We’ve all had that moment in the doctor’s office when we worry we’re being that patient. You know, the one who somehow thinks they’re more knowledgeable than the trained medical professional, or the one who turns into a hypochondriac and thinks they’re dying because they have the smallest cough that’s just part of their common cold.
Chances are you’re nowhere near this bad, but the reality is that doctors do end up seeing patients like this each and every day. Thankfully, the doctors of Reddit decided to share their patient horror stories to help teach all of us what makes them tick. If you’re not the best patient ever after this, we’re afraid there’s no curing you.
Showing Up Late
“Not showing up on time. My schedule is usually tight, and if some wheel throws it off, it doesn’t just mess up my day, they are impinging on someone else’s time. I just find it incredibly rude. I understand shit happens sometimes, and people can’t help it, but some people are just chronically late, for no real reason.”—calcaneus
Showing up late without any prior warning is just plain rude, no matter if you’re visiting your doctor or a good friend. The only difference is that, when you’re late for a doctor’s appointment, you truly are messing up their whole schedule for the day, especially if the appointment you had was going to be lengthy. You should try to make every effort to notify your doctor if you’re late, as it obviously happens unintentionally, but don’t be surprised if that means things get delayed for you regardless.
You should try to make every effort to notify your doctor if you’re late, as it obviously happens unintentionally, but don’t be surprised if that means things get delayed for you regardless.
Bringing in False Information from Google
“When they come in with non-evidence based, unproven and sometimes dangerous recommendations from their naturopaths eg.’broccoli juice cures cancer’”—kamikaze12
Ultimately, people will believe whatever they went, whether it’s that essential oils are a great alternative to medicine or that drinking celery juice each day will help them live to 100. However, if you’re going to a doctor for advice, try to be respectful of their time and expertise by listening to what they have to say. If it doesn’t align with the views you have, either realize your views might not be that accurate or find a doctor that’s more suited to you.
If it doesn’t align with the views you have, either realize your views might not be that accurate or find a doctor that’s more suited to you.
Not Listening to Their Advice
“Physical therapist here. When this conversation happens: Patient: you made my back pain worse! Me: oh no! Which home exercise aggravates your pain? Patient: I didn’t do them. Me:…okay, then what did make your back pain worse? Patient: I have no idea. Me: what did you do yesterday? Patient: well, I felt better after you examined me, so I played golf for six hours yesterday/went to roller derby practice/helped three friends move/ran a half marathon with no training, and now I feel worse! Me: facepalm”—CarWashRedhead
One of the quickest ways to irritate your doctor? Blaming your pain on their treatment plan that you didn’t actually follow. If you truly want your doctor’s help when it comes to fixing your pain or illness, it all comes down to you actually putting their plan into action.
After all, they can prescribe you medicine, but they can’t get it down your throat.
Refusing to Vaccinate
“’I don’t believe in vaccines’ especially rich while in the middle of a measles, mumps, AND whooping cough outbreak here.”—Rummy_Tummy
For anyone out there who still isn’t convinced, let’s make one thing clear—vaccines do not cause autism, they don’t have live viruses that will make you sick, thimerosal and mercury aren’t even used anymore (but if they were, they’re fine in that amount), and “Big Pharma” isn’t out to get you.
Though those who don’t buy into this seem to be fewer and more far between, it’s still a hotly debated topic that we’re happy to help put to rest. Not only does research not support the belief that vaccines cause autism, but it has definitively proved that they don’t.
Getting in the Way of Their Work
“I’m a dentist, and we know most patients are pretty high anxiety and everybody deals with that in their own ways. Sometimes it’s talking a lot, sometimes its wincing even though nothing hurts, sometimes its even being mean to me or my staff. We get it, and that is why we spend time before any procedures explaining things and talking about anything you want. But what really annoys me is once we get going, I just need you to sit still and keep your mouth wide open. I am performing microsurgery on your tooth with a very sharp drill that spins at 300,000 rpm and I need to make cuts to tolerances of 1/10 of a millimeter in dark confined spaces in the back of your mouth. I’m sorry you don’t like the feeling of your own saliva pooling in your mouth but I just need you to suck it up for 30 seconds so I can do a good job and we won’t have to re-do this in 6 months.”—Cleric7x9
If you’re like us, you don’t enjoy it when a doctor tells you about the procedure they’re about to perform in detail. For someone who’s already nervous, hearing things like that only make it worse. However, nervous or not, your duty as a patient in times like this is to sit still and let the doctor work. The reality of what could happen if you don’t is way worse than all of your imagined fears.
Preferring the Advice of the Internet
“Come to me and ask me what they could potentially have, and then INTERRUPT ME because their Google PhD knows better.”—ilovesushiman
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with doing a little bit of research on your own at home. By looking things up yourself, you might be able to describe your symptoms a little better at your appointment, or even make correlations between your symptoms and your everyday activities so you can ask your doctor more about how these things can affect you.
However, don’t let it get to your head. It’s great to have a more informed conversation with your doctor, but they’re ultimately the expert.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
“I’d say the general belief many patients have nowadays that pain is never okay, that being sick and feeling like s*** while your body heals is unacceptable. You broke your ankle, I can do lots of things to help you heal and be in less pain, but it’s going to hurt. Being pain-free is impossible. You have the flu? You’re going to feel like complete ass for 5-7 days, feverish, achy, weak, coughing. Frankly unless you’re seriously ill, you shouldn’t be contaminating your community and my waiting room–go to bed, take Tylenol or ibuprofen, fluids, and wait.”—darwinsnightmare
In a day where there seems to be a solution to everything, it can be hard to go through recovery wondering when you’ll finally feel better. Ultimately, though, sometimes being sick or injured just won’t be comfortable, no matter what you or your doctor do.
While you wait it out, follow the recommendations they give you—they’re giving it to you for a reason, and it’s to make recovery as smooth as possible for you.
Putting Off Screening Tests and Checkups
“Patients who don’t use their screening opportunities! I’m in the UK so it’s all free, but so many people don’t get their cervical smears, or bowel cancer screening, mammograms, routine STI and HIV checks not just when you think you might have caught one. It’s such a small part of your time and has the potential to save your life.”—jefferlewpew
We know that hearing a terrifying diagnosis isn’t easy, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why people choose not to go to the doctor. However, one visit could be the difference between a mild illness that’s easy to treat and one that’s widespread and harder to get rid of. Ultimately, no one can force you to see a doctor but yourself, but realize that your health and future are in your hands if you don’t.
Ultimately, no one can force you to see a doctor but yourself, but realize that your health and future are in your hands if you don’t.