Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Medical School Decoder Ring

There is a project afoot to allow normal people to understand doctor-speak without going to medical school. Its called the Open Notes project but I think it really should be the Medical School Decoder Ring project. I'm all for it.

One of my favorite activities while hanging around pre and post surgery is to read my own medical file. Usually I understand most of it but not all. I have asked the doctors and nurses around to translate. Sometimes I get a copy to take home and then start googling all the words and phrases. But even with that, it doesn't always make sense. For example when the doctor writes 'patient denies' to the non doctor, it means you denied sneaking out after bedtime. To the doctor it means you said you don't have shortness of breath (or SOB). They might have written 'patient denies SOB'. And the average non doctor would be confused. Of course I'm not an S.O.B., how dare they write that! I am happy being NERDy (No Evidence of Recurrent Disease). See this is why we need decoder rings.

This morning I woke up early and gave up on trying to go back to sleep. I'm starving and can't have any food. This morning I have to be at the hospital at 830 to check in for another LOVELY back procedure. That would be #5 this year if you are keeping count (or #6 if you include the cortisone shot in my hip last month). This one is a radiofrequency denervation in my right sacroiliac joint where they kill off the nerves with heated needles. This means an IV and lots of needles in my back. I will be sedated and not really remember or feel it. Afterward, I assume I will nap for the afternoon which is why I gave up on trying to go back to sleep. I just have to decide what I want to eat when I get home... I'll figure that out later when my brain wakes up. Clear liquids only after midnight and up to two hours prior, which is now. I had a smidgen of black coffee which is really hard on my stomach so my caffeine level is very low.

1 comment:

Debby said...

I like the decorder ring idea. We could be waiting excitedly for the ring to come in the mail, ala "A Christmas Story".