Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

After surgery, Percy was warned by his doctor that he must rest quietly in bed.

But his well-meaning friends kept him awake, trying to cheer him instead.

His pulse became weaker, his eyes became dim, great fuzziness entered his head.

While all of his friends were just chatting it up, poor Percy just wished himself dead.

Postsurgical recovery is as important as the medical procedure itself. Giving the body time to heal properly and function in an improved manner is imperative. A major component of recovery is rest, and if we are the patient who has been ordered to rest, we need the compassionate understanding of others to support our efforts.

I’ve had it happen to me several times and observed it in many more; we start to feel euphoric because the operation is over and we have an unrealistic idea that we can pick up where we left off. So we invite others to come see us, and when they do they overstay and we suddenly feel we are miles behind where we were on the “Feeling Good Scale.”

To help avoid such a set-back, here are some time tested tips for the visitor of a sick patient, whether in hospital or home.

• Call first. Be sure your friend is up to having company and ask what time would be convenient for a visit.

• Wash your hands well before entering the room. Use discretion as to whether or not to wear a mask.

• Knock before entering the room to be sure the patient’s privacy is protected.

• Keep the visit cheerful. Don’t share bad news or negative conversation. Positive and humorous conversation has a healing effect.

• Don’t pry into the medical particulars. Let your friend tell you details of her illness and recovery when, and if, she is ready. And be willing to listen without interrupting. 

• Keep your visit short, normally 10-15 minutes. Remember poor Percy!

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at

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