Be nice to sick people

The majority of doctors are nice. Although often an innate trait, it’s also partly to do with the Hippocratic Oath. They’re not bound by the same oath, but nurses are nice too. Except for the one who was messing around with my IV that time, all the while muttering about my troublesome veins. And hospital receptionists go out of their way to be nice, because they want to put you at ease.

Farewell, hamster

I’m also nicer to people who have something really serious than those who, in my estimation, don’t have anything to complain about. So, no dead hamsters or minor ear infections. I’ll still treat you sympathetically though, should your hamster or mouse die. But I’ll secretly be thinking: get a grip! Which isn’t fair of me, I know. Because as a child I myself have often cried at the death of a baby bird, hamster or chicken. And, felt that everyone should be extra nice to me after laying my own beloved pet hamster to rest.

The art of being nice

When something really serious happens though, you’re at a loss as to how you’d like others to treat you. Neither do you know how to respond when someone asks how you are. I don’t know either.

I recently heard two women exchanging complaints in the frozen food aisle of the local supermarket. “So, you’re back in your own home then? That’s good news. Still no laughing matter though, hip surgery, especially in your situation. I mean it can’t be easy on your own, can it?” The other woman:” No, it certainly isn’t. And then there’s the chronic pain, which makes it extremely difficult to get around… and, what with my hip, well, frankly I don’t know how I’m going to manage.” The first woman again: “That’s awful. Sorry to hear that. Must be terrible. Right, better get my skates on. Bummer, that hip of yours. Byeeee!” The other woman remained by the frozen spinach, casting a somewhat lonely figure.


When you’ve got something REALLY serious, you expect people to be nice to you. And, they generally are. It’s only later you remember that everyone’s got something serious of their own to worry about, and that there’s no harm in being a little nicer to each other.

Your Hardship is the hardest

Why do those dealing with serious hardship insist on writing about it? Those writers come in all sorts of flavours. Those who rail furiously against the Serious Thing in question. Those who pen the victim’s lament. Then there’s the nobody-understands-me bemoaner of their lot in life. Or the incessant narrators of patient records, with their detailed lists of Serious Hardship That You Can’t Possibly Begin To Imagine. And the Sunny Side Uppers. Writing’s what I do too. I always keep a few people in mind while writing, as sort of critical co-readers.

Do we write because we wish to elicit a little sympathy from you, dear reader? Perhaps. But you’ve got your own Hardship to deal with. Some arguably more serious than others. Yet for you, your Hardship is the hardest.

Nice things

Then there are the Nice Things in life. My Nice Things are seriously Nice and there are plenty of them. So many in fact, that they regularly manage to triumph over the seriously Hard Things. Okay, maybe not always, but almost always. My Nice Things include people who are kind to me, people who go out of their way to help, and people who make me laugh. They also include the people who read my blogs. And, if my blogs help cheer you up, then who knows – maybe you too can triumph over your Hardship just a little more often?



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