Tuesday, September 14, 2010
My mom's been in the hospital the last few days--things weren't looking so good, but she seems to have turned a corner. In this somewhat more optimistic space, I thought I'd write up a word from doctor speak. You know how it is--they make their rounds, they talk to the interested parties. It's always interesting to watch just how they approach this. Sometimes they are actually concerned to communicate with the family and sometimes they are really just pretending to. One sign of the latter intention is when they speak in medical jargon.
I have to admit that I failed at this blog's mission in this circumstance a couple of days ago. One of the doctors was saying that something or other could happen since she was no longer febrile. It was my sister, not me who more forthrightly asked, "What's febrile?"
Of course, I've heard the word febrile before. But I've let other associations take hold without ever bothering to dispel vagueness. Sounding close to 'feeble' and also with a ring of "fibrullation", which I do know is about the heart, the main source of my mom's problem, I thought I had enough of a sense of it to pass it over. And for some reason, I also kind of picture the fibrous membrane around some fruit.
But febrile simply means "feverish". (Thanks, doc, would it really have been so hard to just say that? Well, he did say "Sorry.") It from the Latin febris, in other words, just another journey the concept took from the same beginnings.
Probably I should have known febrile. But what did he mean when he said "triatic"?
Yeah--I was afraid to ask.
Oh, the picture? It's actually the inner courtyard of the hospital, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. It's a pretty great place, as hospitals go. Too bad my mom isn't in much of a position to enjoy it right now.