You Look Great and Other Lies
This is a marvelous essay by Bruce Feiler from the New York Times. Some of you will remember that he spoke at last year's Celebration of Life, talking about his new book, Council of Dads. He was an excellent speaker and told a very moving story about recruiting several close men friends to be surrogate dads to his young twin daughters should he die of his cancer.
We often talk about the dumb things people say to us, and telling us how well we look--when we know for sure that we are looking pretty awful--is one of them.
Here is a quote and then the link:
6. YOU LOOK GREAT. Nice try, but patients can see right through this chestnut. We know we're gaunt, our hair is falling out in clumps, our colostomy bag needs emptying. The only thing this hollow expression conveys is that you're focusing on how we appear. "When people comment on my appearance," Ms. Linn said, "it reminds me that I don't look good."
Next time you want to compliment a patient's appearance, keep this in mind: Vanity is the only part of the human anatomy that is immune to cancer.