Americans apologize for calling, Iranians apologize for not calling enough. I appreciate both approaches.
Americans ask questions, Iranians give advice. USA! USA!
First, it was people who are in no way doctors calling to tell me whether to have a partial or radical nephrectomy. (The considerations are: save some kidney if you can, because you just might need it vs. be totally sure that there's no cancer left in your body.) Unfortunately, there's a raging debate among urologists on just this question, so there really are points on both sides--in fact, visiting surgeons wasn't much different from fielding phone calls, with each person hitting the same talking points . Here folks, let me, and my several hours of Pubmed research make the decision! (Partial, for those keeping score.)
I understand what the Iranians are thinking: they don't want me to go astray and harm myself, and there isn't the same emphasis on "respecting autonomy" in Iranian culture, so it doesn't occur to them that they're crossing a boundary, or being meddlesome. But the excesses of the Iranian approach are hilarious breaches of any culture's norms. The latest round of advice-giving concerns which surgeon I should have do the surgery, and tonight someone actually said this to me: "Look, Dr. S was a general surgeon, and then became a urologist. I guarantee you that if the urologist accidentally cuts your aorta, he's just going to put his finger on it until the general surgeon gets there, but Dr. S will take care of it himself!"