Posted: 26 Apr 2015 06:48 PM PDT
The nurse on the other end of the phone sighs as she tolerates my tirade regarding pronunciation. They all know that I am particular about such things. For metoprolol is neither metoclopramide or metalazone, and the difference could be life altering.
I live in a world of words. Trained in a language created to parse pertinent details. Dysarthria or dysphagia? Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, dyspnea on exertion, or orthopnea?
Each variant a spectrum of flavor. A morsel chewed, swallowed, and digested into its basic parts to be rattled off in staccato sentences between physicians. A meaning conveyed to bring like minds to similar conclusions. A common language among colleagues to convey a story, to solve a mystery, to make a plan of attack.
And my patients words carry similar weight. The accent on a particular syllable drawing significance unconsciously to a hidden meaning. An atypical descriptor pushing the diagnostic engine toward a nefarious path. The absence of content, words carelessly unspoken.
My patient's future becomes precariously perched on such ambiguities. My ability to interpret separates durable medical care from chaos.
So you will have to excuse me if I occasionally get caught on words. If I become stuck on pronunciation or am a stickler about meaning.
I gently correct the cardiologist as we pass in the hall.
It's Rothberg not Rothschild. R-o-t-h-b-e-r-g.
And she died two nights ago.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Medical Jargon...A Doctors Take On The Same Problem *I* Have
I have had a real problem with the mangling of the English language and the (deliberate, in my case) misinterpretation of certain words. Words like "amnesia", "pain relief", "relaxing", awake and alert", etc. We all think we know what they mean, but even the simple word "no" has a different meaning to medical workers. Here is a doctor who feels the same way *I* do about words. Words mean something.