Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mike's Redneck Medical Dictionary

I know you’re wondering what the current dizzying array of medical terms these days mean; based on recent experience, I’m here to answer questions via the following guide. Without further ado, here’s “Mike’s Redneck Guide to Current Medical Terminology” v. 1.0. I’m hoping I never need to publish a version 2…

“CT Scan” – “CT” stands for “costs tons”

“P.E.T. Scan” – stands for “pretty expensive too” or “progressively [more] expensive test” (compared to C.T.); sometimes means “pretty expensive & toxic” because of the stuff that accompanies the P.E.T. scan.

(note: I’ll be having both of those next week on my return to M.D. Anderson for followup tests)

“Clinic” – from the Greek word that means “sounds innocuous enough, but we do some remarkable—and remarkably expensive—things in here now, some of which are quite painful”

“Contrast Solution” – “contrast solution” (consumed before some CT Scans) actually comes from a Swahili phrase that means “your dog that drinks toilet water wouldn’t drink this, but you have to”

“I.V.” – a re-casting of the Yiddish phrase “oy vay” which translates roughly as “Oh My!” or the redneck version “hey, check this out!”; this is stated when the person doing the sticking, well, misses what s/he’s aiming for and your elbow swells up like a water balloon

“M.R.I.” – stands for “man…really intense!”; especially accurate when describing an MRI of the brain. If you ever need one of these and you have any hint of claustrophobia, go ahead & ask for lots of sedation up front; you’ll need it.

“a little stick” – means “I’m gonna shove this large and sharp piece of PVC pipe into your skin, but don’t worry; it won’t hurt me a bit”

“needle biopsy” – describes a procedure in which a hollowed out metal baseball bat is sharpened on one end and stabbed into one’s body so that another, longer piece (known laughingly as “the needle”) can be inserted through the baseball bat to dig out large quantities of…tissue (yeah, that’s it…). The Dr. frequently says something like “Anesthesia? We don’t need no stinkin’ anesthesia…well, I don’t; you prolly wish I’d give you some just now…but you can’t have any because you have to be able to respond to commands while I’m turning your lungs inside out…”

“deductible” – a paradox; paying the deductible means that the billing agent can now add even more to your tab

“co-pay” – this is something to provide the underpaid check-in clerk with a quick giggle as s/he says to herself/himself: “this fool thinks this small payment will significantly affect his/her bill…I just hope I don’t snort-laugh when I turn away to photocopy something so I can chuckle…”

“UCC” – widely and erroneously believed to mean “usual and customary charges”; in fact, it stands for “you can’t see” which has the double entendre of “we not really telling you how much this costs,” combined with “you have no idea how to get from here to ‘paid in full’…”

“VATS” – “very astronomically & totally ‘spensive” or “vast anesthesia that [word meaning "this is very bad"]”; sometimes means “vast anesthesia two-week sickness” because that’s how long it takes to begin to recover & feel normal after the procedure.

“IL-2” – stands for “I laughed too” which is short for “I laughed too, when they told me this wouldn’t be so bad”; that sentence is spoken by an IL-2 survivor. Sometimes stands for “in {the} light too?” which is when the dosage is stopped; i.e., “is s/he about to croak? Well, then, better stop the dosage…”

“Labs” – “look at {the} blood sucker” or “L and blood stops” which means from the Latin “100 sticks & we’ll knock off the sticking process for a few hours…”

“ICU” – usually taken to mean “intensive care unit,” which is actually the result of a spelling error; the correct phrase is “expensive care unit.” Can also mean “I can’t [word meaning “go potty” that starts w/ a U]” which is said by the ICU patient when s/he realizes that it’s physically impossible to make it the 7-foot distance from the bed to the potty because of the dozens of wires, IVs, monitors & such that are apparently designed to prevent the patient from escaping. Or traversing the dangerous 7-foot journey from bed to potty.
ICU can also mean “I’m colicky tU” since anyone (Lisa) staying in the room with the ICU patient will get about as much rest as the mother of an infant with colic.

“Clear Liquid Diet” – prescribed to many ICU and IL-2 patients; the meaning is “might as well drink water, Hoss, because that’s about as much taste as you’ll find on this menu…”

“Discharge” – a misleading term that gives false hope along the lines of “you’re about to leave”; in fact, “discharge” means “tell your spouse to head on down stairs & pick up a copy of the Sunday paper along with a meal, because you’ll have plenty of time to read the entire paper from cover to cover—including want ads—before this process actually results in you leaving this room…”

“Anesthesia” – drug combinations administered for the purpose of sedating the patient right away for surgery; also has the (apparent) purpose of destroying his/her sleep patterns & normal body functions for the next 2-3 weeks.

“Recovery” – a warehouse-like facility in which patients who have just had surgery are placed like so many cases of Christmas cards awaiting the official beginning of the season.

“Automatic BP cuff” – a device attached to the patient’s room in ICU that is designed to keep the patient from ever entering R.E.M.-cycle sleep; the device is very effective at its purpose because about every 10 minutes, it squeezes the upper arm of the patient such that the only substance between the cuff and the bone is the patient’s skin and a few flattened blood vessels & arteries. Every ounce of muscle tissue & fat are squeezed up toward the patient’s shoulder and down toward the fingers. The patient should lie very still while this is going on, or else the BP cuff becomes angry & squeezes harder a second time. Also, there’s the risk of actually blowing the ends of the patient’s fingers off, but this is a very rare occurrence.

“Pulse Ox Monitor” – attached to one of the patient’s fingers for the purpose of rendering that particular finger, along with the hand whence it comes utterly un-useable.

I hope this clears up some of your questions about various medical terms. Now you can speak intelligently with your friends & loved ones about things medical.

You’re welcome for this clear explanation. *grins*


p.s. - if there are any additional medical terms you need clarified, hit me with a comment and I'll be happy to oblige. Much like the average alum of D1 football teams who watches a few games & thinks s/he's an expert at coaching, I am now an expert dicipherer of medical terms. There will be no charge for this additional clarification.


Anonymous said...

Your definition of 'needle biopsy' is so right on. If I hadn't had one done, I wouldn't know how truly terrible they can be. It was the oddest sensation to me. It was partially numbed but I could 'hear' the sample being snatched off. Ugh. It makes me shiver to think about it...
Christy Guined

Stephanie said...

You NAILED them all! We really should write a book... :)
p.s. praying already for your upcoming visit to that place in houston.

Mustard Seeds said...

We are praying for your Houston trip, as well...but in the meantime, I'll be sending a copy of this to my dad-in-law who is currently finishing up round two of chemo. . .he'll LOVE it!