It seemed like a formality. She didn’t expect an affirmative answer when asking “Any new diagnoses since your last appointment?”
Umm… yes. Spondyloarthropathy.
The MA’s head shot up, eyebrows raised. Her pen poised abover the clipboard, she glanced back at my chart then looked at me once more. “Could you spell that?”
S – P – O – N – D – Y – L – O . . .
“I’ve never heard of that before. Something to do with your back?”
The MA didn’t snap, “I’ve never heard of that,” challenging its existence. She nicely asked it as an opportunity to learn something new. Now, as I write this, I wonder if perhaps I should have explained a bit. Obviously, with the morpheme “spondy,” there’s involvement of the spine. But there’s more to it, and someone who specializes in fixing shoulders ought to know about a disease that’s correlated with calcium deposits in the rotator cuff (among other things).
With all the stories I’ve heard about patients who don’t know the names of their diagnoses or meds, let alone more details, it seemed strange to be asked if I could spell it – for it to even cross the MA’s mind that there was a possibility that a patient might know something. When I left that I appointment, I thought again how lucky I am. My doctors listen to me. The same can be said of their employees. They’re polite and respectful and helpful and informative, and have never implied that it’s my brain that’s malfunctioned.
Yes, I can spell. That’s one thing that autoimmunity hasn’t stolen from me. If anything, it’s increased my vocabulary.
tocilizumab/Actemra (all those …ab’s make me think I should start doing sit-ups)
What cool words has RA added to your vocabulary?
Can you spell them (without looking them up)?