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People Share The Most Surprising Thing They Have Accidentally Overheard About Themselves

Is that really me?

People Share The Most Surprising Thing They Have Accidentally Overheard About Themselves
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None of us are perfect. Now a few of us do come close, but barely. And sometimes we will "overhear" or even flat out learn a few things about ourselves that are less than flattering. Often the truth is stumbled upon and not flat out told.

A Quora writer was wondering what some people have been surprised by when learning about themselves by asking....

What is the most surprising thing you have accidentally overheard about yourself?



Growing up my sister and I had a very tumultuous relationship. We are 16 months apart, and we have a half-brother 5 years younger than me. Being the middle child I was always the black sheep. My sister was favored for being the only girl, and my brother was the full child of our parents (my sister and I had been more or less abandoned by our biological father and were being raised by our step-father). My brother and sister were a united front, and I was the odd-man-out.

During our teenage years my sister and I had some crazy fights. One involved her chasing me with a handful of knives after I refused to get off the phone so she could call her friends, after she dropped the knives I went running after her through a bedroom and just as she reached the hallway I dove through the doorway and tackled her into, and partially through, the wall.

For the remaining time we lived in that rental house there was a body shaped indention in the sheetrock of the hallway (don't worry about the security deposit, my parents were very bad with money and we had to move from that house because they stopped paying the rent). I did some evil things to my sister, like turning off the hot water heater in the middle of her shower, and she did evil things to me, like breaking a bunch of my cds because she left her tape in the stereo and I was listening to it.

On one occasions we had a particularly nasty fight about something teenagers cared about, I cant remember the particulars, but more than likely it had to do with whose turn it was to use the cordless phone. The house that we lived in was on property, several acres, and there were several properties around us that were unimproved (no houses, just fences), which meant I could go out and wander for hours, and I typically would after I had a fight with my sister. But on this particular day I decided not to, if I remember right I was thinking I could sneak back into the house to do something to get back at my sister.

I had a sliding glass door in my room that I regularly used to come and go, so I slowly and quietly opened the door, my sister's bedroom was right next to mine, sharing a wall behind a closet, so I had to be extra quiet if i wanted to sneak in. I got into my room and got the door closed without alerting her that I was back in the house, but as I got to my door that led out to the hallway I could hear her on the phone, she had left her bedroom door open, probably thinking that I would be gone for a while and she would be alone in the house.

She was on the phone with her friend, who didn't particularly like me, probably because of the one-sided stories she heard from my sister. I heard my sister telling her friend what had just happened between us and how I know how to push her buttons, her friend said something in response I am guessing something that was bashing towards me, and my sister replied "No, that's what is so crazy about the whole thing with him, he is actually really smart, like borderline-genius-level-smart."

Here it was only a few minutes after she and I were viciously attacking each other verbally and physically, I was still pissed off at her and ready to retaliate, and she was on the phone with her friend calmly telling her about what happened and when the friend said something bad about me SHE DEFENDED ME…. AND COMPLIMENTED ME???

She still doesn't know I overheard that conversation. Eric B

"Born Again" 

My parents divorced when I was 4. My mother remarried a man one year later in 1965.

He was a very controlling man about most things—but that's a different story. In the summer between my 4th and 5th grade, he became "Born Again" at a Billy Graham revival. At his insistence, my mother soon followed, as did my sister. I was the only one in our family of 4 who didn't want to give up their entire life and become a singularly focused religious fanatic.

My stepfather had never really liked me before that. After that he hated me, and could barely contain his loathsome attitude toward me.

Speeding ahead a few years, when I was entering the 12th grade, my mother took me aside one day and told me that they had no money to help me with college—that I was going to have to figure out my future on my own. (She was quite literal about that. They never even once discussed with me what my options might be.) I said it was ok. I'd figure it out. I did, and after high school, I got a job at a factory.

My sister, who is 4 years older than me, did attend a religious college, and while it crossed my mind as to how she was able to pay for college, I never asked. We weren't very close.

Fast forward to 1994. I am now successful in my career. I have a large house with a swimming pool and hot tub in the backyard. My family—mother, stepfather, sister and her family—are invited to my house for an afternoon barbecue.

My mother and sister are sitting in my hot tub. I am around the corner of the house tending the barbecue. They don't realize that I'm there. They are talking loudly, and I can clearly hear them. My sister starts talking about college education for her kids and she asks my mom how she and my stepfather saved up the money for her college education.

My mom immediately started to panic, and began shushing my sister to be quiet. She frantically said, "I don't want Kent to hear this! We told him we had no money for college."

I always knew that I was the black sheep in the family, but it was in that moment that I truly realized how much I was excluded. From that point on, my eyes and mind were opened to the lies and deception within my family. It forever altered our relationship. Kent D

BOOM! That door flew open!

I had a girl that was dating my ex husband say I was after her boyfriend. I knew this girl through elementary and high school I was in my late 30's.

I asked her what she was talking about I wasn't dating anyone . She said that my ex-husband told her I was still trying to date him.

I told her the last time I saw him was at a club and we spoke that was it. He used to beat the crap out of me until I cracked his head open with a beer bottle before he could hit me.

We had gotten on speaking terms after the divorce but I danged sure didn't want to date his sorry tail. So I told her I would prove it.

I told her I would call her later and I would prove it and how sorry he is.

I called him and asked him who was cutting his hair now? I said it was getting too long the last time I saw him. He told me I don't have a free barber anymore. Jokingly. I cut his hair the 7 months we were married.

I told him I could cut it the next night at 700 p.m. He was thrilled said sure!!!

I called the girl told her to be at my house at 6 p.m. and told her to park 2 blocks away or have someone drop her off.

I had a walk in pantry. I told her I invited him at 7:00 PM to cut his hair, I said he will probably be early.

I told her to sit by the pantry door and get in when he knocked and stay there unless you hear me turn the clippers off and I say I am done.

I put on makeup fixed my hair had my best long black sleek nightwear on and a see through robe that went with it.

I had told the girl I was going to bait him. He knocked on the door and I answered it and I said come on in sit down at the kitchen table had my clippers all laid out. Had his favorite perfume on, and put the noose oh I meant towel around his neck.

I started his hair cut chatting him up. I asked if he was seeing anyone now he said NO. I told him you know I had the strangest experience at a store the other day. I said this girl I overheard saying that I was trying to steal you from her and I told her I hadn't seen you since we spoke a month ago at the club.

He goes on to say, I would not date that fat on and on and on talking trash saying how ugly and trashy she was and BOOM! That door flew open, she ran to hit him, he kicked the chair over I opened the door and they both ran down the street. Last time I saw either one lol. Donna J

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"In an Econ Class"

Several years ago I was attending the local university. This was in an Econ class. I sat next to this woman and we talked before and after class, compared notes and basically helped each other out in Econ. This had been going on for several weeks when she saw my daughter on my computer screen. She asked about her, and then said she used to take her kids to my ex-wife's daycare.

Now, I had been divorced for probably… 3 to 4 years by this point. She remarried within 6 months (With a different guy than the one she cheated on me with). She had asked for the divorce, and as pointed out, cheated… and it was not the first time she cheated in our marriage. So, to this day, I feel my daughter and I were victims in my ex's decisions.

So, this lady tells me that they used to take their kid to the day care. They didn't anymore, but she also mentioned that my ex-wife I guess talked about me, in very unflattering terms. How terrible I was. Unfriendly. Poor parent, etc. All that good stuff that an ex with an axe to grind may have. But, having talked with this lady for the past month or so, she had gotten to know who I was, and honestly laughed at how wrong my ex was about me. She thought I was a good guy and from the photos with my daughter, it's obvious she loves me and likes being with me, which was a VERY stark contrast to what she had been told.

It's been around 10 years since this occurred, so I don't really remember the particulars. Mainly that it was kind of funny, and did make me mad that she was continuing to play the victim and make me sound bad.

(In the end it all worked out. I now I have my daughter full time, which is what she wanted. I also found an amazing woman to share my life with and my daughter considers her, her real mother). It was a surreal experience hearing how someone talks about you, behind your back like that, though. Kevin R



"She's a good painter, but her face isn't as cute as Julia's. I'm worried she's already getting attached."

Around 10 years ago now, that was a text exchange between a guy I was casually seeing and his best friend.

He was in the shower one morning, and his phone (either an early iphone or something like a razor, either way, it did not have a passcode) was continually beeping while I was still trying to sleep. I picked it up and looked at it, so try and make it stop, and that last sentence was on the screen.

They'd been having a conversation about me, obviously, that had started the night previously, while he and I had been out at a bar and then back to his place. I guess he had been texting when I was in the bathroom or otherwise distracted. The first text in the conversation was, "I had sex last tonight."

"You don't sound happy?"

"She's a good painter, but her face isn't as cute as Julia's. I'm worried she's already getting attached."

Julia, I knew, was his most recent ex. I wasn't particularly attached to this guy; I didn't know him well, and I was rather trepidatious to begin with because I knew he was too attractive for me, but he kept insisting I was being silly and he was into me. It could have hurt worse, but it still hurt. Particularly his friend's "advice" on how to get rid of me.

It worked, though. After he was out of the shower, I said my goodbye, probably a little quieter than usual, and left. At my house, I sent him a text telling him that it wasn't working for me, but thanks for the nice time. He returned a very relieved-sounding response, and I sat on my bed and had a cry with my cat on my lap. I felt very stupid. Christine N

"I don't want to talk about Flora."

I was at a friend's sleepover birthday party in 6th grade. We were all in her room, though my best friend and I had tried to go to sleep early to avoid disrupting our sleep schedule too much (we were both figure skaters, and accustomed to getting up early for 6AM practices).

Late into the night, the birthday girl and her other friends (all girls) decided to gossip about our classmates, starting with people not in the room, and then even talking about my best friend, sound asleep right next to me.

And then it came to me.

My chest tightened in anticipation, and I tried to keep my breaths as unchanged as possible to avoid raising suspicions that I was awake. I was curious and afraid to see what dirt they'd try to pull on me.

But then, birthday girl stepped in —

"I don't want to talk about Flora. She's a nice person, always been. She don't deserve this. And I can see her crying if she found out we did this, and I don't want to do that to her."

Since she was the birthday girl, it was her call, and they moved on.

I was stunned. I hadn't realized she was so loyal to me, or that she had cared about me so much. Especially since this was the same girl who would jokingly act as if she was going to beat up her friends for being stupid, or threaten to shred my clothes the next time I wore shiny bell-bottomed pants to school. She acted and sounded tough a lot, but apparently… she really did care about me. Flora S

How dare me!

I was a rather ambitious 26 year old. I worked 3 years as a Highway Design Engineer at wonderful company, but knew someone would have to die before I could get a manager position. So I decided to take a job at a smaller consulting firm where I could try my hand as a manager.

I was put in charge of the Transportation Department. This 60 year old male co-worker of mine didn't respect me being made a manager over him, because I was young and a female. How dare me!

He did not have a degree as an Engineer, which I didn't mind, because one of the best co-workers at my previous job helped mold me. She was an intelligent woman who knew more about Roadway Design than most Engineers. But this guy was an idiot and unteachable. He was also very slow with getting his work completed and had a chip on his shoulder. When you imagine what he looks like, he was the type of person who wants everyone to know that he goes to church every Sunday, but he doesn't treat people like a professed Christian should on a daily basis.

His office was located next to mine and we usually kept our doors open. One day, I hear him saying negative things about me to one of our clients on the phone. As soon as he got off the phone, I walked over to his office and told him that I overheard everything he said about me. He actually implied that I was incompetent, which is the furthest thing from the truth.

He was stunned that I had overheard his conversation. I told him that he should never do that again, because not only was he spreading lies about me, but that it would make the company look bad as a whole and we are supposed to be on the same team. The only reason he was allowed to keep his job after that incident was because he only had 5 more years until retirement, so everyone had to put up with him, even though most of us disliked him due to his arrogance and incompetence.

It was surprising to me that he was willing to risk the reputation of the company because he was threatened by my position in the company. The executives gave me the "Makes It Happen" award at the company Christmas party (which I also organized) and gave me a huge bonus at the end of the year.

Ha! I was really incompetent alright.

Ingrid L

Let's Be Pleasant. 

A lot of these are about bad experiences but this one's more pleasant.

So when I was in high school I had very bad cramps on my period. To give you an idea, for a whole day I was immobile unless I was puking and had a fever. The cramps are kept in control now with birth control but early on it was a nightmare. I missed school, work, time with friends, etc.

One summer, my mom gave me and my best friend a job watching my younger siblings while she was working. Our usual schedule was to get them breakfast, play for a few hours inside, head out to the nearby park, then walk back for lunch. It was a good way to keep two kids busy.

One day my friend and I are at the swings while my younger siblings run around when I start feeling cramping. It was mild, but I knew the worst of it would hit before I got home. I mentioned it to my friend and she immediately called my sister, who had a car while the two of us didn't. My sister got us both home and I immediately rushed into the bathroom and puked, then stumbled into my room and curled up. A few minutes later, my sister slid in with a hot water bottle she microwaved and a wet washcloth for my forehead. She was talking really quietly and sweetly and when she knew I was feeling a tiny bit better she walked out.

The second she left my room her voice dropped back to normal and my stomach dropped. My sister and my best friend are extremely blunt, my friend actually has a bit of a reputation for being mean. I was used to people downplaying my cramps, even among family, so I was expecting them to be making fun of me.

Instead, I got this exchange:

"Is she okay?"

"Yeah, she'll feel better tomorrow but she won't be getting up much today."

"That's gotta suck."

"Yeah I wouldn't want to deal with that either. She's tough though."

I think at the time I was too sick to care, but looking back, that was the sweetest thing anyone could've said about me. Tori S

The Law Knows... 

Well back in my junior year of High school back in 2005 I was attending career center full time. Morning was my program (the law enforcement class) and afternoon was math, science, English, and history. Well all of our instructors are well educated in their field. Two surprising statements were made about me were because of this.

  1. I was sitting in law enforcement class with our instructor (A former police chief and ex Air Force Security Forces member) was reviewing our research papers with us when he called out a buddy of mine (now an ODNR wildlife officer) for plagiarism. He had used a French term for body of evidence. Not exactly something to be expected of a high schooler. So our instructor makes him a deal. If the smartest student in the class doesn't know the what that term means then he was guilty of plagiarism. I thought he was going to call on a friend of mine (who I had a huge crush on) named Nicole but he called on me! I was quite shocked. And for the record I didn't know the term. Sorry Caleb.
  1. I was taking an honors history class and as a project we had to teach the class for 10 mins on a history subject related to our program. I was allowed to do military history on the justification that militaries normally have law enforcement in some form. So I did the battle of Stalingrad. I went well beyond the 10 mins allotted and when our 50 mins of class was done I still had about a hour of material left. Well fast forward a few days later and my mom and I were grocery shopping in Kroger's when we ran into my history teacher. He and my mom are talking when he tells my mom that I should consider becoming a history professor as "He could easily teach that class better than I can". I consider that to be the highest compliment I've ever been paid as I have so much respect for that man. I also passed his history final exam with flying colors and was done in 10 minutes. But history and reading comprehension have always been my strong suit. I used to read college level history books during class in 4th grade… Andrew

The Soul Mate...


I had a very dear friend… actually an unrequited love… that died of leukemia when he was 26. We had been close from pretty much the time we met in college, but our stars never aligned. We dated, but he eventually married someone who divorced him 3 months before he died.

I visited him whenever he was in hospital. The last time I beat my blood donation to his room by 5 minutes. His Mom (who adored me because I got up to clear dishes with her the first time I had dinner with them), was with him as usual. I knew he was close to the end and didn't want to chase her out and told her she didn't need to leave for me, but she insisted. She came back a few minutes before I left.

My friend's dad called me a week later at work to give me the news and let me know about arrangements. The funeral was about 5 hours away. My mom took a mutual friend and me to the funeral.

His family was surprised and pleased that we came all that way and invited us for lunch at his sister's house. We three travelers mingled and talked separately for a couple of hours and then headed home.

On the way home Mom related a talk she had had with my friend's mom. Friend's mom said that she spent most of her time at the hospital when her son was there as he was for days and weeks at a time. She loved her son and didn't want him to be alone. She usually stayed no matter who came to visit. But she said she always felt safe leaving him alone with me…that I was the only one she felt safe leaving him alone with…and that he was always better after I visited.

I knew he was my soul mate, but that kind of sealed the deal.

Dawn S

Then my father said the strangest thing…​

I was seventeen and a senior in high school. It's early winter and football season was over but the recruiting process for colleges was about to start. My brother was very well known and the former captain of the football and basketball team. He ended up attending the University of Tennessee (…not on a scholarship because an illness stopped his career). He was 6′ 7″ tall and around 240 when he was a senior.

Me…well not so much. I was good only in the fact once I started playing consistently our team went to our local championship. We started out losing four in a row when I started on defense (opponents average score was 6 points) and won 7 in a row when I was switched to the offensive line and ultimately went to the championship.

Unfortunately, those things don't count for too much.

It's Friday night and I'm watching television with my father. He gets a phone call. My father NEVER, EVER gets a phone call…EVER. I'm surprised he knows which end to talk into.

It was a recruiter from the University of Cincinnati...I was unaware at the time but since my father NEVER, EVER got phone calls…obviously I took pause and listened.

He started answering questions about someone's study habits, their attitude, what they were good at and and what they weren't. He started talking about what issues someone had at school and at home. This Q & A lasted about fifteen minutes…

Then my father said the strangest thing…

He told this person on the phone. "they're two different people. One boy is great at some things and the other boy is great at other things. The eldest is more analytical and the youngest is more imaginative. Both work as hard as they can and they don't settle for less than what they can give…

He said, "…both do what they're told and sometimes they both are hardheaded…he couldn't blame them for that. That was his fault."

He said, "…I can't answer that question any better than I have already."

He says goodbye and hangs up the phone.

I ask my father who that was…he tells me. He tells me it was the University of Cincinnati and he tells me how the recruiter asked questions about me.

I asked him what was the last question. He told me the recruiter asked him who did he feel was the better son.

At seventeen, I gave my father a hug, ran upstairs, looked out the window and cried. Snow wafted across an empty field and clouded the vision of streetlights. I didn't want that day to end.


Mark Anthony

"I do the newsletter."

I was out of the office for an errand and came back to my desk. When I sat down, I overheard two coworkers talking about someone. "She blah blah blah and then do you know what …?"

Then the other responded, "Well how about the time she yadda yadda?"

"Oh," I thought to myself, "they are ripping into somebody. Let me scoot my chair over so I can hear more of this while I pretend to be working."

They continued their complaining, unaware that I had come back to my desk and I was listening. "Yeah, she took for-EVER to finish the newsletter!"

"Hey, wait a minute," I thought to myself, "I do the newsletter."

"Oh man, when she did my mailing and I had to correct some of the labels!"

"Hmm, I did her mailing," I reflected.

It was at that point that I realize they were talking about me. It hurt and I mentally cried out to God. "Lord, help me, they are talking about me!"

Then, I heard a voice deep in my heart say, "Just a minute ago, you were ready to listen as they ripped into somebody."

I was shocked. I had pleaded in prayer for comfort and I got this very direct, very distinctly spoken answer but no comfort. Instead I felt shoddy and dirty for wanting to hear the juiciest gossip I came across.

One of them turned around and saw me and they stopped talking. I didn't care anymore. I had been convicted by the Lord for my attitude and it felt rawer than any meager information that I had heard about my work habits.

That weekend, I talked to a friend at church and she was sympathetic about my being talked about, but I told her that wasn't what I was hurting about. It was because I got a glaring look at my inner being and it wasn't pretty. She got it. After we prayed together, I came up with a plan.

I would not treat my coworkers any differently. I would not act like I knew a secret or hold anything over their heads. I would not grovel, but I would treat them with respect. I decided that I would treat what I learned about myself as constructive criticism. I would make more of an effort to proofread my work closer, and to hand in my projects on time. I would politely confer with them about their preferences so I would get things right.

My coworkers and I never became good friends, because they had broken my trust, but we got along okay. After I left that job, I declined their friend requests on Facebook. I felt like they would just be judgmental about me and anything I would do after that, again, the broken trust issue. But I can say that I learned something about myself through that eyeopening event. I still catch myself gossiping and listening to gossip. It's a very hard habit to break, but every once in a while, I remember this incident and it helps me to strengthen my resolve.

Christine L. Litvak

Trouble with Drinking....

Back in the mid 1970's I ended up traveling by car from Eastern Canada to Alberta with a buddy who needed to leave town. He had been causing a lot of trouble drinking and getting into fights, so he thought that heading out west to work in the oil fields would be a good idea. He convinced me to tag along for the journey and I would head back home if I couldn't find a job.

After we had been driving for an hour or two I decided to hop in the back seat and nap to get rested up for when it was my turn to take over the driving. After we passed through a small town, my friend pulled to the side of the road and picked up a hitchhiker. When my buddy tried to start up a conversation with the guy, he would only reply with one word answers so the talking soon died down and I fell asleep.

Some time later I came to when the car slowed down and pulled into a parking lot in another city where there was a corner store. I lay there on the back seat semi-awake while my friend got out of the car to pick up some supplies for the trip as we would be traveling through some long stretches of open country with no towns.

While he was out of the car, our hitchhiker sitting in the front seat suddenly started to mumble some strange words out loud as if he thought he was alone in the car. He must not have noticed me lying in the back as we were driving at night and I was under a blanket. His mumbling became louder and he started to half sing a strange jingle that I recognized as a toothpaste commercial on TV, "I wonder where the yellow went, when I brushed my teeth with Pepsodent."

This refrain was repeated a few times and then he said in a chilling voice "I wonder if I should take the gun out now or wait until we start driving again." I was suddenly very conscious of my breathing and tried to keep as quiet as possible lest this crazy guy do what he was proposing to do right then and there if he realized that I had heard him.

Just then, my buddy returned from the store, opened the back door of the car and told me to wake up and get into the front seat as he was getting tired of driving. He motioned to our hitchhiker, who had gone silent again, to get in the back seat and rest while we continued our drive. He told him we would drop him off in the next major city as we were heading in a different direction than where he said he was going.

As I started to drive, I kept a close watch on our passenger through the rear view mirror. When the guy seemed to fall asleep, I motioned to my friend by rolling my eyes towards the back seat and pointing to my head to indicate that our hitchhiker was nuts. For some reason he didn't get what I was trying to explain so I gave up, not wanting to say out loud what I heard him saying about the gun.

For the next few hours I kept a close eye on our sleeping passenger to make sure he didn't make any weird moves. As we reached the city limits where the next major highway turnoff was located, my friend woke up the hiker in the back seat and told him it was as far as we could take him. After he left the car I related the incident of what had happened when he went into the store earlier. He laughed at me and said I must have been dreaming or half-asleep when I thought I heard him mention a gun.

We drove through the night and early the next morning there was a report on the radio that a mentally unstable inmate from the locked ward at the provincial mental institution had escaped the night before and was still at large. The public was warned that he was dangerous and not to engage him but call the authorities if he was seen.

I looked over at my friend in the passenger seat, but he had dozed off again, and I just shrugged and continued driving. As it turned out, this was only one of the many incidents that occurred during this three-day drive . . . but those are stories for another day.

Garry Spence

"Do you think he heard?"


I had graduated just a couple of years previously from a performing arts degree and after putting in my dues working for free in backstage theatre (not as many paid jobs as there are wannabe technicians), I had finally got a gig working as the stage manager for a small production doing a small national tour of about ten dates. I worked hard, and thought I got on with the actors, all of whom were older than me (in their thirties and forties, while I was a fresh faced 23).

I was doing some set up on stage and one of the actors came to ask if it was ok if he ride in the company van (which I had to drive between locations - the actors normally got the train). I said sure, no problem, and we arranged a place for me to pick him up.

I then had to go to the control booth to check the light and sound circuits were set up ok, and one of those checks was the sound link between the dressing room and the booth, usually used to give the actors their ten, five and one minute calls. I switched the circuit on and the first thing I heard was my name. One of the other actors was asking the guy I'd spoken to how it had gone, and he said that I'd had a little tantrum and gave him some lip, but had agreed. The other actor giggled, and then she and the guy started to basically make fun of me, calling me a baby and basically saying I was immature and useless.

After a couple of minutes of this, I had to get on with the set up, but at the same time I was annoyed at how two faced they were, so I said into the mike, "Testing for call circuit, (name 1) and (name 2) please confirm you can hear me."

After a moment of silence, they both confirmed. I switched off the mike at my end but left the circuit open - after a couple more minutes I heard a whispered "Do you think he heard?" from the lady actor, which other guy must have answered with a head shake it nod. I was thinking "Yes… yes, he did."

The van journey of around three hours (and indeed the last three or four dates of the tour) had something of an atmosphere after that, but I at least maintained my professionalism.

Now, this was over half a lifetime ago so my memory is kind of hazy on detail, and while there was a possibility I had done something to justify that which my brain has since glossed over, I don't think there was. I had got the job solely on recommendation from other, much more experienced technicians - if I did that kind of thing I would never have been recommended!

I have never seen any of the actors since then or even seen them on the billing of a show which surprised me, especially as one of them was quite famous (she was the lady actor in the incident I describe, she had previously had a role in EastEnders, a very long running and popular soap on UK TV).

Andrew McLeish

​"I never have to worry about her."

"I never have to worry about her."

My grandmother always preferred my sister. It wasn't something she even tried to deny. My sister looked exactly like her dead son, so I guess on some level—I can understand why they were so close.

Since I was a little girl, I watched as my sister was showered with love, attention, and money from a person that would hardly let me know her. For some time, I tried to build a bond, but eventually, I grew to understand that our relationship was meant to be at an arm's length.

It hurt. But all wounds scab over time.

As we got older, my grandmother and sister's relationship became somewhat co-dependent. My grandmother paid all of her bills, bought her cars, and really anything else she wanted. I learned to pay my own way or go without.

At the time, it really sucked, but it taught me to be financially responsible—something my sister didn't learn until much later.

Before my grandmother's death, she really fretted about how my sister would manage without her. A conversation I overhead with her friend:

Her: I just hope she's able to figure it out for herself when I'm gone.

Friend: People always rise to the occasion if they are forced to.

Her: I know. I just wish she was more like Sheree. I never have to worry about her. I know she'll find her way. She's that much like me.

It may not sound like much, but coming from her, it really meant a lot to me. I never felt like she really saw me. And it touched my heart that in some ways when she looked at me, she saw herself.

I'm sorry we couldn't be closer, but I'm glad she found comfort in knowing that I would always be okay. And I am. I guess I get that from her.

Sheree McDonald

When You're 7 or 8....

When I was about 7 or 8, I went on holiday to visit my grandparents. My aunts also lived there and they were the most fun to be around. They took me and my siblings out, played games with us and were just kind of the only people we could hang out with there.

We went in the summer so it was really warm all day, and at night, everyone went to the roof to just chill and talk, so of course we did too. One night I was there with my aunt, and she was telling me a story and we were looking up at the stars. Then she said it was time to go to sleep - I said I wanted to go find my mom instead of stay with her. So I went downstairs to find her. She said to go back upstairs and she'd come.

Basically, halfway up, I heard her talking to my other aunt about how I was "annoying" and they said "she's always stuck to her mom." I was about 8, so ouch. I didn't tell anyone. The same summer, she got offended that I told my mom about something she told me about her fiancé, because she said I shouldn't share everything with my mom and somethings are meant to be secret.

I kind of thought that maybe I heard wrong after that, because I didn't see her again until I was about 16. This was also when I went to see my grandparents. She got married and lived far away and this was the first time she'd be there the same time as me. Again, thinking I wasn't around, she was telling my uncle how they shouldn't "trust" me. I was right the first time. Don't know what the hell that meant since I don't even talk to her.

Anyways, I haven't talked to her since. My aunts had a big problem with me talking with my mother, and they still do. They don't like her, and by extension, they don't like me.

Alizah Ahmed

"I can't even hate you."


When someone I worked with and don't generally like or get along with turned out to not only respect my work performance and integrity but was always rude and toxic towards me because she was upset that I am married and not a prospective boyfriend. I'm not going to lie. If I was single, I would have definitely liked to take her out on a date and talk privately with her. Her abrasive nature is a completely obvious defense mechanism. She wasn't a beauty queen by a long shot either. But I'm willing to bet under the abrasiveness and rudeness and office arrogance, I'll bet she's a very interesting person. She just needs to open up to the right person and be herself.

My last week at the company I walked into the office much earlier than expected because 4 big orders couldn't be delivered due to weather. I heard her telling her coworker how next week would be better because she wouldn't have to attack the man she wanted to kiss because she can't have him. That really blew my mind. I walked in and she turned red as lava. The two asked me how long I had been in the building (under the guise of wanting to see my log book to make sure I wasn't sandbagging overtime). I just said "I heard everything and there isn't any reason for you to be bitter towards me. I haven't done anything to you. I'm sorry you are still looking for Mr. Right, and I hope you find him. But if next week will be easier for you, then I'm glad. I wish you the best of luck."

She starts tearing up and says "I can't even hate you." and goes into the break room and locks the door. Until that day I had no idea that she had a hard crush on me for two years. My wife and I had separated for a couple months right before I started working there and subsequently got back together. Other people were never in the equation and the basis for the separation was family drama from her relatives. I never hit on her or flirted or led her on. About a year ago I talked with a friend of mine that worked there too and knows her since grade school. He told me she had an abortion as a teenager and the botched procedure left her unable to have children. He said she fell in love with how I revolve around my two sons. I take being a father very seriously. I don't know how, or why, but not much has ever hit me out of the blue like that.

Matt Mostowicz


Several years ago I was attending the local university. This was in an Econ class. I sat next to this woman and we talked before and after class, compared notes and basically helped each other out in Econ. This had been going on for several weeks when she saw my daughter on my computer screen. She asked about her, and then said she used to take her kids to my ex-wife's daycare.

Now, I had been divorced for probably… 3 to 4 years by this point. She remarried within 6 months (With a different guy than the one she cheated on me with). She had asked for the divorce, and as pointed out, cheated… and it was not the first time she cheated in our marriage. So, to this day, I feel my daughter and I were victims in my ex's decisions.

So, this lady tells me that they used to take their kid to the day care. They didn't anymore, but she also mentioned that my ex-wife I guess talked about me, in very unflattering terms. How terrible I was. Unfriendly. Poor parent, etc. All that good stuff that an ex with an Axe to grind may have. But, having talked with this lady for the past month or so, she had gotten to know who I was, and honestly laughed at how wrong my ex was about me. She thought I was a good guy and from the photos with my daughter, it's obvious she loves me and likes being with me, which was a VERY stark contrast to what she had been told.

It's been around 10 years since this occurred, so I don't really remember the particulars. Mainly that it was kind of funny, and did make me mad that she was continuing to play the victim and make me sound bad.

(In the end it all worked out. I now I have my daughter full time, which is what she wanted. I also found an amazing woman to share my life with and my daughter considers her, her real mother). It was a surreal experience hearing how someone talks about you, behind your back like that, though.

Kevin Rank

On the Take.


I heard I was on the take. Really!

I live in a very very small town (less than a sqr mile) and deciding I needed to do something for our town, decided to run for town council. I have worked for several years as both an environmental engineer and a civil engineer so I knew a thing or two about municipal projects and felt I could contribute. Our form of government had 6 council members and a mayor. Basically, majority rules.

So it was obvious before I was on council that the water tower in town needed replacing and the government body was already moving in that direction. I was on council for about a year when it came down for citing a location for the "new water tower". One location popular was in the public works yard which used to be the town dump throughout the 60s through 80s. Recall I worked as an environmental engineer and I worked on Superfund sites.

In particular, I had done work on remediation of landfills. If there is anything you need to know about a pre-1980 landfills it is that you don't touch them unless the DEP/EPA or some other higher authority tells you to. It is a potential landmine of liability. As you may guess, I was dead set against locating the tower in the landfill where you would have to dig down to virgin soil for the tower supports and all pipes leading to and from it. It was contentious, to say the least.

So after about 1/2 a year of fighting, I was at a friends house whose husband happens to own a large engineering firm. He informs me that the rumor going around town was that I was on the take and that is why I refused to endorse locating the water tower in the landfill. We both had a really good chuckle. I am a pretty straight shooter and he knew that.

However, the funny thing is our town is so small that I could not even figure out how a council member could even be on the take. Like, who would actually pay you? Mind you, many muni-engineering firms in my state, as well as lawyers, and politicians have been busted for just that. However, in a non-partisan town that is so small, there just are not those opportunities to make money.

So the most surprising thing I ever heard was that I was on the take.

Mark Mushi

When Young Men Gather.... 

Soon after I started a new job, I think after maybe 3 days, I was in the stationery room (for paper, pens, folders etc) next to the business room at the hotel I worked at. A few men came into the business room and did not know I was in the stationery room with the door a little open. One of them mentioned my name and I started to listen in. As typical with young men when they get together, they talk about women and sex etc but this time it was about me.

One was saying some crude things about me and what he wanted to do. Others mentioned about how my private anatomy would be different from that of a white woman and what I would look like down there. Someone said that because I am from Indonesia that I will be Muslim and that all Muslim women are circumcised so I will be circumcised. The other said really, she will have no clitoris? BTW, I am from Bali and am Hindu, not Muslim. They started talking about how Asian woman always are after sex and they start discussing who will try to have sex with me. They agree whoever has sex with me will take a picture of my circumcised privates to show the others.

At this time I walked out into the business room and past them to the door while they just sat there with their mouths wide open. I did not mention it again but never felt like working with these 3 men again.

Lamisah Cucil

Eavesdropping can be a risky business!

Have you ever overheard something crazy? Let us know in the comments below.

Byyyeeee: People Confess Why They Broke Up With Their Ex

Reddit user pizzabagels1994 asked: 'What caused your last break up?'

man and woman sitting in front of each other at night
Fred Moon on Unsplash

There's a saying about needing to kiss a lot of frogs before finding Prince Charming. Most people date more than one person before settling on a life partner.

And even then it doesn't always work out.

Most of us have at least one breakup in our past. The reasons things don't work between people vary greatly.

But we all have our breaking point.

Keep reading...Show less
man in white dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglasses
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

When you've spent enough time in your professional industry, you tend to learn secrets about the industry that the general public won't know.

For example, I work in social media. I create social posts for influencers and activists. I have no real affiliation with these people, and I usually don't even get guidelines on what to post, past that I have to post every hour or so.

Every industry has a secret, and Redditors are ready to share secrets about their own industries.

It all started when Redditor Thealexiscowdell1 asked:

"What is a "dirty little secret" about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really should know?"

All The Same

"Not all that much of a secret, but, i used to work in a peanut butter factory, we produced about 25-30-ish different storebrands ranging from very cheap to stupidly expensive, we had a grand total of 3 recipes, chunky, not chunky and no additives."

– ptvipers

"Peanut butter should taste like peanut butter."

– GroundbreakingAsk468


"Wash the top of your cans. Mice poop on those things all the time while they are in warehouse or transit."


"I’m so relieved that my mother raised me to do this lmao. I thought it was strange growing up but then I just started to do it automatically without question."


"Absolutely, I did security at a local supermarket warehouse, and doing my walkthrough, I saw rats 🐀 so big the porters used to ride around the warehouse on them (obviously not really) but I did see the rats and they’d be everywhere. Of course, they cr*pped on everything."

– peepers63

Quite The Employee Discount

"I worked at a major jewelry company in the US. When we wanted to buy jewelry, we paid what it costs to make the product (material, labor, shipping), plus 10%. I paid around $115 for a pair of $950 diamond earrings."

– SComstock

"I worked wholesale diamond sales so I had connections throughout the entirety of the industry. Made my wife's 15k+ engagement ring for about 3k."

– Kreepy_Quoll

Keep Track Of Your Belongings

"I worked in the moving and storage industry and if you EVER pay movers to pack and move your family, DEMAND an itemized bill and proof of service."

"These people are out here RAKING people over the coals. Inflating box counts, charging for services not performed, etc. it’s not AS BAD if it’s COD but if it’s a corporate move for your job?? DEMAND IT. You might not be paying for it out of pocket, but it’s still showing on your income as taxable wages."

"special note to say not ALL companies do this but ALL the ones I worked with did."

– YEEyourlastHAW

Perfect Fit

"High volume recruiters spend an average of 10 seconds looking at a resume."


""You are a perfect fit for this [job title that's not remotely close to what you have done in the past] position based on your experience at [company].""

– F**kItImStillTired

"Emails are mostly just basic keyword match mass batches. They might not have even read your CV, it just had a keyword."

– LBertilak

"Totally. It's usually through LinkedIn. I generally respond with, "Oh wow! What part of my profile do you think makes me a good fit for the position?""


"And block."

– F**kItImStillTired

Heavier Is (Apparently) Better

"They put little weights in lipsticks to make them feel more expensive so they can charge more."

– RandomRedditCount

"Same for Beats headphones."

– BenHippynet

The Truth Comes Out

"Zoos and museums are universally held together with double sided tape. The size or prestige of the organization doesn’t matter either."

– Pentastome

"You guys can afford double sided tape?"

– ContentPriority4237

"We had to use single-sided tape, taped together."

– elenduwir

"Also, the dinosaur bones that you're ooh-ing and aah-ing over are probably plaster. The actual bones are stored safely in the basement."

– janisdg

"I imagine most artifacts on display aren't real, just very high-quality fakes. You really can't trust the general public not to f**k it up somehow. Honestly, as long as the museum is using the real ones to learn more about our history, I'm OK with it."

– RhynoD

Like Cramming For A Test

"When the health inspector shows up, a mad scramble happens in the back to clean the kitchen while they start the inspection in the dining/bar area of the restaurant."

– Lone_Buck

"Yup. One manager will hold the health inspector up in the front of house while back of house is busy labeling and making sure minor violations they visibly see are dealt with."

– kettyma8215

"Truer words have never been typed lol send out the king or queen of small talk and people skills while the back of the house tosses anything that isn’t temping correctly and runs ribbons of labeling to the walk in to make sure it’s all labeled."

– EatTheRichbish


"If you’re ever buying bulk gravel/sand/crushed stone from a local pit/quarry that has scales to weigh the amount of product you’re getting- you’re getting f**ked because you’re paying for water. Most of these pits/quarries spray the living f**k out of their stockpiles before/during operation to make the material heavier in the truck. Never buy by the ton- always buy aggregate by the cubic yard. It’s a measure of volume- not weight."

"Source: I own a rock crushing business/multiple quarries and I charge by the cubic yard to not screw the public :)"

– ianwrecked802

He No Longer Works For The Company

"I wouldn’t say it’s mostly a secret but agency staffing firms churn and burn college graduates who are basically thrown in the wild. The recruiter you worked with may be gone in six months and that’s why a lot of ghosting happens."

– resident16

"Yeah, recruitment and headhunting are not altruist professions. They're not social workers looking out for clients best interests."

"Story time:"

"I got a high-paying job via a headhunter. After three months at the new place, I realized I hated it, and I quit."

"Three days later, I got a call from the headhunter, and he was IRATE, YELLING at me over the phone at the top of his lungs. He called me every name in the book, and went hoarse from yelling."

"Turns out, he gets paid a commission for placing me at that job ONLY if I stay at least 90 days. I just happened to quit on the 89th day coincidentally."

"So he lost out on a good chunk of money thanks to that."

– whomp1970


"The roses you buy at Valentine's Day were harvested around Xmas. It's the worst time of the year to buy roses and I don't mean because they're more expensive. They're also the worst quality because it's a longer holding time between harvest and use than any other time of the year."

"Never ever ever send flowers through an order processing service. Look at the location you're in or sending to and talk to a florist in that area directly. Don't pick a picture off some external website. Ask the florist what they have and can make that fits your budget. If you're worried, ask them to text you a pic of the completed design."

– VinnyVincinny

​The Psychology Of Groceries

"There is a lot of money spent every year that decides where specific items are placed on grocery store shelves."

"If you're at a grocery store that's part of a chain, and you look at a shelf and there's an item that's approximately at eye level, I guarantee you that the company that makes that item paid a lot of money to put them there. There's lots of weird psychological tricks that go on in terms of how stores are laid out."

– blueeyesredlipstick

"Candy, sugary cereals with mascots, the more expensive toys...etc. all at child height."

"The milk and toilet paper are always in the back because those are what people often make a quick run to the store for. By putting it in the back, it forces the customer to walk past all sorts of tempting end caps. The chances of the person going in for one thing and coming out with a bunch is increased."

"People joke about doing this all the time at Target, but it's not just a joke, Target actually paid a lot of money to get customers to spend a lot of money. All by designing things just so."

"I learned this in the one and only marketing class I took. It was really interesting, while also being kinda horrible."

– _Futureghost_

Turns out the world is even more manipulative than I thought!

man holding telephone screaming
Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Like many people, I spent my time in retail. Customers were by far the hardest part of the job.

In college, I worked as a "bookseller"—our official title—in a mall for a national chain of bookstores. Without fail, every shift one or more customers would ask for something like "that book, the red one, by the guy."

When we'd ask for more information—like genre or if it was new or where they saw it—they'd just repeat, "red book, guy, you know which one I mean."

We most definitely didn't know which one they meant, but customers thought if we worked in a bookstore we should know every book in print from even the vaguest of descriptions. And they'd get mad when we didn't.

Anyone who has worked with customers has war stories.

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Annoyingly Dumb Patients
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Medicine is a difficult profession. Thanks to the wonder that is human nature, healthcare workers are subjected to incredible Darwin-award-winning scenarios daily, so it’s no wonder that many of them feel the need to go home and scream into their pillows at night. From self-inflicted injuries to dangerous prescription misuses, these Redditors revealed the most facepalm-worthy patients they’ve ever encountered.

But be warned: They’ll all leave you wondering how we’ve survived this long as a species.

There Is No Plan C

white and red cross signPhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I’m a pharmacist. One evening, I was working a relief shift (not at my usual pharmacy). A man comes in looking distressed. He tells me, “I had intimate relations with a woman I do not intend to pursue a long-term relationship with”. Yes, he said it just like that. I say, “Okay. I’m assuming there was an accident, or it was unprotected. How long ago did it happen”? He answers, “Last night, at 7 PM on the couch”.

Woah, TMI. I just needed to know the approximate time so I’d know if Plan B would work. I start to tell him, “We have this medication called Plan B, and since the incident happened within 72 hours—” but he interrupts me and I was thrown completely off guard: “Oh yes, I got that for her already yesterday, right after we finished. We want to know if there is anything we can do to know if she is pregnant now”.

I answer, “Unfortunately not. She’ll have to wait three weeks or so to see if she gets her period, and if she doesn’t, she can do a pregnancy test then. Theoretically, you could do a blood test for faster results, but that would also not be until a couple of weeks, at least”. He responds, “We’re just really anxious because she doesn’t want to be pregnant. Is there anything that she can take to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamin? Minerals? Food”?

I tell him, “She’s already taken it, which was the Plan B. There are some other options, but those are prescriptions. And no, there are no over-the-counter products she can take”. Then he asks, “What about me? Is there anything I can take now to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamins or minerals”? A little bemused, I just answer, “…No sir. There isn’t anything you can take now”.


Get A Load Of This Guy

I’m 73, and I’m a former clinical microbiologist from LONG ago. Still, I found myself all over the clinical lab at times, not just infectious diseases. So, one day, this 20-something guy (with his wife and mom in tow) walks in with a paper request for an analysis of his “swimmers”, pre-computer era. Okay, not the most comfortable encounter, but I’m a professional, and I’d done this drill many times.

It turned out he had not been briefed by the doctor and had no idea how establishing infertility in males was done. Well, okay—this would be a challenge, then. I took him aside and, using standard medical terminology, told him how a diagnosis is made and what he needed to do to provide a specimen. He couldn’t believe that I was asking him to “do it” into that container.

Astonished! Then he played dumb as if the concept was unfamiliar to him. We looped through the medical terms and procedure again, and I eventually resorted to every word I knew to describe the “act”. It was like a George Carlin bit! A half-hour later, he emerged from the toilet with two inches of urine in the cup. God almighty.

The report came back: “Patient provided improper specimen”.


This Is How The Elderly Get Their Wrinkles

I’m a paramedic. I had an elderly woman complain that her mouth was dry and she felt a bit dizzy climbing the stairs earlier. So I go through the whole rigamarole of getting a medical history, vitals, and more detail on her symptoms. Then I asked her what she’s had to drink today. Her answer? A cup of tea—ten hours ago. I asked, “Any water”? She says no.

Guess what fixed it within five minutes.


The Mother Got A Lot Of Heat For This

I was at the children’s hospital with my eldest when he was a toddler (ah, the day we found out he was allergic to penicillin) when a rushing team suddenly occupied the bed next to me with a limp, unresponsive infant. This happened on a hot day during the mid-summer. The baby was in a full Canadian winter-level snowsuit.

After they got the baby’s temperature down, I overheard the doctor losing his mind a little bit with the mother as she kept insisting she had to have her baby in the suit lest the baby risk feeling chilly. He explained that the minor discomfort of having to cry for a blanket did not trump the risk of it losing its life or the possibility of literally frying the kid’s brain.

He had to get quite nasty with his wording in that she had almost unalived her baby and might have given it brain damage.


Mr. Hot Shot

I had a buddy who was an EMT, and he was called out to a location for a GSW. What happened was a father was mowing his lawn when he accidentally touched a part of the mower near the engine and burned his hand. He got mad at the lawnmower, pulled out his pistol, and shot it. The shot ricocheted and hit his son in the leg.


Now, He’s Gonorrhea-Valuate All His Conditions…

a woman holding a stethoscope in her right handPhoto by Eben Kassaye on Unsplash

I worked in ED for 10 years. Every day. Every day people come in, and it shocks you how they’ve managed to evade unaliving themselves for that long. One of the worst was when we had a guy come in. He was a twin. He told us he needed to get checked for STDs because his sister just got one. We, of course, had to ask if he’d had intimate relations with her, and he said no, but they were twins, so whatever she has, so does he.

After a collective sigh of relief that this wasn’t some weird Alabama, your-my-sister scenario, we had to educate him on how that’s not how it worked at all.


It Was An Arm of Intervention

I got told to go introduce myself to a patient to get vitals, history, and more info on their chief complaint, before starting an IV and drawing blood for labs. She came in for arm pain, and it looked like she had a nasty bug bite on her arm. So her story was she was an exotic dancer, and her Adderall prescription wasn’t doing the trick. So, she had an idea of how to make it more potent.

She heard from a friend that if you crush it up, suspend it in water, and then inject it, it would be more effective. Except she used tap water to dissolve the Adderall before she injected it. This ended up causing a huge abscess and infection at the site of injection. She ended up losing her arm at the elbow...So now she’s a one-armed exotic dancer.


They Must’ve Gone Ballistic

I had a patient who had a bullet lodged in her leg. We had the surgeon come and assess her. Based on its placement, he suggested leaving it because removing it could cause even more danger. We discharged her. She immediately walked to the ER in the same hospital to complain of leg pain. She had prescriptions and wound supplies in her hand.

Still, they brought her back, discovered her injury, and called for a surgical consult. The same surgeon was on-call and came to assess her. Guess what?! The surgeon made the same suggestion to leave it. Then we educated her EXTENSIVELY about never getting an MRI or the metal will fly out of her skin. Eventually, she left.

She returned a few months later to a sister hospital complaining of a headache. She got inpatient admission, and you guessed it: They did an MRI. The slug ripped out, and the MRI machine was down for almost a week!


She Just Couldn’t Seem To Grasp The Conception

I had an 18 or 19-year-old girl come into my ER with some complaint that required an X-ray. It’s standard that we do a urine pregnancy test before imaging on any female of childbearing years. She insisted she’d never “done it”, and there was zero possibility of pregnancy. We did the test anyway, and it resulted that she was pregnant. We then did a blood pregnancy test to confirm the result since she insisted she couldn’t possibly be pregnant because she’d never had intercourse.

That was positive too. We gave her a few minutes to herself to figure out what the heck happened, and when I returned to check on her a short time later, she asked me if she could get pregnant even though her boyfriend “didn’t go all the way in”. She 100% believed that as long as he wasn’t entirely inside her, it didn’t count as intercourse.

It took nearly a half hour of explaining reproduction for her to understand that, whether it’s halfway in or in, sperm travel.


It Ultimately Wasn’t Very Fun-Knee

I overheard a conversation between a nurse, a doctor, and a patient in the ER. They were trying to figure out whether the patient was very stupid or had a head injury. It was both hilarious and sad. He kept telling them that he was there for a hurt leg, but he couldn’t explain why his leg was hurt, how it was hurt, or how he got there—nearly anything.

I heard them talking in a hallway to each other. The nurse was convinced the patient hit his head. The doctor, without skipping a beat, dropped his unexpected diagnosis: “No, he is just an idiot.” It turned out the doctor was right. They got ahold of the guy’s wife. She told them in the hallway he’s always this dumb, and if she left him, he would get lost in his own house and starve.

It sounded like the patient’s leg was visibly injured or swollen. But when asked what happened or how it felt, he gave nonsensical idiot answers. He wasn’t slurring, but answering in a regular idiot voice, saying things like, “It feels hurt”, and “I was talking to Jimmy, and we were doing our usual work, and my leg hurts”.

The doctor would ask, “Did something happen? What is the work”? But the patient kept responding, “Something always happens; you know how it goes”, or “I just want my leg fixed”.


An Change Of Heart

man in white dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglassesPhoto by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

This one came from a colleague of mine. So, this 60-something-year-old suffered from an acute complication and got a pacemaker to solve the problem. Everything went normally, and as planned, he recovered. Every care and medication that he needed to take got prescribed and explained and his medical appointments with a cardiologist/arrhythmologist were scheduled so he could get the follow-ups he needed. The man then proceeded to never show up to any appointments and never answered any calls from the hospital to know of him and reschedule.

This went on for around three years. Then one day, he showed up without former warning and asked to talk with the doctor who did the procedure to put in his pacemaker. People were weirded out, but since the doctor was present that day and this patient was in clear distress, they talked to him and managed to find a couple of minutes to have the doctor check on him. Inside the appointment room, the doctor noticed that the man was wearing a bra inside his shirt.

The man explained he’d been wearing his daughter’s bra for three months after his “problem” got worse. So the doctor asked that he take off his shirt…and there he stood, this shirtless man wearing his daughter’s bra, showing off the pacemaker that should’ve remained inside his body. It was now dangling outside of it, being held by the left bra cup, with a big infected open wound above it with the pacemaker leads still inserted into his veins and connected to his heart.

Nobody had any idea how the man let that situation come to be or how he didn’t pass from sepsis or any other health problem that might’ve appeared, for that matter.


The Parents Were The Real Suckers

While working the midnight shift in the ER, a family brought in a four-year-old at 2am-ish. I asked them what was wrong. They said, “Ask him. He said he needed to see a doctor”. I further pressed, “Did he say anything was wrong”? They answered, “No. He said he needed to see a doctor, so we brought him”. A quick back and forth firmly established that they actually showed up to the ER at 2 AM, purely because the four-year-old said he needed to see a doctor and that they didn’t know why.

So I asked the child, “Why do you need to see a doctor”? His answer made me shake my head in disbelief: “The doctor has suckers”. To be clear, it was the parents who lacked sense and not the kid.


A Very Delicate Condition

I’m a social worker, and one of my clients kept getting pregnant over and over after having kids. I had a frank conversation with her about birth control or getting her tubes tied because she kept going through horrific births only to get her kids taken away, and she said to me that she didn’t know that birth control or safe intercourse would save her from getting pregnant.

She didn’t realize that intercourse = pregnant because she was mistreated as a child, and her father told her that she could only get pregnant when she fell in love, and she had never been in love, so she didn’t understand why she kept getting pregnant. Intercourse was only a pleasure for her, so she didn’t realize that was what was getting her pregnant.


The Answer Was At Hand

I am a dermatologist in India. As is the culture here, people eat with their hands, and almost all of our curries or even other dry side dishes have a lot of turmeric. It is common knowledge to anyone born and brought up in India that this means the nails of your dominant hand (statistically, the right hand) will be yellow-stained because we have seen this happen since our childhood.

Usually, this wears off in about a day and a half if you wash it a couple of times. Cut to the first patient in my OPD, a young girl in her early 20s, very anxious. I ask her, “What brings you here today”? The patient says, “Doc, my right-hand fingernails keep getting yellow-discolored”. I take a look and confirm, “Only your right hand”? She answers, “Yes, and only after meals”.

So I ask her, “Erm…do you eat with your hands”? The patient confirms, “Yes, always”. I then explain to her, “ know it’s just turmeric, right”? And she goes, “Yes, but can you make it stop happening”? Perplexed now, I just tell her, “For God’s sake, use a spoon”! But she’s still not quite getting it. Surprised, she asks, “So you mean there is no medicine to make it stop”?

I just stared at her while she looked at me expectantly. “NO”! This might hit home more with people of South Asian cultures or people who habitually eat turmeric-cooked food with their hands. Anyway, for a grown person to complain about this was just…well, surprising and a little ridiculous.


This Guy Wasn’t Very Treat Smart

I work in emergency medical services. I had a diabetic in his 30–40s who refused to take insulin since 2012. It was 2020 at the time. When I took his blood sugar, it only read as “HI”, meaning it had to be over 700 for the glucometer not to read it. Upon seeing this, he asked me if that was high and then went, “Is this because of all the ice cream I ate”?

He was playing a Facebook Messenger video with his girlfriend the entire time. I met him later on in the parking lot after he got discharged, and it took this man less than fifty paces from the ER door to rip off the bandage covering his IV and play with the IV wound until it started bleeding all over the place again.

He then knocked on our ambulance door and asked for a bandaid to fix it. We had to walk him back into the ER and bandage his entire arm with gauze so that, hopefully, by the time he got it off, it would’ve clotted enough for him not to end up exsanguinating himself.


Rubbing Salt In The Wound

brown and white shell on orange round platePhoto by Arnold Antoo on Unsplash

My sister told me a story of a woman with chronic blisters and lesions on her lips. They couldn’t figure out what it was for weeks. It would heal and come back, heal and come back. The truth was disturbing—it turned out she would jam out on like three bags of salt and vinegar chips a day for weeks at a time until the sores hurt too bad to continue, then she’d go to the doctor.


Details Make A Difference

This was one of the funniest yet cutest ones from when I was a student doing a shift in andrology/reproductive health. Doctor: “So, you’re trying to have kids but not managing to. Do you have any other kids”? Patient: “Yes, Doc. I have one”. Doctor: “Okay, so we need to do [this and this and that]”. Patient: “Okay, great”.

Then he proceeded to visit him and stuff, after which he went away. But after a couple of seconds, he knocked on the door again, saying: “Hello, Doc. My wife told me that it would be relevant to you that the son I have is adopted, but that makes no difference to me. I’ve always considered him my son”!


Do No Farm

I’m a physiotherapist. For those who don’t know, after a total knee replacement, you have a six-week window after the surgery to regain the range of motion. If you don’t regain the range in those first six weeks, it ain’t coming back. I had a patient who was a farmer who was very enthusiastic about regaining the range because he needed to be mobile for his work. I saw him for the first time about five days after his surgery.

I showed him all the basic exercises, told him not to do any farm work for at least six weeks, and told him to come back to see me once a week for the first six weeks. He disappeared and came back about eight weeks later. His range was non-existent, maybe 30 degrees of range in total. He was visibly mad at me as if it was my fault. He was shouting and calling me incompetent.

Our conversation went something like this: Me: “Have you been doing the exercises”? Him: “No”. Me: “How often are you doing farm work”? Him: “Every day”. Me: “Why haven’t you come back since the first appointment eight weeks ago”? Him: “Too busy with farm work”. Me: “So, to summarize here, you did absolutely nothing that I told you to, and this is somehow my fault”?

I never saw him again.


A Jaw-Dropping Encounter

As a pharmacist, I often encounter a lot of people who lack common sense; namely, everyone who comes in to buy homeopathic stuff, especially for serious things. Once, a lady came in with a prescription from the dentist for some heavy antibiotics and painkillers due to an infection that threatened to damage the jawbone.

When I asked if she knew how to take them, she went: “Oh, I’m not gonna take those; they’ll go right into the garbage. But I gotta buy them so that my dentist is happy. I’d rather stick with [insert name of homeopathic stuff here] instead of harming me with some devilish chemicals”!

Throughout the years, I’ve learned to just shrug and accept those Darwin-award candidates instead of arguing with them. It just infuriates me when I see that they’ve got children or/and pets…


That’s Never Gonna Heel Now

This was circa 1983, and I’m a nurse (retired). I had this one guy in his early 20s who went swimming hammered in a notoriously nasty lake in our area. It was a “don’t drink the water” kind of lake, and he went in without shoes, stepped on an old booze tab, and cut his foot open. He didn’t go to the hospital or try to clean it at all for about a week. His girlfriend said he kept saying, “It’s fine, it’s just a cut”, when she pressured him to get it seen, so of course, he showed up in the ER with a foot that blew up like a balloon.

Healing it took two and a half months in the hospital, with his foot completely laid open in surgery, doing debridement and packing, which I can honestly say after over 30 years in healthcare stands as one of the nastiest jobs I have ever had to do—and I had been dealing with things like bedsores and open wounds from radiation treatments and cancer for about seven years at that point.

It was bad, but that's not all—on top of this, he was obnoxious, disrespectful, and, when the opportunity presented itself, cruel. Other nurses, you know the type, they’re everywhere. Hopefully not as open about it these days, but yeah. I had a student nurse I was training come running out of the room in tears and refused to go back in and would not tell any of us what he said, but I can imagine.

Eventually, we finally got it cleaned out, and it’s responding well to antibiotics, and the tissue is granulating well. He gets sent home with antibiotics and strict instructions on how to care for it and to keep it clean and dry. THE DAY he left the hospital, he went back out to the same lake, got inebriated, put on some nasty tennis shoes, and went swimming.

He showed up on our floor again a week after being discharged. He lost the foot. His girlfriend left him.


Fortunately, They Caught Him Red-Handed

man in blue scrub suit wearing blue stethoscopePhoto by Bruno Rodrigues on Unsplash

I don’t know if a cleaner in a hospital counts, but this one time, I got to work early on a Saturday morning, and we immediately received a request for help from the ER and got sent over by my boss. When I got there, the first thing I heard was yelling from this guy behind one of the curtains. He was shouting at the nurses, “Don’t touch my downstairs”, and “I didn’t use any substances”!

Then I smelled iron in the air, and then I found out there was blood all over the hallway, with hand prints in blood against the wall. Almost the entire floor was covered in blood, with actual puddles in some places. What happened? The guy pulled out his catheter, causing arterial bleeding, and he decided to run away from the nurses who were trying to help him.

It seems like he lived through that. I had never seen that much blood before that day, nor after.


Thinking Against The Grain

I am a medical professional, but I have two really good ones about my ex-fiancé. Laugh at me all you want; this relationship was not my proudest moment. For starters, at our baby shower for my son, he asked if we were going to pick “innie” or “outie”. I looked at him like he was insane, and he started getting angry and just repeated the question louder until I shushed him and took him aside to explain to him that we don’t choose how the belly button looks; it just happens.

Another time, he had really bad eczema and went to a doctor who suggested oatmeal baths during flare-ups. He bought a couple of boxes of Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar and would dump the entire box packet by packet into the tub. It was a couple of weeks before I found the wrappers and questioned him about it.

He told me (angry again) that he wondered why he was so sticky after getting out and why the freaking literal brown sugar was making his open wounds fester. I explained that an oatmeal bath is not flavored oatmeal and that he had to buy either plain oats or actual oatmeal bath packets. He was furious that I expected him to just know better.

When I asked him why he picked maple and brown sugar, he said he didn’t want to smell like strawberries or peaches after his bath. After our son was born (and we had broken up, thank God), my son also had some occasional eczema, but not nearly to the same degree. The pediatrician recommended oatmeal baths, and GUESS WHAT THIS FREAKING GUY BOUGHT?

He said he only remembered what happened the last time when he picked my son out of the sink, and the towel stuck to him. When I started to scold him for being so stupid, he looked at me like I was an idiot and told me he only used one packet since we were still bathing the kid in the sink instead of in an entire tub.


The Patient Had A Med-ley Bag

I’m a pharmacist. I had a woman bring in a literal sandwich bag that she kept all her meds in, unseparated. She needed help seeing which meds she was low on or out of and was asking different questions about the medications. When she pointed to an Apoquel and stated it was her blood pressure medicine, I immediately became concerned as to why pet medicine was in her bag (and also why she was mixing all her meds in a bag in the first place).

It was then that I found out that she had been throwing her pet’s meds inside her bag of medicine, too. So Lord knows what she’d been giving her dog or taking herself. I immediately stressed how important it is to keep medicine in its original container to protect both the medicine and herself and to know the directions of how to take it.

I’ve seen her a few times since then, and I’m glad to see she has since taken my advice. But how any pharmacist or doctor hadn’t advised her on this before is beyond me.


They Didn’t Air On The Side Of Caution

I used to be a medical oxygen tech, mostly doing in-home work. One guy was on such a high concentration that he would have drawn nearly zero oxygen from breathing regular atmosphere. This required two heavy-duty machines hooked up in tandem just to keep him barely alive. This was explained ad nauseam to him and his wife with fully signed documentation of every conversation.

What they did was absolutely ridiculous—they’d shut one machine off because they decided it was too loud. He’d take his mask off because he decided it was too cold. She would unplug the hose if she decided it was in the way. So on and so on. They did everything you could think of that would restrict or cut off his oxygen intake. Then they would panic and call our emergency service when he started to react to no oxygen intake.

I lived not even five minutes away, right beside our EMS station, and calls would always come for me to “fix” the machines at random times of the day and night, 3–7 days a week. They refused to call 9-1-1 because they “didn’t want to make a scene”. This went on for ages, well over 18 months, until he was having trouble sleeping one night, and they shut the machines off before going back to bed.

It’s been years, and I still see the wife around town. She always glares at me as if I’m the one who unalived him.


She’ll Just See Herself Out, Now…

I’m an ophthalmology surgical technician. A glaucoma patient in her late 50s was going blind despite her drop therapies for the past six months. Her pressure was consistently in the 30s and 40s. I asked her if she was using her drops regularly (twice daily), and she said yes. I asked, as politely as I could, if she’d missed any doses in the past month. She said no. I asked if she was using them properly, and she got super offended.

She asked me very rudely, “Do I look like an idiot to you”? I said, “No, but I just need to be sure. Sometimes patients think they’re doing it right, but they can easily miss it. Can you show me how you use your drops”? So she took out her drop bottle, gave it a good shake (so far, so good), looked up at the ceiling (also a good sign), opened her MOUTH, and swallowed two drops.

I got in trouble, but my OD backed me up and told her that’s the stupidest thing he’s ever seen in 25 years. She cried and said we were being mean to her and that the drops burned her eyes, so she didn’t want to put them in there, and since the eyes, ears, nose, and throat are all connected, why did it matter where she put them?

That’s not how glaucoma therapy works. She needed a shunt implant, and we were able to save about 30% of her visual field. But yeah, she was drinking her drops and going blind.


That’s Ill-Advised

a woman in a white shirt holding a stethoscopePhoto by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

I used to volunteer at a free medical clinic to take vitals and histories. A woman came in with pneumonia and wanted to know why her normal treatment of drinking half a bottle of Listerine and inhaling a pack of cancer sticks a day wasn’t working. I asked why she thought ciggies were a good treatment for a lung infection, and she said, “Indians used to purify the ground by burning all the weeds away before planting, so I’m puffing to purify my lungs”.

I left that one to the doctor.


Seeing Red

I’m an optometrist. I had a patient booked in for an emergency appointment with a raging red eye. It was very painful. So I looked under the microscope, and the cornea was not happy: wobbly reflexes, haziness, the works. So I asked, “What happened”? The patient said, “It’s my niece’s wedding this Saturday, and I wanted to tint my eyelashes to match my hair, and the color scheme of the wedding is light blue, so I used the same dye for both to match the color”.

I inquired, “Does that hair dye contain ammonia, by any chance”? The patient answered, “I think so. Do you think my eye will be better by Saturday? Will it match the color scheme”? I just responded, “Unless you can convince them to change the color scheme to red, no”.


This Grave Mistake Takes The Biscuit

I heard this story from a sibling; I don’t think he’d mind me sharing it just on the off chance it prevents someone else from making this mistake. Lots of surgeons have a similar story, but thankfully this one doesn’t end in someone’s demise. According to my brother, these parents claimed that their child hadn’t eaten anything before surgery, as they were carefully directed. But it turned out they thought the surgical team was just being cruel to their child.

So when she said she was hungry that morning, they detoured on their way to the surgical center and got her a full Southern breakfast. The result was triggering—she dang near passed from aspirating biscuits and gravy. I’ve rarely seen my brother so angry and disgusted (somehow, biscuits and gravy look even more nauseating the second time around) as he recounted what had happened.

I do not doubt that he tore a strip off the parents once their five-year-old was stabilized, and they probably still felt justified and angry at the surgeon for telling them what they could and could not feed their child right before anesthesia. The parents did feel justified and hard-done-by, although, as far as I know, they didn’t express anger at my brother (knowing him, they didn’t get a word in edgewise).

There was no acknowledgment or realization that they could easily have unlived their own child or that they’d made a bad decision. I remember they were annoyed by her whining for food.


The Outcome Suited Them Just Fine

I’m a pharmacist. One time my coworker, another pharmacist, got served with a lawsuit while I was there. The patient suffered a fall resulting in a concussion, and she claimed it was because her Lisinopril (blood pressure medication) got increased from 10mg to 20mg and that she’d not been informed and passed out as a result. She was suing the pharmacist, the pharmacy, her doctor’s office, and the doctor.

It eventually came out in early discovery that she was at a rave and had a BAC of 0.18, THC, and MDMA in her system. The case against the doctor’s office, doctor, and pharmacy fell apart right away, so she decided to go all-in on trying to sue the individual pharmacist. The pharmacy’s POS system confirmed that she checked, “I decline pharmacist consultation at this time”. So the case was eventually dropped.


He Had To Take A Pregnant Pause

I work in the ER. I have so many stories. The one that left me dumbfounded was a woman who was brought in by her sister for pelvic cramps and amenorrhea for three months. Lo and behold, she’s pregnant. The sister informs me that she sleeps with the Brazilian construction workers building the condo complex next door. I ask if they have any questions.

The patient then asked me if her baby would come out speaking Spanish. After a long pause and her sister staring at the ceiling, I told her, “No, because they speak Portuguese in Brazil”. The patient seemed relieved, and the sister hustled her out of the ER before I could discharge her.


It Cost Them An Amen And A Leg

man in white dress shirt holding black tablet computerPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I worked in cancer research/surgery a couple of years ago. There is a good amount of people who will refuse to have a small removal/surgery because they think holistic medicine or praying it away will work. They always come back, and we always have to remove so much more. One time a patient had melanoma on their calf, and the doctor wanted to do a simple wide excision, but they left because they wanted to pray it away.

They came back a couple of months later because it got bigger, and we had to amputate their leg. I’m pretty sure they had positive lymph nodes at that point too.


They Gave Her A Herbal Warning

A lady brought her baby into the ER with a rectal temp of 103. The kid had tachycardia (i.e. a fast heartbeat) and looked awful. The worst part? The lady refused all medications. She said she didn’t believe in them and wondered why her herbal tea (she brought a jug of it) wasn’t working. She wanted us to just check her out. She thought a children’s emergency room just checked them out. I tried to explain why the kid needed an NSIAD. She kept refusing. She said she didn’t know what was in it.

I brought up the fact she had her kid in a hospital and that she received medication herself (IV, epidural, etc). The lady didn’t budge. Only concerned for herself, I told her that when the kid has a seizure or goes unresponsive and she calls 9-1-1, she can expect the medics to give the kid everything it needs regardless of whether she likes it or not.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, so the doctor threatened to contact social services for child endangerment and mistreatment. Only then did she start to listen…for, like, five whole seconds. She then left against medical advice. People like this exist.


Words Cannot Expresso How Ridiculous This Call Was

I’ve been a firefighter for 18 years. People call 9-1-1 for the dumbest things ever. But the one that takes the cake? It was a guy who called 9-1-1 to say he was choking. He answered the door as high as a Georgia pine with a lit joint in his mouth. I asked him who was choking. He calmly said that he was. He said he swallowed an ice cube, and now he couldn’t breathe.

Just to be sure and partly out of morbid curiosity, I looked in his mouth and then asked him to take a few deep breaths...which he was able to do easily. He still insisted he couldn’t breathe. So I told him to make some hot coffee and then drink it. He asked me, “Why”? I told him that the coffee would melt the ice cube, and he’d be able to breathe again. “Oh, cool. Thanks, man”.

Then I left.


How Heartbreaking

I work in clinical research at a hospital. Basically, for patients who have cancer but don’t have other standard-of-care options, clinical trials, or “experimental treatment”, are a viable option for many. Some people have a negative view of research, but it’s highly regulated and not as scary as it sounds. Anyway, we went through the consent form with this one patient who had a history of substance use.

We don’t know everything about this new medication, but one thing we DO know is that using coke while taking this drug will make your heart “explode”, in layman’s terms. This patient “promised” they were off the sauce and that they “totally wouldn’t do coke while they’re on the trial”. Two weeks later, they relapsed, and well…You can figure out the rest of the story.


Wrestling With Logic

My brother did a rotation in an ER before med school. Paramedics brought in a man with a lacerated neck. He was inebriated and fell into a fish tank. His equally inebriated buddies called 9-1-1. When the paramedics arrived, they realized his friends had put a very tight tourniquet around his neck to stop the bleeding. It turned out that the guy and his buddies had been playing a boozy game of WWE.

He had a two-inch glass shard stuck in his head in addition to the neck laceration, but the dude came into the ER with no idea the glass was there. Four different firefighters had to hold him down as he screamed prejudiced remarks at the female doctor. My brother said that when they removed the glass, blood shot out about 10 feet in the air.

My brother, at that point, silently “noped” the heck out of medicine. He went on to attend Berklee Music School and is living his best life as a musical producer and engineer, and is not arguing with rednecks about whether or not there is a glass shard in their head….


Shear Stupidity

a close up of a person laying in a hospital bedPhoto by César Badilla Miranda on Unsplash

I’m an ER nurse with seven years of experience. The list of dumb things I’ve seen is nearly endless. People coming in with massive burns because they smoked in bed is not as rare as you’d think. But the one that got me the most was a guy who came in for chest pain and fatigue. An EKG revealed he was having a really bad heart attack.

We activated the cath lab for emergency stents to hopefully save the guy’s life. They almost always access the patient through the groin for the procedure, so one of our jobs in the ER is to shave the patient’s groin to prep them for the cath lab. We got the clippers out, as we don’t use actual razors anymore, and informed the guy we needed to shave him. This is when things got annoying.

He refused. No problem, we figured we woul adjust let the cath lab do it once he’s knocked out. Nope, the guy refuses to sign the consent for the stents because he doesn’t want his downstairs shaved.

After trying to educate him, pleading with him, and contacting every goddang lawyer the hospital had, the guy signed himself out of AMA and went home.

He would rather die than have his curlies shaved. We looked up his address, and we weren’t the closest hospital to him, so if he passed at home, the medics would have to take him to a different hospital. I doubt he survived the day.


Paws For Thought

I’m a vet. A few years ago, I had a client bring his young cat in complaining of lethargy. Besides being a bit underweight, the physical exam was unremarkable, so I asked more questions about the cat’s diet. I asked him, “What do you feed the cat”? The owner answered, “I feed him [online trendy raw food brand]”. I asked, “How is his appetite? Does he finish what you feed him”? The owner replied, “Yes, he always eats everything”.

Pressing further, I asked, “How much do you feed him”? The owner said, “Half a cup”. For clarification’s sake, I then asked, “Once or twice daily”? What he said next absolutely floored me. He answered, “Once every three or four days”. Shocked, I replied, “…You only feed your cat twice a week”? The owner explained, “I believe in a more natural feeding approach, and based on my research, that’s how often cats eat in the wild”.

This owner was slowly starving his cat into oblivion based on some cockamamie idea he’d made up while watching National Geographic. I had to explain to him that domestic cats are not tigers and that small wildcats eat 10–20 small meals daily. Surprise, surprise, the cat’s lethargy and weight improved with regular feeding.


Always Double-Check

I once heard a story about a particular patient receiving radiation therapy. It was impressed upon her that she couldn’t miss her fractions of radiotherapy, even if she were busy, so she needed to inform us if she really couldn’t make the appointment. Well, one day, she couldn’t make it. But instead of just informing us, she sent her twin sister to receive the radiation therapy in her place.

Of course, the twin answered yes to all the ID questions and had the same birthday, etc. She was only found out when the radiographers had trouble matching her to the CT. The CT was of a person who had undergone a mastectomy, while this “patient” still had both her mammaries. This story, many years later, is still told to new staff during training to reiterate the importance of ensuring correct identification.

You would be stunned by the number of people who try to skip the queue. The number isn’t high. But it isn’t zero.


It Took Some Arm Twisting

I work in orthopedic rehab. I had a patient with a common fracture of the wrist that a doctor sent over because she was inexplicably getting stiffer and stiffer. I spent 17 sessions with her one on one, 40ish minutes each. But nothing I did worked. For whatever reason, instead of just bending her wrist, she would contort her entire body.

She was married, raised kids, had a career, and was a seemingly functional adult. I tried everything to get her to actively use her muscles to move her wrist. I put her in front of a mirror, filmed videos of myself doing the exercise or her doing it, and tried to get her to spot the difference between moving your shoulder versus moving your wrist.

The last time I saw her, I even strapped her arm to a chair, and she still didn’t understand that she should’ve only been trying to move her wrist. I will never understand it.


There Was No Sugarcoating It

I work at a vet clinic. We get a lot of this sort of thing, oftentimes with diabetic patients. One of the worst I’ve seen was an older owner come in with an extremely overweight, diabetic dog. The owner says the dog has been slow, tires easily, and has been “flopping around”, which is odd for her. The doctor checks the dog’s blood glucose, and it is so high it is literally off the charts.

Normal blood glucose for a dog is around 100 or so. The dog's reading was shocking—it was beyond 1000. We asked the owner how it got so high. Was she eating? She was because she was obese. Were you giving her the insulin? The owner then proceeds to say that they think she’s probably fine without it since she’s a “strong and hardy dog”.

Ma’am, your nine-year-old 80-pound Dalmatian is currently half-alive on the floor because you don’t give her insulin. How they kept that poor dog alive for that long was astounding.


Are You Kidding Me!?

a person is holding a picture of a babyPhoto by Amr Taha™ on Unsplash

When I was an intern posted in the obstetric department, I saw a 42-year-old pregnant woman who came for an antenatal checkup. This was her seventh pregnancy, and she had only one living child. So she had five pregnancies previously, which failed (three spontaneous abortions and two stillbirths). The sixth one had been high-risk too, and she’d needed to get a cervical cerclage done (they stitch the cervix because it is too weak to hold a baby in until term).

When the OBGYN asked her why she would put herself through pregnancy again instead of being content with her daughter, she replied, “My in-laws want us to have at least two children”. It was the biggest Pikachu-face moment of my life.


Jesus Took The Wheel Years Ago

I’m an optometrist. I had an elderly patient come in surrounded by concerned family members because the patient ran over one of those pop-up tents on the side of the road that the telephone engineers use to protect themselves from the rain. Luckily no one was hurt as the worker was on lunch. Worried as to how the elderly driver missed seeing a large, red, and white tent in the middle of the day, it was then that the elderly relative admitted to having spent the last three years driving from memory.


Trying Hard To Be Patient

I had a patient come to see me in the clinic on a Monday; everything was fine. By Tuesday morning, she’s on the hospital census with a pending consult for me. When I see her, she says she’s fine and doesn’t know why she was admitted. She then walked out of the clinic, called an ambulance from across the street, and got taken to a different hospital.

She reported her problems were uncontrolled, and nobody was taking her seriously. They transferred her back overnight because I don’t work at that other hospital. She then gets discharged Wednesday morning. On Friday morning, she is again back on the census with a pending consult. I go to see her, and once again, she says she’s fine, and she’s not sure why she’s there.

This time she had a friend pick her up from the hospital and drive her to a small outlying hospital without the services she needed. She walked into the ER and said she was in distress but that nobody was taking her seriously. Yet again, she gets admitted and transferred back to my hospital overnight. She gets discharged on Friday afternoon.

Sure as heck, she came back on Saturday morning. I asked her, “Why do you think you keep getting admitted to the hospital”? She has no clue. Completely baffled. I tell her it’s because she keeps going to hospitals and telling them she needs help. No lights come on. I ask her, “Why do you keep going to other hospitals”?

Finally, she tells me, “I didn’t know what else to do. My apartment is a complete mess. My caretaker won’t clean my apartment because I’m supposed to learn how to do it, and I just don’t want to do it”. Please note that she is not a ward of the state but still gets most of the services, like coaches, guardians, drivers, etc.

So, I follow up with, “But why do you keep telling them that I’m not taking you seriously”? What she said next is forever burnt into my brain. “If I don’t, they just send me home in a cab”.


False Wisdom

I’m a dental nurse. My favorite story involved a 30-something-year-old woman who came in for a checkup at the low-cost emergency clinic I worked at. Her teeth were broken and almost black, and her gums were angry, swollen, bright red, and bleeding by just moving her tongue against them. She needed multiple scaling and hygienist appointments and a debridement.

An X-ray showed she needed work on all but her wisdom teeth, and the results made me raise my eyebrows—she needed 10 fillings. She also needed root canals to try and save some teeth and extractions for, I think, three teeth or possibly more if the root canal treatment didn’t work. I explained everything and did the usual explanation of proper oral hygiene.

I then asked her if she had any questions, to which she said, “It’s okay if I lose this set of teeth; my others will come through”. The dentist and I just looked at each other, probably a lot longer than we should have. No words. I couldn’t think of anything to reply to that comment. I had a lot of weird and disgusting things happen at that clinic. I miss working there.


When You Just Can’t Sulfa Fools

I’m a paramedic, and I had this call while working on a rural fire/EMS service. A call came in for an allergic reaction. I arrived at a rural farm and found the patient in the kitchen on the ground, wheezing. Her husband said she took sulfa, which she’s allergic to, and after grabbing her blood pressure, we hit her with epinephrine (which is the same as an EpiPen) and Benadryl.

Her breathing improved, and she started to be able to answer my questions. First, I confirmed her allergy by asking, “So, you’re allergic to sulfa”? The patient says, “Yeah”. I reply, “And you took sulfa”? Again, she goes, “Yeah”. So I asked, “Was it mislabeled or in the wrong bottle”? She answers me with a simple “No”. Okay…

Needing more information, I inquired, “Was it your husband’s prescription”? And unbelievably, she tells me, “No, it was for our horse”. Huh? Feeling a lot more confused, I respond, “Was...Wait, did you say a horse? You took sulfa prescribed for a horse”? She then clarifies, “Well, I only took half”. Sure, that makes it better.

Still trying to follow her logic, I guessed, “...You only took half because a horse is much larger than a person”? The patient confirms, “Yeah”. Uh-huh…I’m still not fully understanding, so I respond, “...Okay. Were you intentionally trying to hurt yourself”? And the patient indignantly answers, “No, of course not”. Exasperated now, I pressed, “But you know you’re allergic, right”?

And she goes, “Yeah. I just have a cold and thought it would help me breathe better”. I couldn’t believe it. Incredulously, I then summarized the situation back to her: “So you took horse sulfa—which you’re allergic to—because you had a cold and thought it would help your breathing”? “I took half a horse sulfa”, the patient corrected me. Good Lord.

I just responded, “Sorry, half. Gotchya. Let’s go to the hospital”.


This Patient Was In A Jam

opened white and orange travel trailerPhoto by Muhammed Abiodun Mustapha on Unsplash

I’m a paramedic and was called out for a stroke. The man was having a stroke; upon doing a stroke screen, it looked like the patient had something large in his mouth. Thinking maybe this guy had some sort of oropharyngeal cancer or mass, I asked his wife if this was indeed the case, and she looked at me with a very puzzled look.

She said no, and then I asked, “What is in his mouth”? His wife then says it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she shoved in there. When her husband’s symptoms started, she thought it was just that his blood glucose was low, so she tried to force-feed this poor man an entire sandwich before she called 9-1-1. Ah, job security.


It Was An Oxidant Waiting To Happen

There was a 24-year-old patient who was brought in from a prison in a rural county. He was working roadside cleanup when he found a bottle in a ditch that he thought contained booze, and he quickly chugged it down. To be fair, it did look like booze. It wasn’t. It turned out it was a substance that contained sulfuric acid. Its pH was less than 2.5...It just ate up the litmus paper. So shortly afterward, he gets to the ICU, and he is in excruciating pain and vomiting blood.

The gastroenterologist took him to do an EGD (basically a procedure where they can look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with a camera attached to a flexible tube), and the pictures were horrendous. You could see his stomach and esophageal mucosa eroding. He had to be sent off to another hospital where they had an esophageal surgeon who could repair the mess.

He, of course, needed multiple surgeries and had a very long hospital stay. I saw him a few months later when he was admitted for another issue. He was down to 90 lbs (from about 150) and was getting fed through a PEG tube. He was very lucky to be young and otherwise healthy (but not very smart).


A Rash Decision

I’m a pharmacist. This story comes to mind, although I’m sure there are plenty more I’m not remembering. A woman came in, claiming that her medication was making her vomit. She said she couldn’t remember what it was called. So, I looked up her profile, but there was nothing recent, just some one-off antibiotics and an anti-fungal from almost a year ago.

I asked her if her medication was over the counter, and she said that it was and pointed me to the Monistat cream. I thought it was incredibly strange that a cream meant for “lady parts” had made her vomit, so I asked her how she had been using it. That’s when I learned the disgusting truth—much to my surprise, she’d been taking it by mouth.

She explained that she would fill the plunger with the cream, shoot it to the back of her throat, and swallow it so she wouldn’t taste it as much as putting it directly on her tongue and swallowing.


What A Meathead

I’m a rural ER doctor. A 35-year-old female walked in with right-sided jaw/neck swelling. She says, “I think it happened because I ate some meat yesterday that my body is reacting to…” Then suddenly, 10 minutes later: “Oh yeah, and I accidentally swallowed a bee, and it stung me in my mouth right before this happened. Sorry, I forgot to mention that”.


When Urine Need Of Some Whizdom

I had an adult male patient who needed a Foley catheter. His mother was in the room, and they both lived together in the backwoods of Tenessee. I informed them both of the order for a catheter, how it worked, and why it was needed. His mother stated, “Well, he’s still a virgin, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with his virginity being taken in a hospital”.