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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Think About Your Words

I have been a health care worker for over 30 years and I am the parent of a childhood cancer survivor, so I have had the experience of being on both sides of the health care system prior to being diagnosed with cancer myself a couple of months ago.  During a recent hospitalization for a particularly scary and unexpected event, I noticed that we health care workers are at times a little unduly cheerful to patients who are facing things that are quite sobering.
It is all done with the best of intentions, there is no question about that.  Hospital employees come to the hospital everyday, it is their work place.  They bring their natural good will with them to work, and they very much wish the best for every patient who comes through the door.  But sometimes the wording of those best wishes could be a bit more reflective of what is actually happening to the patient. "Have a great day." might really not be in the cards for some patients, and something along the lines of I hope that you experience some relief of what brought you here" or "I hope things are better for you today and that you might be well enough to go home soon" are more appropriate.  I am very guilty of this cheer, and will have to watch myself in the future.

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