Ageism in Real Life

Oct 13

After my blog post in July,  Stop Ageism Now, I received several comments from my fellow residents as well as the author, Ashton Applewhite.  My fellow residents do not like being called “sweetie,” “honey,” or “dearie”  either. It is pervasive in our society from the hairdresser to hospital personnel.

I am vouch for that after a  22-hour EMS and hospital experience in which I was called “dear” rather than my name during my entire encounter the EMS responder which included an ambulance ride and the hour wait for a stretcher in the ER.

Ann and my Student nurse, Carol.

Ann and my Student nurse, Carol.

Never fear, I  was never in a life-threatening condition although the doctor kept me overnight for tests. I passed them all. I spend 13 hours in the ER behind a thin curtain so I heard many ageist  comments throughout the night. “Granny pulled out her IV” was only one gem I heard that night besides comments about “the old man” in a negative tone. A physician’s assistant came through about 6 a.m. and seemed surprised that I “didn’t look my age,” I could “pass for 50” and that I seemed “to have so much energy.”  Granted ER staff do see people that are very old, frail, and sick. But that doesn’t mean we should be treated with that edge of disrespect and dismissiveness.

On a side note, the hospital is now required to tell you in writing if you will be under observation rather than being admitted even though you may go to a floor and end up in a room. I got that paper to sign. I was going to be without food or drink after midnight so the turkey sandwich at 11:30 p.m. was welcomed. I got a 6 pack of cracker and apple juice after my tests about 11:00 a.m so I was really looking forward to a hot lunch. That never materialized as I missed the lunch tray pass. Two hours later, I did get a bag lunch with another turkey sandwich.


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