Doctors see some pretty gross stuff, but what's really rememberable is the seemingly common sense things they've had to explain to grown adults. Some of these will make you wonder about these people.
That the 30+ cups of coffee he was drinking every day could possibly be the cause of his chief complaints of anxiety and insomnia. He said he was not willing to give this up or try decaf. Source
Got placed doing a rotation in the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in a rural area of Southern California. I was doing my rounds and saw a patient out of bed and walking around the floor following a knee replacement. She had a cane in her hand that she was carrying like as a solider would carry a rifle. I asked what she was doing and what she thought the cane was for. She replied she thought the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she's now "handicapped" and it wasn't to help her walk on her post op knee. Source
My friend is a student doctor and is on placement at a small town doctor's office. She had a 70-ish year old woman come in with complaints of a small but painless growth that was visible at the back of her throat.
Turns out it took her 70 years to notice her uvula. Source
My mom tells it so much better, but here's a try: My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80's. She worked for an old WWII doctor that had gone into private practice (old school GP) when he returned back to the states. Well one afternoon she told me that they had a patient come in that was running a high fever and was complaining of pain in her pelvic area. Mom also tells me that there was a stench coming from the woman's lap that could only be described as enough to Gag a maggot off a meat wagon. She begins to interview the patient who told her that her and her boyfriend had been sexually active and that she has been in pain since. She thought that the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her. The doctor arrives and closes the door, only to re-open it a few seconds later mentioning about the need for fresh air.
The doctor noticed that there was a vaginal discharge began to question the patient about her sex life, was it protected, non-protected, etc... According to mom, the patient told her "No doc, we always use a rubber." The doctor looked down then noticed that there was a small rubber band extending from the woman's vagina. The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone's mouth... one rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes. Finally once they were all removed, the Doctor had "the talk" with the woman about sex education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by "wearing a rubber" and then wrote her a prescription for Abx.
Tldr: Mom was a nurse who had a patient use rubber bands as a contraceptive device who ended up with a severe infection and required medical attention to get them removed. Source
That you can't swallow a tapeworm to lose weight.... I mean you can... But tapeworms can cause horrible diseases like neurocysticercosis. It was odd. Source
A 32 year old grown man asked me if the hot spells he was experiencing at night meant he was going through menopause. Source
My mother helps the Amish get dental care. One Amish woman complained that she needed new dentures. When asked why she thought so, she replied, "Well, I've lost weight, and you know that when you lose weight, you lose it in your gums first."
Doctors and dentists: if you're looking for a community to serve, the Amish can truly use your help. I could write a book about the things I've seen. Source
CNA here -
I did a patient's glucose the other day and it came back in the 500s. They were complaining of stomach pain and nausea; just really miserable. I reported the number to the nurse and, while we waited for insulin, the patient asked me to bring them ice cream.
WHY. Their reaction was very clear once I told them what their blood sugar was at -- they knew it was bad; heck, they started crying. But then immediately asked for ice cream. Because that'll totally solve the problem... I mean, I'm a bigish girl, and I'm no stranger to emotional eating, but when your blood sugar comes back so high that the nurse has to drop everything to come treat you, it's probably no bueno to reach for the sugar.
The nurse and I were able to convince them to throw away the pile of crap they had on their table (soda, candy, piece of pie, etc.) and that sugarfree applesauce was an improvement over eating ice cream. But man... The next day, they were right back to ordering pizza delivered to the facility and not checking a single fruit or vegetable on their menu.
My job is to support the patient, but damn is it hard sometimes. I can only "positively encourage them to select healthy options" so many times :\ If they don't want to eat their vegetables, I can't force them to. Source
So, not a doctor but I work at a hospital. We had someone come into A&E because they needed their nails redoing... They genuinely thought it was a good idea to go to accident and emergency to have their fake nails taken off and redone because they had gotten too long and become uncomfortable. Source
Patient comes in at 2am for insomnia, clearly tweaking her brains out, heart rate 200. Can't sit still, bouncing off the walls. I suggest maybe easing up on the cocaine. "But doctor, I LOVE cocaine." K. Source
Had to explain to an adult you have to brush all the sides of a teeth. Like... no, just the side that shows when you smile is not enough. And yes flossing is not just a thing for rich people. Source
My brother is a general practitioner in rural Tennessee. Enough said, right?
He says most of his patient visits go about like this:
MD "Well, person, you're pre diabetic, have high blood pressure, and are complaining about joint pain. Have you been exercising and cutting out sugar and carbs?"
Person "yeah I have, doc, but it doesn't seem to help. Do you have any better meds you could prescribe?"
MD "well, let's talk about your diet. How much water do you drink a day?"
Person "I don't like water, so I get extra ice in my sweet tea every day to make sure I get enough water."
MD (explains how that's not enough water by a long shot) "how much sweet tea are you drinking every day? Those can have a lot of sugar in them."
Person "well I get a large one from Hardee's/McDonalds/ wherever on my way to work with my breakfast, and another one on my way home for dinner. Then I have a glass or two when I get home."
MD "well, that's a lot of sugar. And a lot of fast food if you are eating it twice a day. What do you eat at home?"
Person "I don't like to cook so I usually don't eat anything but little Debbie snack cakes at home."
MD "those have a lot of sugar too..."
Person "I thought that all I had to do was cut out Mountain Dew! Now you're saying I can't eat my food or my snacks?! What are you suggesting I do? Eat salads for every meal?! Why can't you just up my meds?!" Source
I was living in China and taught English on the side to a student whose mother was a physician. This was in 2012 just prior to the London Olympics, the mother wanted to send her daughter to London with a school group to watch the Olympics but has reservations about it. I asked why, she said she was worried that her daughter would catch AIDS from using the public toilets. Yes, a doctor. Source
While on dermatological rotation, a Middle Eastern patient saw me with what she described as some funny, itching growth in her butt crack. Some quick investigation revealed it to be a severe case of genital warts. I explained the diagnosis and that it was an STD until she shockingly assured that she was still a virgin. Now virginity is a big issue for young muslim women (or perhaps their families even more), but apparently that doesn't cover anal sex and therefore no birth control in the form of, say, condoms was needed.
EDIT: I thought I share another story but this time with a colleague being the one acting stupidly. This was when I finally made it to neuroradiology and in comes this mother whose maybe three, four months old son we would scan today because he had epileptic seizures after his birth. Apparently, the paediatricians didn't tell her about the fits nor the severe neurological birth defects they knew about for weeks so I had to explain her that her child had mental disabilities. That was probably the first time I flipped out on a colleague I didn't even know over the telephone and, in the heat of the moment, wanted to find this idiot and spit in his face. He was totally oblivious of how he fucked up, saying there was a language barrier while this hospital employs a whole department of translators just for such cases.
I'm a paramedic and recently transported an idiot who self presented to the local hospital, who found he was having a heart attack (stemi) and needed him sent to a bigger hospital for treatment.
During my assessment I asked him how long he'd been having chest pain. On and off for twelve months, he tells me.
Any family history? (One of the biggest indicators). Oh, yes. Dad died of a heart attack. Brother died of a heart attack. Both of them first presentation, stone dead on the spot, no fucking about.
So... you have a 12 month history of intermittent chest pain, and a family history of your closest male relatives spontaneously chucking hearties and dying, and you've never got it investigated. Further more, the only reason you came to the hospital tonight is because your family badgered you into it.
I told him he needed a solid kick in the arse. To his credit, he agreed. Source