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Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Vent Away » Unsolicited advice


04-24-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
optimusmog
 
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unsolicited advice

I'm not sure whether to ask for help or to quietly bang my head against the floor because this situation is literally bonkers. I can't believe I'm writing this because it sounds insane.

A very close family member who has been a part of my Crohn's since my diagnosis has lately taken to obsessively calling me with, um, updates about how her veterinarian recommends she treat her dog, who she *thinks* has IBD in spite of no evidence beyond the dog sometimes has diarrhea and "acts lethargic."

I will not begin to explain the levels on which this is offensive, or bizarre and ridiculous because I think this is self evident.

I love this person very much and I know this comes from a place of caring and trying to be helpful but I'm so &%*&%&^*$ done with it. I am not a dog, so telling me veterinary advice is kind of... not really helpful and mostly just weird. This dog does not, in all likelihood, have a horrible chronic illness just because she guesses it does and is familiar with my symptoms - AND THANK GOD FOR THAT! IT'S A HORRIBLE DISEASE! I feel demeaned when someone I love calls me to say "Dr. So-and-so has all his dogs with IBD eat this sort of Science Diet and they get SO MUCH better - maybe you should read the bag and modify your diet like that?" I am under the care of a PEOPLE doctor. For humans! What in the hell is she talking about? Maybe I should also wear a giant cone on my head and stop chasing kittycats!

In all seriousness, I don't mean to just rip on someone I love (or on veterinarians) here, I know this person is feeling a little lost because I'm having a weirdly unending flare right now and it's scary for her, and... Well, I consider my pets part of our immediate family, too, but this is just insane. Having this person bombard me with unsolicited veterinary advice (!!!!) is really frustrating and depressing, not to mention totally surreal. This is a supremely weird conversation. I've tried making jokes to make her stop, I've tried asking her to stop gently, I've tried mentioning that physically, dogs and people are different, and I've thanked her for thinking of me, but stated firmly that I'm going to do what my GI prescribes and not what a dog doctor suggests for dogs. THIS SOUNDS SO CRAZY I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM TYPING IT.

I guess I'm just asking for some advice - has anyone experienced being bombarded by well-meaning but frankly unhelpful (or insane) advice from family members? How did you handle it? Does anyone have any thoughts on how I can politely tell this person that I really don't give a flying fig about dog IBD because I'm NOT A CANINE - especially since everything she's telling me is typically a low-grade version of what I have already heard from every GI doctor (minus the insane "eat a bag of dog food" crap)? WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE TO BE SO OVERBEARING?!?!?! Wouldn't you be offended if I told you "Oh you're just like my dog and actually not a person!" I love animals a whole bunch, but come on, this is getting really tired after the 50th belligerent phone call of "Guess what Dr. Fluffy said!"

Please help? Anyone. I'm so intermittently weirded out and annoyed. It's hilarious and depressing and mostly I just want it to stop and feel totally like I'm about to snap and alienate or hurt the feelings of someone I care about who is acting like a complete oddball right now.
04-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #2
Kev
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OK, a plea for help, how can I pass on that? One of the things I've learned the hard way over the years is that, sometimes.. you just need to try to get into another persons head to understand what motivates them to do the things they do. If you can understand it, and if you truly believe their motives are coming from a good place, then.. take a breath, think kind thoughts, AND then gently but unequivocally draw a clear line in the sand. They need to know, point blank, but in nice terms, that you do not appreciate their efforts. It may be that they treasure you, and they love their dog; and equating (whether real or imagined) the dogs illness with yours is their way of trying to be closer to you... to show empathy, love, support.. meanwhile totally unconscious of the fact they are miserably missing the mark. People can only do to you what you let them. If, once informed that the future of your friendship hinges on them discontinuuing these comparisons, they continue.. then gently but firmly close the door on them, at least for a while. Some folks will hear what you say, but discount it as 'oh, you really don't mean that'... A brief hiatus should dispel that. A true friend will agree, even if they think you are wrong. It is your life, your health, you NEED to set the boundaries.

If, on the other hand, you have reason to think/believe that their motives aren't pure, ..WELL, if it were me... I'd offer to take the animal to the vet to have it euthanized, because it is perfectly legal to put an animal with an incurable, chronic disease out of its misery, the same privilege hasn't been extended to humans yet, so you have to just suffer your disease out. You have to be as sincere as possible, as convincing as you can be.... so that the pet owner will believe you sincerely think the ONLY recourse for their pet is to be put down. If they love the pet, that should shut them up forever on it.
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04-24-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
carrollco
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I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
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04-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
lesliegg
 
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No great advice. However my husband of 30 years died last week and my Mom who I love told me she knows how hard it is because her dog just died. Not cool Mom.
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I would laugh like this too if I had no belly, I think.
This rosette would be more like my stoma if it suddenly shot out a squirt of poop!
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04-24-2012, 07:31 PM   #5
ShortOnSleep
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Wow, optimusmog, you really are in a surreal, ridiculous and crazy situation with your dog-lover-unwanted-advice-giver friend. Itís totally understandable that youíre upset with your friend for badgering you relentlessly to do whatever their vet wants them to do for their dog. Iím sorry you have to deal with this when youíre already dealing with Crohnís disease! I've recieved lots of advice for Crohn's before (some of it very weird) but it's never been as bad as what you're experiencing.

After all that youíve already done to try to get your friend to stop pushing her vetís advice on you (jokes, gently asking her not to, explaining how dogs and humans are different), I think itís time that you take a more blunt approach.

Tell your friend that you realize their advice is well-meaning and that you know they are just trying to help you. Then:

1) Explain how itís making you feel (frustrated, insulted, depressed, etc.) and donít downplay your feelings. People often donít realize that they are upsetting someone unless that person explicitly tells them so. She sounds like she really believes sheís being helpful. Knowing that she is actually upsetting you should be enough to make her stop if she really cares about you.

2) Explain that no matter what her vet says about her dog, you will NOT follow his advice for yourself and you do NOT want to hear about it anymore. You trust your doctor and feel comfortable with the treatments they are giving you. Be firm and direct about this.

3) If, after this conversation, she brings up her vetís advice again, remind her about the previous conversation and say that you donít want to talk about it. Make it clear that if she persists in trying to talk about it, there will be negative impacts on your friendship. For example, ďIíve already told you Iím uncomfortable talking about this and donít want to talk about it anymore. If you canít stop bringing it up, Iíd rather not talk to you or see you. I value you greatly as my friend, but if you canít respect my feelings and my decisions, itíd be better for me if you werenít in my life.Ē Giving her a clear ultimatum will force her to either stop or end the friendship. I realize it might be heartbreaking to end the friendship, but someone who continues to do something that makes you miserable after you explicitly tell them it makes you miserable is not a real friend.

Hope that helps a bit. Keep us updated!

Last edited by ShortOnSleep; 04-24-2012 at 09:17 PM.
04-24-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
Cross-stitch gal
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Reading this reminds me of some of what my mom does. Only difference is that she'll find something online or know someone else that has Crohn's and figure that if it works for them it should work for me. Her advice seems to come quite often too.
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04-25-2012, 08:48 AM   #7
optimusmog
 
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I just want to thank you all for the welcome tips and the empathy - I think I haven't been clear enough with this person that this is soooo not ok with me. It's just good to feel like I'm not alone here. Thanks, everyone. I think people just don't get that their "friendly" (or extremely strange) bombardment of unasked for advice is not helpful sometimes, you know? When I want advice I look for it - that's why I'm on this website, that's why I go to a doctor, etc. etc! I'm sure I'll get a call today. Updates to follow. And oh my goodness lesliegg, I'm so sorry for your loss.
04-28-2012, 09:15 AM   #8
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That reminds me of my mother and my mother in-law, they both try to match anything they heard about to read about with my case and many times it's totally off the wall, I'm supposed to avoid stress so I try to laugh it off as much as I can or when I get angry I just remind myself its just because they care.
05-04-2012, 11:41 PM   #9
PlutoCronie
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Hope things have gotten better for you since you first posted. Something really strangely coincidental about what you have described is that a few weeks ago I was telling an acquaintance, over the phone, that I am having trouble finding a new pharmaceutical company that participates in a patient Rx-assistance program. I cannot afford to pay for my own. He immediately said that his friend can get any drug that she wants from a veterinarian that she knows, because she is a professional animal care-giver. No joke! Of course I declined, but when I read your post I thought to myself, "What is this? Do some people really think that doggies and people are exactly the same?"
05-04-2012, 11:56 PM   #10
optimusmog
 
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Ha! Well it certainly makes me feel better to hear I'm not alone, although, come on people. I love my pets more than is probably reasonable but I seriously can't imagine telling a person to take veterinary advice with a straight face.

I actually did wind up sort of snowballing everyone's advice into one conversation and stating that I couldn't keep having this conversation, that it made me feel like she wasn't taking my disease seriously and that I felt demeaned to be lumped in with, um, dogs when I'm a person. I didn't want to say anything until some time passed but she's respected my wishes not to be offered these "helpful suggestions" anymore so far. Ugh. Thanks everyone!
05-05-2012, 12:13 AM   #11
Gculk
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Seriously?

I mean giving someone advice from another doctor is one thing. But from a vet!? What the hell.

As other posters have said, just make sure she knows... God I can't even say it. Make sure she knows that she is not being helpful in giving you her dog's treatment plan. At all.

Coincidentally, the other day, just before I told my parents I was having to go in to get my colonoscopy rechecked (undiagnosed) my mom was saying how the poor dog had diarreah and wasn't feeling well the last few days. I then said how I had been having diarreah, passing blood, and was going in for a colonoscopy again and got a good old
05-05-2012, 12:59 AM   #12
PlutoCronie
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Seriously?

I mean giving someone advice from another doctor is one thing. But from a vet!? What the hell.

As other posters have said, just make sure she knows... God I can't even say it. Make sure she knows that she is not being helpful in giving you her dog's treatment plan. At all.

Coincidentally, the other day, just before I told my parents I was having to go in to get my colonoscopy rechecked (undiagnosed) my mom was saying how the poor dog had diarreah and wasn't feeling well the last few days. I then said how I had been having diarreah, passing blood, and was going in for a colonoscopy again and got a good old
Am I to understand that your Mom was OK about telling you that the dog was showing symptoms of IBD but became bored when you were talking about your medical procedures?
05-05-2012, 08:42 AM   #13
Gculk
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Am I to understand that your Mom was OK about telling you that the dog was showing symptoms of IBD but became bored when you were talking about your medical procedures?
No! Worse! She was ok telling me that the dog was feeling sick that DAY, but became bored when I was saying that I needed another colonoscopy because of the aforementioned symptoms coming back.
05-05-2012, 08:30 PM   #14
PlutoCronie
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No! Worse! She was ok telling me that the dog was feeling sick that DAY, but became bored when I was saying that I needed another colonoscopy because of the aforementioned symptoms coming back.
Oh, so it sounds like, in general, she is focusing on the doggie's sickness to avoid having to deal with the reality of YOUR illness. People do strange things when they are trying to stay in denial about something. Sometimes friends and acquaintances seem oblivious to what I am telling them about Crohn's being a disease that follows the same patterns of other diseases: It is chronic, potentially fatal, it has reoccurrence phases, remission phases, and is progressive. I'm not excusing your mother's behavior but some people can't deal with the fact that someone close to them is sick. She's not really "bored", that's just her defense against having to cope with your illness. Hope things get better for you and that the colonoscopy helps you.
05-05-2012, 08:39 PM   #15
Gculk
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Heh. I wish. She thinks I'm putting on. She's said as much.

But thanks for the kind words anyways. I appreciate the thought, but I've come to terms with the fact that without proof, I'm as good as faking it to her.
05-06-2012, 12:10 AM   #16
PlutoCronie
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Heh. I wish. She thinks I'm putting on. She's said as much.

But thanks for the kind words anyways. I appreciate the thought, but I've come to terms with the fact that without proof, I'm as good as faking it to her.
Show her the pics from one of your prior colonoscopies, if anything had shown up, or, perhaps the new ones you'll be getting. Good luck. I couldn't imagine that someone would think that you would stoop so low as to be making it up. I personally know of another young person whose mother doesn't understand why he is hesitant to sign up for college-classes, even though he is very bright and hard-working. He's afraid of flare-ups and the embarrassment of having to deal with such, not to mention having to deal with the professors, and the potentially low grades, as well as wasted money. I'm not a traditional student, age-wise, but my first major Crohn's flare-up hit last year, in my very last semester of undergraduate school, so I know what that was like ---- a total nightmare.
05-06-2012, 12:04 PM   #17
Gculk
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Pics or it didn't happen, eh. Still undiagnosed. Hopefully this time.

I fell ya on the college worries.

Whatever is on the go with my guts flared the last month of classes this semester and it was like hitting a wall. I don't even have the constant diarreah as some do, but the pain and everything drove me to distraction! I did well in the end, but not as well as I think I could've.

Don't be embarassed about anything. Embarassment is for people who chose their position. Embarassment is for people who can change but refuse. Talk about your poop problems! Have a good laugh about em!

Or maybe not, it's up to you, but I found when I did that, I sort of realized, hey, people don't care that you're sick. Really they don't. And that's good. They care that it's hard on you. They care that you're going through stuff. At least that's my experience.

A week or two after I started flaring up last term, me and some friends had literally a two hour long chat of NOTHING but poop stories. It was awesome.
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