Translating Medical Speak to Patient Life

I'm not always the best at paying attention to the part when healthcare providers are talking to me.  (Truthfully? I struggle with paying attention in general... well hello ADHD, aren't you shiny today?) 

It seems that during the part of the appointment where they say "So what this means is...." triggers some kind of chemical reaction in my head. Eyes glaze over, I rest my chin in my hand, I look at the coiled wire of the blood pressure cuff and wonder "how long could I stretch that out to?" "what am I going to have for dinner?" "Is it still raining outside?" "It was so much fun at bar trivia last night, I'll have to remember to keep that team going." "Am I going to run into the super creepy hospital clown when I leave?" "How does one go about making sangria?" 
"...any questions Sandy?"
"Umm no.." I reach over and take the prescription, or sit there and wait till the cast has dried, or I smile blankly back at the slew of medical stuff that was just thrown at my ears. Yet again.

So with that in mind I thought it'd be fun (maybe even helpful?) to make a list of the most commonly stated medical speak that I've heard, and then translate what that means in my only-half-assed-focused mind:

THEM: We're looking at probably a 3 to 4 month healing time for this fracture
ME: Great. I hope I have enough plastic bags and rubber bands at home for showering

THEM: This will help you get to sleep better

ME: It'll be more fun to be on that during the day..

THEM: Don't take this with alcohol

ME: Totally doing it

THEM: Call the front desk to schedule the surgery, my secretary will have my schedule

ME: When's my next school vacation?

THEM: This is only going to hurt for a few seconds. I'll be quick, I promise

ME: Lies. Lies. Lies. Outside the hospital walls a few seconds does not equal 3 minute 

THEM: Don't scratch

ME: Only if you don't breathe

THEM: How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day?

ME: Dammit why don't they have a picture of the food pyramid in here? 

THEM: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain, how is your pain?

ME: 15. Stop standing there asking me dumb questions, hurry with the painkillers!

THEM: So we'll have a follow-up appointment in 2 weeks, you can schedule it on your way out

ME: On my way out I'll be leaving and scheduling diddly squat 

THEM: Do you need a note for school? 

ME: Yea I need to be excused until June, just in time for the last day of school party 

THEM: Are all your vaccinations up-to-date? 

ME: Oh yea, absolutely 200% up-to-date

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments! (Side note: I don't necessarily encourage the above..)

Posted in , , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

One Response to Translating Medical Speak to Patient Life

  1. Doctor: Ok so I would recommend you to stay home for a few weeks.
    Me: *goes to school in two days

    Doctor (after a severe back surgery): You'll be in ICU for a week, and then on the normal ward for another week. Then 8 weeks in bed.
    Me: *stays two days on ICU, the rest of the week on a normal ward and after that straight to home. And I didn't stay in bed either...


Copyright © 2011 Perfectly Imperfecta. Powered by Blogger.