the office gag gift catalogs and then everything in between. That stuff was really nice to have when you grew up somewhere that was not even cable ready."
1 Good Song Out Of 15
"When you bought new music you just had to hope it was good. The single might be popular but otherwise unless someone had it you just bought it and hoped for the best."
"There was so much excitement to going to a cd store to buy an album that you only knew one song of or the band/artist name and just listening to that entire cd over and over again picking out which tracks were your favorite while still learning every lyric to all the songs on the album.
Building a cd collection was also fun."
Talk About The "Immediate Gratification" Generation, Huh?
"The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, i don't even bother anymore."
Finally, there's these activities, to difficult to explain to anyone who wasn't there. How do you get someone to understand that not having a supercomputer in your pocket at all hours of the day radically changed your life?
Keeping It In Front Of You
"I miss having an attention span of more than three seconds"
"It's so weird. I can only vaguely remember what it feels like to not have a smartphone and to be alone and think.
Wondering what my friends are doing and if they'd like to do something on the weekend. We'd have to talk during lunch break at school and plan it...
Trying to find the answer to a math problem... Having to figure it out by re-reading the problem and explanations 5 times."
There Used To Be A Time When You Couldn't Play Everything
"Not being overwhelmed by choice.
Don't get me wrong, having nearly every form of media downloadable is great, but back in the day, i rented a video game and i played that video game as much as i could.
Now, its hard to give it more than 2 seconds before i try one of the 20,000 games i have access to.
New game plus used to be cool. Now, I'm happy if just beat the game"
Floundering. Just A Little.
"My formative years were the 1980s. I remember like yesterday going to study in Paris my junior year of college. I got off the plane with no cell phone, no internet, a Let's Go Paris book, and just a hostel address written on a piece of paper I'd stuck in a French dictionary. I did not know a single person in all of France.
I had $500 of cash stuck in a money belt. The belt was tight and sweaty but that money had to last me for at least a month until I could find a part-time job with my lousy French. My "credit card" was my father's credit card numbers written down on a piece of paper. He told me I could only use it to buy a plane ticket home in an emergency.
I remember standing in the airport and having this powerful emotion of being 21 years old, scared sh-tless, but in absolutely completely control of my own destiny. There was absolutely nobody who could come rushing to my aid if I needed it. I was 100% on my own.
I'm actually very thankful for that experience. I found the hostel. I found a job. I made friends. I learned French. I made it all on my own which was just a big boost in life confidence.
I have no doubt if I'd had a cell phone I would've called my parents on Day 2, told them it was too hard, and been on the next plane home. But I had no other choice but to succeed."
We can never go back. Not really, anyway. The only way is to keep going forward, be aware of the effect the internet has on us, and do our best to not let it take away the things that really matter in our lives.
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Look, unless you enjoy cooking, no one likes spending time in the kitchen longer than they have to in order to whip up something mediocre to eat.
Ordering food or, for the time being, enjoying a socially distanced lunch at an establishment is convenient, but it can take a toll on your wallet.
So what options are there?
Fortunately, there are plenty of them that do not involve nuking a frozen entree.
"What's your go-to under 5 minute meal?"
These dinner selections are super sufficient.
A Loaded Course
"Two hotdogs and a side of judgement from my fiancé"
In Case You Didn't Know
"Quesadilla. super quick and easy to make and there's a ton of ingredients that you can add without much effort that will make it even better."
"Ramen and an egg, but not the traditional way."
- "Boil roughly half an inch of water (we want just enough water to boil the noodles, with very little water left over when it's done boiling)."
- "Smash up the ramen noodles, while still in the package (optional but cooks MUCH faster)."
- "Open the package and remove the seasoning."
- "Dump the noodles in."
- "While boiling, crack an egg and whisk in a small bowl."
- "Noodles should be done and almost all the water should be gone, if not strain out some.
- Remove from the heat."
- "Slowly pour in the egg while mixing very quickly, try not to let the egg touch the pan."
- "Mix as much of the seasoning packet as you like (I prefer 1/2 - 3/4 because I usually add a salty component at the end.)"
- "Add to bowl and top with some chives, thinly sliced, ripped up ham/salami and/or parsley. Leftover bacon or pancetta are fantastic crunchy components to dial up the texture."
"Easy, fast and checks so many of the 'munchie' boxes for me."
Don't Underestimate Soups
"Tomato soup and add tortellini. I like the spinach ones from Trader Joe's and Progreso creamy tomato with basil. It's bomb and it really makes a decent meal."
For people in a rush, these tasty snacks would suffice.
Goes Well With Veggies And Cheese
"Hummus is such an underrated food. It goes well with a lot of veggies and breads and chips or heck even cheese. All the time I hear hummus being listed as one of those weird, gross foods when its actually an amazing snack, or a meal if done correctly. It's not really unhealthy, either, especially if eaten with veggies (celery and carrots go great with hummus)."
Ready In Seconds
"All I do is get a paper towel, and put 5 Oreos on it."
"Then go back and get the whole package."
Peanut Butter Fantasies
"Peanut butter sandwich."
"If I'm feeling extra froggy I'll add nutella to the peanut butter and honey sandwich and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Goes down about as well as a popeye's biscuit though."
"It's like cheating the system. You eat sweets and call it healthy."
Start your day without all the hassle of a fancy breakfast.
Put It In A Bowl
"Oatmeal or cereal."
"Cereal is definitely underrated as a meal outside of the breakfast dynamic."
"A very simple recipe my grandma prepared for me when i was a kid."
"It's basically scrambled eggs...but before adding the egg she would cook sweetcorn (from a can) with a little bit of butter, add the eggs and then when the eggs were almost ready, add small cubes of cheese and cook for a minute or until the cheese start to melt (she was using fontal, but any swiss or white cheddar will do). Just a little black pepper and salt."
"Takes 5 minutes to do but it's absolutely delicious, fill you up, not so unhealthy and I feel my late grandma with me."
'I tried variations with chives or spring onions, paprika or other stuff. Still good but nothing as good as a simple "uova strapazzate con mais e formaggio.'"
I consider yogurt a healthy snack/lunch option.
I like having a bowl of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, sprinkled with granola and drizzled with honey.
It's packed with nutrients and gives me a nice boost of energy.
Yogurt also makes for a perfect chip dip. I sprinkle some onion soup mix and stir in the mixture. Who knew quick and easy food prep could be so delicious?
We all like to assume that a big old scar has an amazing, hardcore story behind it: maybe a valiant fight or some life threatening-escape.
But despite what Hollywood would have us think, that is so rarely the case.
Usually, some kind of bizarre accident leaves us with the biggest scar of our life. There's no action movie story behind it, just a careful mixture of foolishness and bad luck.
Clearly not put off by some gruesome anecdotes, Redditor fluffybear45 asked:
"People with scars, how did you get them?"
For many, it was the wild antics of childhood that left them slightly maimed. With many years now separating the Redditor from the event, these were pretty hilarious.
Out of Nowhere!
"I was playing on a swing and then my leg got stuck in barbed wire." -- Soviet_God-Emperor
"I feel like we missed a couple steps here, or your local park had some serious issues." -- Henfrid
"Yo that went from 0 to 100 real fast" -- IHaveButt
"2nd grade, defective slip-n-slide." -- AdmiralAkbar1
"I'm pretty sure the general design of the slip'n'slide was defective. Those stakes weren't covered originally, so you had to be straight down the middle of the slide or else....." -- Q-burt
"Could you refer to this incident in a gravely voice while staring into the middle distance, pausing only to shudder and sip your scotch?" -- CaptValentine
That's Why You Need an Axe Yard
"My dad hit me with an axe (bladed side) in the face. Stupid 10 yo me just had to look over his shoulder while he was hammering in herrings for our tent."
Others talked about freak accidents that came not from the stupidity of childhood, but the bad luck of mistakes made as an adult.
Bad Conditions for Practice
"Dad gave me a folding knife for Christmas"
"I read online that you could flick it open with one hand"
"So I practiced it, after my hands were greasy from eating a burger"
Take Your Pick
"Multiple long scars on my back are from falling onto a old soviet steel welcome mat ( i dont know how to describe it in english but its meant to wipe dirt of your shoes with triangle shaped steel beams."
"Medium sized one on my forearm is from a barbed wire fence, another one next to it is from a motorcycle accident and one on the base on my thumb is from a cars hood slipping and cutting me."
One Heck Of a Fall
" 'This one is from a skateboard, this one was a truck accident, and this one was a fire hydrant.' "
" 'Oh really? I bet each one has a very unique story.' "
" 'Not really, I skateboarded off of a truck into a fire hydrant.' "
Last, some people talked about the medical procedures that left them with the big gash. These stories had some ninth grade words and not nearly as much stupidity.
"A rare auto immune disorder called pyoderma gangrenosum twice... Don't google If you don't like gore... I had to have daily wound care and high doses of medical steroids"
"My intestines telescoped on themselves 8" scar on my belly." -- Anom8675309
"I never wanted to see the words 'intestines' and 'telescoped' together. Ouch." -- LadySygerrik
"I was born 2 months premature. I wasn't born with an esophagus so drs. cut my stomach open and used parts of my colon or intestines and created a new one for me. I have a huge scar on my neck and my stomach is one big scar. Also had a stomach feeding tube for quite a bit and heart surgery at 2 days old."
"I love science. I wouldn't have experienced life if it hadn't been for advances in medical science."
So if you've been sitting on an embarrassing backstory for one of your scars, feel free to share. You're hardly alone.
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