Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Med Jargon and Costa Rica Study Abroad

Moments like this are the ones I will need to keep in mind when speaking to my patients. Sometimes, the stuff that doctors say (or WRITE) just sound like nonsense. I understand that we need to have "our own language" so as to be as specific, accurate, and complete as possible. I do. It's just that sometimes, it feels a little extreme.

Take this passage from my Physiology lecture/coursepack today, talking about the embryological origin of the posterior region of the pituitary gland in your head. It's talking about part of your brain grows during development to join with the anterior part of the pituitary. Check it:

"These hypothalamohypophyseal tracts connect to the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus. The nerve endings act as a storage site for the neurosecretions of the hypothalamus carried to the neurohypophysis by unmyelinated neurosecretory axons. Secretory vesicles provide storage for the neurosecretions of these tracts, and discharge them into fenestrated capillaries."

I had to read that three times before I understood all of it. I can only understand how a patient would feel if a doctor threw statements at them containing even a few of those words. *Shudder* This whole process of becoming someone who can understand and teach complex ideas to those with no medical background is going to be very, very interesting...

Oh, on an unrelated note - HOORAY for being accepted into a study abroad elective program in Costa Rica over this coming Spring Break! The experience is called Broadening Perspectives on Healthcare in Costa Rica. We will basically be spending time in various public and private healthcare settings, speaking with patients (whoop! whoop! for being fluent in Spanish!!!), and watching doctors do their thang.

One big fat NOT HOORAY for getting charged TWICE for my ticket, with $50 of invalid international fees tacked on that I wasn't prepared for. That's right - my ticket cost $925, and they charged me that exact fee twice = $1,850.00. Now I'm missing almost $1K from my checking account that should be earning me money (come on, 0.005% interest!), and I'm STILL waiting (t minus 36 hours and counting...) for a response from the travel company representative on the status of my issue.




All right, back to the Physmadness. Word.


Susan said...

Awesome post! Love the *shutter* part!

Joshua said...

You guys need to switch to LMCU and get better interest on your checking.


Justin said...

@ Susan - Thanks!

@Josh - Hahaha, I'll take that into consideration...

Rodney said...

I would suggest that you just mentally "bleep" over the big words.....but that kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it? Look at it as learning another language - doctorspeak. One of your functions as a physician will be to interpret doctorspeak for those who are not fluent but need to understand. You can do that.

Anonymous said...

Naybe you'll get better "digs" in Costa Rica than in the Dominican Republic!?

A doctor and I were talking in front of - and about - our patient, Mr. Smith, who was being transferred out of the CCU that day. He was going to go to one of the non-cardiac surgical floors to await OR time for his non-emergent (non-critical) coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). About the transfer, I told the doctor "Mr. Smith is going to be orbiting [waiting] in the outfield [non-cardiac floor] for a cabbage [CABG] in the near future." Mr. Smith looked at us and with more than just a little concern asked, " Am I going to be playing baseball with vegetables?" Tricia

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