I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love pretty words and I love people who use them. If someone uses a big ten dollar word when a tiny fifty cent one would have worked just as well, they are my new best friend.
If Mr. Man had said, “You are pretty,” rather than “You look simply marvelous,” we wouldn’t be Mr. & Mrs. Man today.
I’m sorry. That’s a total lie. We both know I would have married him even if he’d said, “You have a purty mouth”. I marry everybody.
But let me tell you what isn’t a lie. I do not care for medical people and their fancy made up words and their secret medical handshakes and gang signs. Not one little bit. They trot around in their medical leisure suits and their body fluid resistant foot-wear randomly tossing around pretend words like echotexture and heterogeneous and ovary and it makes me all kinds of mad. Irate even.
As a patient with what I’ve been told is at least an average ability to understand a fair amount of English words, it is upsetting to receive a report full of words on top of words that simply make no sense.
How’s a girl supposed to even ask half way intelligent questions of her physician when she has to first sound out words like a kindergartener as she traces along them with her pointer finger?
“I’d like to know what you feel is the best plan of action for my cu..cu..cooo..lee…su…….su……..su…sis…tie…tis? And should I be concerned that my left ovary is enlarged and I have a uterine lu…lu….lu….leee…. umm, what’s this word here? The one with nine syllables and not nearly enough vowels?”
Even worse is to try and understand their explanation when they are standing right in front of you obviously making up words as they go. Oh, they’d like us to believe that medical verbiage has a Latin origin, but that’s doodie. The language they use is so ridiculous, so completely preposterous; I would easier believe it has its roots in Pig Latin.
My primary care physician has long understood that I lack the brain chip that translates medical gobble-dee-goop to real words and has adapted his bedside manner accordingly. He draws me pictures. In these past few medically troubling years I have seen stick figure drawings of my thyroid, my breasts, my ovaries and a couple of internal body parts he says I have but I can find in no anatomy book.
I have an appointment with my sweet etch-a-sketch Doc Friday morning before making yet another trip far north to see the man with the sharp knife and the weird spot on his face that in my non-medical opinion really needs to be lanced. While Dr. Dances with Wolves (that’s code so you can’t guess my Doc’s name and call him up pretending to be me and find out how much I weigh)…while he will draw me a stick figure with a sad face and lots of arrows pointing to my abdomen and my bank account, I know Surgeon Spotted Face Guy will not be as kind.
He’ll rush into the ugly green and antiseptic smelling exam room breathless, wearing scrubs and one of those little unnecessary scrub hats, as if he has exactly three minutes to be near me before the stick of dynamite he has shoved up his behind explodes.
Dripping with self-importance, he’ll throw me a half smile and say things like, “Your zomaseetussi has developed four large mamootriads that should be knickerbockered as well as possibly bimbamaloosud. Don’t you worry though because I trickatrack something like this about eighty-cuh-trillion times a month so I could do it with my eyes closed. In fact, I plan to do yours with my eyes closed. I may even tie one hand behind my back and have the surgical tech spin me around really fast a couple times first.”
And then he’ll disappear in a cloud of smoke and his lovely assistant will clap wildly and tell me how lucky I am to have him slice me open and that someday my scar will be worth millions.
Here’s a little tip from me, a chick who this year has been poked, prodded and spread eagle more times than Blue Cross can even count, to the medical people who have accomplished all that poking, prodding and spreading: talk to me like you and I come from the same country, OK?
Stop slapping “itis” on the end of everything, don’t use a word twenty-four inches long and then tell me not to worry, and in the name of all that is good and decent, don’t you ever… and I mean never, ever sully a wonderful image of a food I love to describe some completely disgusting body thing.
You’ve been warned.
Copyright © 2004-2006, Sherri Bailey
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