August 30, 2009

Paranoia Is Best Taken Lightheartedly

The inspiration for this topic came from my trip to the doctor the other week. I had never met or seen this doctor before and so meeting a doctor for the first time is a little nerve-wracking especially when you're a closet hypochondriac like me. Which is where that paranoia starts, because I was certain by the end of my visit he was going to out me, or at least chart me as a hypochondriac.

Well I was promptly taken back to an exam room and as such I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, until the nurse came in and told me a previous appointment was running later than they expected but that he'd be in shortly. So now I will tell you the secondary awkward paranoia that came to me during what seemed to be a never ending wait to inevitably diagnose me as a hypochondriac.

So whenever I am waiting and waiting anywhere without a magazine to look at either by lack of or quality of choice, I begin to look around the room, count the ceiling tiles if they exist, notice the floors and furniture, and notice the cleanliness or nit picky lack there of among other observational things. I am generally drawn to vents, and every time I see a vent, I think "what if there's a camera on me, and what if they are watching my every move rather than really "in with another patient" as they want me to believe. Well this gave me such a brilliant idea for a post, so I pulled my little notebook of ideas out of my purse and started to write this down. As I was writing this down and second paranoid delusional thought passed through my head, "what if the doctor walks in on me as I'm writing this down, what is he going to think, say, or demand to know about what I am writing." This caused me to laugh which brought my paranoid thought full circle, "what if paranoia is why I'm actually here visiting the doctor today?" Which of course amplifies the paranoia of being outed as a hypochondriac. Is this irony, tragedy, or both?

All this from the thought of a camera on me. You know what's sad or funny as you might see it, every time I'm in a public bathroom and I see a vent in full view of the toilet, I'm paranoid that there might be a camera on me. :)

That's All Folks!!!
Same time same place next week. Though I might take Labor Day Weekend off. If so, don't labor on Labor Day if you can help it. Have a safe and happy holiday!

August 23, 2009

Breastfeeding Is A Polarizing Topic!

I'm probably going out on a limb posting this, but just know I mostly respect opposing opinions on this topic depending on the context.

So not being a mother I only have the perspective of a non-mom, and as a non-mom it's a little awkward when I see someone breastfeeding in public without any kind of blanket or breastfeeding apron. Mostly because I don't know where to look and I wouldn't dream of exposing myself that way in public for any reason. I would find a place that provides me some kind of privacy, or I would always make use of a something that would allow us to be discreet.
This story is about a nurse-in that was staged in a Florida fast food restaurant because that manager (a woman) had asked a woman cover up while feeding her baby. While it was in poor taste, I completely understand where she was coming from. She was likely thinking of the consideration of the other customers. That said she didn't have consideration for the mother feeding her baby either. The manager admitted that she made a mistake.

What I find funny is how this nurse-in was about making a statement about their "right" to feed their children. I really find it to be a mockery of such a intimate and special moment between a mother and child. Because mothers have a duty, not a right to feed their children, and it shouldn't be about garnering attention, it should be about nourishing one's child. And gathering a bunch of women to use their babies to make a point is about garnering attention.

But you see this opinion in and of itself is very polarizing, and I didn't know that until someone posted that story on facebook and I made a comment, and someone obviously disagreed with my point of view. Which is fine, we are all entitled to our opinions. I had no idea that people disagreed with me on this, though I should have, because I've seen it done not-so-discreetly and discreetly which should have clued me in that many women aren't as private about it as I would be. So often times disagreements like this can be awkward even if one tries to state their opinions in the utmost respectful manner. It really depends if you and the other party involved can agree to disagree or not.

I do find some of the comments on both sides of the issue at the end of that story interesting food for thought. Pun always intended.

And you thought this was going to be about whether or not to breastfeed, which is a very polarizing topic in and of it's self. And my opinion that it's a mother's choice is likely to upset some as well. Though some people like to demonize women that don't, even though as I understand it, sometimes it's beyond their control. Let's just say that there are many healthy, well-adjusted adopted babies that don't get the opportunity to breast-feed.

August 15, 2009

Just Because You're in Another Country Doesn't Make it a Cultural Thing

When I was 19, I took a year off school and went to Brazil as a student missionary. This meant that I went there to teach English which helped raise money for the orphanage and various daycare projects that my church operates over there. So to help keep down expenses, they get people to volunteer to put the various students that come up in their house, providing room and board for them.

My particular family had 3 kids, one of whom was away at college most of the time. They decided to house 2 of us. We were exited to be there in a new place and they did a very good job of making us welcome and introducing us to people at church, etc etc. There were quite a few things happening in the house that we chalked up to cultural differences, that we found out later weren't necessarily cultural. Remember I was in a 3rd world country that I knew nothing about, and this was my first introduction to the culture. We were not placed in the slums, we were in a regular neighborhood in a regular house. It wasn't a mansion, but it looked nothing like the slums either.

Much to our unpleasant surprise, one day we come home from teaching and the mom of the house is walking around naked and her 12 or 13 year old son is there. And she wasn't phased when we saw her stark nekked. Awkward.....for us....We didn't think it could get any worse, but it did. She kept doing this on a regular basis and she wanted us to teach her English while she was naked!!! What?!?! I have a strict personal policy that I only teach English to those that are properly covered up. But how do you say that to your hostess? I know it's hot there, but it wasn't any worse than it is in Texas and we wear clothes. Especially in front of guests. (Austin can pose the exception to that at times)

We were stunned and it was really really really awkward. How do you politely excuse yourself from such a situation without seeming ungrateful for their hospitality to you? After all we were eating their food (which incidentally waned away shortly after our arrival) It's not like she made an effort to be less naked in front of us either. Though to her benefit, she never asked us to get naked. Though it's possible that she did and we just didn't understand what she said. We were especially disturbed by this display in front of her son. We had no choice, we talked to our director about it, and eventually we were both placed elsewhere. We were probably exposed to it, pun intended, for maybe a week or two longer after talking to the director about it. I'm sure it seemed we were there longer than we actually were after these naked episodes started, because neither of us were the type to parade around naked in front of anyone else, let alone strangers.

Tell you what, had her husband ever done that, we would have been packed and out of there that minute. But because it was her, we were confused as to whether or not this was normal behavior in that country. We soon found out that it was NOT normal Brazilian behavior to parade around naked in your own home in front of guests, as well as some of the other things we let go as being cultural. It was just the culture of that family. What an awkward lesson to learn. Some things your mom just can't prepare you for even if she tries.

That aside, my experience in Brazil was a great one and I really love that country and their food. If you've ever been to a churrascaria here in America, just know that you are getting ripped off out the wazoo. We can't justify it, though we just found an alternative Brazilian restaurant that isn't nearly a rip off and had all of my favorite foods on one appetizer dish.

August 9, 2009

Your Expectations of Others are too High

I have recently come to the realization that my expectations of others are too high. It kind of popped in my head at an interview just over 6 months ago when asked about my weakness. That was the answer I gave. I got the job and my boss and I seem to be a good fit for each other. Which is a good thing. Though I think I had been thinking of the concept for awhile.

What I mean my that is that I expect others to perform at least close to as well as I do or even some people and friends I've worked with and respect their work ethic. I expect them to care about doing a good job as much as I do. I expect a reasonable thought process for every decision they make. The problem comes in here since reasonable is as defined by me, not them. This applies to all parts of life, not just work, though since I spend so much time at work, this is probably where people don't meet my expectations the most since they have numerous opportunities to let me down.

I know I'm not alone in this, but what am I to do? Lower my standards for myself, so that my standards for others will be lowered? I also expect that people will want to better themselves and their skills (this may not apply to all lines of work which I have no problem with) to advance their careers, when they may be perfectly happy doing the same job for the last 10 years and for the next 20, getting only a cost of living increase if they are lucky. Doesn't matter, I can't understand that mindset or that choice. However what I do know is that it makes things easier for those of that are ambitious enough to climb the ladder. Less competition + consistently higher performance = a dang good chance of promotions, raises, and respect. Even though some people see it as more headaches. I get that, it's a headache dealing with people that don't care about their jobs as much as you do and not knowing what to do to motivate them. I guess that's the challenge the higher you climb.

What's awkward about it, is not know what to do about it if anything. In an ideal world, I'd get rid of the sub-par and bring in those that excel. But it is possible that people can excel in the same job for 10 years. You want good competent people surrounding you, but reality doesn't always allow for this. Another awkward thing about this is that I don't know if this makes me a bad person or not. I don't think it does, but perhaps some aspects of this do.

August 2, 2009

The Inner Struggles of a Closet Hypochondriac

This is a reprint from another blog of mine that is now inactive. But I thought it was appropriate since it's often awkward to have these conversations with yourself and at times with your doctor. I never discussed this with my mother growing up, nor did she teach me to be a hypochondriac. Hope you enjoy and perhaps some of you can relate.

Just what is a closet hypochondriac? Those of you that can relate to the title alone know exactly what I’m talking about. To me, a closet hypochondriac is someone whose logic tends to overrule his or her irrational fears so that no doctor would ever label them a hypochondriac. I hope that others that are in the closet about this can rest assured that they aren’t alone and hopefully embrace it from a humorous perspective.

Those of you that can’t relate may now be asking yourselves, just what inner struggles could they possibly have? Well it’s simple, every time something new comes up that causes us to worry, which we logically know is irrational worry, nonetheless we worry. We then struggle with whether or not to go to the doctor. If we go to the doctor, they are going to tell us nothing is wrong, and we fear worse that we will be laughed at once we leave or labeled a hypochondriac in our chart. AHHHH!!! Not that!!! That’s where our logic kicks in and we choose not to go to the doctor. But after we’ve made that choice, we can’t stop worrying that something really IS wrong and this is the one time we really SHOULD have it checked out by a doctor, because if we wait TOO long, it will be TOO late and there will be nothing they can do. This is our internal struggle.

For me, my terminal disease of choice is cancer. If I see a bump on my hand that wasn’t there before, that I don’t know how it got there, it’s probably cancer. Or I’m going to worry that it is until it goes away. I’ve struggled with various back pain most of my life in one area. But I know how to treat and prevent pain on that side of my back. However, if I have pain on the other side of my back that logically I know feels like I strained a muscle, and it just needs time and perhaps ice and heat, I still worry that it’s cancer. Every time I get a new freckle somewhere on my body, I worry it’s cancer. I often have random bruises pop up on my body that I can’t pinpoint how they got there, so I worry I could have cancer. Even though I have a terrible depth perception problem which causes me to run into doorways, walls, or anything else in my way simply because I misjudge the distance they are from my body. Logically I know this is probably how one of these unknown bruises came about so I don’t bother going to the doctor freaking out. But I still wonder in the back of my mind sometimes until it goes away and I forget about it.

I thought I read somewhere once that the two most common diseases feared by hypochondriacs are cancer and MS. I’m sure there are other diseases feared out there. Please feel free to share your closet hypochondriacal disease of choice with the rest of us. It’s great therapy to get it off your chest. We won’t judge you. We might laugh in sympathy. But your choice to control yourself is highly respected. Humor is a great way to deal with a neurosis like this.

You know what the problem is, the Internet. Every time I get some new “symptom,” I have to go to the Internet and look it up. Cancer is always the first thing that pops up. Which is probably why cancer is the disease of choice. Everything is a potential symptom for cancer. What are we supposed to do about that? If we live long enough, won’t we all get cancer? Of course if I’m 90 and diagnosed with it, that’s ok. I just don’t want to be diagnosed with untreatable, terminal cancer at 30.

You see, what we should all fear are sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea (what a terrible name), herpes, AIDS, and the dreaded “warts.” All terrible diseases, but medical science has come so far that you don’t really need to worry about them nearly as much as you did 10 or 15 years ago or more, because there are cures, or effective treatments. You should fear the stigma attached with having to tell your potential spouse that you had syphilis or gonorrhea. You should be ashamed. That’s what we should all fear, not cancer. But cancer, while it’s not always a death sentence, is still killing people every day at all ages. It’s so unpredictable from person to person. And there are so many different kinds of cancer.

Thus the inner struggle continues. As long as logic always wins out to dictate when we do and don’t go to the doctor, we’ll all be ok. Just have a sense of humor about the fact that you’re a closet hypochondriac like me. There’s no shame in it.