Monday, January 09, 2006

The Role of Semantics in the Rising Costs of Health Care

In case anyone is wondering; razor blades are not a good way to cut holes in tennis balls. However, attempting this feat can lead to an exciting joy ride in an ambulance and several stitches. During this whole process (which began last Monday evening) I have observed that doctors use huge words where a simple one would more than suffice. For example I would describe what happened as a cut (albeit a really bad one). But in the ER (where you would think they are pressed for time) it’s a laceration. That’s at least three more syllables than necessary. I do know they are pressed for time in that ER as I had to wait hours and when things did happen they happened all at once. I was getting shots of Novocain in my right hand and a tetanus shot in my left shoulder at the same time. This caused quite the conundrum as I typically like to look the other direction when I’m getting a shot.

After popping in a few stitches I was bandaged up; then the Doctor placed a huge piece of foam on the table. They molded the foam over my hand and arm and covered it with a splint announcing it would harden in the next couple of minutes. I wanted to say, “Hey Doc it’s pretty deep, but it’s just a cut-excuse me laceration.”

Now just for fun try tucking your shirt in or going to the bathroom (#2 for greatest effect) without using your right hand. It really is amusing (but can get tiresome after say ten minutes). So I was very relieved when I went to see the hand doctor today (they call themselves Orthopedic Surgeons) and he pulled out the scissors and cut the darn thing off. He went on to pull a MacGyver; using a twisted paperclip to test for feeling in various parts of my hand. So just when I thought I found a Doc that was down to earth he told me how difficult is was to “suture” (pronounced Sue-chur) muscle. But I soon figured out that suture means the same thing as sew. Alas he then replaced my monstrous splint/cast combo deal with two band aids.

Maybe if it were just a matter of sewing a cut and popping two band aids on it the cost of health care would be a little more reasonable in this country. But then I might not get that joy ride in the ambulance.


Blogger Chris said...

Instead of saying you had your "monstrous" splint replaced, couldn't you have described it simply as being "big"?

Just sayin'


8:32 AM  
Blogger Washboard said...

No. This thing was scary and came from under the bed.


8:23 AM  
Blogger Phillippe said...

wow, big injuries for the cast and crew this year- did you hear that ex-girlfriend who shall remain nameless broke her nose on Christmas? on porcelain?

3:01 PM  
Blogger Chris said...


Your wish is granted.


3:31 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Phillippe said...

you know, I almost believe that last comment, but it seems to be missing a few words at the end...shall we vote?

9:18 PM  

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