Pregnant woman demands coworkers supply her Tylenol

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

In today's modern workplace, it's not uncommon to find yourself working alongside a large number of people. Whether you're in a traditional office setting or a more open coworking space, there are bound to be a lot of people in close proximity. And with so many people in such close quarters, it's no surprise that headaches are a common occurrence.

In fact, I can recall more than a few occasions when my coworkers would come to me asking for an aspirin. That's why I always kept a large bottle of aspirin in the top drawer of my desk.

Not only did it come in handy for myself when I got a headache, but it also helped out my coworkers on more than one occasion. Being able to help out my fellow employees made me feel good, and it was just one small way that I could make the workplace a little bit better for everyone.

There was only one problem. Some people say "aspirin" when they really mean Advil or Tylenol or whatever their preferred brand of pain reliever is called.

So, more often than not, I would find myself offering the wrong kind of pain reliever to people. It wasn't a big deal, but it did get a bit annoying after a while.

These people simply turned up their noses and scowled in disbelief that I would have the nerve to offer them a literal aspirin after they asked for an "aspirin."

Such was the case with one pregnant woman in the office. Every day, she complained of a headache. Every day, she asked for aspirin.

And every day, I offered her a tablet from the bottle of aspirin in my desk drawer.

One day, she finally snapped. "Don't you have any Tylenol?" she asked, barely able to contain her irritation.

"No," I replied. "I only have aspirin."

"Well, I'm pregnant, and I can only take Tylenol," she huffed. "From now on, can you only buy Tylenol? I can't take aspirin."

I wanted to ask her why she didn't buy her own Tylenol before she came to work. Surely she was aware that she was pregnant and could take only Tylenol before she left the house that morning. But I didn't mention it. I just put away my 500-count bottle of aspirin and got back to work.

To my surprise, I got a visit from my manager later that day. She apologized for the inconvenience and asked if I could buy Tylenol from now on to accommodate my pregnant coworker.

"You know she can't take aspirin," she said. "She's pregnant."

"I know," I replied. "But why can't she buy her own Tylenol?"

"Well, you see, she's on a budget," my manager explained. "And Tylenol is a bit more expensive than aspirin. So, if you could just buy Tylenol from now on, that would be great."

I never bought the Tylenol.

And my pregnant coworker never asked me for it again. In fact, she stopped asking me for anything after that. I'm not sure if she was offended by my possession of aspirin. But either way, the whole incident left a bad taste in my mouth.

What do you think? Should a pregnant woman's coworkers be expected to stock her preferred brand of pain reliever just in case she gets a headache at work? Comments are welcome.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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