We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Sitting at the doctor’s desk while he or she nods meaningfully and makes copious notes on your life-threatening bunion or cold sore. What you may not be aware of is that these Hippocratic heroes and heroines are human. They are given to suffering from having a very bad day and to feeling generally miffed that they had to get out of bed to listen to your whining. It happens to us all, after all.
We can always give the computer a good thrashing, or politely inform an annoying customer or colleague that their opinion may be better kept to themselves, but doctors rarely have this opportunity (particularly the thrashing part). So, aside from administering a painful enema or making you wait for six hours in radiology when there’s nobody before or after you, they can achieve their catharsis in a more subtle fashion. Their notes would, of course, often include Latin phrases and strange abbreviations, all of which would be completely indecipherable to anyone not crazy enough to want to study medicine for eight years or more.
These phrases may look inoffensive, but they aren’t always. All the rage in UK hospitals, the c-diff virus (Clostridium difficile) is currently doing its bit to keep the population down. Not very amusing, I’ll grant you. By simply transposing one letter, it becomes DIFFC: Dropped In For Friendly Chat, i.e. there’s nothing essentially wrong with them. The following examples are all culled from around the internet and I can’t attest to their veracity. I don’t doubt that some of these are apochryphal, or just plain made up for fun, but I don’t care, they amused me. I have to warn you that doctors may not be as polite as you might think (unless you actually know any doctors), and the following examples may contain some language you may not use at the vicarage tea party. As usual, caveat lector.
EtOH (the chemical symbol for ethanol): Extremely Trashed or Hammered
FABIANS: Felt Awful But I’m Alright Now Syndrome
Faecal Encephalopathy: Shit for brains
Brothelizer Test: A swab for sexually transmitted diseases
ATFO: Asked To Fuck Off
GROLIES: Guardian reader Of Low Intellect In Ethnic Skirt
HIVI: Husband Is Village Idiot
Eiffel Syndrome: As in “How did the bottle get stuck in your rectum?” “I fell on it”
IWB: Intercourse With Biscuits (fucking crackers)
LFTWM: Looking For Three Wise Men. When a pregnant woman refuses to admit she’s had sex
LOFD: Looks OK From Door
PAFO: Pissed And Fell Over
Plumbii Pendulosus: Swinging the lead
RT: Room Temperature (dead)
TAPS: Thick As Pig Shit
TEETH: Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI: Unexplained Beer Injury
UNIVAC: Unusually Nasty Infection, Vultures Are Circling
VTMK: Voice To Melt Knickers. The smooth, soothing voice cultivated by some doctors.
Never one to shy away from using a profanity at every possible turn, I surprised myself by enjoying one with no bad language in it the most. I have always suspected there are times when your doctor hasn’t got a clue – just like most of us. In these cases, a simple side note explains all: HIBGIA (Had it Before, Got it Again).