I posted Sunday's curious Dear Abby column about a woman so disturbed by her husband's ice chewing that she eats breakfast in another room while wearing noise-canceling headphones. This reminded my friend Vann Hall of a strange letter that Abigail Van Buren cited as one of her favorites. Unfortunately I can't find Abby's answer online so please feel free to share your advice in the comments.
My husband burns the hair out of his nose with a lighted match -- and he thinks I'm crazy because I voted for Goldwater!"
And here's another nose-related annoyance from Abby's archives:
My husband has a problem. When we go out to a nice restaurant for dinner, he always orders a martini with 10 or 12 olives in it. Then he sticks the olives in his nose and sucks out the juice. He claims it clears up his sinuses. Abby, this is so embarrassing. What can I do?
A key component of antibiotic resistance is the over-use of antibiotics. We talk about this a lot in the context of over-the-counter antibacterial cleansers, but there's a doctor's office side to this story, as well.
When sick people come into a doctor's office, part of what they are looking for is psychological wellness. They want to feel like somebody has listened to them and is doing something to treat their illness. Sometimes, that means they ask their doctor for antibiotics, even if antibiotics aren't the right thing to treat what they have.
In the past, and sometimes still today, doctors go ahead and prescribe antibiotics almost like a placebo. It's hard to say no to something a patient really wants, especially when it's likely to make them feel better—just because taking anything, and treating the problem, will make them feel better. But that is definitely not a good thing in the long term.
If you have a major challenge working up some empathy one of two things is happening.
You are experiencing some level of burnout. Empathy is the first thing to go when You are not getting Your needs met. This is a whole different topic and “compassion fatigue” is a well known early sign of significant burnout.
You are not fully present with the patient and their experience. In many cases this can be addressed by taking a big relaxing, releasing breath between each patient and consciously coming back into the present before opening the door.
Sure, it's not really what he had in mind. But I'm rather struck by the fact that pretty much every flame war ever could be avoided if we only listened to him. Shorter version: Recognize that you could be wrong, be tolerant of people who say things you hate and kind to people with whom you disagree, and, for god's sake, don't feed the trolls*.
*He didn't actually say that last bit, but it's just assumed at this point, right?