Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hospital Terminology

After having just spent a week in the hospital with Isaiah as he recovered from his most recent surgery, I've decided to compile a short list of terms that you'll need to know if you ever have to spend time in one either for yourself or with a loved one.

"About ten minutes" - Definition: 30 minutes to 5 hours.  This is usually in reference to when the doctor will be coming to see you, and once you finally do see him or her, it'll be for about 90 seconds.

"The resident" - This is the doctor who is in residence who'll swing by for about 90 seconds, usually at 4:45am.  You've most likely never met him or her before, and he or she most likely has only skimmed your chart.  The resident's visit is usually made even more awkward by the fact that he or she shows up while you're asleep in a chair, with rancid coffee breath, wearing sweatpants, a stained t-shirt and hair all a-frizzle.  You're in a sleep-deprived stupor and he's already finished his morning ten-mile run, is working on his third cup of coffee and is dropping hemoglobin levels on you as you rub sleep from your eyes.

"Dietary" - When the nurse tells you that "dietary is sending _________ up." this is a fancy way of saying "The cafeteria is getting your tuna surprise ready along with a side salad, roll and tiny can of Pepsi."  

"Draw some labs" - No, your not about to play Pictionary for dog lovers.  You're about to get stuck with a needle, perhaps multiple times.  Sorry.

"Nurse Practitioner" - I really like NP's because in many ways they have the power of a doctor and you'll usually get to spend a lot more time with them.  They're probably the most accessible member of the medical profession with advanced degrees.

"Maintenance"  - The lady who comes in at 2AM to change out the garbage bags and flush the toilet.

"CC's" - This means "milliliters" and is how they measure liquids in the hospital.  Not sure why, but in the US, the medical world is a strange mix of both metric and imperial measurements.  Liquids seem to be done in metric, but temperatures in imperial.  Don't get confused.

"DC" - No, not the capital.  If something get's "DC'd" it means they're not doing it to you anymore.  I'm assuming it's an abbreviation for "discontinued", but it could also mean "DON'T get CRAZY!!!"   That seems to have a little more pizzaz.

"Discharged" - This is the word that everyone waits to hear.  It means that you're going home.  The only problem is that it usually seems that a hospital is never in any hurry to let you go home once they have you.  On the day you're supposed to be "discharged" the resident will usually show up at 4:45am and tell you "We're going to get you out of here this morning."  See the next definition.

"Morning" - Anywhere from 4:45am when the first resident shows up until 7:30PM.  "Morning" is relative, because it's always morning somewhere.  So if the resident tells you "We're going to get you discharged this morning" it may not be for another 12 hours.