Suzanne Somers Opens Up About Her Struggles With Gender Discrimination And Equal Pay During 'Three's Company'
Women are still making less than men make in most work spaces. But things are beginning to change, a slow and gradual change as a result of women speaking out against discrimination, but it is a positive and hopeful change nonetheless.
In the 1980s? Forget about it.
Especially when it came to actors versus actresses in Hollywood, producers and networks didn't give a second thought to paying women a lot less money for doing the same work – and for the most part women didn't complain.
That was until Suzanne Somers, who is most famous for playing the bright-eyed, bubbly blonde Chrissy Snow on Three's Company, decided she should make the same as her male costar John Ritter.
In the beginning of the series, Somers was offered $3,500 a week and she was elated. During this time, $3,500 a week was a great deal of money to a woman working in television.
She would go on to receive small raises, but noted it didn't even come close to what Ritter was making. Upon negotiating contracts for the fifth season of the show, Somers was making $30,000 an episode.
She asked to be paid the same amount as her male counterpart did: $150,000 an episode.
Ritter was making five times her salary despite the fact that they were both important and high-rated characters on the show.
Suzanne explained her husband, Alan Hamel, negotiated on her behalf and requested the 500% salary increase. Unbeknownst to them, ABC was forced to give both Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, who played the leading ladies on Laverne & Shirley, raises months before. During this time, it was unheard of to give one female actress a raise, much less two, which meant there was no room for an appropriate pay increase for Somers.
After all, as Somers said:
"You can't really fire Laverne or Shirley on 'Laverne and Shirley.'"
She was offered a $5,000 increase per episode. So, she boycotted two episodes of the new season and finished her contract with a mere 60 seconds per episode, shot apart from everyone else. Then, she was fired.
Somers was made an example of and called greedy as she was blackballed from television during the height of her fame – all because she wanted to make the same amount of money as her male counterpart.
ABC denied the salary request and proceeded to fire her from Three's Company. Alan told a devastated Somers "You're out, they're making an example out of you." Somers explained she was furious:
"Being fired from Three's Company took [a lot of] work from me … to not be angry."
Remember when the country demonized Suzanne Somers for asking for equal pay on Three's Company? https://t.co/hsl3tyz1GH
— Jason Rosenberg (@mynameisjro) May 18, 2016
.@ThatSchoolcraft Ritter was making 150k an ep, Suzanne Somers was making 30k. She asked for equal pay and they bumped her salary only 5k
— Sarah Constantino (@sewzinski) March 23, 2017
The media gave a negative portrayal of a woman asking an equal pay raise, something that now, seems to be an acceptable and understandable request, if not demand. Somers reflected on the tough time:
"The smear campaign they put out on me was 'She's greedy,' and 'Who does she think she is?'"
Life would prove to be even more difficult afterwards, because despite the fact that she was one of the most popular women on television, because of this negative press and painted as a greedy woman, she couldn't secure another role:
"I was fired from the No. 1 show at the height of my success, and I couldn't get a job in television. I couldn't get an interview, I was considered trouble."
Somers began building a personal brand and began entertaining in Las Vegas, even being named Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year in 1987, being honored next to the likes of Frank Sinatra. She became the spokeswoman for ThighMaster and made the exercise product into a household name with countless commercials during the 1980s and 1990s.
Somers would also go on to grace the cover of Playboy Magazine, posing in 1980, and then again in 1984.
In 1991, she made a return to television – and a return to ABC – as Carol Foster in Step By Step. The sitcom went on for seven seasons before coming to an end in 1998.
Somers began selling things like clothing, skincare, cleaning supplies, makeup, and more on the Home Shopping Network, and on her website, suzannesomers.com. She has written dozens of books, including autobiographies and a guide on anti-aging weight loss called "Sexy Forever."
So, despite being fired in the height of her fame, Somers proved she could do it all on her own and amassed an empire as a businesswoman, an author and once again, and actress.
Home Shopping Network
Fans agree she was a massive part of the Three's Company's success:
They also agree that the network firing Somers wasn't right – or a good move for them, as many fans believe the show got boring not long afterwards.
I always thought she was the show and always believed it was wrong what the network did to her. Although I enjoyed the goofiness, I did feel it was wrong to milk the bimbo blonde stereotype for so long. https://t.co/Cg0bP57IPV
— Taiwan Talk (@1taiwantalk) October 27, 2018
I loved Suzanne on Three's Company. Stopped watching not long after she was taken off. It was pretty boring after that... What a shame that women have been treated like this for so long. https://t.co/hmQuIgFix0
— Shelly Huskey (@TenaciousTanasi) October 27, 2018
With women starting to earn equal pay now, some find it difficult to believe a woman could've gotten fired for asking such a thing a few decades ago:
It's hard to believe that 30yrs ago, Suzanne Somers was fired for asking for equal pay for equal work in "Three's... http://t.co/uthHp7Ieya
— BibaGirrrl (@BibaGirrrl) June 7, 2015
Suzanne Somers tried to demand a salary increase from Three's Company. Her co-stars didn't go along and she was fired after some humiliating episodes in which she was filmed in a booth doing one end of a phone conversation. 1/ https://t.co/daSxvLgHEM
— AgainstTrumpDude (@TheAmishDude) January 17, 2018
And one of the worst parts about Somers being fired by ABC? It had a lasting impact on female actresses:
"It worked for ABC. Not one woman asked for a raise for eight years. Until Roseanne [Barr] came along."
Roseanne premiered in 1998, and became one of the most popular shows on television, all because of Roseann Barr and her abilities to make people laugh. Somers admired how powerful she was:
"Roseanne said 'I'm Roseanne, the show is Roseanne, I want this, and I want this,' and she was powerful."
Somers credits the two of them as a massive reason as to why women are beginning to receive equal pay and equal rights now, decades later in 2018:
"I was responsible for scaring the networks and Roseanne was how they made nice. Between me and Roseanne, the women are getting better treatment."
Roseanne was supposed to receive a modern reboot, but was cancelled after a racist tweet surfaced from May 2018.
Women have come a long way since Somers was fired in 1981. But, her plea for equal rights is still relevant today.
While women are beginning to receive equal pay it is still considered to be the exception, not the rule. From 2016 to 2017, some of the highest-paid actresses raked in a combined $172 million. Sounds impressive, until you hear that the highest-paid actors received double that amount, and then some, with a staggering $488 million. Women still earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, and actresses argue in their industry that number is even more diminutive.
Females still have a long ways to go, but it will always be easier because of women like Somers who have stood up for themselves and paved the path toward equal rights, and success.
Reddit user Animeking1108 asked: 'What infamous movie plot hole has an explanation that you're tired of explaining?'
A movie is only as good as its ending.
Unless audiences are left with a major cliffhanger under the premise there's a planned sequel, all plot points should be resolved to a degree.
However, even the best films that are thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable can lead to a disappointing finale that leaves audiences hanging with no promise of a follow-up. It can be frustrating.
And then there are the thin plot holes that are so arcane, it's nerve-wracking trying to make sense out of them.
Yet, there's somehow logic in them that escapes the minds of audiences with short attention spans.
Curious to hear examples of these, Redditor Animeking1108 asked:
"What infamous movie plot hole has an explanation that you're tired of explaining?"
Scenes from these thrilling films left some audiences stumped.
Beast Follows Feast
"In Jurassic World, Claire didn’t 'outrun' the T-Rex (in heels) … because it wasn’t CHASING her. The dinosaur was conditioned to equate the flare with feeding time so it was patiently following her to an anticipated meal. The situation is similar to how zookeepers can have (limited) interactions with lions and bears."
"How does Sarah Connor know which button to press to crush the Terminator in Terminator(1984)?"
"Because she accidentally presses it a few minutes earlier and it set the crusher off, it what lead the Terminator to find them."
"Oh, like in The Incredibles where Elastigirl has the remote and Bob tells her to push that button again."
The Glitch In The Machine
"The matrix reloaded the scene where Neo is talking to the architect, the screens behind them are not other ones, it is the predictions the machines are making on Neo’s responses, most of the scenes are incorrect in those predictions, except for when Neo must choose between Trinity and all of humanity, the machines nailed that response on all screens."
These classic examples left some viewers completely flummoxed.
"There was a whole topic on the front page a while back about The Truman Show asking about what happens when Truman wants to sleep with his onscreen wife, is that upsetting to her because she’s just an actress, how do they avoid showing it on TV. People offering all kinds of explanations like 'he was raised not to know what sex is.' I thought I was going crazy because not only does the movie directly address this (two guys watching the show complain that the camera always cuts away when Truman and his wife go to bed) but it’s an actual plot point in the movie that she’s trying to have a baby with him so that they can start Truman Show Phase 2, and his obsession with a woman they kicked off the show years ago is ruining the director’s plans."
Remembering Memory Loss
"In Memento, people always wonder how a guy with short-term memory loss remembers he has memory loss. But he’s conditioned himself to say it, just like Sammy was subjected to conditioning in the flashbacks."
"One of Charles Foster Kane’s servants was outside his bedroom when Kane said 'Rosebud.' The door was wide open. The dialogue later confirms that a butler heard Kane’s dying words and reported it to the paper."
Establishing Reality Up Front
"FRIENDS. 'How did they pay for that apartment on their salary in New York?'”
"The very first episode, Monica mentions that her grandma owned the apartment, and she would never be able to afford it otherwise!!"
"And it was rent controlled, plus i think it was an illegal sub lease and they had to hide that from the super."
Playing On A Steretype
"I am so late to the party but… Legally Blonde"
'OMG, a dumb blonde sorority girl studied for the LSAT for a summer and aces it? Bullshi*!
"No. No, the point is that Elle Woods was never a 'dumb blonde.' She was always brilliant. Literally the first scene is her interrogating the salesperson and catching them in a lie because she was observant and smart."
"Rather, Elle was pigeonholed by the circumstances of her looks and her privileged upbringing to pursue a vapid life. While inspired by the wrong reasons, it results in her breaking the mold she was confined in so that she is able to reach her full potential."
Is it too much to ask the audience to suspend their disbelief?
It depends on the movie.
Witnessing The Supernatural
"People sometimes wonder how Indiana Jones initially remains sceptical of the mystical events happening in the second film, when he just witnessed a magical ark mass killing a bunch of Nazis in the first film."
"But that's because the second film is a prequel."
Accepting The Mythical As Real
"Also the majority of artifacts and myths Indiana Jones interacts with are completely mundane. They have fascinating cultural significance and implications on history, but they're ultimately just mundane. The encounters with the supernatural are clearly rare exceptions he gets caught up in, not his primary field of expertise."
"Like, even if literally Atlantis was discovered right here and now today, that doesn't mean the lost continent of Mu, or the city of El Dorado, or the lost colony of Norumbega, or anything else is real. It means Atlantis is, apparently, real."
"On watching The Sixth Sense it may seem completely improbable that Bruce Willis' character didn't realize that he was dead. Yet it's explained right there in the movie: ghosts see only what they want to see."
What makes the moviegoing experience enjoyable is the assessment afterward with other cinephiles.
It's fun to discuss the contrasting takeaways each person may have had from watching the same movie.
Occasionally, there are plot holes that seem easily identifiable, but wind up having a perfectly logical explanation behind them, which warrants a second viewing.
But one movie that my friends and I had a difficult time figuring out was Back to the Future.
Even though Marty successfully corrected the course of time with his parents falling love, wouldn't they have recognized their son when he eventually became a teenager?
They each interacted with the catalyst–their future son–who brought them together in the first place after all.
But that's just an example of the suspension of disbelief.
Sometimes, you just gotta go with it.
There are certain things that are bound to get you fired in just about every profession.
Being nasty to colleagues and clients/customers, misusing company money, and first and foremost, not showing up to work.
When it comes to teachers, however, there are even more rules that others might not think of that are guaranteed grounds for dismissal.
Or so we think.
As some teachers manage to get away with shocking, if not downright apalling behavior and still manage to stay in the classroom, and out of the rubber room.
Redditor stockstandardly was curious to hear some of the most outrageous things ever done by teachers who managed to hold on to their jobs, leading them to ask:
"What DIDNT your teacher get fired for?"
You Thought There Was Only One...
"Y4 teacher put gaffer tape over the mouth of talkative students."
"History Teacher invited me (16yo) over for beers and smokes."- stockstandardly
It Is Possible To Be TOO Close...
"Y5-7 gym teacher showered with us (the boys) because apparently there was chewing gum in the drain in the teacher's shower." - Runkepapir
Nobody Knew, Or Nobody Did Anything?
"I knew of two girls in my grade (age 16-17) that had inappropriate relationships with two separate teachers."
"Nobody was punished because nobody knew."
"Which makes me think this kind of thing probably happens all the time."- Green0livesAndHam
No Harm, No Foul?
"We had this little old lady for our all-male music class(16 years old) and she loved us and we all loved her."
"When we left the class she would slap our bottoms and we'd joke around trying to not get hit and dodging it and just goof off."
"We knew it was absurd and inappropriate and so did she but we all thought it was hilarious."
"I was always worried someone would narc or another teacher would see it and say something."
"She was the best. Hilarious woman and a good teacher."- SkinkaLei
How Much Proof Do They Need?
"Purposely slamming a student’s hand with the door."
"Happened a year after I graduated hs but there’s video footage of it out there somewhere."- lecstasy
Schools Should Be A Safe Haven...
"Telling the whole class to beat me up after school and defending them when I defended myself."- QuiescisMagna
'Spare The Rod And Spoil The Child"?... ABSOLUTELY NOT!
"I remember when I was in elementary school and my sister as well."
"My sister would always come home complaining of her bottom hurting and having trouble sitting."
"Back in school days during the 80s, they would give wooden paddle licks to kids for misbehaving, etc."
"My mother confronted my sister one day for all the complaining."
"She made my sister pull her pants down and saw multiple bruises on her bottom."
"My sister confessed that her teacher was giving paddles to her for however many multiplication problems she missed on her tests."
"Apparently, she was getting licks quite frequently."
"The next morning, when dropping us off at school, my mother was infuriated and stormed into the office and gave them a piece of her mind."
"Showed them the bruises on my sisters bottom."
"My mom fought hard to get the teacher fired, but they never did."
"The only thing they did was move my sister to another room, and the teacher stopped paddling kids."
"My sister never told my mom she got licks."
"I never did either.'
'Because you were scared of getting in trouble at home."
"Because getting licks at school meant you got in trouble at school."
"You didn't want your parents to find out."
"Can you imagine what would happen to the teacher in today's world?"- Safe-Block-7993
"8th grade science teacher was asked if putting hair in dry ice as an experiment would create a reaction."
"Teacher said 'let’s see'."
"And proceeds to grab scissors, walk to said student, and cut off a two inch chunk of hair, close to her face, halfway down her waist length hair."
"You could hear a pen drop as he wordlessly walks over and tosses the chunk of hair into the box of dry ice."
"No reaction but he was put on temporary leave a week later."- InternalDreadIncomin
Learning By Anything But Example
"11th grade, teacher was clearly not heard by even a single student to say during a bomb threat that she hopes they blow the whole place up."
"This is after her husband got fired for knocking up a student."
"Not a single person heard her loudly proclaim she wanted the school to go boom, so she wasn't fired."
"Loved by all is an understatement."
"Another teacher 9th grade year wasn't fired for backing my friend into a corner and looming over her with his hand on the wall above her head."
"F*ck you, Mr Hanks."- GreenOnionCrusader
Far too many students feel unsafe at school for a variety of reasons.
Their teachers should never, EVER, be one of them.
And one bad teacher has the ability to ruin it for all the extraordinary teachers out there.
Just because someone is an adult or a parent doesn't mean crazy things can't fall out of their mouths every so often.
Sometimes parents say the darndest things.
That's why we should always have a pen or a recording device at the ready.
I suggest the phone.
Just wear fitted tees with pockets and hit record.
You have know idea how much having receipts will pay off mentally later.
Redditor TheGasMove wanted to hear about what things parents have said to their kids that left kids SHOOKETH, so they asked:
"What has a parent said to you that made you go WTF?"
The amount of things my mother has said to me that has left me gobsmacked is endless.
I should've kept a journal.
The ProofJennifer Lawrence Reaction GIFGiphy
"After I told my mother that I didn't open up to her or my dad because I didn't trust them with my emotions, she started screaming that she hated me. Like, girl, this is exactly why I don't tell you things 😂."
"My mom told me that women pooped babies out of their butt. I believed this until I was 12 or 13. Boy, I got laughed at when I used this as my answer when asked in Sex Ed."
"I (27 F) have divorced parents and my mom always taught me the proper anatomy for things and that it's nothing shameful. On the other end, one day when I was at my dad's, a stray cat gave birth on his porch, and my stepsisters (same age) told my half-sister that it was coming out of the cat's butt, and I was like dude what? I questioned them, and they gave me scornful looks like I just said something offensive. LOL."
"A few months ago I had gone to do a surprise visit to my grandparents on my dad’s side. While I was driving up their property I saw them walking in their groceries and witnessed seeing my dad for the first time. I had never met my dad in my life but knew my grandparents."
"I walked up and greeted my grandmother and she ushered me over to talk to my father. As I went to greet him this dude threw his hood on and jumped in his truck and locked the doors and said no words to me. Never in my life have I witnessed a grown man run away like that."
"My father once told me that between my brother and I, I was his favorite. This caught me off guard because I thought parents weren’t supposed to have favorites."
"My dad once told me I’m not his favorite. So I told him he’s not my favorite either. Proceeded to get angry."
"It's problematic to share with your kids that you have a favorite."
Bald ChoicesRegret No GIF by Outside TVGiphy
"I shaved my head at 21 and kept that hairstyle for the last 28 years. My dad walked into my room when I was 26 and asked me for a comb! He looked at me, thought about it for a second, and laughed. RIP dad. I miss you."
It's my hair. I'll do what I want to.
That's the kid's motto.
Adults not so much.
At least that was my experience.
Why Bother?Ytho GIFGiphy
"When I called my mother to find out a good time of year to visit her she said, 'What for?'"
Sure Papa Joe!
"Wasn’t my parents but my Grandpa."
“'Josh can you take me to see Marge?' Marge was his long-time girlfriend who had Alzheimer’s. My GP was in his 70s at the time and we took away his car because he was a dangerous man behind the wheel, to say the least. 'Sure Papa Joe!' That or PJoe was his nickname."
"Drive him to the place Marge was cared for at. Stop at the front and ask 'How long until I come back?' He replied 'Give me an hour. That should be long enough for us to have sex.' I start crying laughing and he leaves with a giant smirk. I could never look at him again without thinking or saying 'Almost 80 and still getting after it, WTF!"
"Oof. I hadn’t talked to my dad in 15 years. I decided to reach out (for certain reasons and not to restart a relationship). He asked if he could ask me about my life. I let him. I told him, among other things, I was in a wonderful relationship with a terrific gal."
“'Is this a real relationship or like the girlfriends I had when I was with your mother.'”
"I was equally glad I disowned him 15 years ago, disappointed a man and a father would speak like that to his estranged son, and angry that he was the father I was born to. He is just one big joke to me."
Chop ChopSteve Harvey Reaction GIFGiphy
"I would often visit the kitchen to watch how my mother cooks. One day when my father saw me coming out of the kitchen, he said 'You keep visiting the kitchen, your penis and testicles are gonna fall off. That’s how girls are made.” Context: I was 7 when he said that to me and we are a Korean family."
Learning to cook, is a great survival skill.
More dads need to get onboard with that.
For some doctors, the most difficult part of their job is bedside manner. These Redditors came together to share stories of the moments their doctors opened their mouths and put their feet right in ‘em. Sure, I wouldn’t say that medicine is a customer service job, but there was no reason for these doctors to be so cruel, insensitive, and in some cases, downright weird.
Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
I once had a doctor say to me “You’re too young for that sort of pain, so I don't think you really have pain, do you”?
I went to another doctor and they also said: “It’s growing pains”.
I was 23, and by the time I was 28 my liver was so damaged that I almost died from an autoimmune disease.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
At 30 I was rushed to the hospital out of the blue with a heart infection, and needing a valve replacement. The professor who did my surgery was absolutely brilliant—but she told me something off the record that made my blood run cold.
A few days before surgery, she said: "You may want to get any close family to come and visit, and sort out any important paperwork as it's not guaranteed that you'll wake up again". I obviously pulled through, but her honesty was reassuring and even after ten years we still send the odd handwritten letter to each other.
We also had these stupid personal televisions at each bed which cost about £2 an hour to watch. The money would seriously rack up as I was in there for weeks but she blagged me a code so that I could watch it for free.
That’s Your Opinion
I would constantly complain to my doctor that I couldn’t breathe when I would walk and I would get shortness of breath, I was always tired and fatigue, I would get dizzy if I walked too long. She always brushed it off and told me to get more sleep or drink more water even though I was getting plenty of both.
Finally I made an appointment to talk to her face to face and she flat out just told me I was lazy and needed to exercise more. I was so embarrassed because I went with my husband and she made me feel like I was just this lazy couch potato. It took so much for me not to cry.
I switched doctors and my new doc decided to do blood work, which is something that other lady should have done in the first place. They found out I was severely anemic to the point of needing blood transfusions. I felt so much better after I got my infusions. Some people just shouldn’t be practicing medicine!
I’m 33, had a yearly check-up, and all that. I told her I was having to pee frequently and my stomach hurt, she interrupted me and said it was normal. She did a pap that day and made a joke about my cervix being closed…I bled during the pap which I don’t usually do. I started having pains a few days later and I’m thinking UTI. I called the office they had me go pee in a cup, didn’t hear back for a few days and called again to find out they destroyed the sample because I wasn’t scheduled correctly?
They called in antibiotics and I was still having pain and the symptoms of a UTI so I went up there. They didn’t allow walk-in appointments but had me pee in a cup again. This time it was positive for a UTI so more antibiotics and the pain still didn’t go away.
I made myself an appt at an OB-GYN and had an ultrasound—and they made an incredible discovery. I was 6 months pregnant by that point. I found out I was pregnant and found out the gender on the same day. I genuinely had no idea and I didn’t really have any of the normal pregnancy symptoms.
If she had listened to her patient we could have caught the pregnancy at 3 months rather than 6. I was high risk because of her negligence. And the stress of having 3 months to prepare for a baby did not do me any favors either.
Not So Cuteman in white dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglassesPhoto by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash
I had HPV and CIN3 pre-cancerous lesions on my cervix, which was the last stage before actual cancer, when I was 25.
The doctor who did my LEEP surgery says, and I quote, “Well this sex disease you have will probably make it very hard for you to have cute little babies in the future. Do you understand what I’m saying”? I could have slapped her right there.
I was 25, had already completed a master’s degree, was well-traveled, educated, and spoken. I also knew nearly as much as the doctors about cervical cancer, as every woman on my mom’s side of the family had had it. In no way did she need to speak to me like was 5 years old. Nor did she have to refer to HPV that way.
She apparently did a decent job with the procedure, as the margins were clear and I went on to have 2 cute little babies. But seriously, her bedside manner needs A LOT of work.
Falling On Deaf Ears
I messed up my knee in a crash. I saw a physiotherapist who said it appears the muscle is in a dormant state and the joint is twisted. They gave me a few exercises but never made a follow-up appointment.
A few years later, my knee was in the same condition but I decided to play rugby—stupid, I know—where I did some more damage. I could barely walk 20 feet without it swelling and the muscle going into spasm. I saw a doctor who kept saying I'm a lazy couch potato and need to lose weight. I was over 200 pounds, so a little on the large side. He arranged an appointment a little over a month later, telling me to try to lose 6 pounds or more.
Fast forward to the following month and I was 12 pounds lighter than last time. The doctor’s reaction was devastating. He just looked at me in disgust and said he refused to help me if I'm not going to lose weight, opened the door, and shouted into the hallway that my elbow won't get any better if I won't lose weight. I told him I have not mentioned my elbow, I have lost weight, and if he wants to start shouting stuff like that into the hallway, he can eat me and I want a second opinion.
I was blacklisted from that surgery. I lodged a complaint and appealed it with it being overturned. I spoke to someone else who put me on a waiting list to see a physiotherapist again. It's been nearly 10 years and I have not heard anything more about it. I've asked about it and they said I needed to speak to the doctor who put me on the waiting list, but they've retired and when I spoke to someone else, they said there's nothing they can do but recommend I stop being a bloody couch potato.
That’s A Real Eye Opener
Three years ago I went for an eye test and the optician gave me a note and told me to go directly to an eye hospital. I wasn't too worried—but I had no clue what I was in for.
I gave the note to reception at the eye hospital, the lady said, "Oh, right, come this way". I was taken right through the waiting room and put in a CT scanner within 20 minutes of arrival.
Shortly after, a doctor came and told me there's something in the middle of my brain and that an ambulance was going to take me to a neurosurgery specialist hospital.
A few hours later I was having a drain put into my skull to get rid of built-up spinal fluid pooling behind my eyes.
An MRI scan revealed a golf ball-sized cyst in the middle of my head that was causing problems.
That was a pretty bad day.
I fell over and immediately knew something was terribly wrong with my knee. Then I waited for hours in A&E with it out straight propped up on a wheelchair. A doctor comes, takes a cursory look at an x-ray, and tells me: “Stop crying over a small scrape”—but then it got worse.
She then violently tries to bend my knee, which had totally seized up. They told my mum she had to make me walk on it.
A week or so later there's clearly some kind of review of X-rays, and I'm called in to see a specialist. It turns out I'd fractured my leg and chipped my kneecap, and the chip had damaged my cartilage. I pretty much had to learn to walk again with over a year of physio and hydrotherapy. The specialist asked if I could see what was wrong with the X-ray and even a child could spot the problems. I have no idea how the doctor missed it.
Creep Doesn’t Quite Cover It
When I was 19, my primary care doctor (male) told me he could do a pap smear for me at my physical. When I told him I already had a gynecologist he said: “I can do it professionally or personally”. Needless to say, I never saw him again and reported him.
Bait & Switchwoman sitting on sofa while using MacBook ProPhoto by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
I did a video chat service to talk to a doctor for 15 minutes. I told her my symptoms and thoughts since we were low on time. I had been very sick for weeks, possibly a urinary tract infection and respiratory infection. Also gave the other ideas I had, based on my symptoms. She told me I had valley fever and told me all about it over chat and we got cut off at 15 minutes.
I got her final email which should have a prescription in it. When I read it, I was shocked. It said she actually thought I had somatic symptom disorder aka that I was making all of this up and was perfectly fine. Her prescription was for a freaking psychologist!
She told me in detail about my possible valley fever even though I said I hadn't been to the areas she said it was prevalent. I made an appointment with my normal doctor and had a few tests ran. Had a respiratory infection and a freaking KIDNEY infection! 10 or so days of meds and I was fine.
My gosh I was so angry at that quack.
After my knee surgery, my doctor told me that I would still be able to practice my martial arts when I recovered. There was just one problem. I had never done martial arts before. I realized that he probably told me that because I'm Asian.
We both had a good laugh when I told him that I didn't do any martial arts. I was actually a tennis player, and he told me that my tennis days were over. I still play tennis to this day.
Three Strikes, You’re Saved
I went through treatment for acute myeloid leukemia 6 years ago. I went through chemotherapy and total body irradiation with an allogeneic stem cell transplant. My 28-day biopsy after my stem cell transplant results came in and my doctor literally came in stoic as could be with paperwork printed out. The news he had was devastating.
He just said the transplant didn’t work and I still had residual cancer cells in the flow cytometry of my marrow. I simply just accepted it and didn’t even look at the paper. My brain was just thinking of all the different scenarios. As the minutes went by I had a second attending come in and say that there were still other options which made me reassured.
But then I had a third doctor from the Middle East come in after her and told me I was still young and there were other treatments we could try so it lessened the shock at that point. I had always been pretty optimistic even with such a poor prognosis.
Fast forward another 14 days I had another bone marrow biopsy to see how much the cancer had progressed to see how we could attack it and there were no signs of any cancer cells. Ever since that day, I have been cancer free. My donor cells went after the residual cancer cells and saved me. I now have the DNA of a French woman that is 6 years old. Modern medicine can be amazing.
In middle school, I was seeing a psychiatrist for generalized anxiety and panic disorder. I had been struggling with my weight because I was too anxious to eat, and at one point I was about 15 pounds underweight. I started taking antidepressants, and I gained weight once my anxiety started improving.
One day, my psychiatrist brought me over to a scale so he could weigh me. He told me that I needed to watch what I was eating because I was “starting to get fat”. I was FINALLY at the low end of a healthy weight after struggling for months, and it was such a hit to my self-esteem after all the progress I had made. I broke out in tears as soon as he said it. It crushed me. My mom yelled at him, and we walked out of his office and never came back
I once told the wrong family member that her mother was coding. I have a decent excuse,but it was horrible.
It was late enough at night that I was the only doc on, with just a handful of nursing and tech staff. As we go into those quieter hours, one by one the other doctors sign out their patients to the overnight staff and leave.
I got called into a room to run a code. They had already worked on this woman for twenty minutes en route in the ambulance. It wasn't looking very hopeful for a meaningful recovery. A woman in her 40s appears in the doorway and says she's the daughter.
If I'm the only doc on, I have to do the intubation, run the code, and speak with the family, sometimes it's all at the same time. Since she turned up and appeared to recognize the patient, I failed to confirm the patient’s name with the daughter, and instead launched into the delicate questions—how long had she been ill, how did this start? But I was making a terrible mistake.
It turns out, the daughter was actually the daughter of the previous patient in that room, who had been moved out to accommodate the arrival of the coding patient. When she came in, she told the front desk that she didn't need any help finding her mom's room, so she brought herself back. This was very unusual but the code was monopolizing the staff. Her mom had the same hair color, and there's all kinds of tubes obscuring the face during these times. Her actual mom was just fine, two doors down.
Well, the daughter didn't have a heart attack, so that was nice. And never will I ever again gloss over confirmation of identity, no matter how obvious it seems.
Second Opinions Save Livesgrayscale photography of kid lying on bedPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
When I was 5, I woke my parents up in the middle of the night by yelling out to them. I woke up with my entire body hurting too much to even pull the covers off myself, never mind trying to walk, they came in and I was burning up, rushed me to the ER. The doctor looked at my mother and said: “He has a fever, haven’t you heard of a cool bath and a popsicle”? I've never seen my dad turn so red.
S as to not punch the doctor, my dad left the room and called my GP at home, who is a family friend. I was friends with his son, like sleepovers and all that, close.
My doctor called the ER. I have no memory of the next parts, but I was rushed by ambulance—the weather was too bad for an air ambulance—to the nearest capital city, 350km away, to a pediatric ICU. I had meningitis.
If It Looks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck
My doctor immediately said my symptoms were from an STD. Then doubled down saying I was lying about my bedroom activity.
Like, dude, I'm a grown adult. If I thought I had an STD, I would have said so. I told him I thought I had a kidney infection, he said it didn't make sense.
They did all the blood work, all negative for STDs. What was it? A freaking kidney infection.
Although he asked me before I left how I knew it was a kidney infection. I knew just what to say to make him even angrier. I told him I had been watching House MD and the symptoms matched.
The Truth Hurts
After a horrific car accident, I was in unbearable pain. My doctor puts up my X-rays, looks down at me, and in the most condescending way said: "I hope you have a good attorney". He followed that up with: "You may never be the same again". I went from being in the best shape of my life to losing more than 50 pounds after the accident. I looked like a prisoner.
After months of painful physical therapy at a place I referred to as "Land of the misfit toys," I eventually made it back.
A couple years ago, I went to the doctor for headaches and stress. I run my own business. He sent for some tests and an MRI because of the headaches, since I never have had headaches before.
He told me to take a vacation and relax that I was probably just overworking myself and stressed from my business.
So I took the whole family—wife, kids, dog—on a nice getaway to the Smoky Mountains and rented us a nice private cabin and had five whole days to relax and take in the beauty of the smokies.
We got to our cabin around 4 pm, it was amazing, indoor pool, billiards table, indoor putt-putt golf, and an arcade room all to ourselves. I know it sounds extravagant and expensive but we actually paid like $1,000 for the whole week, I thought it was a great deal for everything that was included.
I woke up the next morning excited to check out pigeon forge and the kids wanted to go-kart and all that. Well, 8:30 am, I check my email against my wife’s advice. What I saw made my blood run cold. There’s an email from my doctor, with the results of my MRI.
It read like this: “Mr. Soandso, The results of your MRI have been reviewed by our medical team and we have found a large brain tumor on all of the scans. Please contact us IMMEDIATELY to schedule more testing, and to speak with a neurosurgeon”.
Try relaxing on vacation after reading that.
No Ibuprofen Is Going To Fix That
"Just take an ibuprofen". This was 3.5 months into what ended up as a 5-month stint with appendicitis. By the time they agreed to do surgery, my colon had fused to my abdominal wall from the scar tissue. It was such an intense layer of scar tissue that the surgeon bent the surgical tools trying to separate them during my first operation. Luckily the second operation was much more successful at actually removing my appendix and the lasting effects have been relatively minimal.
Lost And Foundmedication pillsPhoto by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash
The worst thing that a doctor said to me was that I had Bipolar Disorder. I was medicated for it, it didn't work, so he kept increasing the dose. Eventually, I was taking 800mg of Seroquel a day. I was so doped up I couldn't read. Dropped out of college. I couldn't sleep without it anymore, and when I tried I stood up for almost a week. Had to move back with my father, because I wasn't able to care for myself anymore. Ended up under observation. Doctor considered shock therapy.
After almost 10 years, 10 years lost, I had switched doctors, found a good therapist, and started the process to remove the meds.
It turns out I'm not bipolar, I'm autistic. I don't have mania, I have sensorial overload and hyperfocus. I act "weird" when put in chaotic situations because they overwhelm me. After 2 years of therapy, neurologist and psychiatrist appointments, and hundreds of pages of diaries and reports written, I finally got a proper diagnosis and I'm free from that.
But I'll never forgive my first doctor. I'm not getting those 10 years back. My mom passed on during that time, and I'm not getting her back either. I'm in college again, but the opportunities I lost are gone forever.
And the doctor? He's still out there.
Years back, I had surgery on my pinky finger to reattach a tendon I tore off the bone.
Surgeon gets in there finds no tendon to reattach and with permission from my wife takes a portion of the tendon from my wrist to replace the missing one and completes the op.
Being the klutz I am, I fall down some concrete steps and feel some pain in my arm, go to open the door to my house, and feel a POP in my forearm. Immediately know what it is and call the doctor’s office to see if there’s anything to be done.
I get the surgeon's assistant/trainee and tell them what happened and ask what to do as I have a lump in my forearm and pain. Her reaction was infuriating. She says they didn't operate on my wrist/forearm and basically, my pain medication is making me confused and no matter what I say keeps dismissing me.
So I call back and make a regular appointment for the same day and turn up. Guess who comes into the room with the hand surgeon but the assistant/trainee I fought with earlier.
She hears me retell my story and the whole time is looking at me like I'm wasting time and am what’s wrong with the world.
After I finish telling my side of things, I just say back and waited for karma to hit her. The surgeon says: "Well the lump, pop, and pain are probably the stitches in the tendon in your wrist coming undone". Making full eye contact, I just say "Oh really”? Very pointedly. The assistant didn't apologize but never met my eyes for the rest of the visit.
Unfortunately, I was the ultimate loser as there was nothing to be done to fix the "spare" tendon in my wrist, so I had to just let it shrivel up and be absorbed. It was really creepy having a lump slowly shrink up to my elbow and disappear.
Holier Than Thou
I asked for a professional opinion from my primary care doc about something regarding the neurological disorder I'd recently been diagnosed with, and I was told some garbage about prayer and God's plan. Not something you tell a 17-year-old who's trying to figure out if her career hopes are actually feasible. Spoiler, they weren't. We stopped going to that office.
I was 19 years old and 21 weeks pregnant. I’d just been told at my 20-week scan that my cervix was dilating so I needed to take it easy, but baby was perfectly fine and healthy.
Not even a week after the scan I was in hospital with bleeding and contractions. A “threatened miscarriage” they called it. It was April 1st and I wished I was being fooled.
The next day the OB in charge came in to discuss the situation and I asked him if there was any way to stop the contractions and keep my baby in until he was viable. What she said made my blood run cold.
“Miscarriage is just natures quality control”
I gave birth that afternoon and my son survived for an hour before passing.
I complained and received a written apology from the doctor and in my subsequent pregnancy I refused him for my care.
Dissed & Dismissed
When I was 19, I had a UTI. I knew it was a UTI. I went to urgent care to get antibiotics as I hadn’t established a new doctor where I was going to school. He asked me if I was sexually active, I said yes and explained I had one partner and we used protection. The doctor insisted I had an STD, not a UTI, told me again that I definitely had an STD and when he got the labs back he’d send a prescription for antibiotics. I never did a urine sample or anything.
I felt so mortified. Labs came back within the next day or two negative for any STDs and I never heard from them again. The UTI spread to my kidneys and I was in terrible pain but was so beyond mortified and anxious about what happened in the urgent care that I didn’t follow up with anyone else until over a month later when I ended up in the ER on the verge of sepsis. My right kidney still has degraded function almost a decade later.
Mind Your Mouthman in white crew neck t-shirtPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash
I had escaped a really bad relationship and found myself always on the edge of sudden anger. I had never been an angry person before. I was having uncontrollable outbursts at my children, who didn't deserve it. I tried everything to stop but couldn't, and finally went to a psychiatrist and what she said to me was infuriating. “Just be mindful”. I audibly rolled my eyes at her and never went back.
It turns out it was PTSD. You don't "mindful" that away. With actual, useful help, I managed to get past it before I destroyed my children. I still feel bad for having put them through it, and I learned a valuable lesson that psychiatrists are people too, and they don't always have the right answer. It's okay to quit that one and go to another.
Beating The Odds
I had a bad reaction to Covid, and the doctor came in and sat down. I was on a bi-pap, so I couldn't really hold a conversation. She talked about the weather and some things that didn't really matter. Finally, after about five minutes she took a deep breath and said, "This is such a messed up time, and so much is going on and I have had to tell families this for months now and you are the first I am telling that can still listen. You aren't doing well and are only getting worse. We expect you to die in the next day or so”.
Long story short, I made it through, but it seriously messed me up. I don't have a bad thing to say about her at all. Just the bad news I got. The medical team did a great job, and she was just human. She was probably getting tired of seeing people die. This was in the early stages before we even had a clue how to handle it. I couldn't imagine having to give this news to families daily.
Can’t Unhear That
I got a cyst removed from my tailbone. After removal, the area kept getting agitated/developed some inflammation and would reopen and leak from one spot. I swear to god every single time it happened it was on a Friday and I couldn’t see the doctor until Monday and by then it had healed.
After several Monday trips in with no real signs of my ailment, the dude tells me a horrifying story. A patient would sew excrement into hidden/unrelated parts of his body to force a reaction that required him to be hospitalized. I guess because he was mentally ill and liked that or wanted the attention?
I point blank asked the doc if he was insinuating I was making stuff up just to visit him or because I was mentally ill and he basically told me yes and he wasn’t counting it out as a possibility.
Unbelievable and an absolute headache to have a doctor that operated on you not believe you at your word. I’m a very stable person and this damaged my psyche intensely for several months as a result, but I’m better now. I still hate that jerk though and wish there was something I could do about it.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
We spent 4.5 years trying to conceive and I had several miscarriages. The day after one such miscarriage, that ended my longest pregnancy to date (9 weeks), I had to go to my GP to have a thyroid panel done. The nurse came in to draw my blood, checked my chart, saw the note about the miscarriage and why I was there, and then cheerfully proceeded to tell me "Oh honey, don't worry that this baby didn’t make it. You can always just go get pregnant again”!
I complained as soon as my GP came in afterward. My GP didn't seem surprised and blew me off a bit. I complained to the practice manager though, and I never saw that nurse again.
More Than Puberty Blues
I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety and regularly had mental breakdowns. I booked a doctor's appointment to request medication or at least seek treatment because I truly felt like nothing I was doing was helping and I was spiraling. The doctor told me it was "just a phase" and that once I was done puberty, I would be fine. It was "just my hormones”. But the worst thing he ever said to me? He said it was "normal to be emotional on my period”.
Yes, puberty and periods raise hormone levels. Yes, people are more emotional and impulsive during these times. No, they shouldn't want to hurt themselves.
Anyway, several years of self-harm and an eating disorder later, it turns out it wasn't "just a phase”. I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and have been suffering from unprocessed childhood trauma and an environment full of triggers.
I wasn't being a stupid emotional teenage girl, I was genuinely hurting, and I needed help.
Trouble’s Brewingsmiling woman carrying babyPhoto by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
After my fourth child, I was having some extremely sharp pains in my stomach. The OB said to call my primary.
The primary basically told me that they weren’t going to look at anything because I was probably still bleeding and that it would be gross. Her diagnosis was “Sometimes things hurt after you have a baby”.
It turns out I walked around with a bladder infection for six weeks until my post-partum appointment. It was not all that fun.
The same doctor who told me things hurt after babies told my husband he could fix his panic attacks by relaxing and having a beer. Spoiler: you can’t fix panic attacks that way.
All Fired Up
I'm a type 1 diabetic, had some sort of throwing-up virus, was 21, and glucose kept tanking. I went to the ER because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it up and end up seizing/in a coma. The ER doc told me he thought I was lying because I wasn't old and overweight—a common misperception of not knowing the difference between type and type 2.
So, he ordered a psych evaluation.
I had a seizure right as the psychiatrist swung back the curtain. I spent a week in the ICU. But I still got revenge for what he did to me.
I got that doctor fired from that ER, and did my best to try and get his license pulled. They did remove his ER certification or whatever it's called. So he at least can't practice emergency medicine anymore.
“That’s not supposed to happen”. That’s what a doctor said after my vasectomy, when within two hours of having the procedure, the whole area down there had grown to roughly the size of a cantaloupe…it hurt like the dickens and I could no longer go to the bathroom, as was now a swollen mass.
I had to have surgery to drain what he said was around 12-16 liquid oz of blood and fluid.
Apparently, I was the “lucky” point 1% of people who experience complications of this nature…and with the extra bonus that the emergency surgery cost me another $4,000.
He intimated I had some form of hemophilia, but I literally cut myself at work like 3 times a week and have no issue with clotting, and it still hurts down there 5 months on.
Still better than having another kid though.
The Sound Of Silence
I got tinnitus at the end of high school and it was terrible for me. I could barely sleep at night it when started and I would just try to drown the noise with TV at night. I was so miserable. My parents didn’t understand why this was happening and they didn’t know what I meant by ringing but I was literally crying because I wanted it to be quiet again.
My dad has good insurance so he took me to an ENT who was just really straight up. But that didn’t make what he told me any less devastating. He told me it’s never going away and that millions of Americans have it. I waited for an hour to meet him and he only spent like 5 minutes with me. I was tearing up during it and I didn’t know how to cope with it.
My dad was nice enough to get me another appointment to meet another ENT (I’m so lucky and privileged for that). He was amazing. He said the same things but he definitely more compassionate. He said it just happens and it wasn’t something I did. He recommended a white noise machine to drown out the sound and to avoid loud noises and stuff. It still sucked to have it but I kind of felt better. The ringing doesn’t bother me anymore.
Let’s Get Physical
The doctor told me: “I saw you fall asleep in the waiting room. Excessive exhaustion is a sign of sleep apnea, so I’m going to have to fail you on your physical. If you lose weight I’ll reconsider”.
The jerk tried to take my job away all because I had to wake up at 4 am that day and nodded off—and then called me fat.
I had to get three other doctors to give me physicals and override her failing me just to keep my job.
Wake-Up Callshallow focus photography of people inside of passenger planePhoto by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
As I’m packing to leave on a business trip across the country, my Doctor calls me and tells me to stop whatever I am doing and go to the ER, I’m gonna die. I had blood work done the day before and had an appointment with him next week, but he had received my results and my blood glucose was over 20 and my A1C in the mid-teens.
I felt fine and went on my trip instead. I learned to regret that decision.
I was a non-compliant diabetic for years culminating in the below-knee amputation of my right foot in 2018. That’s what it took for me to start taking my condition seriously.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
I have a cyst on my heel so I went to see a doctor. Also, on top of a cyst, I have a random ankle pain when I'm more active (playing basketball, jumping, volleyball, football). And I said this pain is reoccurring for the last two years. The doctor said that maybe it's better to stop playing these sports, because I'm too old for this. I was only 23!
Then, I went to a real professional, paid a lot of money, and he said that I have progressive flat feet and I get inflammation in my ankle.
Take A Long Walk Off A Short Pier
I was 16, and seeing a rheumatologist for a bunch of problems, but mainly fibromyalgia. I had lost 60-ish pounds and was finally at a healthy weight. But, my pain had gotten worse along with fatigue. He asked me what exercise I was doing, and I answered walking about 3 times a day (long effective walks). His reaction was brutal.
He looked me right in the eyes and said “walking isn’t exercise”. It wasn’t even that mean of a comment, but it broke something in me, and I felt so angry and discouraged and helpless. I stopped seeing him after that as I had other issues with him in the past and this was the final straw.
Less Than Zero
Doctor: You have high cholesterol so you should eat less meat.
Me: Well, I have been a vegetarian my entire life. There must be something else I can do.
Doctor: Meat is definitely the issue here. Just cut back on that and you should be fine.
Me: What should I cut back on? The current amount of meat I eat is 0, but I should eat less than that?
If He Only Had A Brain…
I was struggling to regulate my blood pressure due to Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and I passed out while I was in the shower. I knew I had a concussion from hitting my head during the fall, and my girlfriend decided I should go to the emergency room. I had been fainting on and off every few hours for a few days and with the concussion, we were both worried. I passed out on the car ride and nearly collapsed inside the ER.
After checking in, a phlebotomist came to draw my blood and she was muttering under her breath. What she said was so vile, it’s unforgettable. It was all about how I was a waste of time, saying it was too busy to be taking care of someone healthy, saying I was just looking for painkillers, assuming I was faking everything, and proceeded to tell my girlfriend that she shouldn't have brought me in.
Then, after she left, someone else came in and looked between me and my girlfriend, and said, "This must be your sister, is your boyfriend on his way”? And I had to tell the lady that I am a lesbian and that my partner brought me in. She gave the typical, "Oh, I see” response and left.
I was taken back for a CT and I was told that everyone passes out, it's not a big deal, and concussions happen all of the time, so I shouldn't have even taken up their time. Low blood pressure isn't a big deal, and POTS is just something teenage girls make up for attention.
After the scan, a nurse came in to tell my girlfriend that the doctor would be in shortly, and my girlfriend had asked if there was something they could do because I was still struggling to stay conscious and I wasn't acting right. The nurse told her, "If you notice any changes in her behavior, we'll see what we can do, but there's nothing we can do right now”.
My girlfriend said that nothing about my behavior that day had been normal, and given the fact I don't remember the days prior to the ER visit, I'm going to make my best guess and say something was probably very wrong.
An hour or so later, the doctor came in and looked around the room. He said, "Oh, I thought surely your boyfriend would be here by now”. But then he made it so much worse. He said: “Well, when he gets here, let him know that the doctor says you do, in fact, have a brain. I have seen it firsthand. You must be a smart young lady”. Like...That was the most condescending thing that could've escaped his mouth at that moment. Then he said, "Looks like you have a concussion. There's nothing we can do for you tonight. It just takes time to heal. Go home and rest, and if you notice any changes in your behavior or mood, come on back”.
No. No, thank you. I will not come back, actually. I just spent $1,500 to be told I have a vital organ that he does not have. Cool. That was the most frustrating interaction with a healthcare staff I have ever had.
I Can Hear Clearly Nowgray sand with water dropletsPhoto by Dylann Hendricks | 딜란 on Unsplash
Every time I went to a doctor, they'd look in my ears and complain they couldn't see anything because of the wax build-up. My mom would tell me I need to clean them more. At one point, I was cleaning them with a Q-tip almost every day.
Finally saw a doctor who said she couldn't see anything, but decided to do something about it. I had said how often I cleaned them, and she warned me against Q-tips. We spent almost 2 hours cleaning my ears. What she found was twisted. My ears bled. She had it looked like I had had an ear infection in one ear for quite a while but it was hidden under the wax. I refuse to use Q-tips now and often have a doctor drain them for me. I had minor hearing loss in the ear that had the infection. It's amazing what having the right doctor can do for you.
Rhymes With Meadow
When I was 14 I was seeing a male dermatologist for bad acne. He told me he was going to write me a prescription for birth control to help clear it up. Then he told me: “Once your skin is all cleared up, then you will really need to be on the pill”! And winked. It made my skin crawl.
The same doctor on another visit was excising a small mole on my back. When he was numbing the area by injecting local anesthetic, I didn’t flinch at all because I had been having allergy shots for years and needles didn’t bother me. He chuckled and said: “Looks like you don’t mind a bit of pain” and slapped me on the back when he was all done.
Show & Tell
I now know I have hypermobility, but at the time I was having multiple knee dislocations for unknown reasons as an otherwise healthy 20-year-old lady with high pain tolerance.
The doctor decided that I wasn't having dislocations, despite documented evidence from other medical professionals. According to them, dislocations were too painful for me to imagine and I probably just had bursitis. This absolute reprobate lectured me for 20 minutes about how I couldn't possibly have dislocations while I sat there in sheer shock and horror. That’s when I snapped.
I got so mad I stood up and without a word twisted my right leg hard in just the right way to cause a complete dislocation of the patella. I maintained eye contact, didn't even whimper, and hit the deck like a bag of bricks. I usually have good pain tolerance but the sheer anger made me almost superhuman that day.
Worst Case Scenario
"Well, looks like you're probably going to go blind”!
While I have visions of myself walking about tapping a white cane in front of me, he blithely adds, "But don't worry about it. Corneal transplants are 99% effective, you'll be fine”.
I did have transplants later when my eyesight got bad enough to warrant it. They worked a miracle, but man, lead with the "you'll be fine" next time.
The Acid Test
When I was in middle school until 10th grade, I would get violent nausea anytime I got hungry. It felt like my stomach was on fire, and I would miss a lot of school from feeling like garbage, although I was a good student and wasn’t falling behind in any way. After a lot of fighting with my mother who accused me of exaggerating, she agrees to take me to a gastroenterologist to be checked out.
Before agreeing to do an endoscopy, the gastro accused me of exaggerating because I was a teen girl and that’s just apparently what young women do, he suggested I was just making up these symptoms for attention, and then asked me point blank if I was lying about my pain level to skip school and suggested I had a mental health issue I was trying to cover for. I had GERD and severe acid reflux, as confirmed by the endoscopy he reluctantly agreed to perform on me.
Instead of letting it go, the gastro made a point of angrily telling me that I had “the stomach of an 80-year-old man” and must have been intentionally eating in a way to mess up my stomach.
I have a family history of stomach problems and GERD. I don’t understand why it was so implausible that my brother could have acid reflux at a young age, but I must be a liar when I claim to have the same symptoms in my teens.
He Was Thinking Inkperson in red shirt with black leather strap watchPhoto by Daniel Eliashevskyi on Unsplash
I went to see my doctor about a pain I'd been having in my lower left abdomen for a couple days, and he asked me a few questions and waved his hand and said, "It's just a pulled muscle, don't worry about it. But I AM going to talk to you about that tattoo on your arm”. He proceeded to lecture me about the risks of tattoos and how unclean tattoo parlors are because they use the same needles over and over, the ink is synthetic and I have plastic in my skin, blah blah blah—all this outdated information they used to scare people in the 80s/90s.
I was 31 and he was talking down to me like I was a kid that gave myself an India ink tattoo with a stickpin. Years go by and it turns out the pain was diverticulitis.
Not Pulling Their Legs
I was 18 and had just had a baby, and my epidural was taking a long time to wear off. The nurse came in to transfer me to the recovery room and I told her I still didn't have any feeling in my legs. She said, "It should have worn off half an hour ago," and started trying to get me out of bed and into the wheelchair. I said I was going to need help so another nurse came in and they had to move my legs off the bed—which should have been the second clue—and then they hoisted me off.
I of course crumpled immediately. As they're trying to get me off the floor the first nurse yells at me, "You have to try to stand up”! I yelled back, "What part of ‘I can't feel my legs’ did you not hear"?!
When my mom heard about it she went and chewed them out. I didn't see that particular nurse again.
That’s More Than A Bad Day
In 2009 my fiancé of 36 hours passed on from a pulmonary embolism caused by birth control. A few days prior I took her to the doctor for shortness of breath. The doctor said it was an asthma-related issue and not to worry. I said that’s odd because she doesn’t have asthma.
After she passed and services were done, I made an appointment with that doctor. With a straight face, he said, “This is a medical practice and sometimes you have a good day at practice and sometimes a bad day at practice”.
Her father had to grab me before I choked the life out of the doctor. I’ve never heard something so bad come out of a doctor's mouth.
The Bearer Of Bad News
I woke up in the hospital and heard a nurse running out saying “He’s awake”. The doctor comes into the room and tells me to move my toes. I ask them where I am and what’s going on, he just gets more insistent that I move my toes. I asked again where I was and what was going on, and he almost yells at me “Move your toes”. I said I am moving my toes. What he said next was horrifying.
Immediately he tells me: “You will never walk again”. That’s how I found out I was a paraplegic at 21 years old. I had been in a single-car wreck and was thrown 70-80 feet from the car and my vertebrae was dislocated and lying next to another one. I don’t remember the car wreck but that exchange with the doctor is burned into my brain, and that was 31 years ago.
Haste Makes Waste
I heard this story repeated while I was working in a hospital. A guy was gravely injured due to being shot in the face. There was no chance of recovery and he was expected to die within a very short period of time. An intern walks inand, without realizing it, says the most horrible thing.
He asks: "Is this the guy we are going to harvest the kidneys from”? The doomed patient was reported to have reacted by briefly bolting up into a sitting position. I hope it’s not true…but I heard they did get the kidneys.
Automatic Fcouple dining outPhoto by Wiktor Karkocha on Unsplash
I have cystic fibrosis. And while the doctor who diagnosed me was cruel, honorable second place goes to someone who's not quite a doctor yet but well on the way to it.
I went on a Tinder date with a med student who had super liked me and about two sips into my cocktail, he calmly explained that he's not actually here to date me, he just has a medical ethics class he took with our university’s philosophy prof for extra credits. His exam was coming up and it would be on the ethics of pre-implantation genetic testing for cystic fibrosis. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
As a philosophy student and someone who has that, could I be a bro and explain to him why exactly some people say we should not throw embryos with this condition away? It’s horrible isn't it?! Why would I wish that on others? Really, shouldn't I be in favor of it?
Yep, he really thought he was gonna invite me on a DATE, buy me a drink, and then quiz me on why people with my chronic illness should or should not die before they're born. To pass a medical ethics class because he needs the points to improve his grade a little bit. But he didn't outright ask for that even through text—not that it'd be less rude.
He really made me get all dolled up to ask me about the pros and cons of currently being alive cause it's quicker than a textbook.