Hello? Hello? Anybody there……?

For a few years, I have been telling my girlfriends  (yes we old people still call our friends who are girls, “girlfriends”), that we should consider bank robbery as a new career since no one is every looking at us or paying attention to us. Pretty sure that was Diane Keaton’s idea in the movie, Mad Money…and then realized it was because it was written by Callie Khouri of Thelma and Louise fame.

So yesterday, when I went to the hospital to find out the status of my brother-in-law, I was still taken aback by events clearly attached to my age, and my apparent Invisibility Cloak that  I forgot to remove.

Weirdly, I was very dressed up because I had just been interviewed on a television show

Killer Caregiver on the Loose and On TV!
Killer Caregiver on the Loose and On TV!

about my new book: Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (killer) Caregiver. Sure why shouldn’t I give myself a shameless plug here in case you missed it!

So when I went to the nurse’s station asking for information, I was told he was being discharged in two hours.

Imagine my surprise, as no one had called me to discuss his medical condition, I had no idea why he was in the hospital let alone leaving the hospital. I was informed that his nurse would come to his room to discuss all that with me in a few moments, as she was busy with another patient.


A young woman walked into his room in scrubs.

“Are you his nurse?” I asked, hopefully, as time was ticking by and his transport was coming and I still had no idea about his medical status.

“No,” she said a bit bewildered, “I’m a doctor. I’m here to look at his wound.”

“Well, you better hurry because he’s leaving in an hour and you can’t do it yourself as his wound is on his backside and someone would need to help you turn him over.” Translation: I’m not the one who is going to do that.

Never saw her again.

His nurse arrives and I ask, ” I understand he is going back to rehab in an hour, I just want to know what was determined about his medical condition. Are they changing any of his meds and what did they decide as to what happened to him?”

“Well, I don’t know that. You’re going to have to let me go get his discharge papers.”


When she returned, she started reading his med list to me. And I would ask what is that for? How long will he take it, etc.

“Ugh, you will JUST HAVE TO LET ME READ THIS TO YOU.” It was like she was reading aloud and just discovered that someone was actually in the room with her.

Stopped her right there.

Very quietly and calmly I said to her: “You need to stop talking to me this way. Your attitude is hurting my feelings. I can’t “hear” you if you can’t stop being mean. ”

“I’m sorry if you feel that way, ” she countered.

“I do, and you need to get the attitude out of  your voice.”

AND THEN,  we were able to have a medical discussion about our joint patient.

Regardless of the adorable hot pink dress I was wearing, that clearly does NOT make me look young, hip and in-the-know like I had imagined, I was at least able to demand some respect, if I couldn’t get it by default.

Since when did ‘middle-aged woman (okay  maybe a bit OVER the middle part) equal stupid? Please see this article below, which is a much more erudite, clever and a possible workshop for those of us navigating these waters!

The insults of age

A one-woman assault on condescension




One thing many of us seem to  have in common is that we know:

“You Just have to Laugh……” You can tell by our laugh lines!

© Cathy Sikorski 2015

0 thoughts on “Hello? Hello? Anybody there……?

  1. Good for you! I’ve had folks from the medical profession talk to me at times with that tone and I stop them right in their tracks! It’s nice to hear about others doing the same! Congrats on the interview and your book!

  2. Is it an age thing though? You were there I guess and not me but generally it seems to be a rude thing. For instance I can’t imagine them talking to Madonna like that – famous or not…at any age.

    In any case in the comments you seem to have got a hold of things, “I”m just going to stop that train from now on. Not with venom, not being mean, just stop it, and reboot!”

    1. I do think that as we get older, younger professionals whose professions we don’t share, sometimes think we are uninformed,and treat us as a bit on the dumb side. However, rude is rude, and so it goes, and so we must learn to deal. Thanks for commenting!

      1. Young professionals? How about our own children! 🙂 …And if we are totally honest, how many times did WE roll our eyes at our ‘stupid’ parents who knew nothing?

  3. Good for you for handling it so well. I think we all need to call out people who are condescending, especially when they’re in the medical profession and we need to understand what they’re saying.

  4. We are soooo on the same wavelength aren’t we? Maybe we need a hashtag to get people’s attention. #StartOverandSeeMe? Too long…. #Talktomelikeahuman? Something like that??? Great piece and observations!

  5. It sounds to me as if you shut her down beautifully, then got her to treat you with respect. Nicely done! And thanks for sharing your story with us. It empowers us all.

    1. Thanks, Roz. I’m no shrinking violet, but it was just time to stop the nonsense. I was quiet and calm and just wanted to change the tone. Surprisingly, it worked!

    1. Yes, Helene, she assumed I was dumb, or deaf, dumb and blind. I’m not sure which. Anyway,I’ve decided that I”m just going to stop that train from now on. Not with venom, not being mean, just stop it, and reboot!

  6. I’m not sure it’s the ‘age’ thing as much as it’s the medical profession. It really feels like people are just inventoried during medical care. I’m glad you got her attention. you GO GIRL!

  7. i have to agree on the getting old thing. a lot of it is not taught any more to younger people to respect older. one good thing. people look at me and i hear them at time. “leave that guy alone. black men are really crazy at that age, don’t set, look, or stare at him” if only they knew i’m just a nice old guy. smiles!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yeah, have to admit, it felt good to take a different tactic. Rather than let her go on..I decided we should revisit the beginning of this interaction.