Medical Terminology as Spoken by the Layperson...

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by Scrubbs, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    I was thinking about all of the Philly colloquialisms I hear everyday and thought I'd share and see ifs a regional thing...

    1. Vomicking: A very special kind of puke...
    2. Dryalysis: Where you spend your Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings
    3. Blood Clogs: Nasty little buggers that are treated with Coumadin
    4. BabyDaddy: Not a father, not a husband, just a sperm donor!
    5. Bumps on the Cookie Box: Is it Herpes? Is it Warts? Or is it just an infected hair follicle?
    6. Fireballs in the Eucaryst: Fibroids? Never heard of 'em...

    I'm sure there's a hundred more... but its a start...

    Discuss :D
     
  2. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member
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    One of my PAs tells this hilarious story about one history she took on a patient whose mother only spoke ebonics. When she asked the mother of the child about the child's father, the mother said, "You mean his BabyDaddy?"

    My PA was like "WTF?" The patient's mother actually became quite irate when the PA refused to say the word. "Say it wif me! BabyDaddy! One word!" I nearly bust a gut after hearing her tell the story.

    You forgot one of my favorites:

    A "Risin'" - something that hurts and needs "lowerin'" with a incision and drainage.
     
  3. grouptherapy

    grouptherapy super pork
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  4. dwgs

    dwgs Member
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    Here's some I've either heard firsthand or been told of: (all races represented equally)

    1. CC: "She done fell out afer eatin' dem peanutbutterballs." Translation: She had a 'bad reaction' to phenobarbital.

    2. Patient bleeding profusely from a head wound: CC: "I wuz tryin' to get some stank on my hang lo and my babymuva hit me upside da head wit a smoovie." Translation: I was trying to become intimate with the mother of my child, she got angry and hit me in the head with an iron (aka: something that "smoothes clothes out.")

    3. CC: "Pilgrims." 45 yo female claimed that she has been affected by this condition for some time now. She has "pilgrims in her private parts." Translation: Unknown. Workup: negative for any private part pathology or small folks with buckles on their shoes. Any ideas?

    -dwgs
     
  5. futrEDdoc

    futrEDdoc Member
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    Let us not forget about the every popular request for a "samich"
    Those lovely bread and meat/cheese combos available for patients who need so nourishment while waiting for their toothpain/ stubbed toe to be examined.
     
  6. edinOH

    edinOH Can I get a work excuse?
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    I see alot of "sick as hell" anemia in my program.
     
  7. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    "Fell out" - over ten years ago, "up north" (to assuage the redneck racists that lurk), I had an elderly black woman who said she "fell out", and I enquired, "of what?". My partner chose not to enlighten me, so she and I went back and forth for a minute or so until I realized it was syncope.

    Now, here in the south, people of all ethnicities (that speak English) "fall out" (with the subset "FOIC" - "fell out in church").

    Oh, and "cracker" is redneck/stumpjumper; in the hood, "cracker" is the term for the suburban "crackhead".
     
  8. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    Oh, and I forgot the "low blood" or "tired blood" (anemia), and "high blood" (pressure).
     
  9. Flipchick

    Flipchick Member
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    I find this thread totally offensive and racist. Show some class, people--you're going to be doctors (or you already are docs, unfortunately) who are going to be taking care of a diverse group of patients--and you laugh at them and the way the speak?

    Wish I knew where you are all going to practice so I can avoid you.
     
  10. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    How could I forget falling out and sick as hell?!?!?!? 'Round here they're just sick as hell... so it sometimes takes a few minutes to get that their BLOOD is sick as hell.

    Oh... and I've come to the conclusion that church is almost as dangerous a place as standing on the corner minding your own business.
     
  11. SupportingOccam

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    Maybe Scrubbs should also be considered the "Unofficial White Sheet and Hood" supplier as well.
     
  12. FoughtFyr

    FoughtFyr SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Careful junior. Don't mess with mom. We all vent around here. It is healthy and keeps us sane. If you have not found the need to let off some steam - well then you are either blessed with a wonderful life or you aren't working hard enough.

    - H
     
  13. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    :eek: :eek: :eek:
    :eek: :p :eek:
    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    My bad... perhaps Ebonics was not the right term... since the slang has no racial barriers around here... :p

    Jeez people... get a sense of humor! Learning to understand medical slang is as important to patient care as learning to understand what your consultant's abbreviations mean... or deciphering bad handwriting...
     
  14. FoughtFyr

    FoughtFyr SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Get over yourself. I just came off my fifth day working 10 hour shifts at a major metro county ER. If you don't think that the abuse, communication difficulties, and lack of basic education on simple self care is fusterating enough to warrant some humor relief, well then I want to know where you are going to practice - 'cuz you will eventually climb into a clock tower with a high powered rifle - and I want to be wearin' a vest. Face facts - our patients are not likely surfing this site. It is our place to vent. At the bedside we are calm, caring professionals trying to help our patients despite vast differences in communication, and at times, cultures. Lay off those trying to decompress a bit.

    BTW - my funniest pt. last night was a white woman (since we need to be PC around here now) who we could not convince that STDs were only sexually transmitted. She acknowledged getting it from her husband, but he didn't cheat on her - he just got it "like the flu!" Denial ain't just a river in Eygpt.
     
  15. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    subculture: 1. A cultural subgroup differentiated by status, ethnic background, residence, religion, or other factors that functionally unify the group and act collectively on each member.

    dictionary.com

    The definition is first to ensure that the word "subculture" will not be construed as being lesser. Now, the urban black and Southern black subcultures are indeed intact (as evidenced by radio, television, newspaper, magazine, and music & theatre), and, with the subculture comes a jargon. As such, that jargon is not generally taught in medical school, but must either be "on the job", or not learned.

    So, we must know, or are at risk for ignoring or minimizing the African-American group, but cannot comment on it, at risk of being supremacist and racist?

    No matter what anyone says, it's there. And, if I don't know what "tired blood" or "falling out" is, I can't render complete care, because that is a germane element of history that is not available.

    If your sensibilities are disaffected, you haven't been in a busy urban ED recently; indelicacies are prevalent, when patients are in extremis, and niceties are bumped to the side for the expediency of "I need THIS now!", or a patient is saying, "you only treat your own kind" (my answer being, "males?"), and, were we in the quiet confines of a clinic or office, your points might hold more sway. However, in the ED, when someone says something as above, sometimes, it's just funny, if not just uncommon or an idea said in a manner unknown or uncommon to the doctor.

    Medicine without soul (which is humor, pathos, pain, anger, and fulfillment) is dead, and the ED is the forefront of this.
     
  16. SupportingOccam

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    Careful yourself. You don't let off steam by dumping manure on others. Find a better way to blow off steam besides kicking the weak and sick. Even if Scrubbs needed to blow off steam, this is NOT the way to do it.

    FoughtFyr, you need to get over yourself. While you may be convinced that working as an intern, being a resident, or being in medicine is the toughest human experience possible, you haven't gotten out enough. Emphasis on enough, regardless of what you've done to this point.

    Apollyon, it's nice to know that the white man's burden continues into the ED where we have to take extra time to "study" language, because otherwise care would be compromised and people would die for saying "my subscription wasn't filled." Man....the average doc could never ever figure that conundrum out.

    Does anyone really think that this thread was started to genuinely discuss etymology?
     
  17. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member
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    Look, if it offends you go somewhere else. If anybody here thinks that in the pristine world out there, that ED workers don't laugh about these kind of things every day, then you haven't worked in many (or any) busy urban EDs.

    This stuff is funny. If you don't find it humorous then don't read it. But don't try to pretend we're some horrible and out-of-the-ordinary people for finding it funny. We're not. We're just like ER docs and nurses all around the country (and guessing by an international emergency medicine list I'm on, all around the world).

    I have to put up with impoliteness, angry patients who scream obscenities, patients threatening to sue me, unbelievable stupidity, various version of English I can't comprehend on a daily basis, and patients who spit at or try to hit me. I have to do so with a smile and a compassionate attitude. I'll be damned if I have to put up with holier-than-thou-types when I get off work who tell me that I can't find something humorous somewhere in that morass of human stupidity. If you're going into EM thinking that nobody is going to be finding the stupidity of our patients funny, then maybe you should reconsider specialties. Everybody I work with thinks this is some funny ****, including the African-Americans. We have to be able to laugh at the stupidity, because otherwise we'd just get angry and frustrated (and eventually burn out and quit). Hell my uncle finds this crap funny (he's also an EM physician) and he was a presbyterian minister in his former career. I'm pretty sure he's holier-than-all-of-us.
     
  18. SupportingOccam

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    Why don't you take it somewhere else? Oh yeah, you don't because it's socially unacceptable elsewhere. Gee, why is that.

    You really have to make fun of 'medical ebonics' so that you don't burn out and quit medicine? Now THAT is funny.
     
  19. Pelivar

    Pelivar Brain donor
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    Some people have no sense of humor....I think medical slang is great because we get to feel like our patients when we tell them they have bacterial vaginosis and they look at us like we have 3 heads. These are the standard medical terms in thier communities and we need to know them and then laugh about them.

    How about, I've got the "sugar" (DM).

    pelivar
     
  20. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    I didn't even think about sugar and pressure... they're just part of my everyday history-taking vernacular...
     
  21. apellous

    apellous Senior Member
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    don't mind supportingoccam she probably not getting any.

    If I do recall humor is a mature coping mechanism.
     
  22. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member
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    Have you actually ever worked in an ER? This is a frequent topic of discussion ALL THE TIME, and I've worked in several. This includes training programs, and the faculty at those residency programs.
     
  23. spyderdoc

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    I think my technical shot is due.
    I think my son caught that amtrax.
     
  24. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member
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    We could extend the discussion to variations of Redneck English. I probably wouldn't even think twice about those, having grown up in Texas.
     
  25. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    Don't know how I could have forgotten this one...

    Purplecettes!
     
  26. DrQuinn

    DrQuinn My name is Neo
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    You've got to be kidding! I have either worked at (as an orderly), rotated through, or been an intern/resident at ATLEAST 8 different Emergency Departments in over 4 different states (Northwest, mid-east, southeast), and it is the same anywhere you go. Emergency Medicine is a TOUGH specialty with lots of TOUGH requirements, one of which (and most certainly not the least of which) include dealing with patients who are rude, aggressive, ASSAULTIVE, etc. One way to deal with it is via humor.

    I'm a minority myself, and I make fun of my racial background... why? Because a laugh feels a helluva lot better than arguing.

    Q, DO
     
  27. Febrifuge

    Febrifuge Grizzled Old Newcomer
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    See, that's better than the way I was going to put it. I'm headed toward med school myself, and in the meantime I'm working as a tech in an inner-city Level One center. And aside from the smiles of recognition and the sense of community, I'm learning here.

    Not only have I heard a lot of these terms, I'm also grateful to have the chance to clarify what's what. Being able to communicate effectively with patients makes y'all better doctors. Those who find this thread offensive, well, it's more likely to be a suburban strip mall than a clock tower, but I agree with ya.
     
  28. Nater44

    Nater44 Senior Member
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    It's pretty unfair to make such accusations at these people. The stories being told here are pretty funny and you're forgetting one really important thing. These people are working in the emergency departments and treating these patients. They don't have to because I'm sure they have many options, but they are. Leave them alone. I have a problem with making fun of patients to their faces or where they can hear, but on a forum like this...vent on.
     
  29. MD'05

    MD'05 Money Hungry Pervert
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    During morning rounds, my attending asked the patient (AA woman) if she uses a "puffer". The patient replied "what's a puffer, do you mean inhaler??". I had to laugh at that one.

    In my worldly opinion, I think it is very important for medical personnel to understand regional dialects and colloquialisms. It's not just about ebonics, but about lay terminology in general. And so what if we laugh about "peanutbutterballs"? I think it is cute when people reconstruct words phonetically. I correct patients all the time since in the majority of cases they want to use the right word, but don't want to appear stupid.

    There is actually a book entitled "babydaddy". If I could only get patient's to insert the possesive "s" after "baby" I would feel like I contributed to American society. It's the little things after all ...
     
  30. DOtobe

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    Have heard this one from everyone of all shapes and colors:

    "oldtimer's disease" :p
     
  31. EMIMG

    EMIMG Senior Member
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    How about the following......referring to female patients only.

    Going through the mental pause.

    And the ever so popular sterilization technique the tubalization.
     
  32. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor Practicing Doc and Blogger
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    IMHO being easily offended is nearly as big a character flaw as being racist. A great man once said "he who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool. He who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."

    "Does anyone really think that this thread was started to genuinely discuss etymology?"--NO. This thread is all about a laugh. Just like dirty jokes, doctor jokes, and yes, even racist jokes. Socially wrong, perhaps. But those who decide what is good or bad by what "is socially acceptable" need to develop some internal values. It may be difficult to tell for those who don't look at historical trends very often, but what is socially acceptable changes very frequently.

    I repeat what has been said before, if it offends you don't read it, don't listen to it, don't watch it, and don't associate with it.

    BTW, I didn't treat lots of AA during med school/residency due to geography, but I see an awful lot of Spanish-speakers who also use "pressure," for HTN.
     
  33. Robz

    Robz La Vie Boheme
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    I don't get offened by much and I think this thread is super funny.

    My point is that if I cannot understand my patient how can I treat them? I'm from the south and some of the patients I have been around have their IQ equal to the number of teeth they still have. I love this thread cause its intresteing to see what people say for slang around the nation. Its educational and fun...KEEP IT COMING! :D
     
    Aquar1us likes this.
  34. grouptherapy

    grouptherapy super pork
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    the thread heading is a poor choice. it singles out the black patient population in particular.
     
  35. Febrifuge

    Febrifuge Grizzled Old Newcomer
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    'Ebonics' is a term that was coined by Bay Area academics and championed as a real and distinct language, to a degree that became perceived as absurd. To my knowledge, there was never any culture or group that identified themselves as speaking or being anything called 'Ebonic.'

    In the popular media, the term quickly (and rightly, if you ask me) took on a connotation that means something closer to a much more general - and much more useful - sense of 'wacky-ass pseudo-English colloquialisms.' Yes, most frequently it's urban black speech that is thus described. On the other hand, other posts have represented various areas and populations, and these terms still have the ring of Ebonics, no matter their source.

    I've known the speech of groups bound by factors other than color (like people of a profession) called 'Ebonics.' e.g., "when Richard says 'swap and flop,' that's Nerd Ebonics for saying he's going to backup and re-boot the server."

    I'm a white male, so I'd defer to an African-American who felt the term was meant or should be taken as offensive. But I wouldn't necessarily agree it should be.

    Sometimes, the best descriptor for an idea may well be a word that has inherited or evolved its meaning over time. Nothing sucks the fun out of a discussion better than people who can't think seriously about their humor.
     
  36. grouptherapy

    grouptherapy super pork
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    Ebonics was coined by Robert L. Williams during a conference in St Louis (1973), "Cognitive and Language Development of the Black Child."

    One does not have to be AA to be offended.

    Discussion is good.
     
  37. Febrifuge

    Febrifuge Grizzled Old Newcomer
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    I stand corrected on the origin. I was remembering a news story from approx. 5 or 10 years ago, where someone from a San Francisco-area school district was attempting to get Ebonics declared a recognized language, alongside Spanish. I seem to recall there would have been the option for school lectures and course materials printed in Ebonics. News reports led to Jay Leno, and then to the water coolers of America. This (I think) explains why the term and the idea was picked up by the popular culture a lot more recently than 1973...

    And anyway, it could be argued that creating a linguistic ghetto by declaring Ebonics to be separate and distinct from contemporary American English does the AA population a bigger disservice. There's a point where it's all just so much academic chin-pulling, and does nothing for anyone in a real sense. I stand by the idea that it's fair to laugh about something we observe at work. It's not inherently racist, condescending, or hurtful to do it, and it's even possible we might gain some understanding that helps patients.

    But this thread is already in danger of turning too serious. Gettin' all Noam Chomsky would be wack. I say we chill. :D
     
  38. mrstubbs

    mrstubbs Junior Member

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    Quit arguing, more funny stories, please.

    Anybody here on Hound-dog (haldol)?
    How about Ole Arthur acting up?:D
     
  39. frog4brooke

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    Fireballs in the Eucaryst: Fibroids
    -Thank God someone had mentioned this to me before one of the patients, because this one came up the other day

    Also-"waters"=Urine

    and "my nature" is down=Erectile dysfunction
     
  40. ERMudPhud

    ERMudPhud Back for a visit
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    Here's one that always irked me a little bit--

    "my insurance"==medicaid

    "Make sure you don't write my 'scripts for generics. My 'insurance' will pay for the good stuff"
     
  41. trauma_junky

    trauma_junky 12 step pre-med rehab
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    I work as a 911 paramedic and I've heard some pretty good ones.

    "ummhmm, she got da highblood and dat sweetblood." Translation, she has hypertension and diabettes.

    "I tink dat man sent me some a dat Amtrax."
    Translation: The cocaine her son got in the mail, she thought it was Anthrax. What a hasmat that scene was.
     
  42. trauma_junky

    trauma_junky 12 step pre-med rehab
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    I've been tempted to document some of my psych pt's, patient suffers from CCFCCP.

    Coo coo for coco puffs!
     
  43. gwyn779

    gwyn779 stargazer
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    My favorite is when everything is "the" whatever. I got the sugars. I got the high blood.
     
  44. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    I know - one that always makes me laugh is "the AIDS" (not that they have it, but the "the" before it).

    Oh, and CCFCCP - AKA "the Ritz disease" - crazy as crackers!
     
  45. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware!
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    Just read the last page or so of replies... I meant no harm or offense with the term Ebonics. That's just what I think of it as, and my patients really have no racial boundaries in their use of it. 98% of the time, lack of education is the issue... the other 2% can be blamed on doctors regressing and blowing off some steam.

    If it pleases the crowd, I will change the name of this thread... but only if you come up with a better name ;)
     
  46. gwyn779

    gwyn779 stargazer
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    Also "the cancer."
     
  47. Sessamoid

    Sessamoid 1K Member
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    Only Californians do this that I know of:

    "The Five" -- i.e. Interstate Highway 5

    "The One-Oh-One" -- US Highway 101.

    I've never lived anywhere else where people always name highways preceded by the definite article.
     
  48. tonem

    tonem Senior Member
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    Correction....only Southern Californians!!!


     
  49. FoughtFyr

    FoughtFyr SDN Lifetime Donor
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    In Chicago we name our highways with eponyms; "The Kennedy", The Eisenhower", "The Bishop Ford", etc. and all landmarks for traffic reports are similarly cryptic. God help the tourist listening to a traffic report!

    - H
     
  50. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    In Buffalo, that is common, but only for the Interstates (the 90, the 190, the 290) and four state expressways (the 198, which runs into the 33, the 219, and the 400) - but, as the 33 goes on, the (more rural) people just refer to it as "33", likewise for the 219. Ironically, all of these highways (except the 90 and 190) have actual names assigned to them. Go figure.
     

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