People Reveal What They Believed They Were Good At Until They Saw Someone Else Do It
We can only base our opinions of our skills on our own experiences. If we're the best at something among the people we know, it seems like a safe bet to think that we're pretty good at that thing.
Sometimes, when we venture out into the wide world, we discover that that couldn't have been further from the truth.
Reddit user u/Squidkiller28 asked:
10. It Boggles The Mind
I was the best Boggle player in my universe as a child. I'd take on whole rooms of people as a party trick (i.e. everyone else vs. me). Then the internet existed, and boggle-style games popped up online, and I found out I was only the 783rd best Boggle player in the world...on that website...at that moment.
9. Do You Know Lasers?
When I interviewed for my current job at an aerospace firm, the 3 interviewers asked me to work at a whiteboard while describing my research. My research involved laser physics, and while starting to draw I tried to gauge their knowledge level, and being kinda nervous I asked "Do you guys know lasers?" They just looked at me and said yeah, so I kept going.
Unbeknownst to me, one of them was a laser physics PhD with 20 years of high energy laser experience, one of them was chief space systems architect at the company that specialized in ground to space laser communication systems, and the other was a space systems department head.
Months later, I was working on a project for the laser communications guy, who was basically giving me a crash course on atmospheric optics, and I started laughing because I remembered the time I asked him "do you know lasers?".
8. Not Even One
Ping pong. I've never lost to anyone I've ever met or any of my friends, until one day I went to a ping pong club that met at a high school gym. The guy that managed the club was ex-olympics and I couldn't score a single point on the worst player there.
7. Learn To Appreciate Progress
Fencing. I would show up to open competitions and cruise through everyone. Started going to actual sanctioned events and was absolutely destroyed.
I loved it though. When you get eliminated in the first round of eliminations for long enough, you really appreciate the small bits of progress you make. Like getting to the second round.
Smash Brothers Melee in the pre-internet (pre online smash I should say) days. I'm pretty good at the game for the normal person and could easily beat all my friends as Samus without trying. I talked myself up so much and was all "oh man I'm so good at this game!"
...Until a buddy of mine ended up meeting through another friend a ranked Smash player. Not even a high ranked player. Just some guy who was "kinda sorta good". Yea well holy sh*t. He beat me down without breaking a sweat. It wasn't even a close match at all. None of the matches we played were.
It was that day I learned there are 2 levels of experience for fighting games. "Normal/casual" and "pro".
5. They'd Just Get Frustrated
Played at a lan party with a friend who was a top half-life 2 player. We were casuals & he was of course untouchable & super-deadly. I took a break & sat next to him to watch him play. He was basically not playing the game; he was just practicing weird/glitchy movement techniques & scoping people's heads but not shooting them. He only deigned to kill someone when they threatened to bump him from first place. "They'd just get frustrated with the game if I actually was trying to kill them."
4. Everyone Else Too
SNES Mario Kart. I thought I was an unstoppable f*cking machine. That was basically THE game. I played it daily for years.
Got to college.
So had...everyone else.
3. It's All In The Eye Of The Beholder
Photography, (as an amateur... I would never compare myself to a pro). I do decent pictures, I have a good eye for detail etc.
One of my friend bought himself a camera, same style as mine (Reflex). No previous photography experience with that kind of camera.
My god. The pictures he does are pure, perfect, full of emotions and just esthetically amazing. Without any need of filtering or photoshop.
2. Keep Shreddin'
I was a decent midwest snowboarder in the late 90s. Not great mind you, but pretty good by my local mountain standards.
Moved out west and the first week I went riding with a guy from ak. We built a booter in the backcountry. I hit it and did some lame trick. He climbed up way higher than me, straitghtlined it and busted a gnarly backside rodeo. First time off the kicker. Stomped the landing.
I knew right there that I was not a good snowboarder.
1. Pattern Recognition
Computers. I thought I was a pretty smart guy, good with computers and whatnot. Then I went to college to learn software development. That's where I met the real geniuses. I learned that I was just good at pattern recognition, but not actually that good at abstract thinking and creating new information. Watching a guy half my age get ABOVE 100% in most of the classes I struggled to pass was an eye opener.
Epilogue: I discovered that my talent for pattern recognition made me a fantastic QA person, and I have a great career fixing the mistakes of people way smarter than me. I spend all day nitpicking their code and they thank me for it.
Reddit user fuzzycuffs asked: 'Who was vilified in their time but in hindsight was completely right?'
We've all heard of Thomas Edison's process of inventing the lightbulb and the Wright Brothers' many attempts at inventing the first flyable airplane. We've even heard of the ridicule they heard of their ahead-of-their-time ideas.
But there are so many other examples of major scientific findings that were heavily argued against when they were first presented.
Redditor fuzzycuffs asked:
"Who was vilified in their time but in hindsight was completely right?"
"Doctor Clair Cameron Patterson not only discovered the true age of the Earth with his research in Lead-dating, but during this process, he accidentally discovered the dangers of lead contamination."
"Then he went, 'Wait, we’re putting this s**t in gasoline, cans, paint, etc.' He then began campaigning against lead in everyday products. In particular, he targeted the gasoline industry."
"You can imagine how that went in the courtroom. He was vilified, excluded, and slandered but kept pushing for lead to be removed from gasoline."
"It took decades, but obviously, lead was removed from gasoline almost entirely by 1990."
The Importance of Scrubbing Out
"Joseph Lister, one of the first doctors to publicly endorse germ theory and recommend disinfection."
"At the time, surgeons would literally move from an amputation to an autopsy to the delivery room, using the same tools often without even cleaning the gore from their hands and clothes."
"When Lister recommended comprehensive disinfection between procedures, nearly the whole British medical community laughed at him. He spent years as a pariah gathering data from his own practice until he could finally prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his methods reduced post-operation infection by a staggering rate."
"Now he's known as 'the father of modern surgery.'"
The Existence of Pangaea
"The guy who came up with the theory of Pangaea and continental drift."
"Alfred Wegener. Not only that, we now have theories that Pangea was only one of the many supercontinents that have existed throughout the eons: Nuna, Rodinia, Pannotia..."
The Truth Behind Ulcers
"Barry Marshall (and also Robin Warren his co-researcher)."
"Forever, the cause of peptic ulcers was believed to be stress, spicy food, and too much acid production. They believed it was actually of bacterial origin."
"No one believed them, they were ridiculed because the belief was that bacteria couldn't survive in the acidic environment of the stomach."
"Not until Barry took a cocktail of H. pylori bacteria, which caused him to have massive inflammation of the stomach which was found to be colonized with the bacteria, but a course of antibiotics later and it was gone."
"One Nobel prize later and now the treatment of peptic ulcers is turned on its head, and instead of months or years of discomfort it can often be sorted with a week or two courses of antibiotics."
Unalive Infectious Diseases
"Stanley Prusiner. Everyone who was anyone in science knew that proteins couldn't be an infectious agent. They weren't even alive!"
"He suffered so much mockery and skepticism... until the mad cow disease, and kuru etc., were found to be precisely what he had described."
"Ignaz Semmelweis. The world didn’t know about germs yet, but he saw that way less women were dying from childbirth when midwives attended the births than when doctors did (doctors were coming from autopsies and wrecking women’s s**t)."
"Ignaz suggested they start washing their hands, and people lost their f**king minds. Doctors ridiculed him and everyone hated him. He had a 'nervous breakdown,' was committed to an insane asylum, beaten by the guards, and died from a gangrenous wound as a result of the beating."
Sports and Steroids
"The journalists who maintained Lance Armstrong was doping when he was winning the Tour de France. I remember they were mocked because they admittedly went to extremes hunting for evidence. I remember reports of them sifting through Armstrong's trash."
"Lance Armstrong was a great story, a testicular cancer survivor who beat the disease and went on to set the record for most Tour de France victories (was it 7?). He was untouchable. Anyone contesting he was cheating was shamed."
"I remember the journalists investigating him were mostly French, so they were dismissed because they were sour that an American was breaking the Tour de France records. I remember other Tour winners such as Greg Le Mond and Floyd Landis also contesting that Armstrong was cheating, and both being silenced/shamed."
"Landis had tested positive himself for doping so he wasn't considered a reliable source. I remember with Le Mond they dug into his history and brought up child abuse he suffered as a result of him making claims against Armstrong."
"Turns out they were all right."
Tragic Genetic Defect
"Patricia Stallings comes to mind."
"She was convicted of poisoning her first child. She gave birth again in prison, the kid got taken away, and the kid also died."
"Instead of poisoning, it has since been found it was a genetic defect that had similar effects as poisoning with antifreeze."
"One of the lesser-known ones is Hellen Keller. Her story of overcoming her disabilities as a young woman was often taught to children, but her adult life was largely excluded because of her 'radical' ideas at the time which involved pushing for Black rights, anti-lynching laws, early support of birth control, supporting liberal socialism, and she even co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union."
Overly Sweet Food
"John Yudkin was a food scientist who tried hard to push the idea that sugar caused heart disease and obesity amongst other conditions. He suggested a low-carb diet for weight loss in 1958."
"The sugar industry paid scientists like Ansel Keys and D. Mark Hegsted to downplay this connection and suggest that dietary fat caused obesity and heart disease. Massive lobbying helped pro-sugar scientists to become advisors to the government and officially suggest a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease."
"Taking fat out of food makes it taste bad, so what do they add? More sugar, causing the food to be unhealthier. The demonizing of fat lasted well into the 2000s and often still persists to this day."
"Nicolaus Copernicus theorized that the planets actually circled the sun instead of the other way around. The church initially accepted heliocentricacy but banned his views in the 1600s."
"He will forever be remembered for setting up one of my favorite insults of all time: 'Copernicus called. It turns out you're not the center of the universe.'"
"John Snow. He tried to remove the handle of a water pump in London that was drawing its water downstream from a sewage pipe. People who drew water from the pump caught cholera."
No Nuclear Ruin
"Stanislav Petrov. More people need to know his name, he literally, like quite literally saved the world."
"He saved the world from nuclear ruin, simply because he was stubborn and refused to believe the computing error. He went against his position orders and was consequently sacked by the USSR and lived an isolated life. Not necessarily vilified by all, but vilified by the USSR and ignored by the West. It put some respect on his name."
"And he didn't even win a Nobel peace prize, died in 2017. I recommend watching 'Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved the world.'"
"Charles Darwin. There’s a whole book on how scared he was to publish his work because he knew he’d be hated for it. The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen."
Too Soon, But Also Not
"The Deep-sea exploration community warning OceanGate against ocean tourism. OceanGate basically told them to mind their business."
As painful as many of these revelations are, this whole series is a great reminder of the fact that we, as individuals and as a society and as a global community, will never know everything.
We'll never stop learning, and sometimes, no matter how extreme the consequences, we will be wrong.
The concept of a life-long friend or "Best Friends Forever" is beautiful, but few of us realize just how difficult it is to make a friendship last that long.
As people grow and change over time, often their friendship doesn't have the flexibility it needs to endure those changes.
And like the many complexities of a friendship, there are many reasons why the friendship may eventually fail.
Redditor Macburgh asked:
"What pushed you away from your ex-best friend?"
The Transactional Friendship
"When I realized that the only time she ever got in touch with me was because she wanted something from me."
"I did this too. I 100% thought of him as my best friend, but then, when I was going through some s**t (for months), he couldn't be bothered to return my calls."
"It made me realize the relationship had always been all about him. So I dropped him."
"And f**k me, because I still grieve the loss of my best friend."
An Outside Perspective
"I got a new friend and hung out together with them a few times."
"Then my new friend mentioned how my old friend treated me like absolute s**t and I didn't seem to notice."
"As soon as my new friend mentioned it, that's all I could see."
The Absolute Energy Suck
"When I realized that they just brought negative energy and drama with them everywhere."
"Something or someone always had to be wrong and they desperately needed to be the center of everyone’s attention."
"It just became grating and I found myself less happy around them. So I had to remove myself from the friendship."
The Enabling Parent
"My ex-best friend and I were both about 33 at the time."
"I met her daughter (12) for the very first time, and she was a complete b***h to me the entire lunch, saying things like, 'Wow, you’re really ugly,' and 'That’s so stupid,' after I would say something."
"Also, 'Your hair looks like a witch,' 'Your clothes are gross,' etc."
"And she said everything loud enough that other tables kept looking over."
"My ex-best friend never once scolded her or even told her to stop. Instead, she’d sheepishly laugh and say, 'She’s just a little headstrong,' and 'Don’t pay attention, she’s always difficult with new people,' and 'She doesn’t really mean it.'"
"I did make a couple of attempts to make her stop, but I wasn’t about to scold a child I didn’t really know, in front of her actual parent. I’d say things like, 'Geez, what a cruel thing to say,' or 'It’s odd that you’re being so mean for no reason,' but my ex-friend ever even added anything to that."
"A couple of years later, I was organizing a formal, black-tie party, and I sent her an invite with a plus-one invitation."
"She asked if she could bring her daughter since it was her custody weekend to have her, and I. SAID. NO."
"The event was child-free, at an upscale wine bar that was reserved for the private party."
"My ex-best friend begged and pleaded with me to make an exception, she was older now, blah blah."
"I held firm and said this was an important event to me, I would have professional peers from my industry there, and based on a) her daughter’s behavior two years prior and b) her lack of discipline, I didn’t feel confident that nothing similar would happen."
"I could just picture her insulting my dress, the food, the music, the location… and as this was an unofficial marketing event, I could NOT allow that."
"She exploded. She said I was a pretentious b***h, and that I was choosing being fake over being her friend. There were some other choice words."
"It was kind of the first time she’d ever spoken to me like that in our entire friendship. And of course, her daughter was just joking, she really did like me. Yeah right."
"She immediately blocked me on everything. This was in 2016. We haven’t spoken since."
The Third Wheel
"We were best friends for about ten years. I finally distanced myself because I couldn’t handle her relationship. It was very unhealthy, in my opinion."
"She literally couldn’t do anything alone; if she showered, he showered. She went to work, and he went and hung out there for her shift. This was true of EVERYTHING."
"It got to the point of me telling her that he wasn’t invited so he would stop showing up with her to our hangouts."
"And at that point, she would either refuse to come, cancel at the last minute, or she would come and rush through whatever we had planned so she could meet him outside, where he would loiter, waiting for her to finish hanging out with me. Or she would come, and he would 'show up' about ten minutes later and act like it’s a coincidence that we’re at the same place and then join us. Very annoying."
"He also never had a job. And it was not that he was unemployed and looking, but he was unemployed and planning to stay unemployed and let my friend work for their household money. When we managed to get some time alone, she constantly complained about their lack of money and how she wanted him to work and stop smothering her."
"I encouraged her to either talk to him and work it out or dump him. She promised to talk to him but never did. And dumping him was not an option according to her because she couldn’t be alone."
"I just couldn’t watch her disrespect herself anymore when the solution was so simple."
"We still have mutual friends so I know they are still together, about 13 years now. They have two kids. He still doesn’t work but he’s not a SAHD either. From what I’ve been told, now that she’s not in retail anymore and he can’t loiter inside, so he sits in their car outside her office every day."
"And from what I’ve heard, that togetherness extends to parenting. If the kids are sick or have a dentist appointment or something, the boyfriend doesn’t take them. Ex-BFF takes time off work so they can do it together."
"She only wanted to talk to me about her relationship problems with her crazy boyfriend. My advice to her fell on deaf ears and I couldn’t handle hearing about how poorly he treated her over and over."
A New Perspective
"I got therapy."
"It’s super, super common that as you heal you find yourself moving on from relationships that no longer serve you because they were premised in your previous unhealthy behavior and belief systems. I’m experiencing this currently."
The Convenient Friend
"She ignored me whenever we had other people around, but when she didn't have anyone else to hang out with, she would text me, and she would get mad and try to make me feel bad if I couldn't hang out with her."
The Boundary Crosser
"I realized I’m a people pleaser and started setting boundaries. They apparently didn't like that, and the rest sorted itself out…"
The Overly-Critical Friend
"My ex-best friend left me when I got engaged to my now husband. We were both raised Mormon and were not getting married in the temple. Big deal in the Mormon church."
"She thought we should 'wait until we were worthy' and that we were only getting married to have sex."
"I walked away from that friendship. My husband and I have been together 11 years now, are no longer Mormon, and, for the record, got married because we love each other."
Partners Before Friends
"He got a girlfriend and doesn't need me anymore. His personality has changed a lot, and I can't recognize him anymore. Also, he started ghosting me."
"I miss my best and only friend."
Lack of Reciprocation
"I realized how many times I had to ask her to hang out and make plans and remake them when she canceled last minute before we'd actually hang out."
"And every time we did, she was going through a crisis and needed to cry and vent. I was happy to listen and help."
"But the TWO times in our whole friendship I asked for help, she couldn't make the time or just flat out ignored my texts."
"I realized she'd never once gone out of her way for me for anything. I stopped asking to hang out, and she still hasn't. Guess that's that."
The Friend with Back-handed Compliments
"My sister and I were friends with her together."
"She was never a great friend to me, she was closer to my sister. They’re the same age (a year younger than me), went to school together, and knew each other longer. She always treated me at the third wheel, but I just wanted to fit in with my gorgeous sister and her gorgeous friend."
"I think at first we both had blinders on to her. She was always giving half compliments or very backhand compliments. She ALWAYS copied everything my sister did or wanted to do. It got to the point where she was constantly putting my sister down, putting her relationship down, making snide comments about how she looked (my sister is a f**king goddess and I am not just saying that), and it seemed like my sister just didn’t notice."
"One particular weekend, my sister and I were in town and staying with her and I had had enough by the second night. My sister noticed my mood change and asked what was up. I asked her if she even realized what this person was doing. She said she hadn’t noticed. But then she thought about it and she realized I was right. I just told my sister she deserves way better than that."
"I distanced myself after that weekend, but she and my sister remained friends for a while longer. They finally had a falling out a couple of years ago where my sister finally stood up for herself and stopped putting up with this girl’s bulls**t."
"I know that we are both better off for it. This person is the most toxic person I’ve ever met in my life."
So Quick to Leave
"We had a group of four of us that were really close. The guy that has introduced us all to each other started dating a girl a decade younger than him."
"I knew her from school and warned him she was a pathological liar, but he decided I was the liar and jealous and turned the other two against me. They all stopped talking to me."
"Six months later, sure enough, they realized she was full of s**t and tried making amends with me, but I couldn’t get over how quickly and easily they all turned on me. So I just did my own thing. F**k them."
The Inactive Listener
"We're not ex-friends, but I wouldn't consider him the best anymore, even having known him for over 20 years."
"He talks just to talk and will only respond to anything else with 'Yeah' or 'Uh-huh' until he has the chance to talk again. He will hijack conversations entirely, and before I know it, he's talking about himself again."
"Also, he only ever seems to tell stories of our time in high school and college, and only the same four or five over and over."
"At first, I thought it was a social thing, but it happens every time without fail regardless of where we are. It's incredibly frustrating to be talking to a group of people and being interrupted."
There are all kinds of reasons that a friendship might come apart, and these make sense as to why these friendships were not able to lost.
As much as we might love them, sometimes the best thing we can do is to let our best friends go.
Every medical professional has seen their fair share of difficult patients—but some of the most memorable visits involve the moment when it becomes abundantly clear that the person in front of them is totally faking their symptoms. Sometimes it’s just for attention…but sometimes, it’s way more sinister.
1. Silver Linings
I had a mother come in and insist that her child had Silver-Russell syndrome. It's not that easy to fake, as it's a bunch of metabolic conditions mixed with congenital abnormalities.
The kid was small, but not that small, and he didn't weigh much. All of this, with a right arm length 2 cm more than the left side, were borderline criteria for Silver-Russell. We did genetic testing, which came back negative—but 30% of cases are negative.
There was one more deciding factor—the "soft" criteria of hypoglycemia. Once she heard about this (she’d printed out 30-40 articles on the disease), that’s when she went off the deep end. She came back with the kid in a coma. But then, when the kid was in the hospital, he was never hypoglycemic. He went home, and came back in a coma a few weeks later. Again, as soon as he was eating normally at the hospital, he wasn’t hypoglycemic.
Yeah, she had starved her child into comas repeatedly for the diagnosis of Silver-Russell. On top of that, she was in a wheelchair when at the hospital. Once I had enough of her lies, I walked into the room after only knocking once. She was walking around normally and jumped into the wheelchair as soon as she saw me.
I believe it was for money since in Canada/Quebec, you get money when your child has a genetic disability...god, if I could’ve, I would have slapped some sense into her.
2. The Grass Is Always Greener…
When I was about 7 or 8, my older sister found out she needed glasses. My parents and sister kept talking about how detailed the leaves on trees looked after getting glasses and before it just looked like a green blur. Well I wanted to be cool and get glasses too so I peeked up and said: "What leaves? The trees just look like a blur to me".
Flash forward to the eye clinic, there I am being asked to read the eye chart by the eye doctor—who was a family friend. I knew if I read it accurately they would know I didn't need glasses, so I lied, trying to fudge the results, as the doc kept flipping different lenses.
Finally he flips to one and says, "This one should work for you". I read the whole chart and immediately after he sticks a pen right through where the lenses should be. I was super humiliated and the doctor just laughed but my mom was so mad.
I was a lying little jerk and I got it good that evening.
3. Monkey Hear, Monkey Doman in blue and orange adidas crew neck t-shirt standing beside white van during daytimePhoto by Michel E on Unsplash
My husband is a firefighter and EMT and he told me about a time when they were called for a man seizing. When they got there a guy was lying face up on the floor not moving and then started faking a seizure. So they came up with a plan to expose him.
They stood there saying things like "Oh wow. This is a bad one. But if they did “X” then we should really be worried”! and the patient would suddenly start doing X behavior. Apparently, this went on for a while, until he miraculously woke up in the ambulance asking for opiates.
4. Rock On
My husband is a urologist. ER called with a patient who is reportedly writhing in pain from kidney stones. The patient brought with him a stone he passed for analysis. My husband walks in, sees one of the hospital’s regular pill-seekers, and takes a look at the sample. He quickly realized that it was a pebble guy picked up in the parking lot.
5. Third Time’s The Charm
I was an intern in a busy trauma ED when a guy walks up the ambulance bay and screams he needs to be seen immediately. They take him back and ask him what happened—and the story he told was bizarre. He says he was in a car accident last night going "100+ mph" on the interstate but did not go to the hospital because he was worried about his friend, the driver. But now he's losing feeling in his legs and has severe back pain and needs to be seen.
So of course the story is super fishy but we put him on a backboard/collar and get some X-rays of the chest and pelvis (our protocol for any severe trauma). The radiologist who is stationed in the ED flags me. Then he asks me a question that made everything click into place. He was wondering when our patient got a CT scan. He showed me his pelvis x-ray and his bladder is super bright: It's filled with the iodine contrast agent they inject in your veins when you get a CT, which is then excreted by the kidneys over the next few hours.
So we confront our patient about why he didn't tell us about being seen at another hospital and getting a CT. He launches into a rambling explanation about concussions and amnesia. He has, of course, also exhibited several other pill-seeking behaviors in his short time in the ED. He decides to leave against medical advice…but not before asking the nurse directions to the nearest hospital, presumably to try the same trick.
6. Bait And Switchmacrophotography of cracked glass screenPhoto by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash
My wife's a district nurse, she drives to peoples’ homes changing dressings, giving medications, etc, etc. Her job has her dealing with many people such as gang members and people on home detention, but the worst in her opinion, the people you never trust even a little bit are the methadone patients. According to her a lot of them will try anything to get a little bit more.
She had one not long ago that was being extremely talkative, almost like he didn't want her to leave the house. Then he started showing her every little lump and bump, wanting her to make sure they weren't infections or anything. Although he wasn't making her uncomfortable, she did think it was strange for him as he was normally very quiet and wanted the nurses gone ASAP.
When she got back to her car, the back window had been smashed in, but all that was missing was her sharps container and the lockbox the meds were kept in. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on So she walks back to the house, looks in the front window and sees the patient and another guy sitting on the couch trying to open her lockbox and emptying the sharps container on the floor.
She called the authorities at that point. Some of the needles now on the floor were from an HIV+ patient she had earlier in the day, but she sat in the car until the PD arrived—that’s not a situation you want to get in the middle of.
7. Hail Mary Pass
I had a patient fake Guillain-Barre syndrome—ascending paralysis. She ended up in the ICU and I was her nurse. I was a new grad and had to put a catheter in her bladder. She had to pretend she couldn't feel a thing and I could see the pain in her eyes. Later, I found out the devastating truth.
It turned out she got into a fight with her husband and as he was walking out of the house she fell on the floor to make him stay. I don't think she meant to take it so far…but she didn't know how to back out.
8. The Voices In My Head Told Me To Ask That
There are some fun ones in psych—but I’ll always remember one patient. She went into her room and, in a very obvious stage voice—just loud enough for us to hear her in the main area—started saying random, unconnected sentences/phrases. Then she immediately came out, walked straight up to us, and asked, "How do I know if the voices are real”?
She would act perfectly normal when she thought we weren't looking, but as soon as we walked loudly up to her door she'd start "talking to herself" again. Yeah, no. That's not how psychosis works. Good try though.
9. Right Place, Wrong Actwoman lying on hospital bedPhoto by HH E on Unsplash
This just happened last week, strangely enough. I've been a nurse for 4 years now, and this is probably the worst I've seen it.
This young adult comes in with seizure-like activity. We're a neuroscience floor, so we get these a lot. Complains of severe abdominal pain related to her seizures, apparently. They run multiple CTs and MRIs that come back clean. We put her on a 24-hour VEEG machine (video EEG for those who don't know). She reportedly has 100s of seizures throughout the night, with full body convulsions, drooling, upper extremity contractions, and will not respond to verbal stimuli. Post ictal, she's not lethargic, just confused. Doesn't know her own name, the place that she's in, or what time it is, but the rest of her neuro assessment is benign. No bladder incontinence during, had perfect control of all limbs.
She screams for pain meds when she's not having seizures, but is for some reason refusing everything they offer her. Tylenol—nope. Percocet—makes her feel weird. Lidoderm patch for her abdomen—it gives her sores in her mouth. I guarantee if a doctor dropped the D word, she would have been all over that.
After 24 hours of being there, $1,000s worth of tests being run all coming up negative, the doctors had no choice but to send her home. She became agitated and seizing again, while the doctor is basically explaining that she's faking it. That was the final nail in the coffin for him.
He says, "I'll wait”. She immediately stops. Security had to roll her out, with me in tow, because I was too paranoid that she would throw herself on the floor before leaving and demand to be readmitted. They recommended an outpatient psych consult for her, which made her even angrier. Lord knows, maybe the seizures felt real to her, but she didn't need a special kind of help.
I had this teenage girl, probably 16, come in saying that her wrist was broken. Her mom was behind her rolling her eyes after every time she would tell me how bad it hurt. She then proceeded to “flop it“ in an attempt to show me how bad it hurt when she did that. She said it was clearly broken and she would need a cast. I said I would take her back and let the doctor do some x-rays and do their thing.
The mother asked to talk to me outside of the room—and she revealed the truth about her daughter. She told me her daughter’s friend recently got a cast and her daughter was notorious for being overly jealous. I just responded by saying that if they were anything wrong, it would show up in the x-ray. Guess what? She didn’t get a cast and threw a fit.
Last I saw her was her crying and throwing a temper tantrum outside of the waiting room and being dragged out by her very embarrassed mom.
11. Dine & Dash
This gentleman called 9-1-1 from a restaurant claiming he had a migraine and was unable to see properly. He was literally two blocks from a hospital.
I've had migraines, I'm sympathetic. On the way to the call, I was planning my treatment plan so he would be more comfortable during the wait in the emergency. When we pulled up, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
He was waiting outside, in full sunlight, waving at us. Thanked us politely for coming "to his rescue". Sat in the well-lit ambulance, chatting up a storm, making inappropriate jokes, and laughing. Stating the whole time he has 10/10 pain from a migraine, and that only Percocet works to reduce the pain. He has them frequently, and wouldn't you know it, he's run out of his prescribed medication, and his doctor is on vacation.
The chef from the restaurant he called from came out and asked for his information. That’s when the story got even more hilarious. Our patient was "unable to pay his bill, due to the pain”. He conveniently had no ID he could leave with the restaurant, and only had his debit card with him. He promised to come back, once he was feeling well enough to tap his PIN into the machine, but right now he couldn't. The chef knew 100% the guy was full of it, but couldn't do anything.
As someone who has had a vomiting, shaking, vision effecting, migraine in the past, he did nothing to convince anyone he was in actual discomfort. I actually would greatly prefer if he had said, "I ate a meal I can't afford, and I'm addicted to painkillers, can you please take me to the ER”. Honesty would have gotten him better treatment from everyone involved.
12. A Bit Of A Stretchperson sitting inside restaurantPhoto by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
I am an EMT, and I got called for an unconscious intox at a bar. We get her out to the ambulance and she shouts "I'M HAVING A SEIZURE"! She starts waving her arms around. I tell her "People who have seizures generally don't announce it first”.
Her response? "You're being very judgmental, I was getting ready…in case I had a seizure”.
You gotta stretch, I guess.
13. A Running Gag
Well, I'm not a doctor or nurse, but I am a disability attorney. I've seen a few obvious fakes. My favorite was at this hearing office that's a single courtroom sort of tacked onto the back of one of the satellite offices. Judges come down from the main office every so often to do hearings there. However, the entrance is around the side of the building so people often go in the front of the building and sit there waiting, even when I tell them it's around the side.
So, I have this client that did exactly that. She's claiming disability in part because she can't walk more than a few steps without falling over in extreme pain. Uses a cane or a walker to get around everywhere. Of course, none of this is in her records. She originally claimed it was because she couldn't afford to see a doctor so I believed her.
Well, it gets close to her hearing time and she hasn't arrived, so I go out to the parking lot to give her a call. No answer—her phone is already off. I figure that she went in the front entrance. As soon as I start heading toward the front of the building, I am greeted by the most ridiculous sight.
She is running around the side of the building. Cane in one hand. She doesn't even notice me in the parking lot. I go back in to talk to her ahead of the hearing. Suddenly she can't walk anymore.
Yeah there are a ton of cases where people can do short bursts of walking or even running but can't do sustained standing/walking to hold down a light exertional level job, but this wasn't that. This was straight-up faking it for the hearing. Now, luckily, she had other (mental) things that were going on with her which were actually pretty well documented, but it was still pretty funny seeing the miracle cure come running around the side of the building.
14. Eau De Overreaction
We had an employee that was "allergic to everything" and a huge hypochondriac. She was such a headache that we ended up moving her desk waaaaaay away from pretty much anyone else so she would stop complaining. One day, a lady walks by with a strong perfume, and our lovable hypochondriac falls out.
Predictably, EMS is called, and by this point our employee is laying on the ground rolling her eyes back in her head. Scary stuff—if you didn't know she was literally insane.
So EMS arrives and they come over, put the O2 meter on her finger, and she's choking through her speech when they're asking her if she can breathe or not. O2 saturation was at like 97% or something like that. Medic goes "Ma'am, there's no reason why you should be having trouble breathing right now”.
They hung around for another couple minutes, then bounced.
15. Nurse Karenshallow focus photo of woman in blue topPhoto by Timur Romanov on Unsplash
She was a nurse on disability and would fake seizures, which are really hard to fake. She would hold her breath and shake and roll around on the bed. Her O2 saturation dropped to the 70s from not breathing—and maybe the sensor wasn't picking it up well as she was shaking. That’s when we gave her an ultimatum.
We told her we'd intubate if she couldn't protect her airway and she would miraculously stop seizing. She never acted postictal and could remember the whole seizure and everything that was said. The worst part?
She told me she would call my manager since I said during one of her "seizures" we didn't need to give her Ativan.
16. Problem Solved
I had a male patient, 30 years old, unconscious and completely unresponsive for six hours. This guy was totally dedicated to his act. I initially approached it as a stroke, but when the blood pressure, ECG, reflexes, pupils, etc, all are normal, so I start checking pain sensation. He slowly began to open his eyes and groan as I asked him to tell me his name, but the moment his Achilles' tendon was pressed, he suddenly sat up, stated his name, and declared himself cured.
17. Starting A Trend
As a resident, I had a patient who had a blood clotting disorder, but also who was addicted to IV pain meds. He figured out how to get admitted for an extensive workup for a possible blood clot in the lung and IV pain meds for his "chest pain".
He came in all the time, but it was very difficult to block the admission, because he actually did have a risk of this problem, never took his blood thinner correctly, and his symptoms always bought him a couple of days at least while we ruled out a clot and got his blood levels where they are supposed to be. But it meant he had accumulated >30 high resolution CT scans of the chest over his life, as part of the workup, which is not good for you.
I had this one question I used for patients I thought might be faking it. I would ask it to people who tended to come in complaining of every serious sounding symptom they could think of: "Does it ever hurt behind your eyes when you pee”?.
I was very salty at that point, and this guy was a nightmare when he ended up on your service, and it really bothered me that this guy was buying himself a lung tumor with all those PE protocol CTs just to get a day’s worth of IV pain meds and Benadryl.
With him, I started asking the "pain behind your eyes when you pee" question like it was extremely important, and quickly he started answering "yes", and I acted like it was an extremely serious condition that warranted evaluation—once it was clear I couldn't avoid the admission anyway.
I considered it one of my greatest achievements in residency that he one day showed up in the ER with "pain behind my eyes when I pee" as his chief complaint. I heard a colleague talking about this crazy dude who came in demanding to be admitted because he had excruciating urination-related eye pain. Made my day.
18. Playing Hookywoman sitting on green grassPhoto by Sarah Brown on Unsplash
I had a female patient, 17 years old, who complained of respiratory distress and convulsions. Everything's normal on admission, and she's conscious but refuses to eat. Her parents are worried out of their minds, and every few minutes she has a “fit” where she would just basically shake from side to side.
She let slip to a nurse that she didn't want to go to school that week, so she was faking an illness. Since she was refusing to eat, the attending wrote up an order for a nasogastric tube (which was inserted and then removed by her in a matter of minutes), and we prescribed her sugar pills because her parents wouldn't let us transfer her to psychiatry or discharge her. She finally left after four days.
19. Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Pettily
I had a male patient, 21 years old, who was admitted with inability to speak for last two hours and respiratory distress. Lungs clear, but we hook him up to oxygen for a few minutes. After he's taken off, his father comes running and drags me over, saying his sons tongue refuses to go back in after receiving the oxygen.
I look at the kid and he's seriously just lying there with his tongue poking out like a child. I tell them to push it back in. A few hours later, the dad tells me the boy is convulsing. I go to see without making my presence known and he's lying there just fine. The moment I ask the mom how he's doing, he starts “convulsing”. Think of an odd version of the worm, but on his back. Later, I found out the hilarious truth.
We finally got the story behind it, and basically the kid was mad because his dad took his phone away and this was his way of “punishing” his dad.
20. Breaking The Fourth Wall
My disability firm fired a client who went to a clinic with her husband and son. When she was not examined as thoroughly as she felt was appropriate, she started acting the fool in the hallway outside the doctor’s office and had an "episode”.
Her son recorded the whole thing. She was claiming fugue states or some weird garbage. While she's pretending to pass out/be out of breath/dizzy/weak, she is purposefully hyperventilating but also wailing for an ambulance and DIRECTLY LOOKS AT THE CAMERA multiple times, like checking to see if son is getting it.
The doctor’s staff calls an ambulance just to get her out of there. Before they get there, she "passes out”. The paramedics come and rub her sternum which she obviously physically responds to but refuses to open her eyes. They then drop her hand over her face to see if it will smack her and she lets it fall to the side of her face onto her shoulder.
We watched that video like three times to get over the disbelief that anyone would pull such nonsense and note the obvious signs of faking it. We fired her as a client, but said we could reconsider if she entered mental health treatment for six months and didn't get any better. We never saw her again.
21. Shakin’ All Overman in red shirt driving carPhoto by Mat Napo on Unsplash
My sister-in-law used to have "seizures". She got in a minor car accident once and afterwards in the hospital the doctor told her she may have had a mild seizure during the accident. My brother was worried about leaving her and their son alone so she was staying at my parents’ house while he was at work.
Suddenly she was having regular "seizures"—but there was just one problem. It was only when she had an audience. I only witnessed one of them but it was ridiculous. It was the day before Thanksgiving and my whole family was at my parents’ house—me, my sister and other brother and our spouses.
We're all talking and she suddenly starts shaking all over, slides herself off the couch to lie on the floor, jiggles about a bit more and then goes still and pretends to be unconscious. My dad called an ambulance and she was still "unconscious" when they arrived. They started talking to her and asking her questions like "Can you hear me"? etc. She would nod her head in answer to their questions.
I remember the EMT being like "Huh, that's weird that she's answering". There was another time shortly after that when she was at my parents’ house and one of my dad's friends came over and while he was there she had another "seizure" and rolled onto the floor. My dad’s reaction was unforgettable.
He’d had enough drama at this point so he just walked outside with his friend. When he came back inside she was sitting on the couch like nothing happened and never mentioned it.
22. DIY Symptoms
My mom said my brother came to her one morning saying he was sick and asked her to feel his head. This was how she decided if we had a fever and were therefor allowed to stay home. My mom told him sternly to get ready for school. He didn't realize that he'd had grate marks on his forehead from pressing it against the heater.
23. Caught Red-Handed
My partner at work is an administrator with an ED nursing background. She was called in to the ED one night last year to deal with a patient who was complaining of severe headaches and nosebleeds but was refusing to go for any kind of examination in favor of being admitted. They are pretty sure at this point that she is looking for pain meds as she refused to even lie in the bed. My friend left the room and was standing a few feet outside the patient's glass bay talking with the charge nurse when she noticed the patient turn around and hunch over. She subtly stopped the conversation so they could observe. What they saw was so disturbing, it’s unforgettable.
The patient turned around with more blood on her nose and blood on her fingers from where she had been reaching into her underwear and smearing period blood all over her face to fake a nosebleed.
24. Placebo Effecta woman laying in a hospital bed with an iv in her handPhoto by Stephen Andrews on Unsplash
We had a teenager admitted with unexplained "seizure" activity. Her mom & boyfriend were beyond concerned & stayed at her bedside. How she was even admitted in the first place is a mystery. Anyway she started "seizing" and her family called a rapid response—basically it's an emergency but not a code blue.
The rapid team responds & the on call physician was a delightful jerk. The situation was explained as we're going down the hall and he says "Someone give me a flush".
We get in the room ad he says in a soothing tone "It's okay Jane. I'm going to give you some medicine to help. It should work pretty quickly”. That saline quelled her seizure pretty much immediately.
25. Conjugal Visit
Another paramedic piping in! One day I went out to a "no tell motel" at about 3:30 pm for seizures. When we get there a 25-year-old guy sitting on the bed, and his girlfriend describes "his whole body shaking, it stopped just before you got here". He's completely alert and oriented (people who have seizures generally take a while to “wake up”), and they describe a vague seizure history, with no diagnosis or meds.
He hands me his drivers’ license for ID—even though, if you have a legit seizure the first thing they do is take your drivers’ license away. We finally walk him out to the ambulance and the girlfriend asks if she can come too. I tell her of course, and the real reason comes out.
Apparently, she's on a pass from the same hospital we're transporting to and has to be back by 4pm. There's only one unit that does passes like that...psychiatry!
My son's uncle was pretty much bedbound, to go to the toilet he had to use a walker and it would take him about 10 minutes to slowly get himself to the toilet at the back of the house, he had the whole family waiting on him hand and foot for years.
We were visiting once and my son, a baby at the time, fell asleep in the lounge. I didn't want to move him so I stayed behind reading a book while the rest of the family went out. The house was really quiet.
I heard Uncle get up and watched him march past me with no walker and no mobility issues. He certainly jumped a foot in the air when I said hi, his face was a picture!
27. Get Out Of Jail Free Cardperson showing handcuffPhoto by niu niu on Unsplash
We had a patient. He had just committed a heinous crime, no question, it was on video, tried to run from the authorities, crashed his car, and broke his leg. I have seen adult babies before, but this guy took the cake.
I think he thought being unable to walk would keep him out of jail, so this perfectly healthy, 20-year-old man would not even try to walk with crutches, cane, walker, anything. I wanted to read him to the ground but was with a mentor and about four officers and held my tongue.
28. No Such Thing As A Free Meal
We get called to a local Waffle House for a seizure. We walk in to find a man lying on the floor, not moving, but breathing. We start talking to the waitress, asking what had happened. While talking to her, we occasionally look down at the patient, and find him with one eye barely cracked open, watching us, when he sees us looking at him, he closes his eye. This happens a few times. Then the authorities show up and find out what's going on.
One of the officers asks the waitress, "Did he (patient) eat here”? "Yes, he did”. "How much is his bill”? "Fourteen dollars”. At this point, the officers roll the patient over and find his wallet, the guy has a $20 bill in it. One of the officers takes out the $20, gives it to the waitress, and tells her, "Keep the change”. You could see the anger in the patient's face when he realizes he's not getting out of paying his bill. He ended up faking a seizure on the way to the hospital.
29. The Carrot And The Stick
My mother was the school nurse when I was in high school, but she's been a nurse my whole life. She's told me a few good stories. But I was lucky enough to overhear one of the students trying to fake an illness to get out of class.
The kid, we'll call him Derrick, was a loser. White trash, moody, and destructive. Not my favorite classmate. But I was laying there when I heard him come in and start his routine of attention seeking.
So my mom runs through all the basics, temp, blood pressure, etc. Well, Derrick finally just cuts to the chase, obviously frustrated with the procedure, "Look Mrs S, something is seriously wrong here and I'm not faking it this time", he screeched, defenses already 10 feet high.
She asked: "OK Derrick, what's the problem this time”?
"Well, earlier this morning, I started feeling sick, so I went to the bathroom to throw up. After I was done I looked at the toilet...(dramatic pause) and there where over a dozen whole baby carrots...(another pause, this one I think was for any gasps that might be coming) AND I DON'T EVEN EAT CARROTS”! He was basically shouting at this point.
Well, after about a 10 second pause and what I'm guessing was the hardest straight face my mother ever had to keep, she came up with a legendary reply.
She said, still fighting back laughter, "Well Derrick, your body is producing carrots at an alarming rate. Weird that it only seems to happen during gym, though. Here is a Gatorade and a hall pass to get back to class, see you tomorrow”.
He left, stunned to be written off so easily and we had a good ol' laugh.
"And I don't even eat carrots”! has become a family favorite catchphrase.
30. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go…men's and women's bathroom signsPhoto by Juan Marin on Unsplash
I had a guy trying to fake stroke symptoms. Claimed he couldn't move his leg, doctors examine him and he insists he can't move it. Five or ten minutes later I look in the room and he is walking to the bathroom.
When he sees me, he immediately starts limping and acting like it’s hard to walk. Pretty sure he was discharged shortly after.
31. Plan Foiled
We get called to a fall in the women's bathroom at Wal-Mart. We walk in, and the manager is FREAKING OUT. We go into the bathroom to find a white female face up on the floor. I'm guessing she weighs at least 350 lbs, there were two friends of hers standing in there with her. I ask her what happened, she says she slipped on a puddle and fell, hurting her back.
I look all over the bathroom floor, there's NO water on the floor. I ask the manager AND the patient's friends—"Do you see water on the floor”? They all said, "No”. I then tell the patient, "There's no water on the floor, ma'am”. She says, "I'm lying on top of it”.
We're going to have to roll her to her side in order to get a backboard under her and pick her up, I explain that to her. As we roll her to her side, I check her back for any obvious injuries, I then check her clothing AND the floor she was lying on—nothing was wet. I have the manager (who was grinning from ear to ear at this point) and the patient's friends look. "Do you see water on the floor? Are her clothes wet”? They all said, "No”.
We then roll the patient onto the board, pick her up, and place her on a stretcher. I knew exactly what to say to end the ridiculous charade.
I tell the patient, "I'm going to be writing up paperwork for this call and your treatment. Part of what is going to be written up is the fact that you said you slipped on a wet floor, and that no water was found either on the floor or soaked into your clothing. This is standard, I have to write up what I'm told in addition to what I see. What you need to understand is this—if you happen to decide to take Wal-Mart to court, they can request a copy of my run report, and it's going to show what you said and what I found. They can also summon me to testify, and if they do, I'm going to tell them what you told me and what I saw, the manager saw, and what your friends saw. That being said, do you want to keep dragging this out and go to the hospital, or do you want to just get up from my stretcher and be done with it”?
She chose to get up and leave.
32. Them’s Fighting Words
My dad works in A&E (accident and emergency) and gets a lot of people wandering in for attention.
So one time a guy is driven in pretending to be unconscious, the same guy who'd pulled this the week before—but they're not allowed to turn these people away. My dad, knowing this, says something like "Hey, isn't this the jerk from last week”?
The guy then miraculously wakes up and starts hurling insults and has to be held back. Charming…but makes for good stories at least.
33. When The Let Ankle Doesn’t Know What The Right Ankle Is Doinga woman on a treadmill in a gymPhoto by Nate Johnston on Unsplash
I’m a student nurse, but this happened when I was at the gym. The guy next to me fell off the elliptical, somehow got his foot trapped between the foot pedals and went sideways. The surprisingly inept PTs—personal trainers are usually well trained in first aid—were freaking out and this guy is really hamming it up. Talks of calling an ambulance are thrown about. I offer to step in.
"AHHHHHH MY ANKLE" He's on the floor grabbing his leg. I kneel next to him.
"Hey bro”, I greet him. He's so surprised that I'm there—I came up from behind—that he forgets to groan. "How much does it hurt on a scale of 1-10”?
"Erm…8" he says. I look at his ankle. There's a scratch on it the size of a penny and superficial, hardly any blood. Little red around the scratch, ankle not swollen. I ask him if he can point and flex his foot and rotate his ankle, which he can do with zero difficulty, not even a grimace.
I figure he's probably hamming it up because it's embarrassing falling off a machine in front of everyone, so I get him an ice pack, tell him he'll be fine, and tell the trainers not to call an ambulance—but the story doesn’t end there.
His sister comes to pick him up in her car and he limps out on the wrong leg.
34. The Minimizer
I had an elderly man who was in his early 70s (long term smoker) who came in with shortness of breath, trouble breathing, and a little bit of a cough and occasional production of blood tinged sputum. That last one is a bad sign.
He also complained of a little bit of back pain he'd been having that started about a month ago after he was helping his son move. When asked to rate his pain he said 2/10 ("not too bad").
He has no other history, always had good blood pressure, no cholesterol issues, no diabetes...has a little bit of anxiety/depression, unmedicated.
So we check him out. Reduced breath sounds all across, more so on the left lower side. Tenderness to palpation in the lower back, he jumped when we touched it, and said it was about a 3/10 when we touched it.
I check his vitals, his blood pressure is 180/85 (this happens with severe pain), he has no fever, and his heart rate is in the 120s (also happens with pain).
I get scans and labs. He has three broken vertebrae, probably pathological (caused by cancer) a pleural effusion (it was malignant, as in, caused by cancer), and a few masses in his left lung. Guy had stage 4 lung cancer that spread to his back, caused his back to break, and he said he had 2-3/10 back pain.
Either he was set on fire in his childhood and then beaten with 2x4s filled with nails then rolled in broken glass...or he was faking not having pain. This is someone who we would describe as a "minimizer".
Not the typical story you expected, I guess.
He got his surgery, and the next day wanted to leave the hospital because he had to do some paperwork and pay his bills. He didn't take any of the pain meds offered to him, except at night to help him sleep.
I hope he's still alive, was a really nice guy.
35. Defending The Fort
My mother-in-law is a family doctor. I went to her practice to drive her home and was sitting in the waiting area. The place is emptying out and I'm there alone. The receptionist goes downstairs to get a coffee cause that's the last patient and she just has to do paperwork when they come out.
Then this haggard looking guy wheels in in a wheelchair while she's gone. He wheels over beside me. He's coughing and sounds like and looks like he’s not gonna make it much longer.
Anyway, last patient walks out before the receptionist is back.
A few minutes later out comes my mother-in-law and sees this guy. Her reaction was surprising.
She says immediately, "Mr so-and-so, please leave". He starts on some crazy mumbling ramble about how "he's in so much pain, and he can't even walk anymore”, and a bunch of other stuff, but I remember explicitly the "I cannot walk anymore" statement.
So of course, she says something like, "If you do not leave I'm going to have to call the authorities". I’ll never forget what happened next.
The guy jumps out of the chair (“can't walk”) and runs at her. Now it wasn't super fast by my standards, but he was going to mess her up by what I could tell.
Thankfully, I was able to get up and sort of semi-tackle him against a wall before he got to her. But the guy was strong. I couldn't actually believe what I was seeing.
So anyway, Doctor Mother-in-Law locked herself in the reception office that's glassed in. Apparently, this kind of thing happens more than just once, which is scary. Anyway, she does that and I let the guy go and he didn't seem like he was going to mess with me but I kind of think in retrospect I probably should have kept him tackled or whatever, in case he had something on him, but I thought I was invincible.
Anyway, he swears at her for a while through the glass and started banging on it. And it was as if I wasn't there. I thought he might come at me, or try to hit me, but no he was just boxing the glass in front of him. But the story doesn’t end there.
The one funny part was the secretary opened the door to come in and saw the guy and spilled her coffee and ran like the devil away. The look on her face was priceless. But lunatic man was oblivious.
Anyways, maybe like five minutes later a couple of officers did show up and weirdly the guy kind of calmed down when they did. They cuffed him and took him away and then we did reports and like an hour later I was able to finally drive her home.
But she said the guy just wanted pain meds, and she saw that a lot. I still thought it was crazy he "couldn't walk".
36. Get Your Story Straighthigh-angle photography of woman in stairsPhoto by Fabio Spinelli on Unsplash
We had a lady when I was in nursing school who had been in the hospital a multitude of time for various (actual) neurological conditions. On top of this, she had borderline personality disorder and was extremely manipulative. She had had a full neuro exam on so any occasions she could actually mimic a problematic exam and make you believe that she was having a stroke or some other issue.
Problem was, on an occasion I witnessed, she'd forget to be consistent with the side that she was feigning weakness or paralysis on. So she'd sit, only move one side of her face, one side of her body, talk funny because she would only move one side of her mouth (since the other was "paralyzed"), etc, but then would forget and move a finger or something on the side that was supposed to be paralyzed.
37. Memory Like An Elephant
One time I had a patient who was complaining of severe abdominal pain and the symptoms of cholecystitis. Typically we would do a CT but based on his reported medical/surgical history and allergies we were limited in the tests we could do. He was refusing the tests we could offer. He was from another town and didn't have a physician we could get records off of. His blood work and vital signs were normal. It was all very suspicious but they admitted him to the ICU until we could figure out an action plan.
I'm doing his admission and he says he knows that it's his gall bladder because he's had issues before. He keeps apologizing for being so dramatic but he's never felt such bad pain. The resident orders him a concoction of the good stuff until the intensivist makes it up to the floor to see him.
Finally the physician walks in. I notice he has a particular gleam in his eye. I give him a report and then he does his assessment. The patient writhes in bed while the doctor asks him questions and palpates his stomach. The doctor says it sounds like a bad case of gallstones and cholecystitis. The patient agrees and asks for something for the pain.
The physician responds, "Yeah for gall bladder troubles like yours I would recommend it”. The patient stopped writhing and smiled. That’s when the doctor revealed what he knew. He said, "However, you don't have a gall bladder, I remember I took it out a few years ago when I worked at X hospital. It's nice to see you again”.
The patient's smile turned into the most disgruntled look I have ever seen. He sat up in bed, removed his IV, gathered his things and made for the door. I chased him down the hall telling him he was leaving against medical advice. His response was, "Leave me alone. Obviously, you know I'm fine”.
38. Drama Queen
Firefighter/first responder here, I once had a call for a "vehicle that struck a power pole" at 2 am on a major street. We arrive on scene to find a telephone pole snapped in half and a car that had crossed 8 lanes of traffic to hit this pole straight on. We found the "patient" lying on the ground next to her car, laying on her back with arms crossed across her chest clutching her phone.
Right next to her were her shoes laid perfectly next to each other by her feet. As I approached her I could see her squint one eye trying to see what I was doing. I know she was faking by all of this and called an officer over to "help hold C-spine".
I called her name with no response so next step was painful stimulus, grinding your knuckles into the sternum is an acceptable way to check. The second I said "I'm going to give her a sternum rub" she was awake. Right when we finished packaging her for the ambulance I noticed a man talking to the officers, obviously inebriated. That's when I noticed she smelled like she’d had a few too. It turns out the woman called 9-1-1 to report her own accident and the husband told the officers they were out tying one on, got in a fight, and she decided to leave even when he told her not too.
It was a fake attempt to take her own life to make him feel bad—so he pressed charges for grand theft auto and totaling the car.
39. What A Performancea couple of men that are sitting on the groundPhoto by Jay Heike on Unsplash
Former EMT in rural VT here, we had a call for an unconscious woman found on the side of the road. This was in the middle of January as well so time was pretty important. We swerved down the roads of the village and into the mobile home park, probably saw at least two cars on the side of the road due to the road conditions.
We arrive to the middle-aged woman lying in a fetal position on her left side just outside her home. Her family was at the door and refused to speak with us or provide any information. She had a pulse and was breathing normally, like she was in a coma. We literally ripped her from the ground since her clothing was beginning to stick to the Icy gravel. We load her into the stretcher with the help of two officers.
As the ambulance was pulling out of the park, my crew chief sat in the captain's seat next to the woman on the stretcher. Before I jump into the next part, I just want to paint a picture of my crew chief, he was a retired Navy SEAL that spent years in submarines, and ended up just gaining muscle after he left there. His biceps were the size of my thighs.
Anyway, the ex-SEAL gave this woman the hardest sternum rub that I could ever imagine. Here whole body was just liquid during this, and she did not even flinch. He told me that he only did it for 10 seconds but my mind swears it lasted minutes.
After this failed attempt, my crewmate started an IV to get fluids in. Her lips were a bit cracked, suspicious for dehydration. When the 18 gauge went into her left AC, I swore that she gritted her teeth. None of the other members of the crew noticed anything.
As I was the least experienced EMT at the time, I had the phone duty and spoke with the officers from the scene. That’s when I begin to find out what’s really going on. They explain that the family has had issues with the woman—she lives outside the house, transient—and that she has a history of just faking so she could receive possible stimulants from her friends that typically carry stimulants for their personal use (typically Adderall).
We arrived at the hospital by the time I got off the phone with the officers and didn't get a chance to notify anyone. Once we got into the emergency department, a nurse came right up to the stretcher and asked if we managed to get a temp. We only got a single tympanic temp at the start of transport which was a solid 37 C.
After transferring the woman to the hospital bed, the nurse suggested a rectal temp for a more accurate reading. After hearing this, the lady literally just shot up, jumped out of the bed and walked toward the exit. Security got her and the lady pretended that she was "sleepwalking"…and she normally treats this at home with her friend's Adderall.
40. Taking It Literally
My mom's an ER nurse and she said once some crazy lady came in and complained that she had the whooping cough. And whenever she coughed she followed it with a loud "whhhoooOOOP”!
41. Do You Hear What I Hear?
I'm an audiologist, and it's fairly common to have people fake a hearing loss. With adults, it's commonly for worker's compensation/benefits. Children do it for attention or to get out of school for a day.
They are fairly easy to spot...patients will come in, conversing with me very normally, but the audiogram will show a profound hearing loss. I have tricks to make them slip. I like to lower my mic volume to a normal range and mention that they dropped something when they're in the booth, they instinctively reach for it, forgetting that they shouldn't have heard it because of their "loss”.
My favorite is when testing kids that are clearly faking, part of the test requires me to have them repeat words. So I present them at a normal volume and the kids are REALLY straining to hear them…then I slip in funny words like "buttcrack" and watch to see them smile because they clearly heard it.
42. A Shaggy Dog Storybrown and white curly coated dogPhoto by benjamin lehman on Unsplash
I work at a veterinary office. I once had someone bring their dog in, claiming the DOG is in excruciating pain…when they're clearly the one looking for pain pills. It’s funny on numerous levels.
First of all, animals don't fake pain. if anything, they go out of their way to mask it. Secondly, if you're not an established client, no vet is prescribing anything without doing a complete work-up, which can easily cost $300 or (significantly) more. Finally, most K9 pain meds are fairly mild and only prescribed in small amounts—a week's worth—so even if you get what you want, you've got probably enough in the bottle for one or two good highs, if that.
43. Don’t Write A Cheque You Can’t Cash
We get called to a 13-year-old having a first-time seizure. We get on scene, and the entire family is freaking out, except for the father. I walk into the room where the kid was—OBVIOUS FAKER. I turn to dad and have him go outside into the hallway, I tell him the boy is faking, and I ask if anything unusual happened today.
That’s when I get the real story. The father tells me he found weed in the kid's room, and he was getting on to him about it when the kid started "seizing”. I reassured the father that his son was NOT seizing, and he asked if we could take him to the hospital "just to be safe”. I said no problem.
We pick the kid up and put him on the stretcher, and as we head outside to the ambulance, he exhibits more behavior that shows he's faking. Inside the ambulance, I tell the kid that I know he's faking and ask him to stop, but he keeps on.
The hospital we take him to doesn't have board-certified Emergency Department physicians; they use General Practice and Internal Medicine physicians (a LOT of smaller hospitals do this). I bring the kid in and give a patient report to the internal medicine doc and the RN, and I say the kid is "faking his seizure activity”. The doctor had a problem with that—"You can't possibly tell that he's faking”.
I assure him that, yes, the kid is faking. I explain the situation that led up to him faking, and that I could prove it. The doctor says, "I'd like to see that”. Well, I had a plan. And, the RN knows EXACTLY what's going on and what I wanted to do; he's all for it!
So I say to the kid, "We need a urine sample from you, and we need you to wake up to do it. If you don't wake up, we're going to shove a tube into your nether regions, run it all the way into your bladder, and take a urine sample from you. Please, just wake up and give us a sample”. Nothing from the kid. "Okay, Bob, if you don't wake up in 10 seconds, we're going to start prepping you to get the tube shoved into your you-know-what. Ten, nine, eight, FIVEFOURTHREETWOONE”!
His eyes opened wide as saucers before he realized we caught him. He then closed his eyes, started blinking, looked around the room, and said, "What happened”? The RN was laughing, and the doc was a little mad.
44. Anatomy 101
I had an employee tell me their spine couldn't stay straight and when they tried to sit up they'd flop to the left or right. Followed that up with telling me they found out that this was due to one of their lungs being deflated. You know... Because your lungs hold your spine straight. A highlight of my career when he finally quit because he "just wasn't about that cubicle life".
45. The Pee Thiefwhite ballpoint pen beside yellow and white plastic toolPhoto by Testalize.me on Unsplash
This patient comes in saying she has terrible abdominal pain 10/10. I say okay...and start to examine her. She immediately starts screaming the moment I touch her belly. But look, I've seen patients in terrible pain, and nobody has ever yelled in pain with their eyes open. She wasn't even tensing or anything.
It was a really sad case though, she has a history of coming in saying she was pregnant when the urine and blood test was clearly negative. But then she took it to a disturbing level.
In one case she even tried to steal a pregnant patient's urine. She got caught pretty fast. She was on psych follow-up, not sure what the diagnosis was but my guess would have been Munchausen's. Anyway, we sent her home without pain meds.
I heard this from my ER physician friend. A known malingerer comes into the ER claiming to be paralyzed on one side of her body and demanding stroke meds. My friend examines the malingerer and asks, “Hey, how did you get that bruise under your arm”?
The malingerer lifts up her “paralyzed” arm to look for the non-existent bruise.
My friend is very clever.
47. A Vicious Cycle
ER doctor. I had the worst person in the world with fake seizures that could only be cured by Dilaudid. Seizures aren’t treated by opiates. This lady was insufferable and she knew all the rules she would make sure her enabling husband (IQ 50) came in so she had a driver so she could get pain pills.
If we didn’t give her any he would shut that place down screaming and threatening, while she would spy the parking lot to see which doctors were working and would believe her. Well, one day I had it.
She had brought her son (IQ normal) to the ER and she started fake seizing and screaming. I just let her go. Then she got threatening so I called security and I was the first person to ever get her removed. She then proceeds to walk out the doors with her son and not fifteen minutes later she is back in the ER as a trauma, full collar and all.
She says she’s going to sue me, that she went outside, had a seizure, fell, and is in more pain. So I stop her right there and walk to security around the corner. I know just what to do. I get the security tape. She very clearly looked around, made sure no one was looking, then gently laid down in a mangled position. In the video it looked like her son said “Forget this” and he literally walks away and walks several miles home.
I went and cleared her from her c-collar and backboard after calling the authorities. They came and didn’t do anything. She was back two days later.
48. Jumping The Queuetrees beside white housePhoto by Phil Hearing on Unsplash
We had a woman that claimed she couldn't get up after a fall in her house. We arrived to her entire house being locked, so we called through a window that was cracked to see if there was any other way inside besides breaking through her screen. She proceeds to stand up, go to the front door, unlock the door, walk back to where she was and lay back down.
We did a generic checkup and there was clearly nothing wrong. When she said she didn't want to go to the hospital and we were about to leave, she stopped us and asked us to call Comcast for her since we "are the EMS and are a higher priority".
49. Gullible With A Capital G
An ex of mine told me a story about a dude that had a window wiper handle stuck up where the sun don’t shine. He told her it was because he had one laying in the shower, slipped and fell onto it. It never occurred to her that it might have not been an accident.
50. The Patient Brought His Own Instruction Manual
EMT here. The one that sticks out is the most textbook example.
We get called out to a residence at 2 am (because of course, it's always 2 am). Guy says he's having 10/10 finger pain and gingerly holding his hand in the air. Says there was no trauma, just started suddenly and it's unbearable.
So we load him up, take him the 25 minutes to the hospital. Entire time he's holding his hand in the air. But we had a full conversation, talked about football, never once did he complain about pain.
We wheel him into the ER and literally the second we walk through the door, this guy starts writhing in pain. Says he can't sit still the pain is unbearable, he has to stand up, screaming at the nurse to help.
Then he turned to the nurse and said: "I had this same issue at a different hospital two weeks ago. They couldn't tell what was wrong. They gave me morphine but that didn't work so then they gave me Dilaudid. That worked. So maybe you should just start with Dilaudid tonight". And then he went back to moaning in pain.
The nurse and I just looked at each other. We put him in a bed and I drove the 35 minutes back to the station. I highly doubt he was given any pain meds that night—it was just a colossal waste of everyone's time.
So it's not surprising then that many people have sabotaged their situations for something better and realized after the fact that they ruined a good thing.
Curious to hear from regretful strangers online, Redditor _lilyara asked:
"What's the best real-life example, you've witnessed, of someone destroying their own happiness?
People do crazy things for love.
End Of A Marriage
"Young guy at work; he's in his early to mid 20's, is married with two young kids and a third on the way. This new girl at work has been after him so hard. He was seriously tempted and conflicted. We all tried to talk him out of it; did he really want to throw away his family life for this? Do you really think this new girl is going to stick around once all the drama starts when you guys get caught?"
"He told us all one day that he finally told new girl to leave him alone; he was happy with his wife, and she didn't stand a chance."
"Three weeks later, he was sleeping in his car because he went for new girl after all; got caught, kicked out & served with divorce papers, and new girl ditched him once he got depressed over it."
"A friend of mine quit a job that paid six figures a year because he didn't trust his girlfriend to not cheat on him while he was at work. The kicker here being she was a sex worker when they met."
"He's a great guy but a complete idiot when it comes to women."
Some people go looking for love in all the wrong places.
"I have an insecure cousin who would regularly reject guys who were into her and chase guys who weren't interested."
"The more distant and emotionally unavailable the guy was the harder she'd try to win him over."
"The best real life example of 'I don't want to be a part of any club that would have me as a member' I've ever seen."
Divorced And Lonely
"I know a guy who is now in his fifties/sixties who got bored with his wife and kids, cheated on her and divorced her. His wife, who had always supported him because he just couldn’t hold a job down, started a business and became a multimillionaire. She also got remarried to this amazing guy who is a major step up from the husband in every aspect."
"The guy then married this mail-order bride from Indonesia. As soon as the three years she had to stay with him to get permanent residency were over, she left him and married his richer cousin. I sometimes get invited to family events and see him there by himself, broke and with none of his kids or family members wanting to talk to him."
"My dad threw out a 15-year marriage with a woman he adored because he got drunk and screwed a random coworker."
"He’s utterly miserable now."
Bad vices can take over people's lives and realize until too late.
"I know a guy who gambled away $8 million his grandfather left him. He inherited at 21. It was gone by 23."
"He's actually an incredible good guy too. That's what kills me."
"God, what's even the point of gambling at that point? 8 million is enough to do whatever the f'k you want, assuming you don't do anything completely ridiculous."
Why You Say "No" To Drugs
"My ex friend Tom, over 10 years ago when we were teenagers he once said to me 'im going to try meth tonight' whilst we were at a bar (Australian) I literally knew nothing about drugs at the time especially meth i just knew it wasnt good, he invited me to join him but i said no because i had a gut feeling it wouldn’t end well for me. Since that day he went in and out of prison, lost all of his friends including me and completely changed as a person. Whilst walking with my wife and daughter a few months back i saw him walking his dog, he had obviously cleaned himself up, but it was like 2 strangers walking past each other. I took one silver lining out of this. It made me learn a lot about drugs all together and it showed me a different life i could have lead if i said yes all those years ago."
"Always say no to meth, it will ruin your life and take everything."
"EDIT: I forgot to add, tom had it all, a living gf, a great job etc"
Not everything you strive for is exactly how you think it is.
Taking The Path With The Most Resistance
"My sister was offered an incredible well paying job doing something she's great at."
"She decided it would be too easy and opted for a far more challenging job, in a far less appealing setting, with an a**hole of a boss she was hoping to impress."
"She's f'king miserable now."
"I honestly don't get why she does this sort of shite to herself."
After The Mid-Life Crisis
"A good friend I worked with for years was married to a great dude, super nice and everyone loved him, just a great guy all around. They had a couple middle school aged kids too. I think she was going through a mid-life crisis type thing but anywho, she reconnected with her old high school boyfriend on fb and they started having an affair. She ended up telling her husband about it and left him for the other guy, her husband was great about it, wanted her to be happy, great at co-parenting and didn't want to make anything harder on the kids, etc."
"The old HS boyfriend was toxic as hell, I met him a few times and he was an absolute d*ck. They fought constantly, every other week they were breaking up, kicking each other out(of her condo) or he'd just go missing for days at a time and she'd be a wreck wondering where he was; which was usually a couple hours away at the beach on a drug bender with his friends(he's in his late 40s btw)."
"She said she got bored with her life with her husband and wasn't attracted to him anymore, but I think she just went off the deep end and wanted something that wasn't there anymore; that feeling and excitement of young puppy love, but that's not what she got."
"I think some people just need drama in their life, I felt like she threw away a happy life just because she missed the drama."
Complacency is seen as an undesirable state of living. Boredom can make people feel uninspired.
And while setting goals and improving situations by becoming more active is admirable, people should also take the time to examine what is exactly lacking in their lives that make them feel as if they're stuck.
The examples above are just some reminders that making hasty decisions are not necessarily the best solutions.
Basically, check yourself before you wreck yourself.