Nov 24 2017
Image via Giphy
When I was in elementary school, I tried to fake sick once so I didn’t have to go. It didn’t work, mainly because my parents are strict Asian parents and there was no such thing as being absent from class, even when you’re sick. I had to be on my deathbed in order for my mother to let me stay home, otherwise it was off to school to get straight A’s.
Then there was my best friend, who would have an inkling of a cough and her parents would let her stay home for the next three days. I don’t know how she did it but whenever she was absent from school, I was so envious and hoped that one day I could fake sick like her.. But then she brought up the fact that she thought she was always sick and I learned about hypochondriacs.
I still have yet to believe that hypochondria is a real condition but that’s just me. A good friend of mine had a roommate that checked his temperature every single time I came over and it stressed me out. If it wasn’t 98.6 degrees, he’d panic and state that he was sick and couldn’t do anything else that day. It was like this basically every time I went over to their house. I can’t imagine how it would feel having to deal with hypochondriacs as a nurse or doctor. That’d drive me up the wall, so kudos to the medical professionals that do what they do.
These medical professionals dealt with the worst cases of hypochondria:
The guy who overdosed on placebos. 2.
My first year I was a doctor I had the same guy come in somewhere between 10-15 times during a summer with bug bites. Just regular mosquito bites. He was always worried it was an infection, some rare manifestation of hepatitis, possibly HIV related Kaposi’s sarcoma (he did not have HIV…I know….we tested him at his request), skin cancer, etc. Nope, just Mosquito bites. 3.
May have been illness anxiety disorder (current name of hypochondriasis) or possibly a case of malingering but the patient described her abdominal pain as “my bowels are twisted. I need surgery to fix them.” The sensation to your gut is not that specific. She had multiple previous surgeries at other hospitals (scars on her abdomen) and refused to tell us which hospitals she was at so we couldn’t get her records. Needless to say, she didn’t get surgery. 4.
I had a woman who couldn’t breath through her left nostril. Swore she was dying. We weren’t busy that day so she actually made it back to the fast track in a hour or so where I was working. Physician assistant came in, handed her a Kleenex, and told her to blow. A big booger came out, and by GODS GRACE she could breath again. She was discharged. 5.
Had a patient come in hysterically crying that she chipped her tooth, which became loose, and she doesn’t want to lose it. She had a piece of bacon stuck between her bottom front teeth that she tried to remove with a credit card and then a metrocard, which is when she felt something chip off and the tooth started to wiggle. Turns out, she chipped off a piece of hard plaque which was the only thing stabilizing her tooth in the first place. 6.
I had a patient who convinced herself she had a fungus growing on her face that crawled into her nose and down her throat. She had been putting antifungal cream up her nose to try to treat it. That one got me. 7.
During my first clinical rotation in general surgery, this guy felt that he had constipation and his stools weren’t coming out… SO HE ATE SOME RAZOR BLADES to cut up the stools so he can sh*t easier. 8.
There was a patient who would come in about every week or so with chest discomfort thinking they were having a heart attack, and would get the full work up every time and it would come back completely negative every time, then they’d come back a few days later with the same complaint… 9.
Saw a girl with a small cut in triage. She had been digging in the dirt. Shoved the thing in my face and started talking about how she had gangrene because he finger was off colored. I asked if she had washed her hands and she said she had not. I had her wash her hands..lo and behold her finger was no longer off colored. Put a bandaid on her and told her it would be awhile before a doctor could assess her. Woman waited 5 hours so the doctor could look under my handy dandy bandaid and say yep that is a normal cut. 10.
I have a patient who’s grandmother drags her in twice a month for a strep test (she’s always negative) and then the grandmother calls the next day after she is seen and yells at people until they cave and prescribe the girl antibiotics which the grandmother swears up and down she will not give unless the girl gets worse and shows up two days later for an appointment because the girl has stomach pain from the antibiotic. Rinse and repeat. 11.
My ol mother was super sick. We swore she was bugging it on a bit. She went through all the symptoms and claimed she had a mix of both Ross River Fever (common where I am) and cellulitis (from some foot swelling), and demanded all sorts of anti viral and anti bacterial drugs. Turns out she was pregnant. 12.
I’m a RN. During nursing school, I convinced myself that I had a peptic ulcer and demanded an endoscopy from my PCP. Turns out, I didn’t have a damn thing wrong with me. Diagnosis: hypochondria. 13.
My friend was convinced her pimple was a flesh-eating bacteria….she saw her PCP and they increased her dose of Xanax. 14.
I had a woman who brought her son for check up because she was worried that the goat milk he drank a month ago came from a goat which later died due to snake envenomation. 15.
We had a woman who wouldn’t release her medical notes from England, she would pretend to have her hip pop out if you moved her bed over a small bump etc, she “passed out” a lot. She wasn’t mean or anything but sick in a different way you know? 16.
I once had a patient come in in order to be evaluated for worms in her stool. As I was taking her history, she showed me pictures of her stool. I documented her symptoms, and out of nowhere, she takes out what used to be a jar (with the label of garlic), places it on the desk Where i was typing, to see that there was feces in there. She kept on insisting that the doctor needs to run tests on it to check that there are worms in there. I just told her that I was going to get the provider and I left the exam room. 17.
One of our patients where I work (nursing home) has a daughter who is always swearing that her mother has something going on because she’s “acting funny”. This is a 96 year old woman with light dementia she’s talking about. The daughter about once a week bugs all of us enough about it to the point where we are eventually forced to call the doctors and get an order for a urinalysis, which we collect in females by straight cathing them. We do this about once a week & the tests always come back negative.