Sometimes a bump isn't just a bump...sometimes it's much, much worse....
“A large woman came in complaining about her stomach hurting. Turns out she had a miscarriage and didn’t know. It was there for a few months and she had no idea.”
Waking Up In The ICU
“After I got my appendix out I went back a week later thinking I was constipated. Nope, I had a giant abscess that had started to wall itself off. They went in to drain it and I woke up in ICU five days later recovering from sepsis, septic shock and kidney failure.”
Some Minor Pain…
“My dad went into the hospital in some pain, back when he used to power lift. A nurse comes into the room, looks down at her chart, looks back up and says, ‘Mr. Pickle you are having a heart attack.’ He got up on the bed and flexed saying, ‘Does this look like a man that’s having a heart attack to you?’
She looked back down at her chart, up again, and says ‘Yes.'”
Definitely Not Tonsillitis
“Had a guy come in complaining of a cough and difficulty swallowing; he thought he had tonsillitis and just wanted some antibiotics. I noticed his voice was incredibly hoarse but there were no swollen tonsils so sent him for a chest x-ray. Huge, baseball size tumors all throughout his lungs. One of them was pressing on the recurrent laryngeal nerve causing his speaking and swallowing problems. He died within a week.”
The Deflated Leg
“Patient presented with a small (less than 1 inch) scratch on his right thigh and SEVERE pain and immobility. On palpation, there was crepitus (a cracking sound). We called in a surgeon in the hopes that we could excise the closed wound, but as soon as the surgeon cut the skin the leg deflated; yes, DEFLATED. The escaped air was horribly putrid in odor.
We ordered an x-ray and discovered the leg was simply skin and bones without any signs of muscle. I regretfully informed the patient that we had a strong suspicion of a flesh-eating bacteria and that the infection was spreading fast. He called his family and loved ones, got a lawyer and said his good byes. 12 hours after admission he was declared dead.”
The Lingering Flu
“My best friend’s sister went to the hospital for what she thought was a lingering flu. She walked out with a diagnosis of bowel, stomach and liver cancer and died 9 months later.”
“I was in a fender bender car accident (I was at fault) and my lower back would not stop aching. I went into the ER figuring I had sprained the muscles in my back and that I would be prescribed muscle relaxers and maybe some pain pills. 6 hours, several X-rays, a cat scan and 4 doctors later, I found out my spine was broken and, get this, healed.
The best theory any of them could come up with was that my spine had broken during birth and since we never knew, it just healed itself, filling in with cartilage. One of the doctors told me that, had we known my spine broke at birth, I would have likely never walked and would have been treated as handicapped my whole life. I didn’t find out until I was 20 and already had a child. My mom cried because she always thought I was just a really colicky baby when in fact I was probably in a lot of pain.”
The Lingering Scab
“A few months ago I had this weird lingering scab that kept returning in my ear, it had been there for a couple years and was finally starting to hurt. I did a quick check on WebMD and they told me I had cancer of course. I went to the doctor since it was irritating, turns out I had cancer. However, it’s like the tiniest little form of cancer and I’m totally fine now.”
“We brought my father in law to the ER because he just wasn’t acting right; mixing words, feeling tired, etc. My husband and I thought for sure he had a mild stroke. The ER staff thought he had a stroke too, because of his symptoms and he was 79. They did a scan and nope, it was cancer. Three huge tumors in his brain. We took him for more tests the next day and it was lung cancer. A tiny spot in his lung that traveled to his brain. He died 13 days later. On my husband’s birthday.”
The “Nasty Flu Strain”
“I thought I had a nasty flu strain. Was feeling generally like crap. Didn’t go to the hospital until two days later. Was in the operating room less than an hour after that. Appendicitis.”
The Happy Old Man
“When I was doing my hospital placements, a patient came in laughing and skipping for their scan. They thought 100% they were in remission and clear of cancer growth. I was spending a day with the scan techs, and sat in. The scan didn’t show one tumor. It showed hundreds. The guy was riddled with metastases. It was terminal. He had months.
He was laughing and smiling with us. He asked if we could tell him how it went, and the tech said we couldn’t, it was for the doctor. The old man winked at us and walked out. He was so happy. It was one of the days that told me I couldn’t do that job.”
“When I was deployed to Afghanistan as a medic, a medevac pilot came in because he had a small abnormality on his flight physical EKG. Apparently, this was something he had been getting waivers for years for. I had just finished an A&P class and learned about something called Brugada’s syndrome which is basically an arrhythmia that causes sudden cardiac death in the patient. I jokingly mentioned how his EKG reminded me of the abnormality I saw in my textbook, thinking there was no way he actually had it and it had to be artifact from the EKG. The doctor’s eyes widened and he sprinted out of the office.
The pilot had it, was immediately relieved of flight duty, sent home and had a defibrillator put into his heart before being medically retired.”
“My sister in law thought she had a cyst on her shoulder. Nope. Round cell sarcoma. The doctors said she had two months; she lived for eight.”
Chronic Ear Pain
“I have suffered from chronic ear aches and ear pain since I was a few months old. One time when I was in 8th grade I was sitting in class when my ear popped except this wasn’t the normal pop that releases the pain it felt like someone had shoved a red hot metal rod in my ear. Under closer inspection by my pediatrician, who has dealt with my ears my whole life and is one of the few doctors who believed that I was in pain, and he said it was the worst ear drum rupture he had seen, but since I have had this happen a lot I just took some medicine and went home. Over the next few months, my ear aches got severely worse so I went to see an ENT who basically told my family “Nobody’s ears hurt this much or are this sensitive. He is faking to get out of school.”
After my 5th visit in a month to that ENT he suggested an MRI (at least I think that’s the big circle thing with the magnets). Turns out that bad rupture had caused the skin in my ear to grab onto the bones in my ear and form a tumor called a cholesteatoma. This tumor was literally eating away at my ear, the bones in it, the cartilage, and was eating into my skull. I went to see a specialist for this who ended up removing the tumor after a few months and having to completely reconstruct my ear drum and the bones and a lot of the damage could have been stopped if the original ENT had believed me about my chronic pain.
The result in all this is that I have an “artificial ear drum” made from the muscle in my jaw (they kinda botched that part I think because I can’t even chew food really with the left side of my jaw after it) and the bones were replaced by the cartilage from the outside portion of my ear. The surgery resulted in bad nerve damage that makes every day a struggle and I can’t hear out of my left ear.”
The Happy Turkey Coma
“Paramedic here. We got called out one Christmas for a grandfather who was tired after eating a huge turkey dinner. We get there and the first responders are standing around outside in high spirits, I walk in, slap an EKG on him. Massive MI (heart attack). Went from happy turkey coma to heart attack in 3 seconds.”
The New Mother
“I was working in postpartum care and I cared for a patient who had come into the hospital in labour with her first child. She ended up requiring a C-section. In the OR, they opened her up and found her belly FULL of cancerous growths. They immediately paged an oncologist at a neighboring hospital (we were just a women’s and children’s hospital) to come immediately while she was still open. It wound up being terminal. She wouldn’t even have known if she hadn’t needed that C-section. Can you imagine going to the hospital to have your first baby and leaving with a diagnosis of terminal cancer? I think about her all the time.”
The Burst Sinus Cavity
“When I was 12 I had a crazy bad headache that wouldn’t go away. My Dad brought me to the doctor and I didn’t even make it to the exam room before they turned me back and sent us to the hospital. It turns out my headache was from a burst sinus cavity, as in all the bones around my eye broke and the liquid leaked back onto my brain giving me brain meningitis. My eye was bulging out to the point where I looked like an alien and they told my parents I was not going to make it.
Obviously, I pulled through but was hospitalized for 2 weeks and missed 2 months of school. I was at the time only the 3rd known case of this happening and they had flown in doctors from all over the US and from the UK. Crazy stuff.”
The Belligerent Mother
“My mother was in town visiting for Christmas. Suddenly she was slurring her speech, acting belligerent, and all around confused. Tested her blood sugar and all it said was error. We get to the ER and she passed out. Her blood sugar was a 19.
Her liver spontaneously failed. The best the doctors can guess is she caught a virus and it attacked her liver. Four days after the onset she got a liver transplant. A twenty-two-year-old woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana gave my mother the ultimate gift.”
“She Was About One Funny Movement Away”
“Paramedic here, but at the time I was still a student. Patient was brought in for back pain. They decided to do a bedside ultrasound because they felt a pulsating mass in her abdomen. She was about one funny movement away from her aorta exploding.”
The Gall Stones
“I had gall stones for three years or so before I finally got my gallbladder ripped out last year. At its worst, I was getting an attack maybe once a month or so, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad.
I went to the surgeon for my post-op check-up. He told me that my gallbladder was filled with hundreds of stones or varying sizes and that it was precancerous. Apparently, people don’t typically get gallbladder cancer until they are in their 80s or 90s, and it is often very serious because people don’t catch it right away.”
The 8-Year-Old with STDs
“I worked in an ER fast track when a mother brought her 8yr/o daughter for ‘abnormal discharge.’ Aside from the age, this is nothing unusual as we see many complaints like this throughout the day. The mother thought nothing of it; ‘maybe she’s on her period.’ The doctor, however, was suspicious from the start. So he ordered an STD test which turned out positive. Unfortunately, we had to discharge the patient on the initial day due to some tests (such as cultures) taking much longer to result. But, the very next day we checked the results and immediately started calling CPS.”
“She Thought She Had Pneumonia”
“She thought she had pneumonia, turns out it was stage 4 lung cancer. She was 31.”
The Drive-By Shooting…
“I’m an ER nurse. I cared for a patient that came in because she woke up with a severe headache and a knot on her head. She went to CT for a head scan and had 2 bullets in her head. One had gone in at the top of her head – just past her hairline and traveled under the skin, but on top of her skull to the back of her head. The other went straight in, but just fractured the skull behind her ear – didn’t go all the way through the skull. They were smaller caliber bullets. Apparently, she went to sleep the night before after taking an Ambien and there was a drive-by shooting on her street. The bullets went through her window and she slept right through it.”
The Dislocated Hip…
“A guy was involved in an MVA and ended up dislocating his hip. Got him strapped in and taken to the hospital where they ended up popping his leg back in. Now, dislocating your hip isn’t very common. The upper end of the thigh fits in like if you were to make a fist with one hand and then cup your other hand around it from the top. There’s also quite a few ligaments and tendons REALLY holding it in there. So when they pop it back into place, there’s a significant amount of force holding it in.
Anyways, the guy was in pain but conscious during the transfer and when they got him to the hospital. I forget what medicine they gave him, but he was still making sense and responding appropriately. This changed as soon as they put his leg back into his hip.
The patient immediately screamed and passed out. He then proceeded to wake up, scream, and pass out again. This happened several times while the doctor started to panic trying to figure out what had gone wrong, eventually sending the guy for x-rays.
Turns out that his sack had rolled into the cavity between his hip and his femur, so when they popped it back in, it was crushed.”