Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bitch, Doctor, or Normal?

There’s something I want to get off my chest, at the risk of offending some. It’s this: I really don’t like reading blog entries (or Facebook updates) about people being sick. Wait wait wait—I don’t mean terrible illnesses, or hilarious entries about horrendous plagues that necessitate HazMat cleanups, or updates on, say, surgical procedures that others are concerned about. I mean the “I have a cold / stomach bug,” “I still have a cold / stomach bug,” “I’m over my cold / stomach bug” entries.

Wait wait wait—I love you! I care that you’re not feeling well! I’m sure I’ve done it myself! I welcome your medical questions to me, truly! I thought your last entry about that awful situation was funny!—I just don’t like it when I’m expecting to read, well, something else and instead have to read about run-of-the-nose snot.

Is this because I’m

a) an unsympathetic bitch
b) a doctor or
c) normal?



Anonymous said...

Absolutely completely normal. I don't tell people when these mundane things happen because it's dull, dull, dull.

Would love HB update though!


Not on Fire said...

For me the problem seems to be that they are whining. Not so much fun to listen to.

Mo said...

Hmmm....Can it be a combo?
I think 1. It's normal, because posts/people like this are annoying in their whining.

And 2. Being a doctor probably doesn't help in that you've seen people who are capital "S" Sick not "runny nose" sick enough to have perspective, which obviously some others are lacking. My opinion at least. It's different, but I think having had lymphoma in my twenties probably makes me much less sympathetic to melodramatic descriptions of rhinovirus.

Hard not to think on reading these posts or encountering such people IRL at least a little bit: you have no idea. And I hope you never do.


The Mother said...

A lot of blogs are like that all the time..

Today we went to the store.

Yesterday my kid came home early.

Tomorrow we're sleeping in.

Mundane, and boring.

Posts about snotty noses just fit into the same general category.

Now, if you can make that FUNNY, I'll read it.

Anonymous said...

Totally normal. It's a natural extension of blogging's trend towards inanity ("had tuna salad on rye for lunch today LOL ROFLMAO OMFG R-E-S-P-E-C-T THATISWHATITMEANSTOME"). And Facebook is cursed by its own ease of use. Starting blog/creating content/posting = (very) minor hassle = (very) minor incentive to be interesting. Firing up Facebook = non-hassle = tuna salad and sniffly nose updates galore.

And it's nice to imagine that people are filled fascinating stuff... existential quandaries, wonderful stories, funny anecdotes, useful knowledge, etc. Finding out that they're just full of mucus is a downer. 'Least it is for me whenever I'M full of mucus and utterly boring.

Sarah said...


I worry that all the things I think are interesting enough to post about my own life are really just like all those things that I don't want to read on other blogs.

arturo said...

I think you're normal. I hate whiny people on Facebook. Why can't they be a little more optimistic? Why don't they update us on their latest accomplishment rather than on their latest tooth ache?

Anonymous said...

Normal. In my family, you needed to be on the cusp of hospitalization to miss school. I've got no sympathy for whiners.

Anonymous said...

I was just complaining about this today. "So and so is: sick of coughing" "So and so is: going to urgent care" "So and so's doctor did not give antibiotics"
meh, you have a cold. I don't like it when people even say "I have a cold" or "I am sick" cause I have an aversion for the jinx.

Anonymous said...

...then there are those who write ONLY about their illnesses/negative stuff on their FB status.

"slipped on black ice today, hurt my back, neck, bla bla bla" for three days, then (actual quote) "suffering the decent pain from heavy dancing and feeling it today".

And you want me to feel bad for you? Pluu-ease! If you're a bitch for wanting to tell them to suck it up, then, you're not alone! : )

Mama Goose said...

Totally a bitch!

Just kidding. I think you're completely normal.

Anonymous said...

You are busy and the little time you have should not be occupied with "wahh, i have a cough." So I say, you're normal with better things to do.

Anonymous said...

Even mundane and gross annoyances can be funny and interesting if the account is well written. Kingsley Amis, in "Lucky Jim," once described waking up with a hangover as "discovering that during the night, some small animals had used his mouth as their latrine, then as their grave."

Heather Hamilton once described a pelvic exam as "having a car jack stuck in my vagina." Julie, of "A Little Pregnant," once did a mock-photo essay about her mammogram, using (if memory serves) a plastic dinosaur and a toy race car to "demonstrate" what had happened to her; it was one of the most brilliant pieces of visual humor I've ever seen. TranceJen described her frustration with a dead computer by saying that she pounded on it with a hammer, shouting, "How you like me now, bitch?"

All of these writers used overstatement to turn something that is intrinsically unpleasant and/or boring into something really entertaining.

Any routine indignity is worth reading about if the writing is well done. The blogs you're following are not interesting not because the writers' lives are mundane, but because the writers either lack talent or, in their disease-weakened state, lack the energy to edit and polish their work. -victoria

Al said...

NORMAL - though I am sometimes guilty of it ha ha. oh wait. I am also an unsympathetic bitch sometimes. hmmm. maybe you shouldn't count my vote.

My question is - do people automatically overshare with you when they find out you're a doctor? I work as a researcher at a cancer hospital, yet people hear "hospital" and somehow think it's normal to just get right down and dirty and talk to me about their colonoscopy or how they have a nail fungus or "this one time when I had a bowel obstruction" or whether I think that bump on their cleavage "looks weird." I'm like "HI not a DOCTOR or any sort of healthcare professional...aaaand I don't know you that well." Oh well, I should be grateful, I am sure it is MUCH worse for you actually being a physician! Facebook and twitter are soooo not helping the overshare situation though....

From the lion's mouth said...

"You are busy and the little time you have should not be occupied with "wahh, i have a cough." So I say, you're normal with better things to do."

Busy, with better things to do, and yet you're (a) reading people's facebook updates, and (b) complaining about them.

Oh the irony.

Anonymous said...

Ehh, normal. I'm guilty of blogging my runny nose every now and again but I try not to make it the focus of that particular post. And you know what? If you click away? TOTALLY YOUR RIGHT. I'm not offended. Isn't this the beauty of the internet, that we don't have to read what we don't want to read? And isn't this the very thing we all say to trolls? If you don't like it don't read it.

You're fine, babe. Totally normal.


Anonymous said...

Victoria, that was the most astute, well-informed and well-written comment I've read in a long time, thank you!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go blow my nose...

Jennifer said...

I hate reading about people being sick and I am not b) a doctor. But I very well could be a) an unsympathetic bitch. Either a) or c).

Ozzie said...

Normal. And admittedly, while I haven't blogged about it, I do occasionally put illness or gimpiness in my status.

OMDG said...

I think you're confusing blogging with literature. Some people blog just to keep others in the loop with how they're doing rather than as a creative outpouring. A public diary, if you will. Others feel the need to post even if it's not the most exciting/interesting story ever. I don't think there's anything wrong with either of those things. It seems sort of silly to me to be "annoyed" with anything people post on a private blog just because you think they're being boring.

winecat said...

I'd say normal, I have to catch myself that I don't whine about my breast cancer too often because it's boring even for me.

DoctorMama said...

So the votes are running approximately 80% normal, 10% doctor, 10% bitch, and using the adjustment factor for commenter niceness, that would be about 20% unsympathetic bitch.

Jul, you’re right re: Facebook’s accessibility. Cupcake, you can make inanity cute. Arturo, I think a lot of people are (appropriately) frightened of seeming to be bragging on FB, but it’s a tricky balance. Victoria, amen. Al, I’m not sure if I just don’t notice it, but I’m totally not inundated with unwanted doctor-questions. Some questions, yes, but since I’m an internist and a know-it-all, they don’t feel unwanted. Rebekka, it’s not a time problem, it’s just that I don’t like it. So not ironic so much as just plain bitchiness/crankiness. jbondsgirl, absolutely, and I don’t take it personally either, but with some stuff, once I’ve read it, it cannot be unread, so clicking away doesn’t really help, you know? Old MD Girl, I don’t think I’m confused, but I am a bitch. Winecat!!! SO not boring.

Anonymous said...

I think you're all three, you bitchy normal doctor. I do tend to post status updates when I have a migraine, as a way to get my girlfriends to volunteer to pick up my children from school, etc. so that I can take narcotics!

My pet peeve is relentlessly religious status updates. Gack.

Sarah said...

I'm glad to hear it seems to be normal - I thought *my* being annoyed was because I parent a special needs kid... she just had brain surgery, I don't really *want* to read about snotty noses and colic, LOL.

Way to go, Dr. mama!

From the lion's mouth said...

Whoops, I was responding to kc's comment!

DoctorMama said...

"bitchy normal doctor" -- I love it!

Mignon said...

I guess I'm a bitchy normal doctor too. It is a particular pet peeve of mine.

I also am irritated by people who discuss the completely random word verification letters in their comments.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me that when I worked for an ear, nose and throat clinic, the peds doctors wanted the first-year residents to handle the "snots and phlegms" as they called patients who presented with routine sore throats and runny noses. So I'm split between doctor and normal.

Big Dave

Anonymous said...

I think "normal". I always think I'm a bitch when I don't want to read about other people's sore tongues, but then I get all arrogant thinking, I have twins any my kids have never been sick- okay one ear infection since they were born 2 1/2 YEARS AGO. Why are some people constantly updating that their kids have the "flu" (even though the flu lasts 2 weeks and they claim to be "healed" the next day only to be "sick" again the day after). Pretty boring and just irritating.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind genuinely sick people. I just hate the damn whiners who seem to want to win the "I feel bad today" olympics. I also really abhor the staggeringly boring endless details about what is wrong when it is a damn cold. Also, I agree with Victoria. Make it funny and I'll read just about anything.
Oh, is this where I say that I had to write "phesterk" in the word verification box?
Heather Ann

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I got so carried away with my own thoughts I forgot to answer the question. I would call you - and me - normal bitches.

Yo, bitches!!

Heather Ann

P.S. This time I have to write "untrain" as in "My husband is untrainable..."

Magpie said...

All of the above.

carolinagirl79 said...

Normal. Unless someone can make it funny.

I wanted to write a post about my youngest kid receiving Holy Communion but I couldn't figure out any way to make it interesting, so I wrote it from the perspective of my oldest. Did the best I could. I want to chronicle their lives on the blog so they'll have it to read later when I have it bound into a book but I don't want to put my readers to sleep. Fine line.

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