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How should you address a sweet old lady?

Updated on November 19, 2012 photo photo

How I met Mrs. Bailey

I had a pharmacy in one of the wealthiest areas in Western Michigan for many years. You would recognize the names of many of my best customers and patients. You probably drink their soft drinks or their beer, wear their clothes and use many of their products around your house, on the lake or in your car.

One of them, a little old lady who would remind you of “Miss Daisy,” had developed a long-term relationship with another pharmacy a few blocks away. I am going to call her Jeanette Bailey.

The pharmacist who owned that store closed it when he retired. Even though it was very profitable he hadn’t been able to find a buyer for the business.

We got to know each other

Mrs. Bailey called me to let me know that she was going to need a new pharmacist. I called the pharmacy that was closing and transferred most of her prescriptions to my place. I called the doctor for a couple of prescriptions that needed to be renewed.

This was a couple of years before I got my first computer, so I still did everything by hand. I had developed a form that allowed me to enter all of her meds and medical conditions so that I could keep track of when she might need refills and to check to make sure that none of them would interfere with each other or cause problems with her chronic conditions or her age. By the time I completed that form I usually got to know my patients very well. A computer does all that now.

Mrs. Bailey was having a rough day when she called to ask me a question about a serious illness that the doctor had just discovered. She became a little emotional. After a few moments I interrupted her and I said, “Jeanette, you don’t have to worry. You know that the doctor and I are going to take good care of you.”

Her response almost floored me. She said, “You don’t know how good it sounds to hear you call me by my first name.” She said that no one had called her Jeanette since her husband had died almost twenty years before.

Jeanette was with me for over ten years before it was her turn to go.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i m a diracter a harble farmacy if u intrested long term bissniss with frendship i wait your mail my mail id i m 38 yr indian

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i m a diracter a harble farmacy if u intrested long term bissniss with frendship i wait your mail my mail id i m 38 yr indian

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh my, how sad! And, yet, the first thing we're inclined to do on a professional level is not use first names. It helps a great deal of folks let us know they prefer it, but sometimes, you just gotta listen to the feeling you get from a person to find out if they prefer professional only, or personably professional. :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I am inspired by this story. A little kindness goes a long way. :)

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      EWWWWWWWWwwwwwww this is good, so what do you call a little old rich lady, by her name, first name. Great story, voted it up and all that is good. Thanks for sharing. Peace :)

    • equealla profile image


      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      In desperation, especially when it is sickness and disease, we all need a friend. I think he formal "Mr or Mrs" just makes you feel more distanced from the person who try to help. First name usage for a patient can sometimes be more therapeutic than the actual medicine.

      You had a sharp wit to recognise this, and won a friend in the process!

    • DiamondRN profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Diamond RPh 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Thank you, James.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      i love this Hub! What a sweet and lovely story. It's the little things that separate the men from the boys; or the women from the girls. Or I should say that make for ladies and gentleman. Thanks!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      How wonderful that you had the opportunity to make someone happy. Just a simple thing. A wonderful story!

    • itakins profile image


      8 years ago from Irl

      Ah sweet but so very sad-it must be a fairly common occurence too.It brings me back to when I was a student nurse and we were absolutely discouraged from calling patients by their first names or vice versa,lest we encourage familiarity.Pretty daft really!

      It's worth keeping this hub in mind-thank you.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      Since my Dad died, there's no one to call me by the nickname he had for me, so I know just how she felt.


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