medical terminology

As a crossword devotee I am familiar with the “medical suffix” clue (i.e., -itis [as in “arthritis”], -osis [as in halitosis] etc.) See Mr. Wikepedia for more. And I am impressed by large, complicated, hard-to-pronounce illnesses. We all die sometime. Would your rather go due to a heart attack or due to a bad case of cystoureteropyelonephritis? No contest. The obit, the wake, the funeral luncheon — all more interesting if the latter.

So today’s ramble concerns the other terms medical sorts use. The ones that make me scratch my head. Here’s a few I’ve come across . . .

1. event – The last few years of my mother’s life were miserable. She was blind, nearly deaf, couldn’t walk, didn’t know us, was confused, incontinent. You get the picture. A few days before her death, her doctor phoned and announced that my mother had suffered “an event.” Like a circus? Broadway show? I know he didn’t know exactly what happened but . . .

2. void – Anyone who has ever been in the hospital knows how anxious everyone is that you void. They even measure how much voiding you voided. Don’t think of voiding then flushing your void into the void without letting them know.

3. insult – One of my favorites. Any organ, bodily system can feel insulted. Insults may stem from another organ or system e.g., your brain feels insulted from a lack of oxygen OR can suffer an insult through some outside force e.g., my head suffered an insult when I conked it on the sidewalk. I always  imagine the affected part sulking like a child. “Fine. You do that, then I do this.” Tit for tat.

4. eliminate – This is a cousin of void. The question that always causes me pause is, “When did you last eliminate?” Eliminate what? Oh, oh, yes.  Sometimes one’s elimination is referenced as if the individual is not present. Nurse looks directly at doctor and states, “She hasn’t eliminated since last Tuesday.”

I will stay alert for other disappointing medical references and keep you posted. Please do the same.



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