Unfriendly Advice

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Smiling woman embracing man

Nigerians are very friendly. We offer unsolicited advice for free at the slightest opportunity. It doesn’t matter who is hurt, some people just won’t mind their business. Culturally, it is impolite to reject such advice. It takes guts to tell the person no. Today, I want us to debunk some myths.

Where I did my NYSC (Read my post ‘Eat that frog’), there was a belief that Malaria was caused by eating too much palm oil or spending too much time in the sun. I tried my best to correct the impression before I left. A pastor even invited me to his church to speak on the issue and you need to see how many stood up to argue with me.

When I had my first baby, the resident Mrs. Know-it-all, ran out to the car, waving frantically at me. I told my husband to stop. Though the delivery was painless, I had an episiotomy (a cut given to widen the outlet for the baby). When sutured, it is usually quite painful to sit or make sudden movements fora few days. Do you know what she said?

“Doc, when you get home, buy a hard wooden kitchen stool. Sit on it all the time. Don’t sit on soft cushion. That way, the wound will heal very fast”

I thanked her and asked my husband to speed off before she came up with worse. Sit on hard stools indeed! Why would I inflict such pain on myself? Some men avoid certain foods cause they believe they lower libido. Yet, they have unprotected sex,smoke, and consume copious amounts of alcohol. When you check them, they are surprised to find that they have poor quality semen.

A child was brought in drunk. He had a rash which a neighbor diagnosed as Measles. She recommended that he be given palm wine to drink. It was when he became intoxicated, that they remembered a hospital exists close by. Yet another story, is of a mother-in-law, who came to the hospital, and took away all the beverages at the patient’s bedside. Reason, it is not good to take milk or cocoa drinks when you just had a baby.

My question is, what qualifies these people to give us advice? Why can’t we ignore them or even tell them off? I have nearly fought “concerned moms” who wanted me to cover my babies in blankets when the sun was high. One lady saw my son sucking his thumb at 8 months and told me she used a razor to make incisions on her daughter’s thumb. All in a bid to stop her from sucking.

If any one gives you medical advice, find out his or her qualification, experience, and mental status. Even a doctor’s counsel is subject to a 2nd opinion. Feel free to discard questionable advice. Politely, but firmly, reject any statement that sounds fetish, fictional, cooked up, or has no scientific basis. Apply common sense always.

Cheers, Dr. N.


10 thoughts on “Unfriendly Advice

    Anonymous Chick said:
    June 18, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Hahaha @ finding out their mental status.

    The unsolicited and pretty annoying advice some people give sha *sigh*

    An if u refuse, debate or disagree with them na wahala. Always best to say thanks and move on…

    Femmetotale said:
    June 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

    This post is so apt!
    I dunno if it’s exclusive to Nigerians but people seem to be experts at giving unsolicited and unverifiable advice. I went to the market one day and the trader told one woman beside me who had some funny growths on her skin not to venture near a hospital to treat that. Instead she advised her to go to a herbalist because doctors will never be able to treat it. I was shocked at that.
    Cases of terrible advices like this abound. That’s why you hear of people drinking kerosine to abort their babies and so on.
    I don’t know whether to say that it is illiteracy that causes these things because even the educated ones also fall victim to these myths. People really need to know when to discard baseless myths and seek qualified opinions.

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      It’s fear of disrespecting an elder

    Fola said:
    June 18, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Yes, Doctor’s counsel should be subjected to second opinion. I have had my ‘unfair’ dose of unsolicited stupid-sounding advices as well as wrong diagnosis. I almost lost my son owing to health issues bothering on lactose intolerance. The baby weighed 3.8kg at birth but at 2 months, hardly weighed 4! Trust people around me – ‘ise aye ni’ (act of the evil ones) etc. Even the hospital where he was delivered accused me of not keeping proper hygiene (my good grief!). I went to many (government and private) hospitals where he was injected with different kinds of antibiotics. He was finally ‘saved’ by my gynecologist who saw him at 2 months and recommended a hospital. He was diagnosed as lactose intolerant and I was asked to replace breast milk with soy-based formula. He changed within a day! It was like a miracle. Within 2 weeks he became totally different and gained so much weight that was pleasantly shocking. Mis-diagnosis and wrong unsolicited advice could have ended his life.

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Very moving story. I thank God for that intervention. God help us

    naijawife said:
    June 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    LOL I have to laugh at the sucking thumb one…But given how expensive dentists are, I don’t blame any parent who is anxious to cut thumb sucking out fast!

      drnsmusings responded:
      June 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      There r cheap ones O! Try govt hosp. Rather than cutting d thumb

    Bellaoma said:
    July 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

    LOL!! I pity the drunk child!! I also got a lot of unfriendly advice when i was pregnant…..stop chewing ice cubes else your child will be jaundiced….. and after I gave birth everyone kept trying to force me to take palm wine so the breast milk will flow more…my MIL’s own was the worst as she tried to kill me with food….every 10 mins she would offer to make me more food even if I had just finished a meal and when I refuse she ll say I am not eating properly and that’s why my breast milk isn’t flowing. The funniest part is that they all complain that my baby is too big!!!! I was just too confused!! Plus I got the sit on a hard stool advice from a nurse at the hospital where i gave birth. I also was adviced to sit atop a bucket of really hot water whereas my gynae had warned me not to do that but to use lukewarm water and salt to avoid having the tear stitches unraveled…….Most times I just smile and let the advice slide, at other times I argue 🙂

      drnsmusings responded:
      July 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Kai! The hot water advice! Let’s nit go there

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