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Lost in Translation

Posted Oct 13 2008 7:30am

Following your diagnosis do you go to the doctor's office only to feel like you've landed on another planet.  The doctor begins using words and acronyms that took his four years of medical school to learn and you're expected to learn them in twenty minutes.  The truth is that you are being immersed in another culture; one that has its own language so it's important to becoming bi-lingual.

Becoming bi-lingual in medical-ese requires that you stop your medical provider each and every time they use a phrase or acronym you don't know.  How can you feel comfortable or object if you don't know what they're talking about.  Not knowing the language leaves you at a disadvantage when it comes to making informed decisions.

Many of us in this age of pop culture will learn our medical-ese from television.  Ever watch ER or Grey's Anatomy?  Listen to the dialogue and if you can take your eyes of McDreamy's hair, look at the context they are using to explain the vocabulary.  You really can pick up a lot if you can focus on the words and not Noah Wylie's good looks.

Reading magazines is a great source for an on-the-job education.  Many illnesses have their own newsletters and magazines so start reading.  If you don't understand something there is usually an online forum that can answer your questions.  Become bilingual and you'll have an easier time facing your illness and feeling onboard with the doctor's treatment plans.

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