Wednesday, April 25, 2012

embracing my inner nerd

one of my favorite books is my taber's medical dictionary.  i remember buying it in preparation for my first year of medical school.  i still use it sometimes, mostly when i get a radiology report and have no idea what the radiologist is talking about (my patient has a lesion near her clivus?  what the heck is a clivus?).  but sometimes i just pull it off the shelf and open it randomly.  i sort of quiz myself to see if i can find a medical term i don't already know.  i don't know why, but medical terminology makes me happy.  to me it is the perfect marriage of precision and descriptiveness.

my best friend in medical school and i would make lists of medical terms (a classic stalling tactic when you should be studying) - there were the terms we loved, like foramin of luschka - so fun to say out loud, it rolls off the tongue and makes you think of elegant russian spies...; terms we hated, like empyema - what an ugly word, or maybe it's the fact that it is describing a pocket of pus in a lung...; and terms we could name our children (gracilis is the only one from that list that i can remember and did we really think you could name a child gracilis?).

i was never one to easily pick up a second language. but if you consider the language of medicine to be its own language, then in that i would say i am fluent.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

that probably won't make good leftovers

note from front desk staff:  'patient found bean-like object in stool today and froze it.  wants to know if it should be tested.'  alas, there is no known test (or treatment) for this ailment, but make sure your spouse knows what you're putting in the freezer!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

at 90, it's all a gamble

me, as i leave the exam room:  'can you get up from that chair okay?'
patient: 'i think so.  if not, you'll hear a thud.'