Doctors Share The Alarming One In A Million Cases They’ve Come Across
People have all sorts of weird things going on with their bodies, and who gets to see it all? Doctors. Sometimes, they see incredibly rare and dangerous diseases. Regardless of the situation, the medical professionals in these stories took patient care to the highest level.
What would you do if a patient came in complaining of unbelievable feelings, despite not noticing anything unusual about the patient at all? Well, in the cases of these patients, they’re lucky their doctors were willing to go the extra mile to diagnose, treat, and save. The next time your doctor wants to run some extra tests, you might want to send them a gift basket.
#1 Amazing Luck
I’m a speech pathologist. I was a student when I saw a person who had fallen 30 feet through a disused factory roof. They had skull fractures, multiple strokes, multi-organ trauma, and severe spinal fractures. I was there to assess the person’s speech, eating and drinking capabilities. Reading the doctor’s notes, I imagined there would be serious issues. They were able to eat and drink with only slight texture modifications.
They could speak using a speaking valve and had no aphasia (problems with understanding or finding words) or dysarthria (unclear speech). They seemed slightly amused and bored with my assessment. He took my notebook and pen and wrote “I can write too” in flawless handwriting and handed it back. I finished placement not long afterward, but the person was was expected to make a full recovery!
#2 Still Not Quite Winning
I had to tell a 104-year-old patient that he was only the third oldest patient in the ward. There is actually a large population of centenarians that exist in small communities all over the world, and the more they are being discovered, the more they are being recorded into the record books. Needless to say, he was really disappointed!
#3 An Hour?!
A co-worker of mine was out biking with some friends when one of their riders collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. The group lined up and provided CPR for this 50-year-old guy out in the forest until EMS finally arrived and extricated him. They did CPR on him for an hour and he survived with no deficits. Pretty slim chance of survival, but it shows what good CPR can do!
#4 Right Place, Right Time
Not rare, but something we don’t see too often. I had a patient with an early-stage pregnancy and some minor bleeding. I did an ultrasound and saw a normal fetus but no heartbeat. I told her that it was likely a symptom of her early-stage pregnancy. I then checked her ovaries and told her that I could print a picture of the fetus. I moved the scan back to the fetus and there was a clear heartbeat. During the minute or so that I was scanning the ovaries, the heart started to beat.
#5 Good Luck Amid The Bad Luck
I’m a nurse, and this happened at the hospital I work at, in the parking lot. A staff member got out of his car and it started rolling. He reached in to pull the handbrake. From where I was sitting in my car, I didn’t notice anything other than the car move and the guy jump back in his car. A few minutes later, a lady walked by and starts screaming.
Turns out, he had been pinned half inside his car by his car door. He was unconscious, blue, and not breathing. A bunch of us tried breaking into the car next to him to move it. When there was about 20 of us, we actually managed to push his car back enough for people to pull him out. Luckily, this happened at a hospital so the crash team had already been called. They did CPR. He lived.
#6 One Of The First
My mother (now retired) was a general physician in the middle of nowhere, in southwest France. In the early ‘90s, she had some of the first HIV patients in the world. Without the medicine at the time, they did not last long. Except one. The patient clearly had HIV but he was not developing AIDS at all. He was one of the few people with natural immunity.
#7 Poor Kid
During my residency, I worked in a Urology unit. We had a series of regular patients with urethral strictures (the narrowing of the urinary passage) and they used to visit from time to time to get their strictures dilated. These veterans would eventually learn how to catheterize themselves. One of the patients, a young boy whose original injury had been a pelvic fracture in a road traffic accident, came to the ER on a Saturday in considerable discomfort.
I was on call and asked him what happened. “I passed this catheter in and I can’t get it out.” What he was using wasn’t really a conventional urinary catheter which has a balloon at the tip to keep it in place (it can sometimes get stuck in the channel to deflate the balloon gets clogged). But that was not the problem here. He was using an infant feeding tube because the conventional catheters were too big for his narrow passage.
The feeding tube is just a simple tube with no swellings or no mechanism to retain itself in the bladder, so I didn’t really believe him. However, I found that he was telling the truth. I couldn’t get the catheter out. It was so snug in the stricture that he couldn’t pass urine and his bladder had filled up like a balloon about to burst. We took him to the OR and did a supra-pubic cystostomy (basically made an opening into the bladder from the abdomen). This relieved the pressure in the bladder.
Next, we passed a scope down the SPC and found that the feeding tube had gone into the bladder and got knotted around itself. Every time we tugged on it, the knot was getting tighter. We had to cut it off below the knot to get the rest of the catheter out. We got the knot out from the SPC and he came out with minimal injuries.
#8 A Whole New Life
I have a somewhat rare condition called hemicrania continua. A migraine headache on one side all the time. I have a stimulator implanted to interrupt the signals. It was an amazing thing to have it turned on after surgery and be headache-free. I was lucky to live near the specialist doctor for the condition. We walked in and he knew at once what it was. It took five years to get approved for the implant.
#9 That’s A Lot Of Tumors
I had a patient come in with severe headaches. She was a young woman. Her entire body would go numb whenever she had an episode. I sent her to get a CT scan and we discovered that she had three separate tumors in her brain. We had to perform surgery to get all three tumors out, and luckily, we were able to get them all.
#10 That Would Be A Terrifying Find
I inserted a urinary catheter into a female patient. She later complained of pain where her bladder was, and when I checked it, it was distended. There was no drainage to be seen. When we pulled the catheter out, we saw a worm inside the tube. HOW THE HECK DID THE WORM ENTER THE BLADDER? Needless to say, it was one of the most disturbing sights ever.
#11 Not In The Office
During my second year of medical school, I was out partying one night and we took an Uber back to campus. When the Uber driver realized we were medical students, he thought we might be interested to know that his wife died of CJD just two weeks prior. He almost started crying while trying to describe the disease, in an attempt to help us learn something. That made for a really sad and uncomfortable Uber ride.
#12 In The Vial?!
I saw a patient whose triglycerides were so high that it gave him pancreatitis. They talk about it in the textbooks but it is extremely rare. It was due to a combination of causes, but most likely due to his HIV medications. The crazy thing is, when we drew blood, it actually separated and there was a supernatant of fat that you could see in the vial.
#13 Multiple Accidents
We got called to assist at the site of a traffic accident one night. When we got there, there was a guy hanging naked from a branch nine feet in the air and a pool of blood below him. Apparently, the car he was driving lost control, started spinning in the road, eventually hit a barrier and then came to a sudden stop. Due to the centrifugal motion of the car and the fact he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, he came flying out the back window of his car, landed on top of the tree and kept falling downwards, losing his clothes on his way out. We got him down, put him on a stretcher and sent him to a hospital. We thought he was a goner, as he had no vital signs, but he survived and he comes by the station every now and then.
#14 Two-Time Powerball
My co-worker’s son was born with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Basically, the valve controlling blood flow to and from his mother while he was in utero failed, and he was born with 30% of the blood volume he was supposed to have. The EEG came back showing massive anomalies. The baby wasn’t quite at the threshold of brain-death, but the co-worker and his wife were told that he would never live off a ventilator, and it was pretty unlikely that he’d ever open his eyes.
The hospital persisted with treatment though. They brought in a trauma team that worked on him for nearly a week, trying to control the seizures and prop up his organ function. Fast forward to yesterday, when the little dude made an appearance at a house party we threw. He’s almost two and is neurotypical. The little guy walked on our treacherous back staircase by himself and was talking up a storm in a language no one knows. He was also a big fan of our cat.
His entire trauma team came to his first birthday party because none of them would believe it without seeing it. His entire brain basically regenerated and rewired itself after he was on the verge of brain death. It’s the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. The little guy basically won the Powerball twice in the first two weeks of his life.
#15 Boring Would Be Better
I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma that went into tumor necrosis. My doctor said it was “1 in 5 million.” I’d rather be boring, to be honest. Ocular melanoma, for those who don’t know, is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the eyes. It produces a substance called pigment, which is the same thing that gives color to your skin, hair, and eyes. It sounds harmless but it really sucks.
#16 How Does That Happen?
My dad somehow got a blood infection that, normally, only dogs get.
#17 Bouncing All Around
We give an antibiotic called Rocephin very frequently for patients diagnosed with a UTI. The only complication I’ve ever seen from it is vomiting if it’s pushed too fast. I had a patient transferred to me from our urgent care side who had walked in fairly healthy but complaining of UTI symptoms. They had tested his urine, diagnosed him with a UTI, gave him Rocephin, and were planning on discharging him home with oral antibiotics.
We still don’t know completely what happened, but this is our best guess. We think he had a gram-negative infection that reacted to the Rocephin by “lysing.” The bacteria essentially exploded and raced through his body, putting him into septic shock. He had to be intubated and put on blood pressure medications to keep his BP high enough to perfuse his organs.
His temp went from 98.6 to 104 in under an hour. A central line was placed because we kept running out of IVs to give medications. He was transferred to an ICU. I have never before visited a patient of mine in the ICU, but because of his drastic decline, I had to see him and know how he was doing. I cleared it with the ICU charge and visited him two days later. He was extubated and walking almost on his own. It was one of the fastest declines and recoveries I’ve ever seen.
#18 But How?
Had a very sick child with influenza. She spent six months in my ICU and experienced a month of blood gases that were not compatible with life. She also had multiple collapsed lungs. She’s currently in 6th grade and has not needed a ventilator or a tracheostomy. By some luck, she literally recovered from her condition with no complications for the long term.
#19 Was It Painful?
As a dentist, we are used to seeing unerupted teeth still stuck in the bone. We refer to those as impacted teeth. The third molars are notorious for this, and after them, the canine teeth. We confirm this when we see the radiographs of the patient. I was examining the radiograph of a colleague’s patient who had a missing canine which we were expecting to find impacted. We were not able to find it and thought it was missing. On closer inspection, we saw it impacted just below the patient’s eye, lying horizontally.
#20 That Sounds Worse
I had an ACL avulsion. That’s where your ACL is so strong that instead of it tearing, it pulls a piece of bone off of your tibia. Apparently, it’s pretty rare because typically, the ACL is not strong enough to do something like that.
#21 And He Was Okay?
I was a paramedic and one night, I came to a scene where I the patient who was talking to me had NO blood pressure or a detectable pulse. I couldn’t even hear his heartbeat with a high-quality stethoscope. They dumped a few bags of fluid in him in the ED before they were barely able to get a BP on him. I had never seen anything like it before.
#22 Complete Recovery
I had a teenage patient come in suffering from a heart attack. He was a muscular, athletic kid with eight-pack abs who fell on the ground clutching his chest during basketball practice. Everyone in the pediatric ER thought it was a panic attack except for the adult ER resident who said, “I’ve seen hundreds of heart attacks. He’s having a heart attack. Don’t ask me why, but that’s what this looks like.”
And that’s what it was. He had an inborn anomaly where one of the coronary arteries coursed between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. During exercise, the aorta and pulmonary artery expand with the increased cardiac output and for whatever reason, that was the day that they squeezed a right coronary artery and caused a massive myocardial infarction.
It was bad news bears. The damage was so bad, the kid needed a heart transplant. He was transferred to a pediatric heart center. A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) was implanted because his heart function was so poor. A donor’s heart was found and as he was being prepped for surgery, his own heart decided to suddenly start working again. It turns out that hearts can heal after a massive heart attack (especially teenage hearts in athletic kids).
This was only discovered after the advent of the LVAD because prior to that, nobody would live long enough to recover. At the time, I think this kid was like, one of the first 10 pediatric patients to get an LVAD at that hospital. The kid had to get his coronary artery re-implanted so that it wasn’t going to get squeezed like that again, but he got to keep his heart. Last I heard, he recovered and returned to playing basketball.
#23 Born Military Strong
I had a veteran patient who had “spina bifida” on his problem list. Somehow, he had made it through 20+ years in the military without getting diagnosed with spina bifida, which is present at birth, until AFTER he got out. That means he spent all of those years in the military with a condition that should have gotten him ejected from duty in the first place.
#24 Poor Guy
Copremesis on the table. The patient was literally going #2 from the opposite end because of an obstruction caused by colon cancer.
#25 Not Just Mental
I was handed over a patient from the ER. A young woman who had gotten into an argument with her husband a few days ago would suddenly not talk anymore. She just sat on her bed, waiting for a psychiatry consult. Psych came and said it was not typical behavior, so I sent her for a CT scan. There was lots of eye-rolling in the ER. Turns out, she had a large meningioma (a benign tumor of the covering membrane around the brain). I never forgot that case.
#26 Amazing Survival
One of my patients nearly died from an amniotic embolism while she was in labor. It’s so rare that the only way to diagnose it is by ruling out pretty much everything else first. It’s essentially when the amniotic fluid accidentally passes into the mom’s bloodstream. She had a cardiac arrest and we did CPR while doing an emergency c-section. She is slowly recovering but has lost most of her brain function.
#27 Unborn Sadness
After a pretty uneventful pregnancy, a woman went into labor but it didn’t advance as quickly as it should have. She got a secondary C-section as a result, which is standard procedure. The baby got out and its eyeball was almost pressed out of the eye socket. Everybody was in shock and the parents started crying. We didn’t know what to do.
Turns out, the child had a huge tumor of the temporal lobe which pushed the eye out. We later analyzed the ultrasound scans and the tumor was already there so it just got overlooked. Brain tumors in neonates are even rarer than one in a million, it’s actually 0.3 per million, so I hope I’ll never see such a case again.
#28 Bad Situation
I once saw a patient who managed to break an old IV needle off in his vein. When the doctor saw him, he was presenting with chest pain. It was only when we were doing an angiogram that we noticed the needle fragment embedded in his heart. I’ve never seen this before or since. What likely happened was that the needle fragment was suctioned into his vein and traveled through his bloodstream to his heart.
#29 How Do You Misunderstand That?
A dog was brought in because it was giving birth. The only thing was that it was male. The woman owner, who was in her late 30s, was screaming during the entire procedure. I don’t think she even realized that male dogs aren’t able to give birth. In the end, I had to sit and explain to her about the birds and the bees. A true facepalm moment.
#30 Still One More Surgery
I was born with a large vascular tumor in my right thigh, around my right hip. My case wasn’t one in a million, but one in 7 billion. Being born with a tumor is very rare, about 0.3 in a million, plus it was vascular. It was very large at approximately 18 cm x 11 cm x 15 cm (about 7.5″ x 4.5″ x 6″) and contained more than half my blood volume. Despite its size, it was not visible.
There were no bulges, discoloration or visible signs. This means it was embedded and striated in my muscles and caused many lifetimes’ worth of physical pain. Fast forward to when I was 20 when they discovered I had osteonecrosis of my right femur. Essentially, the blood supply to my femur got cut off and the bone started to deteriorate. I saw literally more than a hundred doctors and no one could figure out why I had it.
There was no scientific literature on cases remotely like mine. My case was discussed by doctors worldwide and it was confirmed to be the first case in the world. In order to even begin treating the bone, I had to have my tumor removed. I was scheduled for surgery and was told it was just going to be a five-hour procedure. I was to be free from the tumor after that.
They told me that with any surgery some bleeding is expected but that I didn’t have to worry about it because they ran blood tests on me and I showed no abnormalities. I woke up four hours later and the surgeon told me they were not able to remove the tumor. What happened was, after they cut me open and before they got anywhere close to my tumor, I started hemorrhaging and lost more than half my blood volume instantaneously. I just wouldn’t clot at all and they didn’t know why.
I went into shock and I almost passed away, at the age of 21. Later, I saw a hematologist and she told me that, in her 30-year career, she had never seen a vascular tumor like the one I had. She ordered a rare blood test and it was determined that I had an extremely rare blood disorder found only in vascular tumors. Somehow, the blood in my tumor spontaneously formed many clots (on a daily basis) and I ran out of clotting factors and platelets.
Because of how isolated the tumor was, they couldn’t detect this abnormality with regular blood samples. I continued to deteriorate and there was no way to fix me. Less than two weeks after my 22nd birthday, I was told I had at most only one year to live. I had two options: one was to be content with the time I had left. The other was to risk everything entirely and go for the surgery, which has a 90% mortality rate.
Normally, doctors won’t operate if they know the patient might die, but in my case not operating would kill me. They had to take any chances of survival no matter how slim. I got booked in for surgery to try to remove the tumor. The nature of the surgery was the first of its kind, the first in my country with more than 20 surgeons involved. I was in there for 12 hours and in a coma in the ICU for five days.
Two muscles and 70% of the tumor was removed and now I have a huge dent in my right thigh, plus permanent nerve damage (I don’t feel a thing). Despite everything, my doctor said that it’s a miracle I’m alive. There are some after effects though. I suffer from severe PTSD, depression, and anxiety, on top of my severe chronic pain.
I have one last surgery for now, which is a total hip replacement (a common surgery but not at the age of 23) but with extra details like removing my dead femur and dealing with my rare bleeding disorder. However, due to the complexity of the case, my bleeding issues, and that the remaining 30% of the tumor that they were unable to remove, it’s a tad bit different. I’ll have more than five surgeons involved in the upcoming surgery.
#31 For The Rest Of His Life
I had a 13-year-old who presented to our service with a heart attack. After we worked him up, it turns out that when he was a toddler, he had unidentified Kawasaki disease that went untreated. One of the complications of that condition is a coronary artery aneurysm which, in his case, clotted over and caused the heart attack. Overall, he got better, but he has to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life.
#32 Only 154 People
I have a type of mesothelioma that’s extremely rare (pelvic cystic mesothelioma). I’m the 154th (known) person to ever have it.
#33 One Millimeter From Death
I would say I have seen two cases of this. The first one was a dude who got impaled in the chest. He arrived at the ER and the knife was moving with his heartbeat, but he was actually stable. We got him to the OR, and to my surprise, the knife went into the heart but was a millimeter from going into the inner cavities. The second one was a young man who got a bullet in his back. He came in the ER with pain but he was very stable. He went to get a CT scan, and the image was just incredible. It’s not simple to explain without an image or if you’re not used to seeing CT scans, but the bullet went in through his back, missed the right kidney, liver, the spine, and ended between his aorta and cava. It was just the perfect trajectory to miss everything. One millimeter in every other direction could have been fatal. I couldn’t believe that.
#34 Good Timing
A lady was lying on her husband’s stomach and she heard something odd in his pulse. They went to the hospital that night and he had surgery to resolve a blockage. If it had ruptured, he would have been lifeless within 10 minutes. It was all by pure chance. That’s a valuable lesson anyone can learn from — always trust your gut instinct.
#35 He Can Still Play Ping Pong
A guy with chronic kidney disease came to the ER on a deliriant state. His consciousness rapidly declined and he went into cardiac arrest. We spent seven minutes doing CPR while we corrected his potassium levels (the cause of the arrest). He recovered with no long term brain damage, which is very darn likely to happen when you spend that much time brain-dead. Some weeks ago, we played a match of table tennis and he was okay. Good stuff.
#36 How Does That Happen?
My friend was internally decapitated when he was 47. Today, I talked with him (his voice is different) and he told me he has started playing hockey again. I don’t know the odds of surviving this accident. But honestly… Who can survive this accident, then play hockey just 18 months later? It almost seems like a miracle case.
#37 Rare Animal Find
I spayed AND neutered a hermaphrodite pit bull once.
#38 Sugar Worked?
A friend of mine was living in South America 15 years ago. He had a cut on his leg, but he still went swimming in some relatively clean water that had been sitting for a few weeks (it was a small tiled pool filled with drinking water). Enter flesh-eating bacteria into his skin. He was the second known case and the doctors had no idea how to treat him. They ended up cutting him open and scraping the infected cells off while leaving the wound open. Multiple times a day, nurses would clean the wound and pour sugar on it. I’m not too sure why, but it worked.
#39 Childbirth Four Times A Night
My dad was diagnosed with cluster headaches. We don’t know much about it other than the fact that the pain is intense. There is no real remedy since one medication might work for one person but not for someone else (my dad takes cardiac pills and it works). The doctor said the pain is like having an extremely hot icepick inserted into the left side of the head, on the temple. Or, it’s similar to giving birth without epidural, but it’s in the head and it can happen four times a night.
#40 Just A Hunch
My husband is a doctor. One night, he came into work and had a case that gave him a surreal look on his face. He had been seeing a patient for quite some time and noticed that, although he was in his mid-20s, he only had a few signs that he went through puberty. The patient didn’t mind his state all too much, but my husband believed that medicine should improve your life, not just keep it going. So, on a shot-in-the-dark hunch to simply improve a patient’s life, my husband sent him for an MRI.
The patient ended up having a malignant brain tumor that suppressed the part of his brain that controlled puberty. My husband’s gut feeling led to a very early brain tumor detection, which practically saved the man’s life. As a family doctor and a still a resident, he couldn’t believe how much a hunch made a difference in one person’s life.
#41 Saved The Kid’s Life
Before I was an RN, I was a patient care technician in the emergency department. I often worked closely with a specific doctor. She had a habit of thinking that there was always more to symptoms than there were, so no one ever took her seriously when she went digging. She especially paid close attention to pediatric patients and ordered way more tests than any of the other ED physicians would have.
There was a 12-year-old boy who was brought in by his parents for depression. The child talked about hating himself, how he wanted to disappear, how he often thought about hurting his parents and siblings. He had no history before this of being mentally ill and it all happened very suddenly (within a week, his personality changed).
His parents were absolutely certain that it was just him being a hormonal pre-teen. All the things he described were typical of a depressed and mentally disturbed person and none of us thought anything otherwise. However, when the doctor spoke to him, he vaguely mentioned having frequent headaches and getting dizzy a lot.
He also talked about how he had been experiencing bouts of nausea and would sometimes vomit for no apparent reason. She thought that he may have something beyond just a mental illness going on, so she ordered a CT scan on his brain. I remember the nurses saying she was overreacting and that the kid should just have a psych consult and be hospitalized.
Other people in the hospital complained about her doing “more work than necessary” on this child who was obviously just mentally ill. It turns out, the kid actually had an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), which is INCREDIBLY rare — it makes up less than 1% of childhood brain tumors. The tumor had been there long enough to spread to his frontal lobe.
On further questioning, after he was diagnosed with the ATRT, the child had been complaining of dizziness, vomiting, and headaches long before the personality changes, but it was attributed to him being overweight and having ADHD. It’s honestly amazing that the child lived long enough with this tumor as it tends to spreads very fast. It’s such an aggressive tumor and generally, children don’t live long with them, especially if they’re growing at that rate.
I will never forget that doctor. She always looked further into things, despite other people thinking it was completely unnecessary. If any other doctor had been on that day, the kid would have been referred to psych, hospitalized in a psych institute and likely found lifeless in a few weeks. No one would ever know it was all due to a tumor until after an autopsy.
After a neuro consult, he was shipped to Boston’s Children for his brain surgery (one of the top places in the US for pediatric neurosurgeries), and he is alive to this day. He has to have therapies to help him learn how to live normally again, but if it weren’t for that specific doctor being on, he wouldn’t be here right now. Eventually, he will live a normal and long, healthy life.
#42 It’s Always Opposite Day
I have a pretty rare condition called situs inversus. It’s where all my internal organs are mirrored so my heart is on the right side, and so on. All the doctors are always amazed by my condition since they’ve never seen anyone with it. I guess I’m some of those doctors’ one-in-a-million patients. I suffer some complications, but I live a pretty normal life otherwise.
#43 Rough Conversation
I’m an emergency room doctor. I once had to tell a teenage girl that genetically, she was in fact male. It’s a condition called complete androgen insensitivity. People with it display all the phenotypes of being female. In fact, they tend to appear as fairly tall and attractive women. But they don’t possess ovaries and often aren’t discovered until they don’t get periods. The girl came into the ER with a completely different issue, and when we took her X-ray, we had to break it to her and her mom that she could never have kids.
#44 Three In Three Weeks
I worked high-risk labor and delivery for 15 years and I’ve seen LOTS of odd stuff (Potter’s syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot, anencephalus, you name it). I had three moms deliver babies that all had transposition of the great vessels, where the heart vessels grow ‘backward.’ It happened all within a three week period and each of the families lived within a 5-mile radius. It was too uncanny. We had no research department, so I contacted the epidemiology program at our local medical university for the research opportunity. You might be lucky to see one in a lifetime, but three in three weeks was phenomenally weird.
#45 Bring On The Bees
I was told I had a rare reaction, though I don’t remember all of it. It started with a standard allergic reaction to an antibiotic: hives, swelling of tongue and throat, difficulty breathing. I panicked and went to the hospital. When I got there, they gave me a shot (I don’t remember what, likely epinephrine or steroid) to stop the reaction. Now, I handle pain and take shots quite well, but hear me when I say it hurt.
I started cussing a blue streak. I thought the nurse broke the needle off in my butt (where the shot was administered). Then it felt like someone was turning up the volume on the pain. The intensity went up and up, and every time I thought I had a handle on it, it just got worse. I started to feel as if someone injected a red hot pebble into my butt and it was trying to burn it’s way out.
I am not a dramatic person, but I jumped off the table (out of instinct to try and escape the pain, I guess), yelled in pain, and even started hopping from one foot to the other in some sort of comical “make the pain stop” dance. The terrified nurse went to get a doctor and what seemed like all the night shift doctors came into my room. I don’t remember clearly what happened over the next bit due to the pain, but finally one of the doctors told me I was having a rare reaction to the shot.
So rare, in fact, they had only read about it and most doctors never see it. I think they stated pain medicine wouldn’t really help unless I wanted opioids (opioids scare me more than pain, so I’m guessing that I turned them down). The pain lasted for two weeks at varying levels. I will still get that shot if I ever need it but that pain makes an anaphylaxis death look tempting.
#46 Eleventh Time’s A Charm
I had a woman come in for her eleventh delivery when I was an intern in a government hospital in India. She hadn’t had a normal menstrual cycle since the birth of her first child, so she kept alternating between pregnancy and lactational amenorrhea.
#47 Rare Bones
I got diagnosed with a bone infection that sees less than 200,000 cases annually in the United States. It’s some infection that settles in the bone and just incubates. At some point, I had some physical trauma to the area and it basically burst out into the surrounding soft tissue. I’m having surgery on it next Thursday to aggressively clean it out and put in an antibiotic bead. I’m worried about the complications since this type of thing doesn’t just happen to anybody.
#48 Never Too Young
I had an aortic dissection at the ripe old age of 23. Before me, the youngest any of the surgeons, nurses, or cardiologists had ever heard of anyone having an aortic dissection was 48 years old. The average age for an aortic dissection according to some sources is 72. I experienced all of this because of some random genetic mutation.
#49 Champion Baby
When I had my son at 31 weeks via emergency C-section, the doctors later told me that he had no pulse when he was born. They worked on reviving him immediately—I couldn’t tell what was happening because there were about eight doctors surrounding him. They had pretty much given up hope after about five minutes, but told me they “weren’t going to stop”. At six minutes he took his first breath. The doctor said he’d never seen a baby “come back after being ‘flat’ that long.” Today, my boy is six years old and completely healthy. No long term complications whatsoever. He was a champ in the NICU for 45 days before we took him home. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
#50 Sepsis Scare
My twin got sepsis from getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist while already being sick. He had literally zero signs until one night, he started puking and passing out. He went to the hospital got antibiotics and came home fine three days later. The hospital then called the night he came back home, urgently telling us to bring him back because he had sepsis but wasn’t showing signs, which is really rare. If he hadn’t gone to the hospital that night, they said he probably wouldn’t have made it.
#51 Lucky Runner
A friend of mine who is a doctor in cardiology told me this story. They have a weekly workout session with the staff. One time, as they finished their session, an aged man came jogging by. He suddenly stopped in front of them, then fell promptly into unconsciousness. He was having a cardiac arrest. Thankfully it happened in front of every expert in cardiology in the city. Needless to say; he recovered well.
#52 Shattering End
When my mother was in her end-of-life coma, we were all gathered to say goodbye. No reactions at all from her, but when my father kissed her she tried to respond. It was almost a miracle that she made even that slightest reaction to my father while being in a coma. He was shattered. He just said, “I didn’t realize she loved me that much.” It broke us.
#53 Denture Drama
I’m a nurse practitioner. I had an elderly patient admitted to the hospital for heart failure and pneumonia. During her stay, we noticed she had a hard time eating. She would cough after every bite, so we ordered a swallow study to evaluate her ability to safely eat or drink.
Turns out, she lost her bottom partial dentures three months ago. These showed up in the X-rays sitting very snuggly in her esophagus and they had been sitting there the past three months. The family was glad we found them.
#54 Pregnancy: The Cure To Balding?
I knew a lady with alopecia areata that led to nearly total hair loss. Her hair started falling out around age 20. She tried pretty much everything, with some temporary success, but her hair would always fall back out. This went on for several years, until she got pregnant for the first time. Her hair completely grew back during the pregnancy and she’s never had a problem since.
#55 An Odd Cradle Cap
My daughter had a cradle cap that ended up looking very similar to eczema flakes. The hair sort of grows through the flake and just fossilizes, for a better lack of term. It doesn’t grow longer or shorter, but when the flake falls off, it takes the two to five strands of hair with it. Not sure if new hair will grow from that follicle, but in general, I find former eczema patches to be very similar to major scarring that removes the follicle area.
#56 Zero Urge
My brother has a rare condition called dysautonomia. The muscle that opens up to the urethra has nerve damage, so doesn’t ever feel like he has to go #1. He’s voided 650 cc’s before. Because of all of the nerve damage, the doctors had to figure out a way for him to void without pain. Ultimately they ended up giving him the Mitrofinoff procedure at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Basically, they took his appendix, made it into a canal from his belly button to his bladder and he uses it as a sort of catheter. Early on, if you made him laugh hard enough, he would go #1 on his shirt. It’s dope.
#57 Hair Tourniquet
#58 Extremely Lucky Man
My economics professor talked about how he was playing tennis with a colleague when he suddenly underwent a sudden cardiac arrest. His heart stopped and he was, for all intents and purposes, lifeless. He was extremely lucky; the ambulance happened to be already a minute from he was (because there was a car accident not a mile from him), he was able to get to the hospital on time and make a full recovery. If it weren’t for the car accident, he could’ve just been gone, or at least have severe brain damage. As the name implies, sudden cardiac arrest is VERY fatal. Simply too much time would’ve passed to save his life had the ambulance be the normal 10 minute response time.
#59 A Life Without Sleep
I once had a patient with fatal familial insomnia. It’s extremely rare with only about 200 reported cases reported in the world! Basically, FFI is a prion disease in which patients cannot fall asleep. Later, they develop severe cognitive and motor problems and are in a constant state between wakefulness and sleep called status dissociatus. Two of his family members had the gene but hadn’t developed the condition yet.
#60 Bad Bite
During my toxicology fellowship, I was called about a patient who may have been stung by a scorpion on her private parts. A lady was drinking in her pool in the middle of the night and she felt something sting her, but she did not think anything of it. She passed out for the night, and when she woke up, she had swelled up abnormally. When the outside hospital called me about a transfer, I said that it didn’t sound like a scorpion. It was a rattlesnake!