Weirded Out People With Step Parents Younger Than Them Reveal What It's Really Like
They say age is just a number, but what if that number belongs to your step-parent and it's smaller than yours? How would you feel about your parent? How would you feel about the younger person they married?
Reddit user HotPocketPotato asked "Redditors who have a Step-Father/Mother younger than you, what's your story?"
Here are some honest answers from people whose parents opted for the May-December romance route.
My dad is 71. Six months ago he left my mom for a 25 year old. I'm 33 and my sister is 28.
His new girlfriend is 6 months pregnant. They're not married because my parents' divorce hasn't gone through yet, but I guess once that happens I'll have a step mom who is 8 years younger than me and a newborn half sister.
This will be my dad's 3rd marriage.
The story is simply that my father is irresponsible. It was just the two of us when I was growing up, but he made it clear he was resentful having to take care of me. He's in his 60s. I'm 34, my older half sister turns 40 in a few days. My youngest half brother just turned 2. I'm sure I have siblings I don't even know about. His current wife is maybe 30 and by far the oldest woman he's ever been with. He cheated on his last wife with her. His last wife was 19 when they met. I always make sure that his baby mamma's know that I'll always be there for them and their kids when he leaves, because he's GOING to leave. It's interesting watching how surprised they are when he does.
Okay, so my dad loves controlling people.
He used to always go on about wanting a Chinese wife because she'd be really grateful and meek enough towards him that he wouldn't get any arguments or independent thought from her unlike an American/English wife.
Well not long after declaring the above, he met and married a 21 year old Chinese woman (he's late 50s). I was 23 at the time. The way he treats her in public is revolting, he is so condescending and talks real slow and firm like someone would to a toddler. He tells her off and calls her names.
It was so sad to see, I don't know for sure but she may have left him as, when I was last in contact with him, he never brought her with him or spoke about her.
I'm a guy, 23. My dad is 64, was 40 when I was born, and last year he married a woman who was 22 at the time.
My parents weren't really together, never got married, and split soon after I was born. My mom's black, and my dad's an Iranian who came to the U.S. in the 70s as a student and never left (revolution in Iran meant he was stuck with no visa). My dad left school, was pretty transient, moved up and down the East coast, and eventually settled in New Jersey, where I'm from.
I didn't keep much contact with my dad, but I started talking to him again a few years ago. He didn't have much companionship, so eventually he went back to Iran, met a woman who already had a kid and was divorced, looking to make a better life for herself. So my dad married her, and she and her son came over just before the Trump ban.
My dad talks pretty freely about his feelings toward his wife, and hers toward him. He'll say things like, "Obviously she doesn't love me. She just used me to come to the U.S."
I found out my dad died because he stroked out while in a motel with someone younger than me. This was (to our knowledge) the third time he'd cheated in a long term relationship, and he was already married to someone 20 years younger than him.
I'm 34, my dad is 65 and he's in a relationship with someone who's 26 (so 8 years younger than me).
They've been together for 3-3.5 years and are happy together, and I'm happy for them.
At first it was a bit awkward for me, up to the point that it took me a half year before I decided to meet them together (at first I just met with my dad alone every week). I was mainly worried about my dad (still am, a bit), he came out of a long relationship that went really bad (got cheated on after 8-9 years) and he had a really rough time with it. So I was scared he would end up in the same depression if this one went bad as well (not because of cheating, but the age difference eventually could catch up to them, as an issue).
I've spoken openly about my worries with my dad, a few times, along the last 3 years, and it will take time for them to actually go away... There's a 38 year age gap and my dad, at some point, will get health issues because of age and I'm cautious of what will happen. Both of them assure me they love each other and that they'll take care of each other, no matter what.
I fully believe they believe that, I fully believe they love each other, that's very apparent from the way they interact. And I'm very happy they feel that way with each other and found that happiness.
But I'll always be worried that when the typical health issues start, someone will have to do the day to day care and that brings a lot of strain on a relationship, even couples who've been together for 30+ years and are roughly the same age. In this case, they'd potentially be together for less than 10 years when it starts (I hope my dad remains 100% healthy till he's 100, but realistically...).
So, happy they are happy, cautiously optimistic for the future.
My parents married young, as was typical in the 60s. A decade into it he was with our babysitter. He eventually left our mom and married her. That only lasted a few years. Dad then played knight in shining armor to a succession of young women 'down on their luck', 'on the outs with their parents', 'raising kids on their own with no other help', etc. Same pattern over and over. Swore he wasn't intimate with them but who knows. They were always about the same age - late teens to early twenties - no matter how old my dad got, or how much older we, his children, were compared to them.
Ultimately his work took him to the Philippines...ah, you can see where this is going, can't you...and became involved with a young woman there. He said they were just friends and all his many trips there were to help her and her family. We rolled our eyes. Eventually Dad informed us he had married her so she could come to Canada for a better life. She is about five years younger than the youngest one of us.
I don't have any beef with her. She's a kind and decent person, and hardworking, albeit too submissive and deferential to my dad. I'm sure that's part of what he likes about her. My problem is with my dad alone, who has repeatedly proven himself to be a self-centered narcissist fixated on younger women. He congratulates himself for 'saving' all these people and helping them out of their miserable lives when he's never had the time of day for his own kids or grandkids. He's lied and broken promises his whole life, and I have no respect for him. When I married, I would not let him walk me down the aisle.
Dad is a serial monogamist? He has been married 4 times. This last wife is 5 yrs younger than me. She is 25. My dad is 52. She gave birth to my brother last year which resulted in an interesting conversation with my kids. Me showing my 6 and 5 yr old's a picture of their new uncle.
Me: look guys this is your new uncle isn't he cute?
Kids: that's not an uncle THAT'S A BABY!
Older and Younger
My mother's husband is two years younger than my husband. My husband is seven years older than me. So my mom's guy isn't younger than me but it still is a weird dynamic.
My mom jokes that I always dated older and she always dated younger so it was bound to happen. We actually made a pact when I was twenty that I wouldn't date anyone older than her and she promised she wouldn't date anyone younger than me. We both had some close calls but held true to the pact.
The only really weird thing is watching our husband's interact. They are serious best friends whenever there is a family get together. If we can't find one we look for the other. There isn't a cookout or birthday party where they decide to give each other piggyback rides or cake eating contest or something silly and fun. My favorite thing is when my husband yells "You aren't my real dad, you can't tell me what to do! ". They are goofballs.
I'm 27 and my stepmom is 26. My dad (54) brought her over from the Philippines and they've been married for almost 2 years now.
It was definitely different at first, though I didn't have much room to talk considering I've known a couple older gentlemen in a very biblical sense. I was most worried about my dad getting hurt or taken advantage of. They just didn't seem to have much in common other than they both like to watch 90-day fiancé.
Now that the newness has worn off I can see my dad was very lonely and needed companionship. My auntie-mama is a lovely young woman who grew up on a poor island with about 15 families on it. She laughs when people call it paradise because she says it's very hot and there is nothing to do (electricity there is only from 5pm-10pm). So I see their marriage as more of an arrangement to better both their situations. They may not be madly in love but I can tell they care for each other.
30 and 55
So my brother-in-law is 30, and his wife is 55. She has 7 children from 4 previous marriages/relationships. Three of her seven are over 30 years old. The look on their faces when they saw my brother-in-law at the wedding was something to behold.
After my mom and her 2 sisters had graduated from high school my grandparents got divorced. A few years later my grandpa married one of my aunt's friends from high school. According to my mom, it was a real big deal that had a lot of people talking and pissed off. My aunts all hated her instantly, and one of them even did the old "put sugar in the gas tank" thing. Oddly enough as it may seem, my grandpa is still married to her, and my step grandma is a pretty cool person. Everyone seems to get along now. Unfortunately my grandpa has dementia pretty bad right now, and my step grandma is pretty diligent about caring for him so I have a lot of respect for her.
My dad is married to a 25 yr old waitress. I am 26. When I was 18/19, me and my family used to go to the place she waited at and every time I would silently pray we were going to be seated in her section (because I had a huge crush.) My dad would always be a dad and drop some dad jokes, waitress style. I always thought she was laughing at these jokes to be polite; turns out she thought they were genuinely funny. They got together 5 yrs ago. He still goes to the same place to eat, and she's still his waitress... the jokes are worse now though.
My dad married a woman 7 years younger than I am. They have a 35+ age difference. Their daughter is now two years older than my son. They live in the country where I was born and I've only met her 2x.
My dad married someone who is not much older than me, she is younger than my brother. When they got married, she was 30, my brother was 32. My parents were married for 30 years, but no one was happier than my brother and I when they got divorced. I didn't care about the age difference, my dad seemed to be happy. I didn't really like her as a person, she's selfish, demanding, and generally just a whiner. One time she was visiting my husband, son, and I and she locked herself in the guest room, because she thought I hated her for trying to replace my mom. I tried harder to be nice to her after that, even if I didn't want to.
These days, they are separated, about to be divorced. My dad is in his 70s now, she's in her late 40s.
For about a year when I was 18 and my sister was 20, my 50 year old uncle started dating a 19 year old.
I will never forget when she was driving me and my cousins to a concert and she treated all of us including me like children. I at one point had to say "I've dated women older than you, please stop referring to me as a child."
I have a friend who is barely 20, and dating a 46 year old man. He has two sons, aged 20 and 23. They didn't take the news of him dating a girl younger than them well, and have apparently cut off complete contact with him now things have gotten serious. His ex wife thinks it's hilarious, They all think he's having a midlife crisis and think she's a gold digger.
Marriage of Convenience
My step-grandmother is a fifty-year-old biker chick, covered in tattoos, seven years younger than my mother.
My grandmother committed suicide in 2009, leaving my socially inept and cantankerous grandfather behind. He moved to a retirement community, where he's gotten in some trouble for shooting a fawn from his front porch with a shotgun.
A few years after my grandmother's death, he started proposing marriage to his housekeeper. He didn't want her to live with him. Just wanted to pass on his pension from working in the police department; only a spouse could inherit it, not children.
It took her many years, but eventually she accepted. No wedding. They're not really "together." But now my step-grandmother's younger than my mother.
I'm 35 and my dad's wife is 25. I now have a little sister that is 6.5 years younger than my son (he is 10). I always considered my dad an "old" dad when I was younger, always much older than my peers' fathers anyways, but now he is in his 70's and constantly tired from toddler antics.
Honestly, I love his new wife. She was not the one who broke up my parent's marriage, and is the sweetest person ever. She actively plays and interacts with my son, and would help with anything that I asked. She is genuine and kind. My mom feels the same way, and often has both my father and his wife join us for holidays. My Mom never begrudged my father's current wife, but it probably took around 10 years for her to have an amicable relationship with my dad. Honestly, I think she feels sorry for his current wife. Mom wants us to have a relationship with our new sister and does everything she can to foster that.
My mother is the young step-mother in this situation. My mom was my dad's third wife, and my older-half sister is only two years younger than my mom. While my parents were married, my mom and half-sister were best friends. It somehow helped that they were close in age and my half-sister liked my mom better than our dad. When they had kids at the same time, it strengthened their bond more.
Now I'm close with my niece, who is older than me. She looks more like my full-siblings than I do. My full-sister and niece look like twins.
Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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