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Am I a total bitch?

(24 Posts)
weelittlething Tue 02-Sep-14 12:14:17

My dad's a doctor and a bit of a hypochondriac. He lives in another country and only ever seems to contact me when there's bad news ("someone's got cancer", "someone's died"). I find talking to him when I'm not there in person very draining, as it's always so depressing! He seems to thrive on the drama. He never ever shares good news - I always find out through my mum or Facebook.

Today he texts me saying he won't be able to visit me "anytime soon" as his health is deteriorating (this isn't the first time he's said this, often accompanied with "I don't have very long left"). He does suffer from some ailments but I do often feel they're blown out of proportion when I speak to my mum about it.

Now I KNOW he wants me to say: "Oh no! What's wrong?" etc. and be very dismayed. But I know there's nothing terribly wrong. I often humour him anyway, but I was in a really foul mood and just said: "No problem! smile Hope you feel better soon!"

He's not replied since and I think he's upset because of how cavalier I was being.

Am I being unreasonable by not wanting any of the drama? I'm so sick of it.

wheresthelight Tue 02-Sep-14 12:18:03

nope! drama llamas annoy me massively!

WooWooOwl Tue 02-Sep-14 12:18:13


I really can't stand hypochondriac type behaviour, I would have done the same. As long as you're in touch with your mum so you know you'd know about it if there was something serious happening, then I think you did the right thing not pandering to his attention seeking.

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 12:20:49

How old is he?

My grandad was in his 70 when he got like this. His shelf was full if supplements from the Sunday magazines and he was at the doctors every week from a sore big toe, to a nigglng cough ect. He was actually in very good health.

One November he said make sure you visit this Xmas, I won't be here for the next one ect.. He wouldn't even book on a holiday fir the following summer 'because he wouldn't be here' - all this was met with much eye rolling.

He died the following January from an anurism. Sorry I don't mean to bring the thread down but I wished I would have just listened a bit more and sympathised. It costed nothing so what harm could it have done.

sighbynight Tue 02-Sep-14 12:21:30

Totally not unreasonable! My MIL is a total hypochondriac and doctor fetishist. She has been known to retain bowls of her vomit for her family to inspect. She'll probably outlive me.

chockbic Tue 02-Sep-14 12:23:08

He is a doctor so should know if he's ill or not?

WowserBowser Tue 02-Sep-14 12:25:13

No you're not a bitch. It sounds tiresome.

But like Another , i moaned about my mum's constant health woes and she died the following week!

So maybe be a little bit more patient. Just enough so you don't find yourself living with guilt.

Summerisle1 Tue 02-Sep-14 12:30:28


My grandmother had a phrase which covers hypochondriacs nicely. Of them she'd always say "Oh, he thoroughly enjoys bad health!". And yes, they do!

In my experience (and I am an old gimmer so I seem to have a depressing amount of experience) the majority of people with really serious health problems, are more likely to under than over play them. I'm not saying that all hypochondriacs aren't ill but generally speaking, the people who make a great deal about not being around much longer are guilt-tripping you.

My own DG was quite cheery about his mortality. At 92 and in worsening health, he'd happily announce that "my time's nearly up and I'm ready to go when I'm taken". But this wasn't intended to make the family feel guilty. Just a statement of fact.

But in most circumstances you are justified in not being dragged down into a guilty place by hypochondriacs so your response was appropriate, not bitchy.

weelittlething Tue 02-Sep-14 12:31:13

He's only just gone fifty-five. And I almost think being a doctor makes it worse - like every little symptom could be an indication of a huge horrible disease.

When I had a bit of a tummy ache the last time I visited him, he gave me seven different pills and offered to give me a jab. :s

I do hope I'm not just downplaying something that could be life threatening, but I seriously, seriously doubt it. I don't want to upset him, though...

mrssmith79 Tue 02-Sep-14 12:33:00

Maybe casually check the facts with your mum? Just in case.

chockbic Tue 02-Sep-14 12:34:16

You could just say a light hearted, oh, you've made it this far, I'm sure you will be alright.

So listening to him but not indulging.

DiaDuit Tue 02-Sep-14 12:40:51

its a bit worrying that your dad was eager to give so much medication to you for a tummy ache. is there a chance he is self medicating for his own illnesses? (perceived or real) or even doling out unnecessary meds to patients?

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 12:42:26

When I had a bit of a tummy ache the last time I visited him, he gave me seven different pills and offered to give me a jab


I'd give him a big swerve!

specialsubject Tue 02-Sep-14 12:43:57

there's a story about the boy who cried 'wolf'...

FrootLoopy Tue 02-Sep-14 12:48:12

If it was REALLY serious, he'd have told you what it was, a drama llama couldn't NOT tell you.

It sounds like my DMum and her DMum, and it's a cycle I'm trying to break. My DM and her siblings flocked to my DGM's side every few weeks for 20 freaking years because - 'She's not well, this could be it!'.

My DM has recently told me how long I need to visit for the funeral (I live on the other side of the world) as I'll need time to catch up with all the family. Whose funeral? Hers! Yes, she's ill, suffers terribly, a chronic condition which is painful but not imminently life threatening.

I do try to visit every year but, really, could do without the constant guilt trips.....

ThePerfectFather Tue 02-Sep-14 12:52:44

Believe me, it's just as bad the other way. My Dad lives abroad and never tells me when he's ill, and I find out some weeks later that he spent a week in hospital and it wasn't looking good etc.etc. That would be a nice bit of news from his wife wouldn't it? "Hi I know we haven't spoken in a while, but your Dad is dead. He was ill for ages."

Great, so there was plenty of time for me to get over there and at least be with him. So yeah, I would rather hear about it than not.

FrootLoopy Tue 02-Sep-14 12:54:16

Why can't they just be, I don't know, a bit saner .... about it all?

Don't complain about being ill when they're not really, tell people when they are ill, just be honest!!!!


DeWee Tue 02-Sep-14 12:55:17

Doctors are always hypochondriacs though. Have you ever read through a list of symptoms, you usually can find yourself thinking you have several even if you know you're being ridiculous. I think it's the "Doctor in the House" series where he reads through the medical dictionary and decides he has everything except housemaid's knee.

I think, on the basis that he is elderly (I assume) it might have been better to check with your mum (who may minimise things as much as he exaggerates things) before sending a slightly flippant reply.

The old "joke" is the grave stone of a hypochondriac "I told you I was sick".

londonrach Tue 02-Sep-14 12:55:43

Be careful. My normally healthy never complained about anything granny suddenly told my mum she wouldn't be able to come to my sister wedding only a few months later as her time was near and she felt she had a good life and no re grates. She not been to the doctor and no reason for her so we all poo pooed her and said of course she would be here. No she wasn't. She died in her own home with her puzzle book on her lap a month later. For a fit 90 year old (she helped the old ladies out in her street who were younger than her) it was a shock.

Idontseeanysontarans Tue 02-Sep-14 13:02:30

The Doctors I know or worked for were hypochondriacs as well, I think that for some people a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

rainbowinmyroom Tue 02-Sep-14 13:03:43


Lweji Tue 02-Sep-14 13:05:42

He sounds like my grandmother (103).

I'd ignore him for now and repeat the invitation in a while.

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 13:21:57

london very strange isn't it. My grandad as the same. My gran is convinced it was because he was an old soul and knew his time was coming

Mrsjayy Tue 02-Sep-14 13:29:34

Hypochondriac dr isnt that irony? Anyway it must be exhausting you were not being horrible just fed up sometime s pandering isnt the right thing to do

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