Author Topic: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor  (Read 6854 times)

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blahblahblah

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coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:28:45 AM »
I have a tendency to catch colds somewhat easily. Rarely anything big or bad enough to knock me off my feet, just something that keeps me feeling under the weather for a few days. A couple of days ago I caught a cold. The first day, I just had a mild sore throat. The second day (yesterday), the sore throat was worse and I had some mild congestion. The third day (today), the sore throat is slightly better (yay @ honey with warm water) but I've been sneezing and sniffling and coughing a lot, with much more severe congestion.

I have a coworker who will not let up on nagging me about seeing a doctor whenever I catch a cold. Her claim is that I'm *always* getting sick and therefore I should see a doctor about it. This...is an exaggeration, even if I do catch colds a bit easily (although, for the record, this current cold is the first time in over a year that it's been this bad to the point where I've had to miss work; usually I'll get a mild sore throat but it'll clear up by the next day). But regardless, it's getting on my nerves how she will not let up on it.

Anyway, today I had to tell her that I was taking a half-day today because of my cold. (If I had known when I woke up this morning that I'd feel this miserable, I wouldn't have come in at all.) She called me and we had the following conversation:

Her: [immediately] Are you going to see the doctor?
Me: [sounding fairly exasperated] No, I don't go to the doctor for the common cold.
Her: Well, hasn't it been years since you've seen the doctor? [this is true, and yes, I did tell her this so it's my fault for discussing my health with her in the first place, but this was before she started nagging me; ever since then, I don't discuss this sort of thing with her unless it's necessary.]
Me: Yeah, and?
Her: Fine. [sarcastically] You know best, right? Hope you feel better.

It's getting incredibly tiring. On Tuesday, the first day, when all I had was a mildly croaky voice because of my throat, she was interrogating me about seeing a doctor then, too.

Yes, I realize that I should see the doctor more often in general. But honestly, it's really none of her business, and I wish she would just lay off. At this point my tone of voice is generally fairly curt and annoyed whenever she brings it up, but she's not getting the hint. Is there a polite way of telling her, "Look, it's none of your business, so stop."

Something that might affect your answer: While not my direct boss, she's my superior and in a supervisory position to me. So I suppose you could say that it is her business if I'm sick or not - I had to tell her that I'm leaving early today so that she could assign some work to someone else - but I still don't think it's her business whether I see a doctor or not. Some people just catch colds more easily than others. A doctor's really not going to help with that, other than possibly suggesting stuff like changing up my diet or exercising more (both of which I've started doing this year).

EllenS

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 11:40:45 AM »
"Thanks for your concern, but I'd really prefer to keep my personal business personal, from now on."

Shabooty

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 11:41:26 AM »
Given her relationship to you, I would be tempted to lie and tell her that you saw a doctor who diagnosed you with a cold and that you should continue with your symptomatic treatment.

MindsEye

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 12:21:34 PM »
I don't know what your work environment is like, but given the "tone" of the exchange you reported, I assumed that it was with a peer, not a supervisor.   ???   You sounded pretty snarky given that you were responding to a question from a supervisor.

And honestly, given that she is a supervisor, your illness (cold or whatever) kind of is her business since she needs to worry about germs being spread around the workplace if you frequently come in when feeling ill or under the weather. 

I would stop mentioning your health to her at all,  and if you don't need to give a reason for taking time off (e.g. some companies require a doctor's note if an employee takes sick time) then don't give any reason in the future.

My suggestion for future exchanges - "Thanks for your concern, but I have it handled."


mbbored

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 12:24:32 PM »
I don't know what your work environment is like, but given the "tone" of the exchange you reported, I assumed that it was with a peer, not a supervisor.   ???   You sounded pretty snarky given that you were responding to a question from a supervisor.

And honestly, given that she is a supervisor, your illness (cold or whatever) kind of is her business since she needs to worry about germs being spread around the workplace if you frequently come in when feeling ill or under the weather. 

I would stop mentioning your health to her at all,  and if you don't need to give a reason for taking time off (e.g. some companies require a doctor's note if an employee takes sick time) then don't give any reason in the future.

My suggestion for future exchanges - "Thanks for your concern, but I have it handled."

MindsEye, I agree, especially with the part about germs.

blahblahblah

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 12:49:47 PM »
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I don't know what your work environment is like, but given the "tone" of the exchange you reported, I assumed that it was with a peer, not a supervisor.    You sounded pretty snarky given that you were responding to a question from a supervisor.
Well, the work environment is a bit weird. Yes, she's in a supervisory position in that she doles out assignments and keeps people on task. But she is not a direct supervisor, and attitudes in general are very informal. I did sound more exasperated than usual, but that was because she had also asked me earlier that day if I had seen the doctor.

In fact, recently I've been the one who's been pulling back and trying to keep things more business-oriented because I'm getting tired of her latching on to personal stuff I've said in the past (like about the doctor). She's constantly asking personal questions or being snarky (not in a mean way) and I'm trying to bean-dip.

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And honestly, given that she is a supervisor, your illness (cold or whatever) kind of is her business since she needs to worry about germs being spread around the workplace if you frequently come in when feeling ill or under the weather. 
Sure, so she can tell me to go home or whatever*. I wouldn't have an issue with that. What I DO have a problem with is her constantly telling me to go see a doctor; that is none of her business IMO, and something that she should drop.

* Although, for the record, we get 8 sick days each year, and if I were to stay home each time I felt under the weather, that wouldn't come close to cutting it. So sometimes it's inevitable that you have to come to work when you're not feeling well. Also, she's not in my department (like I said, the work environment/division is weird), so if there's anyone who should be worrying about germs, it's my direct boss and my department coworkers. And my direct boss would be the only one with the authority to tell me to just go home.

MrTango

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 01:16:34 PM »
I'm not sure that my response would be particularly polite:

"The doctor?  For a cold?  No.  I'm not going to waste my money or their time."

bopper

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 02:54:40 PM »
 >:D Advocate:

What if you had a condition that lowered your immune system such that you caught colds more easily?
If you miss work excessively  or cause others to miss work it is an issue for her.

But if you don't miss work more than other people for sickness and nobody else seems to catch your colds then it is not really an issue for her.

MindsEye

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 03:01:00 PM »
OP, given your update it sounds like this might be something that you ought to get HR advice on, if your company has a HR department.

If she is singling you out for harassment then that might be something you want to bring to the attention of HR, even if you don't want to make any kind of formal complaint.

cwm

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 03:05:59 PM »
I have people constantly asking me if I've seen anyone for my cough. Which I've had for several months. Because of allergies. It's literally coming and going depending on the allergy levels in the area, a mild cough, and I'm on allergy medicine for it. Nothing to worry about. And yet people are CONSTANTLY asking me if I'm sick, if I need to see a doctor, what have you.

A simple "I've consulted with the doctor in the past and he's aware of my condition" suffices for me. And you can even leave out the "in the past" part. Just reply with "I've consulted with a doctor. I'm managing my symptoms." Technically not a lie, I'm sure at one point in the past you've consulted with a doctor about something. And you're managing your symptoms, you just need a bit of time or something. Hopefully that will placate with her.

blahblahblah

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 03:55:15 PM »
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But if you don't miss work more than other people for sickness and nobody else seems to catch your colds then it is not really an issue for her.
Hee. Yeah, I've never noticed anyone in my department catching a cold after I've gotten one.

MindsEye, I don't think she's deliberately singling me out, at least not in any malicious way. Weirdly, I think she acts this way because she feels more of a rapport with me, which is why she feels so free to ask me about personal matters. Once, someone in her department, whom I also work with, asked me to suggest something to her, saying, "She seems to listen to you more than she listens to the rest of us." So, I don't know. I feel like this is just her own way of trying to bond... she's just really, really bad at it and is terrible at getting a clue. I do shoulder some responsibility there because I was initially happy to talk about personal/health stuff... she just took it too far. Lesson learned.

Quote
A simple "I've consulted with the doctor in the past and he's aware of my condition" suffices for me.
You know, after I wrote this post, I sent an email to a couple of doctor friends of mine, asking them if I was off-base in not going to the doctor. So, I could totally tell her that I had consulted with some doctors and not be lying about it! :D 

*inviteseller

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 11:53:26 PM »
My former boss was always on me to..I didn't miss work at all but because of allergies, during hat fever season I would have days that I had a small cough and a stuffy head.  I told her that I knew what was wrong, took allergy pills when I could (they knock me out) and because I didn't have insurance, I wasn't going to a Dr. every time I got a stuffy head and throat tickle.  No one I worked with caught anything from me, but 13 years of it got old.  Just tell her that the common cold is not something a dr sees you for.

Charliebug

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 12:01:32 AM »
I would just tell her you saw a doctor and he determined it was a cold and there is nothing more you can do about it. Your co-worker sounds like an anxious person and she is probably worried you do have an immune problem but you know yourself best. I would think with the amount of times you get a sore throat and nothing more you probably do suffer from allergies but it wouldn't hurt to get a routine check up anyhow hee hee.

(Waits for an e-slap)  ;D

Bluenomi

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 12:27:36 AM »
My former boss was always on me to..I didn't miss work at all but because of allergies, during hat fever season I would have days that I had a small cough and a stuffy head.  I told her that I knew what was wrong, took allergy pills when I could (they knock me out) and because I didn't have insurance, I wasn't going to a Dr. every time I got a stuffy head and throat tickle.  No one I worked with caught anything from me, but 13 years of it got old.  Just tell her that the common cold is not something a dr sees you for.

Ok completely OT but I would love to see hat fever season. I've got images of people going nuts trying to buy hats!

Back on topic the easy out is to lie and say you've seen a doctor and they said it's a cold, nothing they can do.

Pen^2

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Re: coworker constantly nagging me to see a doctor
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2013, 06:25:19 AM »
If it's contagious, and might affect other people, then totally see a doctor. But most colds aren't actually contagious once the symptoms start showing--they're contagious the one or two weeks prior, while you feel fine. On the other hand, it might just be allergies: what you've described is almost exactly what my husband experiences every week or so. But anyway, if it isn't contagious, then it isn't any of her business. I'd go to HR.