Thursday, January 30, 2014

Etiquette for Calling Cards and Business Cards in the Digital Age

"Hello, My Name Is ...  Long before name tags, calling cards made the introductions in polite society."  from Country Living Magazine, February 2014

When my husband and I got engaged, my mother in law gave me a truly wonderful gift.  As my husband was named after his grandfather, Clifford Clement Graber, my mother in law gave me the remaining calling cards from his grandmother, the original Mrs. Clifford Clement Graber, along with the engraving copper plate used to engrave the the cards. Not exactly usable in this day and age of business cards, but a gift I have cherished over the years.  It is a real treasure!
A treasured engagement gift from my mother in-law, Betty Graber.

I am always happy to see my Country Living magazine arrive.  I enjoy most, the sections on collecting and what different antiques and collectibles are worth.  In February the article on collecting is on shallow trays used to collect calling cards.  I had been wanting to share this for a while now, and thought today is the perfect day!

Calling cards were used by people from the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras, and quite possibly long before that, but they were especially popular at the height of the Victorian era.

These trays, or tazas, could be quite elaborate and pretty. Others were very plain.
Being a product of the generation I am, the only calling cards I was familiar with were business cards.  I remember my first business cards. They were for my first boutique.  Someone gifted me a black and gold-toned business card holder. I was thrilled. I felt rather important with my business cards, and carried them with me always, pleased to hand them out to new acquaintances and potential customers. I had heard about calling cards, but was not really familiar with how they were used and their importance in social life just 50 to 60 years earlier.
My husband when he was about 12 years old, along with his sister and parents, on the boat named after his paternal grandmother, Georgia Belle.
From Country Living magazine's article, I learned about austere calling cards. That "true upper-crusters (think Downton Abbey) engraved their cards with nothing more than a name." From what I've heard of her, Georgia Belle Graber would have probably been shocked to find that she was considered an "upper cruster" due the simplicity of her calling card.
 
According to my mother in-law, Betty Graber, Georgia Belle Graber was a "homebody" who could never be confused with the Granthams of Downton Abbey.


Country Living magazine writes that no proper lady or gent paid a social visit without first presenting a host servant with a calling card capable of conveying all kinds of meaning.

When writing this blog post, I called my mother-in-law, Betty Graber, to find out what her calling cards were like.  She told me of the two times she had acquired them.  The first, was upon graduating from high school. "It seems really stupid, but I didn't like my name. I ordered them to read 'Betty Lee,' when they should have read 'Mary Elizabeth.'"  I assured Betty that I understood.  Most teens don't like their names. 


Betty's second box of cards read "Mrs. Robert D. Graber" and she received them from her mother at her bridal shower when she was marrying my father in-law, the man my 22 year old son was named after"I can remember the ladies arriving for the shower, dropping their cards into a gold dish sitting on a small table, as they entered our house.  My mother normally had a pretty, china plate sitting there for cards, or a small white dish.  This one was gold.  It was special for the occasion.  I don't remember what it was made of...  It could have been gold-plated.  I don't know.  But it had a texture to it and I can still see it now."  As she told me all of this, it was as if the shower had just been yesterday.  My mother in-law is 97 years young, and as "sharp as a tack," as my father always says.


Back when they were still being used, the etiquette for calling cards, was very strict and well-defined.  Here are a few of the rules; 

 HUSBAND AND WIFE- When the wife is calling,
       she can leave cards of the husband and sons if it 

       is impossible for them to do so themselves.
       

       After an entertainment, cards of the family
       can be left for the host and hostess by either
       the wife or any of the daughters.
     
  

LEAVING CARDS IN PERSON- When cards with a message
       of congratulation are left in person,
       nothing should be written on it. 


LEAVING CARDS IN PERSON AT AFTERNOON TEAS-
       Women leave cards of their male relatives
       as well as their own, although their names
       may be announced upon entering the drawing-room.
       Guests leave their cards in a receptacle
       provided, or give them to the servant
       at the door.
  

MEN- A bachelor should not use AT HOME
       cards as a woman does, nor to invite his
       friends by writing a date and MUSIC AT FOUR
       on his calling card in place of an invitation.


For more on the rules of calling cards, check out this post on the Etiquipedia Blog.

Having run my own business since 1984, I really have had no use for the calling cards my mother in-law so graciously gave me.  Still I treasure them.  They are eternally linked to a romantic notion of the past, as well as my husband and his family. Like all good things, calling cards could have either died out, or adapted as time marched on. Reluctant to die out in the modern age, the old fashioned calling cards evolved into business cards.

Regardless of my 26 year old daughter announcing very matter matter-of-factly to me that "No one uses business cards anymore." I am glad to know people do.  Case in point? My nephew Keith's girlfriend, Amanda Nguyen. 

The lovely, and always fashionable, Amanda Nguyen
Last July, at my niece's engagement party, Amanda and I got to talking about blogging. I asked her if she had a business card. She quickly pulled a card from her purse and handed it to me. I was impressed. And at the same time a bit intimidated. Amanda's card not only has her email address on it, but it shows you how to reach her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, look at her photos on Instagram, see what she likes on Pinterest, and check in with her on Tumblr. 
Amanda's card is perfect for this digital age we are living in.  After all, if you are online, people shouldn't have to search for you.

 Now, I'm on Google+, I'm on Blogspot, I'm on Twitter, etc... but none of those things are on my business card.  The only digital information I have on my business card, I am sorry to say, is my website.  I quickly realized I'm in dire need of a business card makeover.
I like my card, but with just my website, it is definitely not ready for prime-time!
I have always liked my business cards. My business cards feature a penguin logo that fits in with a black and white concept for my business, colors that are always elegant together. And penguins always look like they are dressed for a special occasion. Can you think of another animal that dresses in a tuxedo 24/7?

Suffice it to say, I have made a New Year's resolution to update my business cards to reflect the Digital era we live in. After all, if my husband's grandmother's calling cards were out of date for me in the late 1980s, my business cards are just as outdated for me to be using in 2014.



Business Card Etiquette for Around the Globe I found online:



Global Business Card Etiquette


By Guest Blog Post Author David Grebow on behalf of  VistaPrint.com

Using a business card correctly in a global economy takes some knowledge about the way other cultures use their cards. Here’s a short primer on business card do’s and don’ts

Doing business in a flat world means you will be doing business with people from other countries. Whether you are traveling to a meeting in another country, or the people from another country are coming to meet with you in the U.S., etiquette is etiquette. It is important to show that you know the proper way things are done in their country.

As it happens everywhere, the meeting usually begins with the passing of the business cards. I said usually, but we’ll get to that. First, the general rules of playing international business cards.

In most countries, with the exceptions being North America and Western Europe, the exchange of business cards is a ceremony of great importance. 

Let’s begin with some general tips.


The current universal standard has not changed in many years. The business card still needs to include the name of the person, the company name, a company logo, if applicable, and the relevant contact information, including:

Street address
Postal code
Country
Telephone and fax numbers with country codes, and
Email addresses
Traditionally, black ink is used on white card stock. The typeface, usually serif, should be legible and professional-looking. The international standard for card size is 85.60 x 53.98 mm (3.370 x 2.125 inches).
Business cards are an internationally recognized means of remembering who was at the meeting. Make sure you have enough clean cards and that they contain the most up-to-date contact information.

Here are more tips on the card exchange:


When you are presented with a business card from anyone, make a point of looking at it and asking any questions you might have about the information printed on it. Do not just slip it into your pocket.
Business cards are generally exchanged at the beginning of the first meeting and not at any followup meeting unless new people are in the room, and then only they exchange business cards.
Do not carry your cards loose in your pockets or allow them to become bent or dirty. Invest in a small, discreet card case.
Never write on your card or on any card you receive unless directed to do so.
In North America and most of Europe, it is acceptable to have a simple statement or selling point about your business or service. However, it’s not such a good idea when presenting the card outside those geographical regions.
A few words about words. It is good etiquette for any meeting with businesspeople from another country to also print your contact information in their language on the back of the card. It is also good business etiquette to present the card so the recipient’s language is face up and facing them so they can read it as you hand it to them.

Hire a professional translator or agency and make sure your title indicates your position in the company hierarchy. Also make sure the correct dialect is used, and that any cultural nuances are observed. For instance, foreign translations of business cards for use in China are often printed with gold ink, which is considered auspicious.

Now for the fun part: Other countries and other business-card presentation etiquette. Here are a few of the key tips to remember:

Japan:


Business cards are considered an extension of your business and are exchanged with great ceremony. (That’s why this list of proper etiquette is so long.)
Invest in quality cards using a better card stock than you would normally choose.
Always keep your business cards in pristine condition.
Treat the business card you receive with great respect.
Make sure your business card includes your title since the Japanese place emphasis on status and hierarchy.
Business cards are always received with the right language facing the receiver using two hands holding the card by the corners.
When receiving a card, bow out of respect and read the card as if to memorize the name and title so you can match it to the person later.
If you are presenting cards to more than one person start with the highest ranking individual and move down according to the protocol of rank.
Never present a business card during a meal.
During a meeting, place the business cards on the table in front of you in the order people are seated.
When the meeting is over, put the business cards in a card case or a portfolio, not in your pocket.

 

China:


Have one side of your business card translated into Cantonese or Mandarin and printed in gold ink.
Your business card should include your title.
If your company is the oldest or largest in your country, that fact should be highlighted on your card.
Same basic presentation rules listed above for Japan also apply to China. Hold the card in both hands when offering it and bow, and carefully read the card when you are on the receiving end.
Present your card before you ask for one from the recipient.
Never write on someone else’s card unless so directed, since it is considered a sign of disrespect.

 

India:


If you have a university degree or any honor, put it on your business card.
Always use your right hand to give and receive business cards. Note: This practice should be followed with businesspeople from any Islamic country as well as from many parts of Africa.
Business cards need not be translated into Hindi as English is widely spoken within the business community.
In India, business cards are exchanged even in non-business situations, generally after the initial handshake and greeting.
Always present the card in a way that the recipient may read the text as the card is being handed to them.

 

Korea:


When you receive a business card from a Korean, simply nod your head as a gesture of respect and thank the person for the opportunity to meet with them. No need to bow.
Unlike in other Asian countries, it is appropriate to put the card away immediately in a simple card holder. Looking at the card too long is regarded as ignorant and impolite.
It is preferred that you present your card to a person before asking for their card.
Again, present your card with both hands, Korean text side up, text facing toward the recipient, and give a gentle nod of the head. The nodding of the head is especially important when meeting with individuals senior to you.

 

Brazil:


Language, again, is important. When you conduct business with a Brazilian, have business cards printed one side in English and the other in Portuguese.
Distribute these to everyone present when they arrive, making sure the Portuguese text is facing up.
If you arrive first, present your cards right away.

Here are a few general rules for other countries, as well:


In Iran, only senior-level individuals exchange business cards.
In other Arabic nations, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, cards are given to everyone you meet.
In Hungary, on the translated side, your surname should precede your given name.
In Spain and Turkey, the business card should be presented to the receptionist upon arrival.
As you can tell, every country has its own way of conducting business and its own business card etiquette. Make sure, aside from learning the above rules, that you talk with someone who does business with the country you want to learn more about. Use the library or go online. Contact the Department of State or the country’s embassy. What you do — or do not do — will set the tone for your entire meeting.


From http://www.pingo.com/blog/index.php/global-business-card-etiquette/
By David Grebow, a freelance business journalist who writes for Vistaprint, a global leader in marketing products and services for small businesses. David is a writer, editor, and author of many books, including “A Compass for the Knowledge Economy.” He holds an MBA from Harvard, and his work has been published in Harvard Business Review and The Economist.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Downton Abbey Glove Etiquette

"Why are the women in Downton Abbey wearing gloves when they are drinking????"  

That was a query I received via email the other day.  It was from a friend, former trainee and current etiquette instructor, Bernadette Petrotta of the Polite Society School of Etiquette. This was an etiquette faux pas I had noticed several times, but ignored, as they work so hard on all of the little details on that show to keep it historically accurate.  

Add to that the fact that some more, shall we say "creatively thinking" etiquette consultants, are advising that wearing gloves is just fine and dandy while drinking, and some women are terribly confused.
Alarm bells rang in my head when I saw Lady Edith sitting at the table with gloved hands and a glass of champagne beside her, but I shut them all down, in order to hear the scintillating dialogue.

My response? "The gloves on Downton? I'll let Miss Manners answer that one... She does it so well!"
GENTLE READER: The only place where it seems to be traditional for ladies to eat or drink with gloved hands is in costume dramas. In real life, it was always considered crude, not to mention yucky, but in every period film, television show, play and opera, it is evidently intended to add a touch of what passes for “class.” Miss Manners pities the laborers who were taxed with cleaning those gloves afterward.You are correct that gloves are worn during dancing, but they had to be removed before touching any refreshments. This was a good argument against drinking when dancing.

It would serve Miss Manners right if, after obeying her strict command to remove your gloves, you handed them to her. You might reasonably point out that ball dresses unaccountably lack pockets, and are cunningly constructed so that gloves placed on them when the wearer is seated slip off the lap, thus requiring the wearer’s unfortunate dinner partner to crawl under the table to fetch them.

If you cannot cram your gloves into your tiny evening bag, where we hope there is no makeup on the loose, you must hold them with your free hand when eating or drinking while you are standing. At dinner, she suggests surreptitiously sitting on them, but please don’t tell anyone she said so.You are correct that gloves are worn during dancing, but they had to be removed before touching any refreshments. This was a good argument against drinking when dancing.

It would serve Miss Manners right if, after obeying her strict command to remove your gloves, you handed them to her. You might reasonably point out that ball dresses unaccountably lack pockets, and are cunningly constructed so that gloves placed on them when the wearer is seated slip off the lap, thus requiring the wearer’s unfortunate dinner partner to crawl under the table to fetch them.

If you cannot cram your gloves into your tiny evening bag, where we hope there is no makeup on the loose, you must hold them with your free hand when eating or drinking while you are standing. At dinner, she suggests surreptitiously sitting on them, but please don’t tell anyone she said so.



More "Glove Etiquette" —

Don’t eat, drink, or smoke with gloves on.
Don’t play cards with gloves on.
Don’t apply makeup with gloves on.
Don’t wear jewelry over gloves, with the exception of bracelets.
Don’t make a habit of carrying your gloves.


More photos follow of gloved ones drinking in period films and attempts at period photos,  all in that attempt to add what "passes for class."
It's too, too much! Two faux pas for the price of one.  Both a cigarette and a drink in gloved hands.  Both etiquette no-nos.
Tea, sympathy and Lady Mary... This small cup makes me immediately think "demitasse," however it also makes me think, "Wow! That Lady Mary has large hands!"


More "gloved ones" from Downton Abbey.

I have no idea who this is, as someone sent it to me.  She looks like she'd be a blast to hang out for an afternoon with, as she has an infectious smile! But once again, here we have two faux pas all in one photo; Gloved hand with the tea cup and the affectation of the "pinky" finger pointing up.
Now this was also emailed to me. The caption from my friend reads, "I'm speechless."  I cropped this photo as it had a brand name and the photographer's name on it as well. It is truly lovely... The women look beautiful, the flowers, the foods... and must have been difficult for a professional photographer to light. I appreciate the effort that went in to this photo shoot, but it is terribly incorrect with the gloves on while drinking tea. Thankfully, they don't have their pinkies extended! 
Another beautiful woman, but this photo shouts, "Tacky!"
The "Ladies" of Downton Abbey, correctly wearing their gloves.  They are not smoking, drinking, playing cards, or eating.  They simply stand and look lovely.  Back then, it was the only choice of occupation for many moneyed women.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Etiquette and a Regency Era Lexicon


I read for research, and rarely is it from a novel.

Making sense of "Sense and Sensibility" and other works of the Regency Era


I recently read a novel. I read "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. Now, I rarely read novels. And by "rarely," I mean I read one every ten or twenty years. Don't get me wrong... I read a lot. Daily. But when I read, I am reading for research, from my old etiquette books and news archives.

I am surrounded by old etiquette books. I currently have 6 sitting by my nightstand and 3 sitting on my bed, next to the remote control. I have 6 or 7 on my other nightstand, and just recently moved a bookshelf out of the master bedroom entirely, so I would no longer feel like I should be on the television show, "Hoarders." I moved it into our guest room, next to the other 2 bookcases. I dare not say how many books are downstairs. Let's just assume I could open an etiquette library.

My point is, that I read "Sense and Sensibility" in full, and want to read Jane Austen's other books. I have actually read parts of them before, along with parts of other Regency Era works. Those were simply small portions though, while looking for quotes.

Now that I have decided to actually sit and read these books, I thought I should come up with a "Regency Era Dictionary" of sorts, in an effort to make sense of Jane Austen's writings, as they are filled with archaic phrases and words. The following is my list up to this point in time:



"To be well received, you must always be circumspect at table, where it is exceedingly rude, to scratch any part of your body, to spit, or blow your nose, (if you can't avoid it, turn your head,) to eat greedily, to lean your elbows on the table, to sit too far from it, to pick your teeth before the dishes are removed, or leave the table before grace is said." ~ John Tusler 1791

Apes leader: an old maid or a spinster 

Alacrity: briskness


Banditti: wild outlaws, bandits


Batman: an orderly assigned to a military officer

Bluestocking: an academic female


Consumption: a wasting away, a bout of tuberculosis

"Corinthian" can also mean "a rake."
Corinthian: a dandy, a fashionable man, who is also good at sports. It can also mean "a rake." But originally, it meant profligate and derived from the elegant but dissipated lifestyle led in Ancient Corinth.

Coxcomb: a conceited and vain person. In origin, it meant "fool" as fools used to wear caps with bells and a piece of red cloth on top which was shaped like a cock's comb


Cry rope on someone: give them away, to tell secrets

Dilatoriness: slowness, procrastination


Dovecote: small house or box with compartments for nesting doves or pigeons


Drive unicorn: to drive a vehicle with three horses, one in front and the other 2 behind

Lions and tigers and bears... The Exeter Exchange was most famous for the menagerie that occupied its upper floors for over 50 years, from 1773 until it was demolished in 1829.
Exeter Exchange: a wild animal exhibit

Foxed: tipsy, drunk


Flying one's colors: blushing


Frank: a piece of mail marked with an official signature, so that it can be mailed for free


Mr. Darcy had bad breath... from a lack of oral hygiene? Surely this is a false rumour! Austen once wrote of 3 women who called on her: ‘I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.’
"Tooth powder was advertised to whiten and preserve teeth but, of course, they decayed - which led to other advertisements for false ones. The best false teeth were human, usually extracted from corpses. Body snatchers could sell a set of canines for five guineas. Gruesome though it seems, battlefields were a rich source of teeth plundered from fit young bodies."
From The Mail Online, 7/4/13
Fudge: a false rumor

Fustian: bombast, pompous language, pretentious speech

Gammon: nonsense (noun), to deceive or lie (verb)

Green Girl: a girl who is young and inexperienced


Glebe House, near Oxted
Glebe: church land to be used by the rector

Gudgeon: it derives from the name of a fish that gets easily caught and means someone who is easily duped or imposed upon


Hard by: nearby or near by

Jarvey: driver of a hackney coach  


Jointure: settlement to a wife from her husband throughout her life, which will then transfer to her children

Everyone lushing some slop.
Lush some slop: to drink some tea.

Moiety: one of two parts, not necessarily equal


Mohurs: 19th & 20th century gold coins used in British India


"Perhaps," said Willoughby, "his observations may have extended to the existence of nabobs, gold mohrs, and palanquins." from Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility"
Nanob: it comes from the Hindustani word "nawab" which was the name for the ruler in the Mogul Empire and means a rich man, a person of great wealth and prominence, especially one who made his fortune in India.

Nonpareil: a leader of fashion. Also known as a nonesuch.

A palanquin or sedan chair.

Palanquins: enclosed litters borne on the shoulders of men by means of poles.


Pinkest of the Pinks: a very fashionable man.


Round Game: game, as in cards, on which each plays on his or her own account.


Reticule: a woman's handbag closed with a draw string.


Snuff: a powdered, often scented, tobacco that was taken into the nose.  It was usually carried around in small and decorated boxes.

Sponging House ~ A place of temporary confinement for debtors in the United Kingdom. 
Sponging House: debtors' quarters before being taken to jail.  

Stewponds: fishponds

  
Town Tabby: an aristocratic dowager  

Two-penny post: In 1801, the charge for mailing letters locally went from one pence (a penny), to two


Wooly bandits are known to steal picnic foods from the unsuspecting.
Wooly bandits: wild sheep who steal picnic baskets

Whist: a card game in which two pairs of players try to take a majority of tricks, with the trump suit being determined by the last card dealt; a forerunner of bridge

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hospital Etiquette for Patients and Visitors

Etiquette Tip: If you want to bring food in for a patient, please check with the doctor, nurses, etc... ahead of time. Since a thoracentesis is no fun, especially on one's birthday, the doctor who performed it said bringing me a pizza was fine. The nurses that afternoon had agreed too. Sadly, the evening nurses really weren't on board with it, but my husband brought it anyway.
  This is my son, helping me to a piece of birthday pizza.

Etiquette for the Patient

  • Hospitals are for getting well, healing, having babies, etc....  They are not 5-star hotels with room service and chocolates left on your pillow. Accept that fact from the get-go and you should do just fine.
  • Nurses are really wonderful, so treat them with kindness and consideration. Gifts like chocolate, cupcakes, and even Graber Olives were much appreciated from what they told me.
  • Hospital gowns are overly revealing, so if you'll be there for a while, leggings or pajama pants can really help.

Etiquette Tip: Hospital food can be really good... or not. You have the right to politely ask for something else within your dietary limits. Keep in mind though that your sense of taste may be "off" from medications you have been placed on.



I asked for the salmon every night. It was smothered in seasonings on the first night I was brought a dinner. By my last meal in the hospital though (above), I knew exactly what would taste great and what to avoid.
  • If you're somehow feeling worse, or having problems with a medication, ask the nurse to get in touch with your doctor(s). They will do what they can to make sure you are taken care of until your doctor is able to see you.
  • Doctors are really not on a set schedule doing rounds in the hospital. You will see them when it is convenient for them to stop in.
  • Use your time with your doctor wisely. They have other patients they need to check on.  
  • Politely end any phone calls you may be on if your doctor enters the room. Turn off the television as well. 
  • Enlist someone you trust who is willing to help you out. My daughter slept in my room a couple of nights and was really helpful with making sure I got everything I needed, though posting those updates with photos of me in my hospital bed on her Facebook page wasn't really what I had in mind when I asked her to stay.  She laughed after one update, saying, "My friends can't believe you're  tweeting on your iPad!"

Etiquette Tip: If you are sent an abundance of get-well flowers, plants or balloon bouquets, consider leaving one or two for the nursing staff to brighten the days of other less fortunate patients or to possibly give to the children’s ward.

Flowers were a welcome gift, especially as I celebrated my birthday in the hospital.

Etiquette For The Visitor

  • Ask how the patient is feeling and tell the patient how much you care, even if you cannot empathize with him or her.
  • If the patient feels like throwing a 'pity-party' just go with it and don't list off all of the ailments they don't have.  Every now and then, a person is allowed to feel sorry for himself or herself without your judging.
  • Keep your visit brief if the patient complains about being tired.
  • Don't share your own health horror stories.
  • Magazines, a warm shawl or sweater, hand knitted socks or a nice box of stationary are thoughtful alternatives to flowers and candy.
  • Leave the diagnosis to doctors. 
  • Don’t ask the patient (even your friend or family member) for a detailed description of the illness as they may not feel comfortable sharing that information, especially if it is a grim diagnosis. 
  • Please do not offer medical advice, that is why the doctors are there.

My sister and daughter both thought taking photos of me with their iPhones to send to everyone, was really a great idea. I managed a smile, even though I didn't feel like smiling at the time.



  • Don’t come to the hospital if you are sick yourself. 
  • Treats are truly welcome, if the doctor and nurses allow them.
  • Don’t smoke and that means even E-cigarettes.
  • Don’t wear heavy perfume.  (Even favorite scents can smell differently to a patient, due to any new medications a patient may be on.)
  • Don’t sit on the bed.
  • Don’t bring small children unless the patient requests they visit.
  • Don’t touch any medical equipment attached to a patient.
  • Keep your voice down if you are visiting someone and they share a room with another patient who is trying to rest.
  • Just because a patient's eyes are closed, doesn't mean the patient cannot hear you.  Watch what you say.

Etiquette Tip: Put your cell phone away and silence it, unless you absolutely have to have it out. Don't take photos or videos unless the patient gives you permission.                           

A Special Note to the Staff at San Antonio Hospital

A first for me: A very polite, "please" is written on every x-ray request from my doctor. The only thing I can compare it to, is the time I was held-up at gunpoint back in the 1970s when working in a liquor store. The crook actually wrote, "Thank you" at the bottom of the hold-up note he handed me.
I have written this blog post in my head about a hundred times but have avoided putting it online for months. There are a lot of personal emotions regarding my winding up in the hospital for 6 days last spring. Since the doctors were so adamant that what happened to me was "extremely rare" and that they "never see it unless someone is in organ failure, or has suffered from Lupus for many years" (I don't have Lupus, but was diagnosed years ago with Ankylosing Spondylitis) and "We don't know why this happened, so we don't know whether it will happen again..." etc... , I've not felt comfortable reliving the whole thing online. So I will just cut to the chase and say this;

To all of the incredible nurses and doctors at San Antonio Hospital, thank you! You were fantastic. You were all well-mannered and very professional. I do want to apologize for any possible perceived rudeness, or shortness of temper on my part, while I was a patient at your fine establishment. Not having more than 12 or 13 total hours of sleep in a 79 hour period, will make anyone a bit nuts.

As I recall, I only locked horns with one nurse in particular after I was out of ICU, and that was on my last night in the hospital, and it was a complete misunderstanding. So, again... If I was rude in any way, please forgive me. My only etiquette tip for the nursing staff would be to shut the door when you leave a room at night. It was hard enough trying to get 15 minutes of sleep now and then, without the amplified sounds of everything going on in the hall outside drifting into my ears. Otherwise, you are all awesome!

Imagine my shock and sheer delight to see the friendly face of my former 8 year old, etiquette class student, Emile Diaz de Leon, when he walked into my room to say "Hello."  Now 28 years old, and married with a child of his own, Emile works at San Antonio Hospital and heard I was there.  He thought I wouldn't remember him.  But who could forget a smile like Emile's?  Not me.  He even spent his evening break telling me about his family!
And I have to say that all of my new doctors were extremely polite and professional.  In fact, one of my new doctors always wrote "please" at the beginning of an x-ray request keeping tabs on the fluid around my lungs and heart for several months following my hospital stay. I found this most polite and when I pointed it out the first time to the x-ray technician, she was as impressed as I.  Neither of us had ever seen a "please" before on a request from a physician.    

As a side note, I have asked my 3 new specialists, that if I am ever hospitalized again for something so out-of-the-blue crazy happening to my body, to please try to find me a bed in a room with someone who is either comatose or in a vegetable-like state (as opposed, of course, to someone like the junkie who was going through a crazy withdrawal in the bed next to me for 4 days.  Seriously... I wanted to shoot myself after just 2 of those days.)