Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Name is BONNIE

It is. Really.
That's what I've been known as all my life.
And therefore, that is the name to which I respond.
However, my parents unknowingly inflicted me (and two of my seven siblings) with a major pain-in-the-ass wrinkle when they named us.
You see, for some reason they decided that we should be known by our second  given name.
Such as, my given names are Catherine Bonnie. Not a lot of people know that about me.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I was at a very good friend's place -- someone I've known for approaching 32 years now -- and John called to say that the hospital had called to book my pre-admission appointment.  They wanted a call-back that afternoon.
I returned the call and said, "It's Catherine Fowler calling.  Someone there needed to talk to me?"  Of course, once again, the person handling my file would call me back so I left my girlfriend's number with a timeframe for how long I would be there.
I hung up the phone and my girlfriend said, "Why did you say 'It's Catherine Fowler.'?"
She apparently didn't know my full name.  For all these years, I've always just been Bonnie.
Why am I talking about this now?
Because one of the questions asked of me during an earlier telephone session was, "Do you want people who call the hospital to be given your room number and put through to you on the telephone?"
Of course, I said yes, but offered that most likely the switchboard wouldn't be able to find me because anyone calling about me would ask for "Bonnie Fowler" and I would be in their system as "Catherine Fowler."  (The health care system must use the name on your health card -- and the health card must be issued in the name on your birth certificate!)  She told me, in a not very friendly tone, that I would have to tell people who might call looking for me that I would be listed as Catherine.  And then she offered that my family and close friends would know that.
My first thought was, "How on earth would I know who might call asking about me?"  Then I thought about all the people in my life who have no idea that my first given name is Catherine.  Not to mention the number of people who are not aware of a hospital's insistence on only using the name as it is shown on the health card.
Now, I don't know why hospitals can't have an "also known as" column for the many people in this world who have been saddled with this anomaly.  Because I know I'm not alone with this irritant.
Yesterday, we had to go to the "Prehab" session at the Rehabilitation Centre.  We learned all about the things I need to do pre-surgery, and all the things I will and will not be able to do post surgery.  Of course, they kept addressing me as "Catherine," and I just went along with them.
It doesn't seem to matter how many times I tell them that my name is shown as Catherine Bonnie but I am known as Bonnie -- they just ignore me and go happily along addressing me as Catherine.
All I know is, during and immediately after the surgery, if anyone tries to talk to me to get my attention, unless they call me Bonnie (or Mrs. Fowler), I might not know they are talking to me.
Same is true once I'm in my room.  If a health care worker comes in while I'm sleeping and wants me to respond, if he/she calls me Catherine, I may or may not come out of my stupor.
Perhaps I'll make my own nameplate to put over my bed -- MY NAME IS BONNIE!

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