Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Get-Well Wishes Go Astray if Not Carefully Addressed

DEAR ABBY: I am a volunteer at the local hospital, and I deliver the "get well" cards to hospital patients. Here are some suggestions to ensure that the cards are delivered to the patients without delay.

-- Be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope. This helps the patients determine whether or not the card is meant for them. Also, if the patient has gone home, or died, we are able to return the card to the sender. (Today we had two women with the same first name, middle initial and last name. One woman opened all six cards, and four of them were for the other patient.)

-- When addressing the cards, use the patient's given name ("Mary L. Jones") not a nickname ("Sissy Jones") or her husband's name ("Mrs. John Jones"). Also, do not use room numbers; patients frequently change rooms.

Last week we received a card for "Buddy." We also had a "Charles E. ----" listed, and all his cards were addressed to "Ed," "Eddie" and "Edward."

-- Please write clearly and do not use the entire face of the envelope for the address. If the patient has been released, we must mark through the hospital address and squeeze the home address on the card.

-- And last, but not least, if a patient is in the hospital for a long time, send cards at frequent intervals. -- NAOMI D. TRENARY, WINCHESTER, PA.

DEAR NAOMI: Thank you for the suggestions, which everyone should heed. Greeting cards can boost a person's flagging spirit -- but only if they are received by those for whom they are intended.