Home from vacation, Notes from a Country Doctor has a new post up:  What’s In A Word

The words we choose have subtle meanings going far beyond dictionary definitions. Take for example two patients from yesterday.

The first patient said, “Why don’t they name these medications something easy like George.”

The second was far different. I knew this one tended to use various scatological terms quite liberally, so I decided to count how many times she said “[expletive deleted]” during our appointment. After about 5 minutes I lost count somewhere in the 20s…

I can’t relate at all to patient number two.  The effect of cussing is significantly reduced by diarrhea of the mouth.

That said, as someone who doesn’t swear, I have been known to complain in type about, “all these *&#$! pills.”  In some way it conveys a small portion of the frustration I feel with the pain I must live with.  I really hate this disease.

Patient number one, I can relate to, and I think he’s on to something.  What comes to mind is a boy with whom I went to junior high (yes, I can remember that long ago – barely).  There was a guy in my school named Gheevhorghese.  Nobody could pronounce his name. So we called him Geevy.  Nicknames come in handy with people, why not with meds?

If it wouldn’t cause too much confusion when talking to HCP*, we could come up with nicknames for our meds – something easy to pronounce.  Someone asks if you take any medications, and you could say, “I have a party every morning with Sally & Cam and Hi & Di.  Max joins us on the weekends.

  • Methotrexate – Max
  • Diclofenac – Di
  • Sulfasalazine – Sally
  • Hydroxychloroquine – Hi (isn’t HyDrox a cookie?)
  • Piroxicam – Cam, Piry?

Words really do matter.



*Health Care Professionals, which includes nurses & EMT’s as well as physicians.


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