Friday, May 30, 2014

The Language Barrier Between Medicine and Me

As a public relations major who loves reading and writing, I like to think I have a good grasp on the English language. But even after 26 years of speaking and studying it, some aspects still stump me. Medical jargon, for example, gets me every time. Jared basically had to learn a new language when he went to medical school, and I don't understand 90 percent of it.

Case in point: Jared said the word "prophylactic" the other day. I looked at him and said, "what the heck does that mean?" Here is Google's definition...

Prophylactic Definition

Basically, it means a preventative measure or something done for a patient just in case. My question to Jared was, why don't you just say that instead of using a fancy word??? He couldn't answer me. I guess that is how you get your money's worth from medical school: they teach you words no one else knows.

Sometimes, my ignorance of medical jargon makes me look immensely silly. Many of our friends are in the medical community in one way or another, so of course they know what Jared is talking about when I do not.

One time, Jared and I went to get ice cream with our nurse friends Chris and Laci. Jared was telling them about his grandmother who was in the hospital. Her doctor placed her on Lasix due to a heart condition. Of course, not being aware of the lingo, I thought Jared said LASIK, as in LASIK eye surgery.

I said, "why would the doctor worry about LASIK? Doesn't your grandmother have more serious issues than her eyes right now?"

All three of them blinked at me, very confused, until they realized what I meant. Great bouts of laughter ensured. Apparently,

Lasix Defintion

Thanks again, Google! Lasix is a drug used to treat fluid retention. It has absolutely nothing to do with the eyes. Naturally.

Please tell me I'm not alone...does any kind of jargon stump you too?