Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I am writing regarding the letter from "Sniffled Out in Indiana" , who complained about the noises her co-worker made throughout the day. Full Story
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Since: Sep 08

Monroe, WI

#1 Oct 9, 2008
I think that most people, after learning that someone has a syndrome, are very sympathetic and understanding of the situation.

Not saying that you have to disclose your syndromes for people to understand, because you're not obligated to do so. Just saying that once people DO know, they USUALLY aren't jerks about it to you.
ivory dove

Helotes, TX

#2 Oct 9, 2008
Thank you for an informative column.
Dienne

United States

#3 Oct 9, 2008
Asking him to stop it could be discriminatory because of Tourette's, yet his co-workers aren't allowed to know whether he even has Tourette's. How can you discriminate against something you don't know about? So now if you ask someone to please blow your nose and stop sniffling, you could be written up for discrimination? Nice.
Cynthia

Waterford Works, NJ

#4 Oct 9, 2008
I would think the discrimination would be in not hiring or not retaining a person who displays symptoms that irritate others. What's a poor employer to do, have all of his staff quit because they can't tolerate the repeated irritation? Probably wearing a head set and listening to music or white sounds would help, but bet the employer wouldn't permit this.
Mitsy

Kirksville, MO

#5 Oct 9, 2008
I believe there are several kinds of meds for this condition. I know one woman who used to have the symptoms so badly that when she went to a restaurant, it would clear out very quickly because people were so uncomfortable around her. This is not a disability like some other situations because the person is going to have people looking and talking about them. It's kind of hard to ignore really. When this same woman got her meds changed, she quit having any symptoms. This was years ago and I still see this woman about town today. She seems to be "normal" as far as behavior and no symptoms of the disease as long as she's on her meds.

“Merry Holidays!”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#6 Oct 9, 2008
I saw a 20/20 or Dateline (one of those) on Tourette's Syndrome and learned a great deal. People with Tourette's have a heavy burden to carry. I give them all the credit in the world try to deal with their symptoms.
Matilda

United States

#7 Oct 9, 2008
Deal with it the same way I deal with the lady two cubicles over from me with the disgusting, wet, hacking smoker's cough: iPod. I get a 10 minute break from her every hour when she goes outside to inhale more carcinogens. At least if she had Tourette's, I'd have some degree of sympathy for her.
Beau

Madison, WI

#8 Oct 9, 2008
Everything has to have a diagnosis these days. If you have an annoying sniffle then you have tourette's, if you can't pay attention then you have adult ADD, headaches become "migraines" - if it's legit then I would think people would want their co-workers to know so they could understand instead letting them think they are an annoying jerk. Then again a lot of people don't care what anyone thinks about them.
Anne

Gresham, OR

#9 Oct 9, 2008
If I remember the original letter correctly, the writer said that the co-workers mannerisms was affecting his/her ability to get work done.

If you are unable to complete your assignments you face being fired.

With all respects to the fact that a co-worker may not be able to control himself/herself due to a medical condition like Tourette's, it should not put another's job in jeopardy.

This sounds like a case where the employer needs to make accommodations for each worker. Perhaps making the walls of the cubicals higher, installing more noice reduction padding, moving the person who has the condition to a less centrally located position.

I don't think that trying to make the workplace "work" for all employees is discriminatory. It is in the best interest of the employer to keep all employees as productive and happy as possible.
SNH

Lake Forest, IL

#10 Oct 9, 2008
Mitsy wrote:
I believe there are several kinds of meds for this condition. I know one woman who used to have the symptoms so badly that when she went to a restaurant, it would clear out very quickly because people were so uncomfortable around her. This is not a disability like some other situations because the person is going to have people looking and talking about them. It's kind of hard to ignore really. When this same woman got her meds changed, she quit having any symptoms. This was years ago and I still see this woman about town today. She seems to be "normal" as far as behavior and no symptoms of the disease as long as she's on her meds.
There is no "magic med" cure for TS symptoms. Do not assume so because of a woman that you see about town who appears to now be "normal". Tics can wax and wane. Meds can reduce the severity of tics, but sadly it is not a precise science as of yet.

As a parent of a child with TS I would hope that people can be accepting of people with tics without doling out medical advice or being so distracted by the tics that they don't see the person beneath them. So while you may find it "hard to ignore" this particular disability, would it hurt you to try?
TiredOfPC

Barnesville, OH

#11 Oct 9, 2008
"...requesting that he "stop it" would be discriminatory ..."
Oh, Puh-LEEEEZ !
Patrick

United States

#12 Oct 9, 2008
Beau wrote:
Everything has to have a diagnosis these days. If you have an annoying sniffle then you have tourette's, if you can't pay attention then you have adult ADD, headaches become "migraines" - if it's legit then I would think people would want their co-workers to know so they could understand instead letting them think they are an annoying jerk. Then again a lot of people don't care what anyone thinks about them.
Beau, since you care so much what other people think about you, allow me to tell you that I think you are a great big huge JERK.

As for me, I'll just quote my former pastor: "what you think about me is none of my business".
Mitsy

Kirksville, MO

#13 Oct 9, 2008
SNH wrote:
<quoted text>
There is no "magic med" cure for TS symptoms. Do not assume so because of a woman that you see about town who appears to now be "normal". Tics can wax and wane. Meds can reduce the severity of tics, but sadly it is not a precise science as of yet.
As a parent of a child with TS I would hope that people can be accepting of people with tics without doling out medical advice or being so distracted by the tics that they don't see the person beneath them. So while you may find it "hard to ignore" this particular disability, would it hurt you to try?
Sure people can try, but when someone is very loud and disruptive, that's just kind of hard to pretend it's not happening. I can't quite put this condition in the same category as say..someone in a wheel chair or who walks with crutches. You might notice people in a wheel chair, but you don't think anything of it and most people aren't going to stare. TS, if they have behavior issues due to the disease, are going to be looked at, frowned up, and generally most people do not want to dine around someone like that. If I had such a condition, I would not subject other people to watching me and I would not want to be out in public if I could not get the symptoms under control.
Beau

Madison, WI

#14 Oct 9, 2008
I was just commenting that the original letter was about dealing with a coworker with an annoying habit, and now that person has suddenly has tourettes syndrome. So many people have SELF diagnosed conditions these days just to make excuses for themselves. While Abby's column was informative, it doesn't help the annoying person's coworkers, we can't just assume someone has a medical condition when they have a bad habit especially when it affects our work. Disclosing to your coworkers that you have a condition could foster some understanding and tolerance. Of course disclosing your medical history to coworkers is a totally personal choice, and if you're not comfortable doing it you should be prepared to be labeled as "annoying". I'm sorry if you took my statement as that I discount the validity of a doctor diagnosed condition, or that I question a person's right to keeping medical info private.
A Guy in Tennessee

United States

#15 Oct 9, 2008
Maybe the guy just suffers from "Perpetual Sniffles", it really happens.

“Merry Holidays!”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#16 Oct 9, 2008
Mitsy wrote:
<quoted text>
Sure people can try, but when someone is very loud and disruptive, that's just kind of hard to pretend it's not happening. I can't quite put this condition in the same category as say..someone in a wheel chair or who walks with crutches. You might notice people in a wheel chair, but you don't think anything of it and most people aren't going to stare. TS, if they have behavior issues due to the disease, are going to be looked at, frowned up, and generally most people do not want to dine around someone like that. If I had such a condition, I would not subject other people to watching me and I would not want to be out in public if I could not get the symptoms under control.
Mitsy! You are usually much more kind hearted. Think of it. Think of yourself having a condition that you have a tic and you cannot control it. Would you just stay in your house your whole life or would you accept yourself?

Sometimes as adults we need to take a step back and have some compassion. You usually do. I think you just didn't think of it in those terms perhaps?
A Guy in Tennessee

United States

#17 Oct 9, 2008
It's called, Vasomotor Rhinitis.
SNH

Lake Forest, IL

#18 Oct 9, 2008
Mitsy wrote:
<quoted text>
Sure people can try, but when someone is very loud and disruptive, that's just kind of hard to pretend it's not happening. I can't quite put this condition in the same category as say..someone in a wheel chair or who walks with crutches. You might notice people in a wheel chair, but you don't think anything of it and most people aren't going to stare. TS, if they have behavior issues due to the disease, are going to be looked at, frowned up, and generally most people do not want to dine around someone like that. If I had such a condition, I would not subject other people to watching me and I would not want to be out in public if I could not get the symptoms under control.
You lead a very blessed life to be one of the golden people who has deemed themselves "socially acceptable". By your logic, you should not be posting comments online, because I find your attitude socially awkward and do not appreciate being subjected to your narrow thinking. So if you could please no longer post online again, because you offend me and I find it hard not to look at your comments. Thanks for your cooperation.
Mitsy

Kirksville, MO

#19 Oct 9, 2008
Terri at home wrote:
<quoted text>
Mitsy! You are usually much more kind hearted. Think of it. Think of yourself having a condition that you have a tic and you cannot control it. Would you just stay in your house your whole life or would you accept yourself?
Sometimes as adults we need to take a step back and have some compassion. You usually do. I think you just didn't think of it in those terms perhaps?
It's not that I don't have compassion. You just have to realize that some behaviors (medical induced or otherwise) WILL call attention to people. It's not really humanly possible to not notice someone who had a condition like TS where they appeared to act out or behave inappropriately. And if it were me, I would not likely go out if I had this condition. If I couldn't get meds to control it, I would not put myself or others in an uncomfortable situation.
Daria the Pumpkin Freak

Detroit, MI

#20 Oct 9, 2008
Mitsy wrote:
<quoted text>
It's not that I don't have compassion. You just have to realize that some behaviors (medical induced or otherwise) WILL call attention to people. It's not really humanly possible to not notice someone who had a condition like TS where they appeared to act out or behave inappropriately. And if it were me, I would not likely go out if I had this condition. If I couldn't get meds to control it, I would not put myself or others in an uncomfortable situation.
Sorry, Mitsy, but you WOULD go out, unless you had a spouse/parent to support you, because you HAD to go out. And it would be like dying a slow death every time you stepped out your front door.

God forbid you have a child with a neurological/mental disorder. Imagine your reaction the first time someone asked you why you didn't keep him "out of the way"!

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