Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

A few years ago, I had a minor accident––I didn't feel any pain at the time. Fast forward later that evening when I couldn't even lie down without feeling like I was going to cry. I ended up waking up in the middle of the night in searing pain. Something was terribly wrong. Guess what? I had herniated a couple of discs in my back. It was about as fun as you can expect. I ended up getting treated and physical therapy was thankfully a success. I consider myself lucky. Could have been worse, right?

After Redditor Eevee_19020 asked the online community, "What made you realize you were medically not okay?" people shared their stories.

"And I'm not lazy..."

Broke the cartilage in my ribs coughing.

All through elementary, middle, and high school, I was incredibly bad at any physical activity. I'd be super slow and would start coughing uncontrollably, and every gym teacher I had always told me to stop being dramatic and that I was just fat and lazy.

Senior year of high school, I had a coughing fit that lasted about 3 months. Couldn't sleep very well, and Mom was angry at me and told me I was just making myself cough and if I just ignored it, it would go away. Eventually, it did.

Age 26, I get another coughing attack, and this one lasts about 4 months. One day, in month 4, I cough and something in my ribs goes "pop!" and I'm suddenly in horrible pain. My friends drive me to Urgent Care, the doctor comes in and asks me when I last used my rescue inhaler.

My what?

Yeah, it turns out I've got super-bad cough variant asthma. And I'm not lazy, I just haven't been getting enough air to do physical activities for the first few decades of my life. I now have a personal vendetta against every gym teacher on earth.


Can't blame this person.

What is wrong with people? Get a kid some help!

"Being unable..."

Being in a doctor's office and not knowing how I got there.

Then realizing I didn't know what season it was, nor month or even what year.

Not knowing who the crying people in the room were gave me a sense that something was wrong with me.

Being unable to form intelligible words sealed the deal that I had something medically wrong with me.


"On Sunday of that week..."

On Sunday of that week, I started noticing a little shortness of breath with mild activity like walking up a single flight of stairs at home... then Monday realized that it was getting worse when I got short of breath walking down a flight of stairs.

Decided that I'd go to an urgent care center that Tuesday if sleeping with my humidifier blasting overnight didn't help anything. Then Tuesday morning, I started wheezing and getting dizzy just taking the trash to the curb and decided to go to the ER.

I was pretty convinced that I had COVID, as were the doctors, but it turned out to be a bad pulmonary embolism. Spent a week in the ICU and I'm still on medication for it now, 3 months later.


"I thought we were all just willing..."

For years I thought it was normal to get severe stomach cramps and headaches after chewing gum. I thought we were all just willing to suffer for our pleasures. Turns out I'm quite allergic to sucralose.


Oh, dear.

I've never heard of this allergy myself, but if any of you are reading this, it's not normal to feel that way after eating any kind of food. Get yourselves checked out!

"When I was sobbing uncontrollably..."

When I was sobbing uncontrollably on the floor over a homework assignment at age 27. I ended up getting an A on the stupid thing and I realized that maybe there was something wonky about my ability to regulate my emotions.


"The plant emergency medical team..."

I worked a lot when I was around 20 at a manufacturing plant. 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Go to bed at midnight, wake up at 4. Every single day.

While running my machines, I started getting unusually sweaty and lightheaded, and then woke up on the floor. The first thing I heard was from an operations manager... "Can we drag him out of the way so that they can get the line running?" So I laid there an extra minute.

The plant emergency medical team (normal employees with basic aid training) were checking me out and said that they wanted to take me up to the nurse's office. I said that I could walk, so a smaller lady held my arm, and we started up towards the office. About 50 steps later, I woke up on the floor again. This was no longer a "kid passes out because he's tired or drunk or high" situation, this immediately became a "kid is possibly dying" situation, and I had a million people surrounding me.

They wheeled me up to the nurse and called 911. While waiting for the ambulance, they were doing some basic tests and took my blood sugar. My blood sugar was reading around 12-15. At least, I believe that's what he said, as I passed out again sitting on his table. I woke up again being lifted by EMTs into the ambulance, while they were hooking up an IV, oxygen, and a million other things. Turns out, 20 year old normally healthy men shouldn't pass out 3 times in 15-20 minutes.

At the hospital, they hooked me up to 100 different machines, ran a million different tests, and ultimately the legion of doctors came to the decision that I was just stupid (my words, not theirs). My heart was fine, my body was fine now that I was on an IV drip, and my brain was fine.

They confirmed that my sugar was just super low, caused by working all of that overtime, getting no sleep, and just not eating enough. In hindsight, the only meal I ever ate was supper, I just sustained my life on a 24 pack of Mountain Dew a day, and we had a 4-month-old baby, so it makes complete sense. I was 6'0 and around 110 pounds (easily 20+ pounds underweight) which also meant that I had lost 40 pounds since high school. So I definitely wasn't eating enough.

Unfortunately, I took the whole "eat more" thing to heart, as now I'm fat AF, but at least I'm not dying at work anymore.


"Turns out it wasn't normal at all..."

I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, couldn't breathe at all laying down, so I would sit upright on the couch and try to fall asleep, I had petechiae all over my body (spotted blood vessels poking through my skin), my gums were bleeding nearly every day, I had brain fog, I literally could not walk a block without wanting to squat to take a breath and to ease the tightness in my stomach.

I asked my doctor, specifically my obstetrician about all my symptoms (a total of three times at three different appointments) and she said that was normal because I was pregnant with twins.

Turns out it wasn't normal at all, I had twin to twin transfusion syndrome with mirror syndrome, and because it wasn't caught early, my twin boys were born prematurely (23 weeks) and then died after birth and then I almost died. But I obviously didn't (much to my lifelong regret) as I'm here sharing this.

But yeah. I knew something bad was up, but my doctor kept telling me I was exaggerating and that it was all fine, when it wasn't.

The lesson here is: Always get a second opinion if you feel like you aren't being taken seriously.


"My heart..."

Waking up gasping for breath. Went to the doctor who sent me to a cardiologist. My heart was double its normal size and I was diagnosed with heart failure. Four prescriptions and ten years later, I'm relatively normal. Thankful for today's medical technology.


"I spent two years..."

I spent two years skipping school at lunchtime on my own. I was 12 years old and I would play truant by myself, go home, lay in bed, and just that. Lay there and do nothing.

Took until I was about 14 years old when someone described what depression was and how it felt and realised that's how I felt nearly all the time.


If any of you are feeling a certain way...

...know that you should go with your intuition. Trust your gut. Does something not feel right? Get an expert opinion. No one knows your body better than you do. Maybe your example can motivate others who are experiencing similar problems, too.

Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

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