Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine

Readers weigh in on the importance of family members in hospital rooms, and an avocado toast recipe.

Patients Are a Virtue

I completely agree with the article about families being an asset to doctors in the hospital (Perspective, May 6). Thirty-plus years ago, my stepfather became very ill. The doctors said that if he survived, he would be a vegetable. I would see him every day, telling him what was going on in the world, reading him his favorite paper. I would bring in a clipboard and a wide black magic marker, then ask him to point to what I had written. And 100 percent of the time, he pointed to the correct item/person. The nurses noted that when I went in, his eyes would light up. Three days before he passed, he said a few words to me. The doctor was blown away. When someone is ill, if they know their loved ones are supporting them, the person grabs on to that support.

Paula Caravella / Plymouth

I spent 15 years working in an intensive care unit in California. For most of that time, in the 1990s, we had open visiting hours. Family members could be present at the bedside any time except during the change of shift. When providing care, I always gave family the option of staying or taking a break. Those of us in the nursing and medical professions need to realize that we are “the visitors,” not the family. We also need to realize that the definition of family may not be a nuclear family member but rather a neighbor or close friend.

Linda Barlow-Palo / Cataumet

It was my pleasure to read Dr. Jangi’s article in the Globe Magazine this Sunday. He continues to be informative with the perfect touch of humanity and humor. I have often felt the doctors and nurses become a temporary part of the family during a stay in the hospital and am happy to hear my sentiments echoed in scientific research.

Leslie Napoli / Holliston


Having family members nearby while in the hospital is always a smart idea. Recently, while in recovery from outpatient surgery, the physician held a conversation with me of which I had no recollection. Sedation takes hours to wear off and, although appearing to be lucid, patients are frequently not able to retain pertinent information. Having an advocate present would have saved me from a lot of confusion and aggravation.

Lisa Gery / Marblehead

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I fully agree with the author about families in hospital rooms. Last fall my daughter was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital with double pneumonia. My wife and I were almost always at her bedside. One night, there was a great deal of concern because the rectal thermometer was saying her temperature was over 105 degrees . She had cooling blankets under and over her to bring her temperature down. Oddly, her heart was slowing down. I reached under the upper cooling blanket and found that her torso was freezing. When I mentioned this, the nurse decided to swap out out the thermometer and insert a new one, which registered 87.8 degrees . The cooling blankets were swapped out for a warming blanket, but it was several hours before her temperature returned to normal. Our daughter made a full recovery due to the excellent care she received at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

Robert Ryan / North Andover

Avocado Advice

Here’s a tip for making avocado toast (Cooking, May 6). Rather than use a sharp-pointed paring knife, which can pierce the shell, I use a table knife. Also, I have a serving spoon that has a rounded shape that roughly matches the shape of the shell.

Arthur Clarke / Boston