Common sense isn’t common. It really isn’t. The people who most intimately know how true this adage is are doctors and healthcare professionals. In their line of work, even grown-up patients can’t be expected to act, well, like grown-ups.
Adults don’t always behave rationally, and sometimes, common sense leaves them completely to go on a two-week all-expenses-paid vacation to Bermuda. Because it’s fun to learn what glaring flaws other adults have, here’s a list of the best things doctors never thought they’d have to tell other grown-ups. So scroll down, and upvote the best responses, and let us know which ones are your favorites.
When you’ve read through this list, check out Bored Panda’s previous articles about a coloring book for grown-ups, the best Halloween costume ideas for grown-up kids, and how a mom made her kids apply for household chores like you’d apply for jobs.
My first job after graduating high school involved instrument sterilization at a dental office. One day an elderly woman came in with a complaint of chronic halitosis (bad breath) and stomach problems. Standard procedure for admitting a new patient is to take x rays after removing all metals from the neck and up. The woman carefully pulled out her jewelry and hair pins and the panoramic x-ray was taken and quickly developed. With the imagery in hand, the tech noticed that the woman had not removed her upper denture. The tech returned to the room and let the patient know that she had accidentally left her dentures in and that the x-ray would have to be re-done. At this point the woman expressed confusion about taking out her dentures, the creeping horror set in once the tech realized that the patient had never removed her dentures from her mouth for several years. Our dentist came into the room and explained proper denture care with her before explaining that he needed to have a look give them the circumstances... he pulled out the denture and discovered, to his horror, that the patient not only had maggots underneath the dentures in her mouth but that her hard palate had completely disintegrated. The miasma that swept through the office resulted in cancellations of all appointments for the rest of the day to ventilate the office and clean up all of the staff vomit....
Yes, you HAVE to wash your dentures daily!
You feel fine because you took your meds, not because you don't need them anymore.
Yes, you smoking in your house is likely making your kid’s asthma worse.
A recent Reddit thread about the most peculiar, obvious and common sense things healthcare professionals had to tell their patients received more than 26,600 upvotes and got over 11,900 comments. It’s pretty incredible how quickly the thread went viral, but it’s no surprise why it became so popular. I chuckled at how one doctor had to tell a patient that ‘probiotic’ and ‘antibiotic’ aren’t the same thing. Be sure to scroll down and check out our interview with Reddit user elleboes who made the Reddit thread in the first place.
A couple instances come to mind.
1) Don’t have sex 6 hours after you delivered a baby.
2) Coffee creamer is not the same as infant formula. Please do not feed your day old newborn International Delight.
3) Probiotics are different from antibiotics. Probiotics do not cure syphilis.
I know you are trying to help but you don't do CPR on someone who is actively telling you to stop between compressions
Jumping from a first floor balcony onto an alfresco dining shade umbrella below will not make you bounce up and down like you are on a trampoline. Instead your 100kg body will simply crash through the fabric onto the footpath below and break both your arms. You will not impress the ladies with this, like you originally intended - and besides, what exactly is a semi-obese man in his forties still doing trying to impress women like that?
(What I actually said to him, which encapsulated all of the above, was ''what part of you thought it was a good idea?", followed by ''and remind me how old you are again?").
Patients can be a hassle to work with because even matter-of-fact things need to be explained to them. But that isn’t the only thing that bothers doctors. See, sometimes patients leave out some basic but very important information during doctors visits
No. I cannot tell the race of your baby on ultrasound. You’ll have to wait until birth to have an awkward conversation with one of your boyfriends.
I was waiting to get my colonoscopy done a couple of years ago and they were asking the lady in the next station if she'd fasted. They went through all the questions and double checked that she had fasted, then after confirming, almost as an aside she throws in that she had oatmeal for breakfast that morning.
Nurse: Ma'am, fasting means you can't eat anything before the exam.
Lady: I know. But I always have oatmeal for breakfast.
Nurse: I understand. But you can't eat before this exam. The doctor has to look at your digestive system.
Lady: But oatmeal is good for digestion.
Nurse: You can't eat anything before this exam. You have to be completely fasted so he can look at your intestines.
Lady: But I always have oatmeal for breakfast.
My wife is an x-ray tech, and the advice she dispenses most often is "if it doesn't have a handle, don't stick it up your ass."
To be fair, she can't legally give medical advice, but that's some good general advice, right there.
Best Life reveals that it’s important to let your doctor know if you spend lots of time in front of the computer screen, even if you’re embarrassed to tell them the real number. Furthermore, healthcare professionals really need to know if you’ve lost a lot of weight without trying, if you’re experiencing chest pains or if your poop is black.
Children's oral antibiotics prescribed for ear infections (which are usually pink, sweet, fruit flavored liquids), are meant to be delivered into the mouth and NOT directly into the ear canal.
Yes. This happens. More often than you can imagine.
Primary Care Doc here, here’s a few of my favorite things I’ve had to tell patients
Please leave your marijuana/pipe/joint/paraphernalia in your vehicle or at home; don’t bring it to your appointment
You don’t need to bring a hunting knife to your appointment.
No I can’t write you a letter saying your rabbit is a service animal so you can fly it around the country with you for free.
Showing up drunk to an 8am appointment and asking me to prescribe you Xanax doesn’t get you Xanax
I am not qualified to tell you how much masturbation is too much masturbation.
It is not my job to teach your adolescent son about how to get a girlfriend.
Your medicine only works when you take it.
I’m not going to give you my cell phone number
Women are doctors too
No I can’t just remove your gallbladder in the office; I’m also not a surgeon.
You shouldn’t be taking your friend’s/mom’s/grandma’s medication.
You can’t just ‘pull your panties to the side’ for a Pap smear
....and the list goes on and on
Don’t lick your contact lenses to clean them.
Some people think these bits of information aren’t worth bothering others with, but they might be indicators of serious underlying issues. Remember, folks, if you’re not sure about something, just ask your doctor — those few seconds can help you out and will save you time in the long run.
I worked in obstetrics for many years. I was taking care of a woman in her late twenties, definitely not a teen mom, married, with a job. She got to 10 centimeters so I did my usual speech about how to push effectively. She nods and pushes when I tell her and she did great, really moved the baby down. I’m excited but I notice she’s whispering to her husband. He looks at me and says “ so why do you want her to do that?” I was a bit taken aback and very slowly explained that she had to that to get the baby out. She asked if I was kidding. At this point I feel like I’m the butt of a practical joke, but it didn’t stop. He kept asking if there wasn’t “a better way to do it” and muttering that I was being ridiculous. She continued to push and thankfully didn’t take long because she kept rolling her eyes at me. I was thrilled to hand this lovely couple off to the doctor. They looked slightly more convinced when he told her to do exactly what I had told her to do and then a baby magically appeared. If she’d ended up in a c section I’m sure she’d have been convinced I had done it all to torture her.
How does a woman make it into adulthood in normal society without knowing you have to push a baby out?
And then there was the time a woman got mad when I told her there was absolutely no way we could do her cesarean laparoscopically.
Worked in an optical practice in the UK. Man comes in complaining of bad vision. His asigmatism has increased by like 3 diopters. That's a [friggin] load and definitely shouldn't happen. Optician retested using different kit. Same result. Told him to come back in a week and we will retest it. This time we're looking at 4 diopters. They freak out. Recheck again, another optician checks it. Same result. They run through health, smoking, drinking, medicine. Nothing out of the ordinary. The guy looks stressed as [hell] put his head in his hands and put his thumbs against the side of his eyes. The optician asks if he does that a lot. Apparently whenever he's stressed he pushes the sides of his eyes. He's done it so much that he has physically changed the front of his eyeball and ruined his vision. We told him to stop doing that. Never thought we'd have to tell another human being to not squeeze their own eyeballs. Also had to tell a kid to not look at laser pointers, but he was just dumb as [crap].
Do you think common sense classes should be mandatory for everyone? Are there any obvious things that you hadn’t figured out until recently? Share them with us by dropping us a comment down below.
Old friend of mine is a Nurse Practitioner. She told me she once saw a patient, male, complaining of severe rectal itching and general pain.
She is a very smart people-person, she can read people very well. She got right to the point and asked him about his daily hygiene routine. She had a hunch based off his presentation that he was a "man's man"..."aint go gay stuff happening here!!!"
Long story short, when showering, he NEVER cleaned his ass. Ever. He told her, that it was "homosexual" to touch his anus.
She had to explain to him that the severe rash and itching he had been dealing with for apparently YEARS was a direct result of his perceived "homo acts."
She instructed him to go home, take a proper shower, and apply witch hazel for a few days.
Amazing that a grown man thinks this way.
Worked in women’s health......so many things but one that always makes me shake my head is a woman telling me that her doctor said if she pees after sex she won’t get pregnant. I had to explain to a grown ass woman who had already given birth three times that your urethra and your cervix are two different holes and peeing after intercourse can help prevent UTIs but not pregnancy. Learn about your body ladies, no one else is going to teach you.
Yes, your babies need to be fed through the night. They are not born eating three meals a day and sleeping 10 hours a night. Please, dear God, wake up and feed them.
Bored Panda contacted Reddit user elleboes who made the thread about basic things doctors had to tell their patients. According to elleboes, the inspiration to make the thread came when they were in a “busy emergency room in Ontario” and saw some “crazy stuff.”
“I had a patient who was a little on the needy side. Which is fine, sometimes people don't get the chance to have someone look after them better than they can look after themselves. But having that patient sit up, and hork a fat loogie on the floor (this person was fully oriented and not confused or anything like that) I was like "seriously dude?" It was equal parts frustrating but also funny. Having to coach someone through their thought process about why they thought that was a good idea just put me over the exasperation edge so on my break, I made the post!”
I am a clinical lab scientist, and I frequently have to tell patients that I cannot accept their stool samples in tupperware, mugs, food to-go boxes, etc. The worst is when they take the sh*t-filled mug back home with them cause they don’t want to lose a “perfectly good mug”.
Usually goes along with after a car accident and their kids weren't in car seats/seatbelts, how their kids... NEED TO BE IN [FRIGGIN] CAR SEATS... But it's summer so a more seasonal example is the following:
Me- "So whats the problem today?"
Them- "I don't know what's going on! I can't breath! I'm having a seizure!"
Me- "Hmmm.. has this ever happened before?
T- "Yea usually when I smoke crystal meth"
Me- "Did you smoke crystal meth today?"
T- "Yea, like 30 min ago. Why?"
This conversation happened once.
Me: Also, you need to eat more fiber.
Guy: Okay, sure.
Me: That means more vegetable during meals. And you can have fruits for dessert.
Guy: Urgh... But I don't like vegetables.
Me: Yeah, but you gotta eat more of them now.
Guy: No, I don't eat vegetables.
Me: What do you mean?
Guy: I never eat vegetables. Like, since I was a kid. Never.
Guy: I don't like how it tastes.
The guy was in his 30s, severely obese with lots of pimples on his face. His cholesterol was through the roof. And he was having problem with his colon health. He was there with his wife and two kids, too.
Elleboes stated that they were surprised that their post got so many upvotes. However, in their opinion, people “love sharing strange things that happened to them.” What’s more, the Reddit user shared the strangest, most obvious common sense thing patients were oblivious about: “There's serious stuff like people not taking their heart medication to funny, like people coming in for knee pain after a fall, then refusing pain meds because "oh no, I don't take medication." The ER is such a wild, bizarre place. I also had a patient who had horrible teeth from neglect, and he was digging around in his mouth and then hands me a tooth. I had to tell them to stop removing his own teeth. Keep them in your head while you can!”
No, belly button lint is not a reason to go to the emergency room via ambulance
Me: “Did you miss a dose of [insert medicine name here]?” Pt: “No, I take it every day”. Me: “How many times did you not take [previously named medicine] in the past week?” Pt: “Three and I skipped this morning too”.
This happens probably once a week.
Patient had been referred to my pharmacy by his physician for an OTC enema. The guy was not the sharpest tack, and apparently either his physician did not explain it well or the guy didn't listen, but our conversation went like this:
Pt.: So I drink down this whole bottle and then I'll hafta [crap]?
Me: No sir, this is an enema. It is used rectally.
Pt. (confused): So what's that mean, I don't hafta drink the whole thing?
Me: No sir, you'll lie on your side and insert the applicator tip of the bottle into your rectum and squeeze the contents into you bowel. You'll then remain lying on your side and hold the enema in until you feel the urge to have a bowel movement.
Pt.: You tellin' me I gotta stick it up my ass!?
Me: Yes sir, this is an enema and it is used rectally. There are detailed instructions and diagrams in the box.
Pt.: F**K YOU!
And he stormed off. That was the last I saw of him. Not sure if he thought I was messing with him or what, but I hope he eventually got to sh*t.
Elleboes also had some advice for doctors and patients, so that they can better understand each other. “Have doctors and nurses slow down when they're explaining stuff. For us, explaining what's happening is said in our language and processes we understand. These people might not have ever heard the words we are speaking before, they have no idea what they mean. Slow down, use layman's terms, "dumb it way down". For patients — ask questions! Write down when symptoms start so you can keep track of exactly how long and when symptoms start, so that it is easier for the doctors to make a diagnosis! This one is such a pet peeve of mine. A patient will complain of toe pain with joint swelling and a rash, and when asked about when each symptom started [will say] "6 months? 8 months? 4 months?" People have no idea and it can make it really difficult. And the most important [rule] — be patient in the ER! The wait times suck, but we aren't slow for the fun of it. We have someone hemorrhaging around the corner and someone coding in the trauma room. We are honestly moving as quickly and safely as we can.”
Older man, terminally ill. New Years eve. Presented to the ER in the company of a hooker. He had a finishing nail in his erect penis. He was in to penile sounding. He says, "Well, there was nothin' else layin' round. And I'm so f***ed up and can't feel a thing." Indeed, he was f***ed up. Cocaine, alcohol, mdma, viagra and some hydrocodone. Poor dude just wanted one last rager. I told him, "Wood is just a euphemism, man. Don't shove sharp things up your pee-hole." He took it in stride. He was in the hospital for two days. The hooker basically stayed with him the entire time. Come to find out, she was only one of the three hookers he had paid. She wasn't even the one who shoved the nail up there. I thought it odd that she hung around until he told me how much he had paid them. Turns out the other two were hanging out at his house waiting for his return. I visited him before he was discharge. Dude popped some x right in front me and says, "Just gettin' a head start. No more sharp [crap]. I promise, Doc."
Nurse here. The number of people I’ve had to tell to not drink or to stop drinking their urine is surprising.
That you need to take the packaging off the suppository before you insert it.
Which in retrospect, is why they were making his piles worse...
No, your teenaged daughters cannot share a single prescription for birth control pills.
Today for example, I had to coach a grown person through their decision making process about why they thought it was ok to spit on the floor.
Don't douche with bleach.
Patient had mixed bleach, fabric softener, dawn dishsoap, vinegar, and some water (just in case) and burned the bejeezus out of herself after having a baby 3 weeks prior because she was convinced people could smell her. She douched with it multiple times and came in when the burning toned down. Sent off to gynecological surgeon and never seen again.
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