Monday, November 14, 2011

My other language

So in filling out forms for volunteer opportunities I'm often requested to list all languages that I am fluent in. I retained a fair amount of my high school spanish but would never claim to be fluent. Part of the problem is the 3 years I spent living in Germany where I used the language on the German economy whenever I was off the Army base where I lived. So I commonly hear the spanish but my response is usually in german. Few native spanish speakers know german. Thus a miscommunication often ensues. But I do know another language. It's medical. I sprinkle all my communications with things like ABG, CXR and CBC. No translation necessary. As many of my readers may not be so proficient in medical-ese, let me introduce you. Your surgeon will request you have an "I & D". Sounds innocent enough, but really... he's going to enlarge whatever wound you already have with some sharp instrument while you are peacefully sleeping. Then he will blast it with a copious amount of normal saline and let all the icky parts drain out. Not so innocent now, huh? What about an "ORIF". Again, peacefully you are asleep. Your surgeon will enlarge the wound making it "open". Then he will "reduce" it. While it is open, he's going to dig around inside, thus the "internal". Next, comes "fixation" which means he will use a variety of screws, nails, staples and whatever other office supplies are necessary to make your broken bones fit back together again. ORIF sounded a whole lot more pleasant didn't it? Thus, I may know another language but it's not really functional in polite society. So, do you have some medical initials that you want me to interpret? Nah, I didn't think so and I don't blame you. Innocence is always bliss.

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