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Honey, please don’t call me Sweetie….

Posted by mcm0704 on July 18, 2010 |

HONEY, PLEASE DON’T CALL ME SWEETIE was the headline for a column in The Dallas Morning News yesterday that was written by a 90-year-old woman, Helen Mitchell.

This isn’t Helen, it’s me as Mildred in the play “Squabbles.”

The point of her column was that nurses and medical staff often refer to the older patients as Sweetie, Honey, or Darling during exams, x-rays and other medical procedures. She acknowledges that the intent is not be be patronizing or condescending. “You’re just trying to be nice and you think that just because I am old and weak and sometimes in a wheelchair that I’m fragile or delicate – like a child.

“But I’m not a child.”

I remember hearing similar sentiments from patients when I was working in a large hospital as a chaplain. The patients often asked me why medical staff has a tendency to do that. Like Mrs. Mitchell said — I can’t refer to her as Helen as she did not give me permission to – I don’t think people realize that using those endearments is anything but endearing. When staff was open to it, I would suggest that perhaps they rethink that approach to the older patients. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Now that I have a few more wrinkles and a little more gray in my hair, I’m experiencing the same thing sometimes, and I cringe inside when I hear it. Sometimes I even respectfully ask wait staff to not call me “sweetie.”

I also don’t like to be called by my first name by everyone in a doctor’s office, especially on a first visit. If I must call you doctor or nurse, then you can call me Mrs. Miller. After we have established a rapport, then I may give you permission to call me Maryann.

Here is a LINK to the full article by Mrs. Mitchell. Well worth the read.

What do you think about this issue? Or is it even an issue for you?

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