• How do you react when a co-worker is complaining about having a cold or flu or some sore throat and thinks they might need to go home when..

    Asked by CancerChicky on Saturday, March 17, 2018

    How do you react when a co-worker is complaining about having a cold or flu or some sore throat and thinks they might need to go home when..

    you are sitting there fighting back all the tears from the pain because some side effects of treatment are acting up today? I have a girl in my office that is constantly the "sick one". At least she thinks, always full of drama about a sore throat or some tiny little issue. I want to ask her if she wants to trade her sore throat for these giant sores inside my mouth for a day. It seems she has no clue that other people might actually have real problems. I really want to tell her to shut the XXXX up, but need to say something tactfully. What?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Maybe she's a narcissist and won't ever shut up about everything and anything about herself?

      You could say that if she's really sick with anything as contagious as a cold, she shouldn't even be at work. Where I work, the Office Manager is vigilant about keeping anyone with a cold or flu from coming to work.

      From what you say, though, she's not really sick. Does she know you are having chemo? If she and everyone else does know, maybe you can quietly explain to her that her constant complaints about her health increase your focus on your own pains and disrupt your effort to ignore your pain?

      Even if you don't want to mention chemo, you can, obviously, tell her you are in pain and trying to forget about it, etc.

      From what you've said, nothing will stop her. Good luck!

      6 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Sorry. I now see you weren't asking for suggestions but asking for reactions to similar people and situations.

      6 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I have known a lot of people like that. I try to distance myself from them, which is easier said than done when you work with them.

      I never claimed to be tactful. I would in fact tell her that i wished i could trade illnesses with her for at least a little while. I would tell her enduring whatever she thinks ails her for a few days would be far preferable to what you face every day.

      I cant stand to be around such self-absorbed individuals.

      6 months ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      Ignore her! She's not responsible for how you feel and you're not responsible for how she feels. I understand wanting to tell someone to STFU when you're not feeling well. If you can, get up and go for a walk.

      6 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I would ask her to go home and if she didn't I would ask the boss to send her home. She would soon quit complaining if her symptoms were not real. And I would not want to take the chance that she did have the flu.

      6 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I once listened to someone go on and on, then I said you know, this one time, I had cancer 3 times, and one stroke, and almost died. But your thing sounds bad!

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      I would want her quickly to get out of the office, so I wouldn't catch it. A sore throat/infection with fever has honestly made me feel worse than my cancers. (Of course, they aren't as serious as cancer.)

      6 months ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      Just let her be as she is living Her Journey not yours.

      6 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      If you arent in danger of becoming sick by catching something from her, let her rant on as background noise, ignore her, and do your work.

      If a response is part of the program, either express sorrow for her pain or do as @GregP_WN did because it will make you feel better.

      If you are nervous about getting sick from her, buy an N95 mask (about $3 for a good one) and wear it to the office. If anyone inquires, simply say you are trying to protect yourself from getting sick when Mz. Hypochondriac sneezes.

      She has no clue what you are going through but she does have issues of her own.

      Best wishes

      6 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      For those who don't work with others: It's not at all easy to ignore a coworker who is constantly complaining about minor or nonexistent pains and illnesses - even when one isn't feeling a lot of pain oneself. If someone IS in pain, hearing a coworker near me constantly moaning about every tiny pain would be very hard to take, day in and day out. And getting advice like "Just ignore her" would add to the problem rather than help. Try to remember, if applicable, how it felt to work with others, some of whom might be insufferable but unavoidable.

      6 months ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      Next time you catch her when she isn't complaining ask her is she is OK. "you aren't complaining and your'e awfully quiet, are you OK?" I'm brave enough to say things like that cause I just don't care what anyone thinks anymore.

      6 months ago
    • WoodsRLovely's Avatar
      WoodsRLovely

      The other day my friend was complaining about feeling sick and having anxiety over her divorce issues. Then she said to me, "I shouldn't complain to you...look what you are going through." I told her not to worry as I want her to share with me and feel comfortable - people have all kinds problems and everyone has a right to vent once in a while. Divorce, cases of flu, etc - all of these illnesses and situations can make people feel sick and it's not a contest of who has the most miserable life. Even with cancer, even facing a horrible stem cell transplant next month - I consider myself lucky. I have a loving husband and family, a supportive community and today I feel well enough to work and exercise and am grateful. Other people have other problems and they are entitled to their feelings and worries. If I feel like they are complaining too much - I have the right to ignore them. But I like being a good friend and having empathy. And since people have been so nice to me - I like paying it forward.

      6 months ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      I like geekling's suggestion about donning a medical mask as that's exactly what I would do.

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      WoodsRLovely, you are a kind person, and everybody should have such a good attitude. (It helps to have a loving family, as you do.) It's hard sometimes, but our cancer problems don't give us a valid excuse to be angry about someone else's problems not being bad enough.

      If we really feel bad from cancer, we can legally stay home and our jobs are protected. If we just feel angry, we should go to counseling for cancer patients to deal with the anger.

      Sorry, I don't mean this in a critical way, but only to be helpful.
      Best wishes. Happy Spring!

      6 months ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      BarbarainBham, I know people who have lost jobs due to missing work for cancer care. There is always a way for an employer to justify the dismissal from employment.

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      KB2013, if there are 15 or more employees where a cancer patient works, cancer is a disability protected by the U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are required to make "reasonable" accommodations for you to be able to work, even reassignment to a different position or part-time work. FMLA covers time off.

      6 months ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      BarbarainBham, yes, I know, I have cancer and am aware of the laws however, I used to be a manager in a HR dept. and I can tell you there are ways around every law that negatively impacts an employer, including FMLA. Heck, I know an oncology nurse who was let go from her job because of her cancer treatments interfering with her work schedule.

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      KB2013, I know there are companies who pretend not to know any better, but I'm sorry the oncology nurse didn't sue their britches off!! Unfortunately the patients don't always feel up to it because of their health. . . .

      6 months ago

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