The holidays always bring memories of my family. My mother was a Southerner, and my father was a Yankee. I did not realize how important that was until I completed my fourth-year externship under Paul Ajamian, OD (not Southern, for the record).
If I had a dollar for each time patients just stared at me mystified after I introduced myself, I would be rich. They would just look at me like I had horns and say, “You ain’t from around here. You’re a Yankee.”
And I would nod politely and explain that while I was from the North, I was indisputably a DAR, and they would begrudgingly comply. For you Yankees, a DAR is a Daughter of the American Revolution, and being one saved me many times in Atlanta. Now that I live in the South and get to visit the North, it is like watching “Fargo” and realizing my family really does talk like that.
So for all you Yankees, let’s review how we do things in the South.
More from Dr. Swartz: Why ODs are awesome
1. Know your pronouns
When calling patients, you call them mister, ma’am, miss, or master. And your extremely polite patient says, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am” upon answering any question.
For example, when I enter the room, I say, “Master Jackson, how are you today?” The teen will look up from his iPhone, and say, “Fine, ma’am. Why can’t I read my phone?”
I particularly like calling women “miss” who by age should be “ma’am.” It is like carding them. They will come back year after year. Once I know them, I get to call all female patients “Sweetie.” I am sure this is why I can’t remember any of my patients’ names.