He called me precious?

I'm a nurse, and there's this work-colleague, a male who's a nurse, he's just a fraction younger than me. We've known each other for a year. He jokes around a lot, from calling me pretty/beautiful, to nicknames, to treating me like another guy; calling me dude. We get on fairly well.

Yesterday morning, we were in a patient's room, and I asked him to help me re-position the lady, by pulling her up the bed with me.

She was quite a large lady. I asked him if he minded doing it without a specialised sheet which we usually use to carry out this job, as we couldn't find one. He reasponded saying "Yeah! well I'm a man, so I'll cope. But I don't know if you will, because you're kind of thin", then he smiled. I told him I'd manage, he then said "are you sure? because you're precious". I told him I'd be fine. So we went ahead with re-positioning the lady, and we had no problems. So he responded "Okay, you're strong...but precious".

What on earth does precious mean exactly? What do you think he meant when he said it?

I know he wasn't referring to the girl "precious" in that movie.

My interpretation of it is that I may appear a bit weak, pathetic, small and sensitive. I'm not sure though.

I'm only a size 8, so that could have something yo do with it.

Should I take it as a compliment or insult?
He called me precious?
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