Archive for the ‘Language of medicine’ Category

Western medicine

January 6, 2021

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro for Epiphany (1/6) — Wayno’s title: “Lone Prairie Pre-Op” — plays on the ambiguity of Western, and taps into a bit of lore about the American Old West:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Western medicine ‘the medicine in Westerns’ (illustrated above) vs. Western medicine ‘medicine characteristic of the Western region of the world, in particular of  Europe and the U.S.’ (contrasted with Eastern medicine, earlier Oriental medicine).


The medal

December 21, 2020

An old (12/21/18) Wayno/Piraro Bizarro — Wayno’s title “Ribbon Shot” — resurrected for its current relevance:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Back then, it was about the annual flu shot — which of course still happens; I had mine a while back — and about lollipops being given to children as rewards for displaying bravery.

Now it’s vaccination for Covid-19, and public displays of medical professionals and public figures enthusiastically getting their shots, to serve as models for all of us.

NOOKY at Poundland

November 23, 2019

On the shelves at the Poundland on the London Rd. in Brighton SX, for £1, this item that Lynne Murphy came across recently:

(#1) She posted her astonishment yesterday on Facebook at finding BLUE PILLS FOR MEN — called NOOKY! — at Poundland, of all places, in there with hair gel and the like


trigger finger

May 16, 2018

I had this affliction, for about three months. It involved myalgia — that’s the name of the symptom, muscle pain — that limited my movements, produced frequent nasty cramps in several parts of my body, made me miserable and depressed. Among the affected muscles were those in my fingers, which cramped up painfully without warning. Especially my ring finger (third finger, left hand).

Eventually, it was seen to be a side effect of the very powerful statin drug I was taking (for blood pressure and cholesterol control), generic atorvastatin, trade name Lipitor, a very powerful statin prescribed at maximum dose. Which was breaking down muscle fibers. Essentially, I was being poisoned by one of my medicines.

That’s now over — I went off the Lipitor three months ago and recently started small doses of the steroid prednisone for symptomatic relief —  and I feel very much better, but an odd effect remains. My ring finger occasionally gets stuck in a bent position. No pain, no swelling or anything, just stuck, as here:

(#1) Stuck bent finger (workdesk spathiphyllum plant as background)

I can push it back with my other hand, and it makes a little pop! as it resumes its normal working position.

It’s called trigger finger, fancy name tenosynovitis. And it has nothing to do with the Lipitor poisoning.


Further adventures in medicine

September 12, 2017

Background: I’ve been a bit short of breath for some time, but with stretches of phenomenally hot days (starting back on a day in May when it was 110 F in downtown Palo Alto), things got dramatically worse. The nephrologist at first thought it might be connected to my reduced kidney function (there’s a complex story of possible connections there), and then the cardiologist was quite sure the problem was with my heart, probably the coronary arteries, and ordered up a series of scans and tests. (I’ve endured a great deal of doctoring, with lots more to come: cataract surgery starts on the 27th.)

In there were heart CT scans, which showed nothing that would explain my shortness of breath. Nobody was particularly concerned about my lungs, however, since they sounded so great on stethoscopic examination. But a chest CT scan, done on August 29th, however, showed two things:

Calcified granuloma in the right lower lobe. Areas of subsegmental atelectasis, especially right lower lobe.

I will explain. In any case: spirometry and a pulmonologist’s appointment on the 25th.


It ended in a Mexican Caesar salad

June 10, 2017

It started with surgery, for gallstones. That was Wednesday. Resting at home, attempting nothing challenging, the lightest of food (miso soup), even after no solid food in 24 hours.

Thursday I managed my senior fitness hour — the old g(r)ay bear, he ain’t what he used to be — with great effort, but without using my walker.

And then my reward, a return to real food: a Mexican Caesar salad at the restaurant Reposado, up the street from me. Delicious, but only distantly related to classic Caesar salad.


Irritable vowel syndrome

April 11, 2017

A Scott Hilburn cartoon on Pinterest this morning:


A pun on irritable bowel syndrome. The vowel letters I, A, and O are angry, throwing the letter L out of their club because he’s not a vowel. (The play on Get the hell out of here is a bonus.) Note that this is all about vowel letters, not vowels. (Depending on the dialect, speakers of English have a dozen or so distinct vowels, that is, vowel phonemes.)



March 18, 2017

The Bizarro from 1/6/16:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

But elephantitis would refer to an inflammation of the elephant. And elephantiasis is an actual (dreadful) disease. Maybe elephantosis would cover the condition depicted in the cartoon.



December 9, 2016

Yes, an abbreviation. No, not short for non-profit organization in this case, though it sometimes is. It appeared in instructions from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, about preparations for being ultrasounded yesterday:

“NPO (nothing to eat or drink) 6 hours prior to exam.

The left quotation mark was presumably supposed to be matched by a right one, after NPO or after the parenthesis. The real question is why the PAMF staff thought they should use NPO at all. From Wikipedia:

Nothing by mouth is a medical instruction meaning to withhold food and fluids from a person for various reasons. It is also known as nil per os (npo or NPO), a Latin phrase whose English translation is most literally, “nothing through the mouth”.


Pingu watches over the gay boys

October 21, 2016

On AZBlogX, two postings of homoerotic Pingu-based collages (featuring the animated penguin Pingu), 8 in each set: “Pingu: first wave” (here) and “Pingu: second wave” (here) — being birds of the sea, penguins come in waves.

Pingu will then lead us to other pingu- words, only a few penguin-related; and to the pungi, a musical instrument (cobras will be involved).