Handbook for Mortals: Talking with a Sick Person


From the Fall 2001 issue of Hopes & Dreams, newsletter of the Illinois Chapter, Huntington's Disease Society of America.

From Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness
By Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D.
Publication date: March 1999

When you think you want to say:

Try this instead:

Dad, you are going to be just fine.

Dad, are there some things that worry you?

Don't talk like that! You can beat this!

It must be hard to come to terms with all this.

I can't see how anyone can help.

We will be there for you, always.

I just can't talk about this.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed right now.   Can we take this up later tonight.

What do the doctors know?

Do you think the doctors are right?

You might live forever.

How does it seem to you?

Please don't give up. I need you here.   

I need you here.   I will miss you terribly. But we will get through it somehow.  

There has to be something more to do.

Let's be sure we get the best of medical treatments, but let's be together when we have done all we can.

Don't be glum.   You will get well.

It must be hard.   Can I just sit with you for a while.


Created and maintained by Renette Davis. Send comments to Renette by clicking here.

Created: Sept. 9, 2001
Last updated: Nov. 13, 2010