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.