We’ve all heard of home remedies, whether it was to treat headaches, colds, or other ailments. People have always gone for essential oils, herbal teas, or other home remedies their parents or even grandparents may have recommended. Whether it is an old family recipe for the sniffles or something you might have read about on the internet. We all know that if it’s on the internet, then it must be true, right? Since google is free to use, why pay a doctor to treat your medical condition if you can just fix it at home for little to no cost? Not everything you read online is true, especially when it comes to medical conditions. You should not follow the recommendations to treat your ailment that you see online. It might actually make your condition worse.
Nevertheless, people do some questionable and even dangerous things to try and treat their health issues. Please understand that we advise against doing DIY healthcare 100%. However, if you want to read some shocking confessions, please continue. These doctors, EMTs, and nurses have witnessed some of the craziest things. These stories will make your jaw drop!
High blood glucose does not mean your blood is thicker than water.
“Diabetic patient went on vacation in the Caribbean, left her insulin on a cruise ship, and hasn’t taken any for a week. She gets back to the states, Medicaid won’t pay for lost or stolen meds, and she refuses to pay for another bottle because she “doesn’t have any money.” Realizing that no insulin = more sugar in the blood, she somehow thinks that more sugar in the blood means that her blood is now “thicker.” Hence, she decides to take a bunch of Plavix, warfarin, and aspirin (all blood thinners that cause bleeding, and high doses can and will lead to internal bleeding and death) to thin her blood. I get the story when she comes into the pharmacy to get refills on her warfarin and Plavix and ask her why she needs those early. I told her to go to the ER immediately, and I have no idea if she actually did.”
Eating cheese will not rid you of an STD or other medical conditions.
Not a medical professional, but I once shared living quarters with medics at a small outpost in Afghanistan. Whenever they weren’t busy, they’d see as many locals as they could. I was working in the back room one day when I overheard this little gem of a conversation: Patient, through an interpreter: “I caught an STD recently during a vacation in Pakistan.” Context: The locals tend to look at Pakistan like Americans view Las Vegas; a way to get away from it all for uninhibited hedonism when desired. Medic: “How bad are the flare-ups?” Patient: “Pretty bad, but I’m trying to treat it naturally.” I lean in at this point, ready for whatever explanation is coming. Long silence from the medic, who is trying to process the situation. Medic: “How…does one treat an STD naturally?” Patient: “I’m eating a lot of cheese.”
If you are bleeding from your butt, you should let professionals handle that.
“ER Tech here: A man came in with his wife because he had been bleeding from his bum. He thought the best way was to self-anesthetize with alcohol, lubricate the area, and cauterize with a curling iron. He got it a fair way up before pulling it out, judging by how much of his rectum turned KFC. We had to remove about a foot of the GI tract due to burnt, scarred tissue. The worst part was that it didn’t even stop the bleeding, which originated farther up the GI tract than the iron would ever reach.” This is for anyone who may come across this sort of problem, do NOT attempt to self-cauterize. You’re only going to make things worse for yourself.
“I work at a veterinary clinic, and we once had a gruff, old country guy come in with his Australian shepherd. The dog had a huge hanging growth under his neck that was rubbing against the ground and just looked horrible. The doctor strongly recommended he have it removed, and the owner said he could do it again. Again!? Apparently, the dog had a smaller growth in the same spot years ago that the owner removed with a pocket knife and bottle of alcohol. No closure, no antibiotics. We were so shocked! The doctor went on to explain why that was NOT a good idea. He eventually agreed to let us do the procedure, but MAN, was he a difficult son-of-a-b. We’re still unsure how the dog survived the last removal without any problems.”
Always read the packaging or instructions before inserting something into your body.
“A friend of mine is a nurse, and they had a young girl come in with severe cramps and abdominal pain. They asked if she had started her period (they thought it might be her first one and that she didn’t know what it felt like yet). She explained that she had had her first period two weeks before, and the pain had worsened consistently since then. They found 11 tampons inside of her, and she thought biodegradable meant they dissolved inside of you and hadn’t removed them.” This girl may want to stick to pads, especially if she doesn’t quite know how a tampon works.
Bleach does NOT belong on or in your nether regions.
“I had a patient come to the ER complaining of severe pain and swelling “all down there.” On physical examination, we noted a remarkable amount of swelling, and the internal and external tissues were extremely red and irritated. She was so swollen she couldn’t even pee until we put a catheter in. The physician did a pelvic exam and found blisters on her cervix. We asked when the symptoms started. She said, “Well, it was itching tonight. I thought I had a yeast infection, so I poured a cup of bleach up in there to kill it. But then, after a while, it kind of started to hurt.” Yeah, I bet it did.”
Although not their own story, a dispatcher heard of a story that they just had to share with the rest of us. “911 dispatch here. I heard the story secondhand, but the kid had a crazy high fever and wouldn’t stop crying. Paramedics get on the scene… and mom is squeezing a lemon while rubbing it all over the baby’s forehead because it’s “supposed to keep the fever down.” Mom was completely at a loss as to why the baby wouldn’t stop crying either. It couldn’t possibly be the lemon juice you’ve essentially been squeezing into its eyes for the last 20 minutes. No, siree.”
There are tons of options for birth control, but a shot glass is not one of them.
“I worked at an OB/GYN clinic for seven years. One day a girl called and said she had a broken shot glass up her vajayjay. Upon asking how it got there, she said she was using it as birth control. Thankfully it worked because no one that stupid should have children.” They aren’t kidding with that last statement. Because man, oh man, what would make anyone decide that a shot glass up their hoo-haw was the best form of birth control? They could have just not done the dirty. Sounds like this girl should really have a personal talk with her doctor to discuss better options for birth control.
“As an EMT – Basic student, I responded to a man who called 911 complaining of an insect crawling up his ear. Upon arrival, we asked what ear the bug crawled into. He says his right ear but keeps complaining about burning coming from his left ear. We noticed his wife standing next to him, holding a bottle of insect spray. Upon further questioning, we come to find out she sprayed insecticide into his left ear, thinking it would “flush” the insect out of his right ear. I had to explain to her that our brain separates our ear canals.”
What gets nail polish out? Nail polish remover, right?
A story that makes us go, “Umm, what?” Because anyone who thinks this is what you should do might need to rethink a lot of things. “Paramedic here. Got called to a house at about 11:30 one night for a “girl with fingernail polish in her eyes.” I got there, and the scene was a s**t show, people screaming and throwing things around. We immediately notice the mother holding down a younger girl and about to pour something into her eyes. Nail. Polish. Remover.” It’s not like they have google or anything, right? They definitely could have waited for the paramedics to get there so they could assess the situation instead.
Of all the things they could have used to treat the pain with these medical conditions, they chose to go extreme.
“I’m a triage RN. Had a patient call concerning back pain. I was going about my normal assessment and asked if he had taken anything for the pain, to which he replied, “Cobra Venom.” Turns out, he had read about Cobroxin, a topical treatment for pain made from cobra venom, and decided it would be more effective to simply let a cobra bite him. I have no idea how he got hold of a cobra.” Yeah, we have a couple of questions about this as well. Of all the ways they could have treated pain, they went a little extreme with that choice and didn’t even follow the directions for that!
There is a little twist to this story, and not just from the micro drill.
“Late to the party… A guy comes into the clinic with a boil the size of a golf ball on his face. He begins to explain that he had a painful zit and tried to lance it with a needle, and when that failed, he stepped it up to a “micro drill,” which he sanitized by wiping on his jeans. The nurse stopped him mid-story and asked, “So you took a drill to your own FACE and want to know why it’s sore and swollen?” I was the patient.” Talk about a twist! We were not expecting that at the end. To be honest, we weren’t expecting to hear that the man used a drill on his face, though, either.
That one time something absurd has actually seemed to work.
Although we do not recommend treating yourself, especially in such a way as this man had, it seemed like he may have had an idea there. “Had a frequent flier patient who had psoriasis so bad that he literally had huge scales all over his legs. One day he gets admitted, and the scales are gone. He tells me he took a brillo pad (steel wool) and scraped them all off. Surprisingly it works with no adverse effects, and he’s still scale-free a year later.” Even though it seemed to work, it sounds pretty unpleasant and probably painful, as well. Please don’t try this at home.
“We are a needle exchange/harm reduction station at the clinic I work at. We have IV drug users come in pretty frequently to get their abscesses cleaned out and dressed properly. So one patient comes in wanting to get her abscess cleaned out like many other patients before her. We take her to a procedure room and prepare everything to start. She has an ace bandage covering up this spot on her arm, so of course, we think it’s fine because that’s better than just letting it open to the air.” But wait…. there’s more to this story!
This was definitely NOT how she should have handled that, to begin with.
“She proceeds to take off said bandage and exposes not only a HUGE abscess but a FOUR INCH LENGTH OF VEIN sticking out of her arm that is rotting away and drying up. We are like, “uh, what’s going on here?” and she says she took it out of her abscess and left it out because it made injecting heroin easier. So basically, she ran her own IV with a vein she cut out of her abscess. We then called the ambulance.” Having a place you can go to that won’t judge you but will take care of you when you need it is nice. Doing something that is along the lines of surgery on yourself, thinking it’s okay, is insane, especially what this girl had done.
Viagra is definitely the way to go… too bad these guys had other ideas.
“I worked overnights in a midwestern ER, and I have seen two men try to treat their erectile dysfunction on their own. One man used caulk in his urethra, and then it dried and cracked like pencil lead, and only the 1/4 inch at the tip came out. He had another 3 inches or so, all broken into pieces that required surgery to get out. The other man used a clipped-off piece of coat hanger to try to keep himself erect during sex, and that also had to be surgically removed. The dudes are weird. Ask for Viagra.” He’s right, and even if it was because they were embarrassed to ask their doctor for Viagra, we think the way they went about self-treating their problems was even more embarrassing.
These poor pups didn’t have a choice, but their owner did and didn’t make the correct one.
“Animal Attendant for a vet clinic here. A client came in and rubber banded their two dogs’ ball sacks as a way of neutering them. VERY VERY VERY BAD. They got the idea from how people neuter sheep and goats can. However, there is a HUGE difference between the junk of a sheep and a chihuahua. Both of the dogs had a severe infection, and the tissue was completely dead. The treatment for this cost wayyyy more than the neuters would’ve been. DO NOT DO THIS EVER EVER.” To be honest, we think that if you think this is okay to do without doing your research first, then you probably shouldn’t own any pets to begin with.
Grandma didn’t know it, but she may have made her grandson smell like a fry.
“An 8-year-old tripped on the cord of a deep fryer, spilling hot grease on his shoulder and arm. His grandma slathered him in butter to “cool him off” and “draw the heat out.” When my medic partner and I entered the house and started assessing the boy, I was saddened and hungry at the same time. The poor kid smelled absolutely delicious. No cannibal.” That poor boy must’ve been feeling rough for a while after that, and probably smelled like a French fry for a while, too. We don’t know if this trick works, but at least the grandma tried to do something for him while waiting for the medics to arrive.
Sir, toothbrushes are for your mouth, not your butt!
“Med student. A guy came into the emergency department with two combs and a toothbrush in his butt. He had stuck the toothbrush up there for pleasure but lost it. He tried to fish it out with a comb but lost that and tried again with a second comb and lost that as well. The kicker: he was there because he had gotten in a car crash. He wasn’t there to get the stuff out of his butt. He volunteered the information after we asked if there was anything else we needed to know.” Certain things just don’t belong there, and it seems he wasn’t concerned about any of that. I mean, he was going to leave it! And who knows how long all that was already all in there for either.
A licensed nurse did what?! And thought that would work?
“Paramedic here: Responded to a nursing home for a diabetic patient, unresponsive. The nurse didn’t keep up with the insulin and gave a tad bit too much, decreasing the pt’s blood sugar. Okay, this is fixable. I walk in to see another nurse pouring Splenda down this lady’s mouth. She has snoring restorations and just inhaled the Splenda into her lungs. It also isn’t doing s**t for this poor lady because it isn’t f*****g sugar. After giving this lady some D50 (IV sugar water), she came to but felt like she couldn’t get enough air. We treated her for a few days for pneumonia. I swear some people get their medical licenses from the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.”
This guy just wouldn’t listen to his doctors or believe his test results.
“I saw this patient last year. He had a long history of abdominal pain that was quite non-specific, and his previous workups were negative. He was convinced that he had intestinal parasites that caused the pain (which, as an aside, he believed that he got them after an “encounter” with a woman he met on the internet). So, despite having seen several physicians and gastroenterologists and numerous investigations, including gastroscopy and colonoscopy, nobody found the diagnostic source for the pain. But he was undeterred from believing it was intestinal parasites.” Obviously, there was no convincing this man otherwise.
He does something you definitely should NOT do yourself — and at home at that!
And we truly mean that there seemed to be no convincing this man otherwise. “So, he develops a plan in which he orders surgical instruments and local anesthetic online. He watches YouTube to figure out how to perform a laparotomy (to get into his abdomen). And so, after his preparations, he performs a self-surgery using a video camera to watch himself and manages to get into his abdominal cavity. He had trouble completing his self-surgery and called an ambulance.” We are sure this guy may have more than just problems with his stomach; hopefully, he gets the help he needs.
This story doesn’t quite make sense to us. And it’s not how it’s told, but what this woman thought would work to treat her condition. “I had a patient treating her lung cancer with a “sonic emitter.” Her argument was that sound waves can shatter glass, so lung cancer wouldn’t stand a chance.” We aren’t sure how she thought this would work exactly, but we have a pretty good idea that it did not work as she was hoping it would. If only it were that easy to treat lung cancer or any other type of cancer for that matter.
This story sounds so unreal, but these medical conditions — and bad treatments — really did happen.
“Here is one that my friend who was an EMT told me. He and his partner got called out for an impairment injury to a child’s eye while running with a pencil. The mother removed the pencil before they arrived. The mother was riding in the back. That’s when the paramedic said to the mother. “Next time something gets impaled, don’t remove it. It’s dangerous!” Without skipping a beat, the mom goes, “oops, I didn’t know that.” Then she proceeds to quickly and calmly shove the pencil back in. Apparently, it was an eventful evening.” Who knows what goes on in their home when no one is around? That poor kid, hopefully, grows up to be smarter than his mom.
If the sun doesn’t cure him, then maybe the moon will!
“GP here. The most outrageous thing I’ve heard was from a boy who was something like 20-22 years old. They were a very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsillitis and refused to take any meds because all he needed to do was “bite the sun.” Basically, at noon, he had to look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and “bite” the sun several times so it would “burn” his tonsils and cure him over the course of a couple of weeks. When that wouldn’t work, plan B was to do the same at night but only under a full moon.”
RoundUp kills weeds and potentially people, but not tumors.
We really do have to wonder how some of these people ever made it to adulthood in one piece. This man really thought this would work. That’s pretty terrifying. “Had an old farmer come into the ED one day with a severely infected wound on his head. It turned out he had a growth developing on his head for the past few weeks (which turned out to be a tumor). He had been treating it with RoundUp (a potent weed killer) because “that s**t kills everything “…” It’s a wonder how he never killed his crops or farm animals if this is the way he thought of things.
Duct tape does not fix everything, especially medical conditions.
“I responded to a 9-1-1 call for a man bleeding. Supposedly the guy had an angiogram (catheter stuck in the artery near your groin to look at the blood vessels near your heart for blockages) earlier that day and was released with explicit instructions not to mess with the bulky dressing. The old coot decides to “adjust” it, causing it to open and pouring blood out his artery. What does the guy do? He puts duct tape all around his groin. Not just a few pieces, no, all attached to his junk and up and down the leg. It was a noble attempt but did not do much to control the arterial pulsations.”
Food is for your mouth, not your eyes — or on medical conditions!
We are supposed to eat food. We are not supposed to put it in or on anywhere else in the body but your mouth. However, some people may argue that you can use certain foods to treat certain ailments. Obviously, this guy who came in with a condition did not think about his home remedy thing all the way through first. “My patient was instilling honey in his eyes to “treat his cataracts and glaucoma”… what. Yes, he came in for conjunctivitis cause bacteria were having a party on his corneas.” Talk about a sweet lesson in life he had to learn.
Some people believe in putting all their faith into prayers, thinking that you can pray away an illness. As anyone with a brain would know, you can’t get rid of a sickness or condition by bowing your head and praying for a cure. However, that’s not the case for these people. “One kid’s parents canceled the surgery to repair his ACL because people had prayed for him at their church the Sunday beforehand, which had apparently cured him. They called and scheduled surgery later in the week.” It’s safe to say that maybe they learned their lesson in when to pray and when to let doctors take the reins.
Always remember to brush your teeth, children. Otherwise, you can have some nasty medical conditions.
“I know a doctor. She told me a story (EDIT: that she heard from another doctor) about how this guy came into the ER, an absolute nervous wreck. He was brushing his teeth for the first time in a couple of years (he was homeless and couldn’t afford toothbrushes or toothpaste) when he found a maggot in his mouth. This frequently happened over the course of 3 days, and he self-diagnosed himself with oral myiasis. Now, this guy was bats**t afraid of bugs, so he tried to get ’em out via the quickest way possible – ipecac. He didn’t think that one through and ended up vomiting shiploads of maggots before calling 911. The doc sympathized with him. I’d freak out, too, if I barfed up fifty maggots. S**t’s scary.”
Ahh, the good old fashion game of Will They Live or Will They Die?
“I used to work in a lab in a hospital in a rural town. I got a stool sample from the ER that was basically a blood clot the size of a golf ball. Sometimes the ER gets mixed up and sends me the wrong specimen, like some kind of body fluid, and labels it as urine, for example. I called the patient’s nurse and asked what the deal was with the patient, and if it was really stool they sent up. The nurse I talked to say the patient thought he’d eaten bad pork and, to prevent food poisoning, drank a concoction of bleach, rubbing alcohol, vodka, ibuprofen, and some Tums.”
“Patient comes into the ED with an abscess. He tells us he knew he had an infection and so ate a pound and a half of raw steak to get the antibiotics given to the cow.” If he thought this was how he could get antibiotics into his system, he may want to pick up a book and read a little. Some people really should leave this sort of thing up to the specialists to handle when it comes to treating things, especially if they think that this sort of thing would actually work.
That is not how they treat any medical conditions.
“Had a Marine stick a Q-tip up his d*** dipped in hand sanitizer because he thought he got the clap in Thailand. That’s not what Navy medical does, guy.” Talk about a stinger. Not only does this man potentially have the clap, but he also has to deal with the stinging pain of something going up his urethra and having that thing be covered in hand sanitizer, to boot. This was not a smart decision on this guy’s part. Maybe next time, he will learn to practice safe s**. Just to be clear, there is no sort of medical condition that would require this sort of treatment.
“I’m a nursing student, and one of my patients had an earache, so he decided to hold his daughter’s bobby pin to a candle for roughly 5 minutes and then shoved it in the ear that hurt. He is now deaf in that ear and was on fall precautions since he couldn’t walk straight. As a bonus, I was able to listen to every episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that was on that day wherever I was on the floor because the TV was on the loudest volume possible.” Too bad this kid had to suffer from his dad’s stupidity.
Do NOT try to pull your own teeth… especially not with a screwdriver
“Dentist reporting in: I had a guy who had tried to pry his own tooth out with a screwdriver. It did not go well.” Not only does this sound stupid, but also quite painful! Maybe this guy was trying to save money, or maybe he has a fear of dentist offices. Whatever the reason may be for his choosing to pull his own tooth out with a screwdriver, it wasn’t a very good one. Hopefully, he learned his lesson on why you should leave certain things to the professionals. They know what they’re doing. Plus, they have the proper tools and equipment to do those sorts of tasks.
It seems that not all old wives’ tales are something you should believe in when it comes to medical conditions.
“I am an EMT who works in the ER. We once had a patient who spilled hot grease all over his arms after a small fryer accident. This happened with the patient’s In-laws, who happened to be Chinese. Apparently, an old wives’ tale in China says to treat burns with a layer of toothpaste and rock salt. Not wanting to offend his In-laws, he goes along with this do-it-yourself treatment. I think I spent about three hours that evening picking rock salt out of 2nd-degree burns and then cleaning out all the now-dried toothpaste.”
Not all stomach pains experienced by women are due to menstrual cramps.
“I have a buddy that is a medic in the United States Navy. One time when he was on leave and in town, we and all of our mutual friends were hanging out, shooting the s**t before a night of typical drunken shenanigans was surely to begin. He then proceeded to tell me multiple stories to which I could not believe. I have forgotten pretty much all of them except for one… He told me how a young (late teens, early 20s) woman came in complaining of severe stomach pain. He was expecting to diagnose her with menstrual cramps or something else rudimentary and gave her basic pain meds etc.”
Ladies! Potatoes belong on your plate, not in your “you know what.”
“She came back less than a week later, complaining that the pain had only increased. He decided to send her for an X-ray to get it checked out. He could not believe what the results showed. It **appeared** like roots of some sort were twisting and turning inside her abdomen and proceeding to wrap around her spine. Apparently, as a form of do-it-yourself birth control, this young lady had followed her mother’s instructions and cut the end off a potato and stuck it all the way up in her vajayjay. Well, in a damp, moist environment, it began to thrive, as well as partially rot. I cannot even imagine what her gyno must have said, but this story had me in a cold sweat, near dry heaving. Easily tops one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever heard. Edit: Emphasis on **appeared**. He did not say it WAS wrapped around her spine. Just that’s what it LOOKED like it was about to do.”