Archive of Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

Reader Comments on The Pillers of Society

From Jim, 10 January 2009:

Ah, but were you a “bitter pill” or a “sugar-coated pill”? One would assume the latter, since your no-name friend stuck around to hear your entire litany of swallowable nonsense nostrums.

And one thing to remember, my friend: Someone who’s endured the 13 varieties of Hell that you’ve recently experienced is entitled to a bit of “impatience” with ill-mannered well-wishers.

If they have a problem with that, offer them one of your magical “meatloaf-sized anti-frangeboid dittertynes” pills. That’ll cure ’em!

From Sarah, 10 January 2009:

“The Other Side of the Coin”

As caregiver for an ailing elderly lady, I must sympathize with your first position. My patient spent months in the hospital, and recovery has been slow and painful.

What I cannot sympathize with or condone is people like your old pal who “just drop by” to cheer her up. It never seems to occur to them that she isn’t in any position to be cheered up. It’s hard to be cheerful when one is in pain.

Why didn’t your ol’ buddy have the courtesy to call to see if you were feeling well enough to entertain before he blithely dropped by? Was he so full of himself that he simply assumed you’d be delighted to spend the afternoon trading jokes with him?

Speaking from the caregiver’s perspective, I’d like to suggest that people stop and try to understand the patient’s situation. In spite of the Bible’s directive to visit the sick, an invalid usually does not need or want company. Their world has shrunk to getting through the next hour, the rest of the day. They simply don’t have the resources required to carry on a lengthy conversation. If you must visit, keep it extremely short. Five or ten minutes at the very most. If they want you to stay, they’ll let you know — but if you don’t get any indication of that, say your words of friendship and support and get out.

Believe me, your friend will be grateful. Save the long visits for when he is fully recovered.

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