Words can have a profound impact.
The words you speak can truly change the lives of you and the people around you. So be careful what you say--but also, give yourself some credit.
Redditor lapetitetigresse asked Reddit:
Here were some of the answers.
My older brother told me once, after our dog died, that "No matter how sad death is the world will keep spinning. Tomorrow will come, nothing and no one will stop it". It was meant to be a tough love moment, and definitely meant to have an impact. Years later when I was in high school he died in a car accident, and his words were the only thing I could find comfort in. He couldn't have known a simple "teach my brother a lesson" type talk about our deceased pet would be what would drive me through the darkest moments of my life.
I have two sisters. One that I consider to be my human, my soul twin, the smartest woman I know. The other one, whom I love just as much, is... different. We just don't see eye to eye on a lot of things and we are very different people so we don't connect on a deeper level. This isn't a snag on her, I do love her, she just drives me bonkers a great deal of the time.
When my divorce was finalized I was crushed. Even with a year of separation that had been relatively calm I still felt war-torn. During the separation I had moved in with my more detached sister who had also gotten divorced the previous year; she wasn't someone I would confide in very often about my feelings on my marriage because she was still very raw from her own. On this day though I couldn't hold it in and I couldn't hide it. When I got home from work she sat with me in my room on my bed and just stayed quiet (not like her) until I blurted out everything I was feeling through sobs that racked my entire body. I honestly don't even know how she could understand anything I was saying but she just held my hand and continued to stay silent.
When I was all done I looked at her and I said, "what am I supposed to do now?"
She squeezed my hand and said, "you can't finish your book if you keep re-reading this chapter."
It is to this day one of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to me.
I See You
In high school I was pretty quiet and of the few friends I had, they were great friends. Well my senior year I'm not in the same lunch period as any of my friends so most of the time I'm sitting alone, slowly watching the empty chairs at my table be dragged away to another table that needed them. Well one of my friends always studied during lunch on block day with a teacher, one of the only days that I had the same period as a friend. Sometimes he would skip his study session to sit by me and near the end of the year during one such instance, he said to me real seriously, "a lot of people at this school just don't see you, and I understand how you feel. But I want you to know that I see you." And that has stuck with me since and I can't get out of my head how nice that was of him, but also how it put everything in perspective to me.
"If two or more people (that you trust) are telling you something, it's probably true". -My Mom. This has served me well in realizing I was making bad choices at different times in my life. I might not listen to one person, but I surely think about it more if several are trying to tell me the same thing.
I was an -sshole teenager working at a movie theatre. We hired this guy, let's call him Kevin, older guy in comparison to a lot of the people there. I was talkin sh-t about this kid in the lobby for no particular reason and Kevin doesn't say anything the whole time. I finally finish my bitter trash talk and Kevin says "do you feel better now?"
My dad told me "If you don't ask for what you want, you'll never get it." and it's the simplest statement but they're words I live by to this day. It applies to everything from relationships, jobs, business, just day to day life, it's mind blowing.
A cop once told me, "Don't be a polite victim."
In other words, if you think a situation is hinky, don't worry about insulting someone; get out, get away, get loud . . . do whatever you need to do to disrupt a potential assault. If you feel you're in danger, don't let social niceties prevent you from being safe.
I was at a summer camp and we were doing different team building activities. Somehow I managed to take the lead for one and was directing the other campers of ideas we could use to defeat a certain challenge- other campers were suggesting different ideas some of which I thought were just stupid. One of the camp leaders pulled me aside and said "it looks like you're taking leadership on this task, maybe you should try and listen to everyone." That statement has stuck with me to this day. I systematically suggested trying everyone's ideas that day and we combined some them all into one that worked. Now whenever I'm in leadership positions I try to make sure to listen to everyone's ideas and make sure everyone is heard.
One of my favourites is "An entire ocean of water cannot sink a ship, unless it gets inside the ship." Never let the negativity surrounding you get into your head.
I am "successful" as in I have a job that sounds great and I make good money, but honestly I have been pretty miserable. I don't like my industry or the people, or the work. Every time I fly back home to visit, I am the "successful" guy visiting his old home town which is awkward in many ways.
If you ever wanted to know who your real friends are, move far away (in my case to another country). It's really illuminating who keeps in touch, who makes a point to see you when you're in town, and who doesn't.
Anyways, this guy that I barely knew always made a point to hang out and catch up when I was in town. He was genuinely interested in how I was and what was happening in my personal life. I barely knew the dude, but he always took interest in the important pieces. He wasn't doing so well himself - my hometown was having a bit of an economic downturn and he was laid off. He told me the story of how HR and security laid him off and wanted to walk him out, and he refused, said he wouldn't make a scene, but he wanted to say goodbye to his coworkers, hold his head high and leave with dignity. He was then unemployed for a long period but he had a smile on his face and said "No worries dude, I'll keep trying. I'll find something."
He was thankful for his friends, his family, his fiance, all of his good fortune, in a position where most people would feel shit sorry for themselves. And while I'm sitting there having a beer with him, I realized that although I probably made literally 10x what he made (before being laid off) and on paper I was probably really successful compared to him, I would have traded everything to be him at that moment. At that moment I was deeply envious of him and his life.
Ever since then I've tried to make it part of my life philosophy that when I am stressed out, I think "what would do?" and it inevitably leads me towards something that makes me happier. This hasn't kept me on the previous path of always pursuing career success, but it's made me happier and happier. Not only that, it's made me a nicer and more tolerant person.
I still honestly barely know the guy, but I think about him as a role model at least once a week. After writing this up, I promise I'll tell him the next time I see him.
I have problems with social anxiety and for a very long time it was really hard for me to do things like go shopping, talk to waiters or even ask other people for help. While I was growing up my Dad never understood why I avoided those things and had so much trouble with them. One day he and I got a little drunk at his house while playing pool and I was apparently far less tight lipped then usual and I told him everything, about how it made me feel, what caused it, how I hated that it controlled so much of my life and stopped me from doing so much that I wanted to do.
One day he offers to take me on the road with him as a passenger while he's doing his truck driving job. Its a 5 day trip from Ohio to Huston and back. As we're driving he tell's me "Son, I'm not going to be around forever, but I'll help you how I can. The easiest place to start is to walk into every place like you own it. If you can fake it, you can make it, that's all I do."
I never considered that my Dad, who had been a practical mountain in my eyes had even the slightest insecurities. When he told me that I was awe struck. Since then I've been getting a little better over time and when its really bad I just remind myself what he said.
Never call somebody out on their mistakes in front of a group of peers. That's some of the best leadership advice I've ever been given. People will have more respect for you if you reserve your constructive criticism to one on one conversation.
Growing up I was pretty annoying and obnoxious and couldn't for the life of me figure out why it was hard to make friends and I was constantly picked on.
When I was a freshman in HS and on the swim team I asked one of the seniors why everyone hated me. He responded with "It's not that people hate you. It's just, you don't let sh-t go." And he was so f-cking right. I didn't let sh-t go. I let every little thing bother me and I showed it. Of course people are gonna dig on you if they see they can get a rise out of you every time. So I started letting sh-t go. And wouldn't you know it, the harassment started to go away. In fact before I knew it I was starting to make friends and become social.
My 6th grade teacher said to me one day "Nothing ever happens until it happens to you." That is my life motto. That's why I have a first aid kit in my house, and both vehicles. That's why I've taken my first aid course. That's why I've got a 72 hour emergency kit. I'm not obsessive but I am prepared in case of an emergency and after a 100 year flood swept through my town, it was all worth it. I was prepared because as much as I never thought anything could happen to me, it did.
Growing up my friends and I had a game we used to play called "paranoia". Basically you all get in a big circle and going clockwise you whisper a question to the person next to you and their answer has to be the name of someone in the circle and they have to answer it out loud so everyone can hear. It's then that you flip a coin and if it lands on heads, you have to repeat the question out loud, but if it lands tails, no one will know what the original question was, thus creating a great sense of paranoia.
I'd always felt extremely insecure about myself because all my friends were extremely intelligent; all honors and AP courses, award winners, scholarship offers, wealthy, loving families. You get it, they're brilliant minds and come from kind homes, meanwhile I'm basic, boring, bland, and average in just about every way never had a good relationship with my family and never had a lot of money either. I never really felt like I fit in with that group at all.
Anyway, so one night we're playing paranoia, some time passes and as usual my name isn't being said at all. Finally I hear Louis, someone I had hardly associated myself with, say my name. He said it confidently, proudly, and with the utmost sincerity, it was just a simple "Oh, IFeelLikeAndy, for sure." So as you'd expect my ears are perked up and I'm just praying that the coin lands on heads so I can hear what the question was. But that's when the paranoia set in. What if it's a bad question? What if I don't want to know what the question was? But it's too late. It's flipped, and after what felt like a lifetime in suspension it lands on heads and Louis repeats the question out loud.
"Who here do you think will be the happiest and most successful?"
It sounds stupid but it was honestly something I really needed to hear at the time as I was dealing with a lot of insecurities and just general emotional fatigue. Since then though I've always used it as a motivator and told myself "Do it for Louis and do it for yourself."
To this day any amount of success I've gotten I've credited to that moment because it really did help give me confidence. I've won a few awards for my writing and it's opened so many great doors for me and my future and it's all thanks to Louis and that stupid game and I don't think he or anyone there has any idea how much it meant to me.
Once when I was a young boy maybe eleven or so, I was naughty in school. That weekend I had to stay at my dad's and he was being an all mighty jerk.
I had to go to work with him on the Saturday, and he had a French guy who was now that I'm old enough to understand a raging alcoholic.
So here I am being ordered round at work being shouted at and insulted to the point where I just wanted to cry.
I was hiding basically round a corner and my dad found me and decided that I needed a bit more public humiliation, so he gave it to me.
The Frenchman heard this and eventually waited for him to go off in a storm of thunder. He sidles up to me and says deadpan:
"You know, in this life some people are just stupid. Don't mind them."
And then he went off like nothing happened. To date it's the best piece of advice I have ever received and one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
Own It, Henny
My old boss grabbed me by my shoulders from behind while I was walking and he said to me "no relax like this, shoulders back, walk like you own the place" and I have done it ever since.
My friend, after five years of being friends, mentioned that my eyebrow goes up when I find something particularly funny. I can't control it, it just does. He said I get this 'proper quizzical look'.
I always knew this about myself because at times I'd have to actively lower it back into position. I just never realized anybody else noticed it too.
Now every time I laugh I'm thinking about my stupid fucking eyebrow lifting into orbit. It'd made enjoying laughter really hard.
Take You Time
I was very sad in high school. Home life sucked and everything. But I was insistent on being optimistic and bubbly and to make people laugh. It took a lot of energy. But I went in every day with that attitude. Most people didn't know I was sad because of this, and I think I made a lot of people have good days.
But one day was extra tough for me. Like crying between classes. But I was still jokey. Like visibly it was taking my all to keep making jokes. My gifted facilitator pulled me into her office, hugged me and said, "you don't have to always make jokes. You don't owe anyone anything. It is okay to take a day off and be sad"
And I still try to be jokey and optimistic. But I do take days off. And it helps a lot.
"Adults are just really big kids"
I had what I can only manage to describe as a mid-life crises at about age 15. I was super depressed about the fact that I was growing up and becoming an adult and just having a hard time saying goodbye to being a kid, and some stranger said that while watching a show about some adults being dorks and it just hit me. adults are just big kids, and having fun and being wholesome and imaginative and silly are things you can do your entire life.
Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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