Exactly a week ago, I attended a meeting of doctors, nurses, and other treaters at the large hospital-based primary care practice where I work. We started the meeting by taking turns talking about anything we chose — work, personal life, whatever. The person who went before me described something stressful going on her in life, and then said, “So, be nice to me.”
During my turn, I spoke about the therapy groups I offer for people with depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as my new in-the-moment responsiveness for patients expressing need and distress during their doctor visits. To end my check-in, I mentioned how I’ve been dealing with personal medical issues and uncertainties recently, and I ended with the same request: “Be nice to me.”
It’s nice to ask for niceness from nice people around you, isn’t it?
The day after that meeting, I consulted with a new cardiologist — Dr. Landzberg at Boston Children’s Hospital — which I wrote about here. Yesterday, I heard from my long-time chief cardiologist at a different hospital, Dr. Deeb Salem, who is always nice to me. Dr. Salem nicely sent along to me Dr. Landzberg’s nice note about last week’s consult.
Before I reveal that, I’m going to request this:
Be nice to me.
Despite my dreams/hopes/wishes to the contrary, Dr. Landzberg agreed with my other cardiologists who believe that I will most likely need heart surgery to repair or replace my valve. When? That is unclear, at this point. Even though it would be nice to think surgery is in the distant future, it might be sooner than nicer/later. To determine the timing, I’ll be undergoing (with various degrees of niceness) lots of tests, including a test I’ve had once before, which was definitely not nice to me. That test is a transesophogeal echocardiogram, which I shall not discuss in detail here, because I want to be nice to you. Instead, I shall offer this nicely short description: gag me with a spoon (or a medical device).
Here’s some nicer news: I asked Dr. Salem about my plans to visit California at the end of February with my son, and Dr. Salem nicely approved.
I received all that not-completely-nice news yesterday afternoon, when I was at work. Earlier in the day, I had met with two nice people, in individual therapy, who were hurting emotionally. My main prescription to both of them was
Be nice to yourself
… because — as I’ve noticed in my many nice years on this earth — people in pain can be the OPPOSITE of nice to themselves. That’s neither nice nor helpful.
Nicely inspired by that, I am ordering myself in this moment (and — why not? — every nicely subsequent moment) to
Be nice to me.
Nice. Feel free to nicely join me in that nice commitment to be nice to oneself, whenever possible.
I think it would be nice to share, at this point, some nice photos I took yesterday:
I don’t know if this is nice or not, but when I’m stuck in nice traffic I sometimes take photos to nicely pass the time. That bumper sticker nicely caught my eye on my drive in to work, because “Lax” is the abbreviation for the Los Angeles Airport, the February destination for me and my nice son (who will turn a nice 17 years old during my time in California).
Next nice photo?
The above is another nice prescription I offered one of my nice patients yesterday morning, as I invited him to gain some nice perspective on a worry that was not-so-nicely taking up a lot of time and space in his head. Hmmm. Maybe I could nicely give myself that same nice prescription, as a helpful reminder about future heart surgery.
That’s Mike, one of the very nice nurses who was at the meeting last Tuesday. Since that meeting, EVERY TIME MIKE WALKS BY ME OR MY OFFICE he says, “Be nice to Ann.” As a matter of fact, Mike is saying “Be nice to Ann” as I’m taking that freaking photo. Nice, Mike.
I’ll have to tell Mike how nice that makes me feel (even though we’ve only been nicely teasing each other about it, so far). I’ll take that nice action, today. Here’s another nice idea: why wait letting people you know you appreciate them?
That nice photo shows Mary, one of my incredibly nice co-workers (nicely appearing previously in this nice post) showing me a gift one of her artistic patients appreciatively and nicely drew for her. Isn’t that a wonderfully nice present for somebody who listens so nicely and so well?
There’s a nice, healing heart that previously appeared in this post, many months ago. That heart is nicely requesting that we take what we need. From the two nice choices there — understanding and strength — which one would you take? I also want to nicely remind you that this doesn’t have to be one-or-the-other: you could nicely take both, if you choose.
For my last photo in this nice post, here’s another nice heart for you:
Speaking of nice, here’s Nicely-Nicely Johnson from Guys and Dolls, singing a very nice song:
(YouTube has that very nice version of “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” here.)
You know, writing this nice post for my nice readers has brought some things home nicely to me, right now:
- If I’m nice to myself, I don’t really need everybody else to be nice to me all the time.
- We all have to deal with nice and not-nice things in our lives.
- If we’re too nice and too afraid to rock the boat, we might not make some very nice and important changes in this world.
- It’s still nice to be nice to each other, as best we can.
I would truly think it nice if you leave a comment — nice or not-so-nice.
Many thanks to all the nice people appearing in and contributing to this post and to you (of course!) for nicely visiting my blog today.