I know there are some taboo topics in Poland like sex (actually true), supposedly money (but everyone talks about it all the time), and health – the topic of today’s post. I’ve had so many situations recently where someone has kept what seems like perfectly normal information about their medical health from me, and it drives me absolutely mad! Please don’t tell me you’re going to the hospital but not why. Please don’t tell me your kid is near death by not why. Please don’t tell me you got a biopsy but not of what. PLEASE. I can’t stand it anymore!
I can understand if you have a venereal disease and you don’t wanna talk about it. Or maybe you’re getting a vasectomy – fine, don’t need to know. If you have an issue that might be embarrassing in casual conversation, there are ways to avoid talking about it all together. How about – “hey, I have something going on next week so I can’t meet.” or “My grandma’s coming into town so I need to reschedule.” Perfectly acceptable lies that don’t make me worried that something terrible is going on with you.
But recently, I get a lot of things like this:
My ex-long-time-student who I bumped into recently that “she’s feeling better after surgery in March”… no details whatsoever. I hesitate in these situations because I don’t want to intrude into their privacy (I actually do but don’t want them to think I’m rude and I’m not sure what the norm is here), so I wait for them to tell me, and nothing!
My kid’s babysitter went to the hospital – didn’t tell me why. UGH.
My student’s kid was in the hospital for a few weeks. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she’d tell me next time we see each other… which still hasn’t happened since then and has left me wondering this entire time!
Even my 9-year-old neighbor recently came over to our house and had this big scab on her forehead, so I asked her what happened. Her response… “oh, it’s a long story… haha” Turns out she got in a small motorcycle crash with her dad. Why would that be taboo? Why couldn’t she have just told me?
I’m pregnant (second baby, it’s a girl! not hiding facts in an effort not to infuriate you!) and no one feels embarrassed to ask me about the details. Every cashier, neighbor, or old man selling chicken at the targ can ask me when my due date is – fine with me. But just imagine if my answer was something like “oh, sometime this year…” That would be annoying! And I don’t even know those people.
I know that people are entitled to their privacy, but if we’re not strangers and you bring up on your own that something is wrong with you, please god don’t leave me in the dark about how serious it is. I need to know how little or how much to worry about you.
Am I insane or do other people experience this as well? I’m always left hesitating between wanting to ask (because I think that’s nice, plus I’m interested) and not wanting to go too far.
So, to my Polish readers, should I start being rude and just flat out asking people? Would it be considered rude to ask or considered rude not to ask? Are people waiting for me to ask for more information or is it considered strange for people to discuss their medical problems in casual conversation? A little advice would be greatly appreciated.
Na zdrowia to you all!
Also, if you’re interested in this this topic, take a look at a post I wrote about health myths in Poland.