Post # 1
Last night I was at a local grocery store deli when a woman I have never met before notices the scar on my neck from the thyroidectomy I had in December. She said, “I’m sorry to bother you but I noticed the scar on your neck. Do you have thyroid problems?” I should have stopped her then and there but instead I answered her, “yes, I had a thyroidectomy”. She then proceeded to go OFF about how I’ve been duped and maimed for life because the medical establishment didn’t educate me about the importance of iodine and how if I don’t take iodine I’m going to get breast cancer and ovarian cancer. She cornered me in the parking lot and made me take all these photocopies of magazine articles she had in her car about iodine and cancer. She even gave me a bottle of iodine tablets and made me promise I would take them. As if I would take tablets given to me by a stranger. She asked me if I planned to get pregnant and instead of telling her to mind her own business, I said no. She looked at me like I was crazy and asked “Why?!” She asked me if I had a “special man in my life” and when I said yes, she said he would thank her for saving my breasts.
I was absolutely FUMING by the time she let me go. How could anyone think it’s appropriate to ask a complete stranger such personal questions? I actually felt violated! What really bothers me in hindsight is that I felt the need to be “polite” and listen to this hag for 15 minutes of my life instead of just telling her to shove it up her ass. I wish I could go back in time and tell her to mind her own business and I don’t know why I didn’t! So any advice? Hopefully this never happens again, but what is a polite but firm way to stop this kind of conversation before it starts?
Post # 3
@peasantsong: I know you wish you had, but I would have interrupted her early on and told her “I appreciate your concern, but my doctor has the situation under control”, turned on my heel and walked off.
Post # 4
“I prefer not to discuss my health care with strangers.”
“That’s a very intrusive question.” (allow it to be followed by awkward silence)
“I don’t believe we know one another.”
Or, if you feel like being snarkier,
“Thank you for the unsolicited advice. I’ll be sure to pay it exactly as much attention as it deserves. Now, please allow me to return the favor: BUTT OUT!”
Post # 5
Wow, that is so weird and awkward. Luckily, a given random stranger has no idea what your schedule is that day, or even how nice you are, so err on the side of being really busy and not caring at all what she has to say. I would think that walking/looking away while saying “I am not interested; I have to go” and not answering any of the (extremely personal/prying) questions would be the best way to handle this, or a similar, situation in the future.
Post # 6
I’d ask if she’d like to take a look at my hemorroids while she was at it. That usually shuts them right up.
Post # 7
Post # 8
I am in no way going to try to defend the obviously obnoxious, aggressive, inappropriate, and pushy behavior of this woman. However, I would chalk this experience up to the fact that there are some individuals who feel that they (or a loved one) have been terribly wronged in some manner, and they literally are on a crusade to spread information as if others’ lives depended on it. This uncomfortable interaction likely was all about this woman trying to right a wrong for someone else because there isn’t a way for her to right it for herself or the person in her life who experienced the types of things over which she expressed such vehement concern for you.
In the moment, I probably would have done exactly what you did — tried to be polite and continued to be in shock about how far this woman went in sharing her “concern.” However, in hindsight, I probably would wish that I had stopped to ask her why she is so “informed” on this topic and if something similar had happened to her or a loved one. I also like what @badabing88: suggested — politely telling the woman that your medical situation is private and that your doctor has it under control.
Post # 9
even though her delivery wasn’t the best, I don’t disagree with (most of) her message. Understand that there are a lot of people out there who have learned things the hard way and only want to help other people avoid needless suffering. It’s difficult to keep your mouth shut when you want to help people.
If you are uncomfortable, just say so and leave.
Post # 10
@peasantsong: That is nuts….you know, its the funniest thing, we’re raised to be polite and listen to people when they’re talking, and then you bump into some well intentioned nut job while you’re trying to get a pound of colby jack and before you know it, she’s shoving pamphlets and tablets at you in the parking lot…I’m pretty sure this is how cults start….
Either way, don’t let it get to you, honestly, none of this was your fault, and whatever this woman’s motivation was, you can throw all of that crap away and forget about her….
Post # 11
@peasantsong: She was way out of line. Just out of curiosity, how old are you and how old is she? I find that most of the time when a women feels the need to be confrontational with me or push her views on me, it’s usually a woman that is 45 or older (I’m 34 btw). As I’ve gotten older my tolerance and patience for excessive bullshit has grown weaker. I’m a very non-confrontational person and I avoid drama. Some people misinterpet this as a weakness. They are usually shocked when I give them an ear full. You’ve already endured enough from what you’ve been through, you shouldn’t have take any crap off anyone.
Post # 12
@VegasSukie: haha! I’m going to remember this for future use!
Post # 13
I would say that I am a scientist and capable of making my own medical decisions and walk away. How on Earth things escalated to the point of you being close enough to her car for her to get tablets and printed articles is crazy. Stand up for yourself more!
Post # 14
I have a friend who has a very noticable scar on his neck (it was from a medical procedure but I am not sure what type). He would tell people he got into a knife fight. Or something else. Just to fuck with people. Something to use next time?
Post # 15
@greenidlady: The trick is to fumble with your belt while you’re saying it. Lol!