Say my name, say my name


I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and when I got there, the receptionist had me fill out a sheet since this was my first time visiting this doctor. Then she had to enter the information into the computer system.

I handed her my health card and she asked me which of the names was my surname. I pointed it out and as she looked at it, she exclaimed “Wow!” and asked how to pronounce it. We repeated this with my first name, and she asked if people refer to me by the first part, Ola. I said no, that they actually use the last part of my name and she said ok.

Then she said that she didn’t call me to remind me of my appointment because my name was too hard to pronounce, and she didn’t want to try saying it, so she had hoped that I would remember to show up, and she was glad that I did.

I was a bit apalled that she wouldn’t even try. I mean those of you who have complicated (by North American or UK standards) names are used to having your name butchered by non-Nigerians who try to pronounce it, and that’s not a big deal because to a non-Nigerian our names are complicated. I appreciate anybody who tries, and have no problem correcting them if needed. As you know I’ve even North Americanized the pronunciation of my name so chances are good she would have said it exactly as I would expect her to.

So, I was a bit annoyed that if I had forgotten about the appointment which was made a few months ago, I would have had to pay the fee for missing an appointment because she didn’t call to remind me (to their credit it’s not their obligation to call, but all doctor’s offices do).

I should have said something like “You could have at least tried!” or “It’s no big deal; I would have known who you were referring to.” but I didn’t. Maybe next time she’ll try, now that she knows how to say it.

14 Responses to “Say my name, say my name”

  1. lets not even start on my experience with my name. when i graduated, they seriously butchered my name when I was called up on stage!

    pple who try though, say it pretty ok.

  2. 2 Rayo

    I hate it when people don’t even attempt. What if it had been for a serious meeting or something? Would she still not have called to remind you?

  3. Lol…thankfully my muslim name is a bit easier, altho the thick ones still have problems with it!

  4. Na wa for them o

  5. 5 sting

    That’s just plain unprofessional. What kind of silly excuse is that for not doing her job. Nonsense.

  6. 6 GoodNaijaGirl

    @bumight – Oh, that’s the worst…through my graduations I always sort of held my breath to see how it would come out.

    – That’s exactly the part that bugged me: if she had to call me in to see the doctor because a test I had done came in and the results weren’t good, when would I find out? Why was she making it more about her comfort level saying the name than my need to know the information?

    – lol you’ll always find someone who’ll butcher your name if you look hard enough. Can’t remember who now but an oyinbo friend whose name shouldn’t give anyone trouble has had it mispronounced really weirdly a couple of times.

    – sometimes you just have to laugh I guess.

    @sting – If I were her I would not have volunteered to the patient (me) that I hadn’t called. I never check my messages on my home line so I usually assume the docs did call my home number and I just forgot to check. I guess she felt compelled to confess?

  7. 7 schic

    when i first got here i was almost tempted to change my name to “Mo” (first two letters of my name) because of the kinda nonsense names i was called but abeg “Mo” has no meaning…to make it worse, my name has an english meaning and it’s not good sef (wait, did i just say my name?)lol …Anyway, i stopped caring to the point where i would say the name once whether you get it right or not whatever the person says i say yeah, that’s it! lol…sebi if they call me and i don’t answer, i’m saving myself time and strength? lol….

  8. 8 Abbie

    Let me just say I have absolutely no problems when people mess my name up, I would be the first to tell you I do not pronounce every indian, chinese, korean or spanish name correctly, so I cant throw stones from my glass house, I do however get offended when educated people become all ignorant over my name.
    Case in point: I went to pick up my son from school a little early, maybe the receptionist lady was having a bad day because the first thing out her mouth was..”..and you are”??
    I let that slide. Next I show her my ID and she pulls my son’s record to make sure I was his parent.
    My name on the card was spelled Abbie, which is different from my ID. This woman goes, this does not match. It took all of me to not swipe her across the face. So I simply said, would you be making the same foolish argument if my full name was Deborah and I put Debbie on the record??
    Or if my name was Abigail and Abbie was on the record???
    She looked so stupid and I smiled and walked out. THOSE are the kind of people I really CANNOT STAND.
    and your appointment receptionist lady.

  9. 9 schic

    I have to give it up to Abbie, that was a really good one and for some reason, got me cracking up!!

  10. I can imagine how annoying that must have been. I have a relatively easy name to pronounce but I still cringe when people pronounce it wrongly. Anyways hope you are doing great babe.

  11. Here in d UK, I have had really good experience with pple trying 2 pronounce my names. They (teachers, receptionist, customer service staff…) actually put an effort into it.

  12. I have this problem a lot. I hate when people don’t even try. When they do finally hear me say it, they reread it and are like “Oh, it’s just like it looks.” Yeah, fool, if you had just attempted, you would have come pretty close.

    My last name is also a problem for people. But what really irks me is that for a long time there were at least three from my family doing track. We were fairly decent, so they would usually have to say our name over the intercom a few times during the meet. They would get it wrong, we would go up and correct, they would next time say it right, then the next few times they would go back to messing it up.

    When I meet someone who has a name I feel I may butcher the first time, I make a point to repeat it after them. As a teacher, if I have a student with a hard name (doesn’t have to be from another country either with so many “ghetto” names out here) I make a point to write the name phonetically so that I can be sure to say it right the next time.

    Simple step. Don’t see why others can’t do the same.

  13. They make my surname sound chic and posh…lol….so me likes it..

  14. 14 KEHINDE


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