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February 8, 2013

On the Mend: A little health-care humor

Health care providers are much like workers in any other field. We enjoy a good laugh every now and then — and a good portion of these laughs originate from real-life situations.

That’s right — most clinicians can find at least a small measure of comedy in almost any circumstance. It’s how we survive the more challenging days and difficult cases. Psychologists label this kind of fun as ‘asylum humor’ and consider it to be normal and healthy behavior — quite useful for keeping the mood light during dire times. After all, which would you prefer — a happy or a grumpy nurse?

From dark humor to light humor and everything in between, jokes certainly have their place in medical settings. So here’s a new list of medical phrases to listen for — and hopefully they aren’t being applied to you.

Acute lead poisoning is a synonym for gunshot wound. The joke, of course, being that gunshots are instantaneous and bullets are made of lead.

Acute gravity attacks usually happen to intoxicated individuals. Along similar lines, sometimes the ground jumps up and bites them — sometimes called concrete poisoning — it’s a dangerous world out there.

An albatross refers to a chronically ill and usually non-compliant patient that wears on the nerves of their clinician. Like the ancient mariner wearing the albatross, the patient typically stays with the practitioner until one of them expires.

Hopefully your doctor isn’t planning a celestial discharge for you — it means he thinks you’re going to die. Don’t be fooled by the term celestial transfer either — the outcome isn’t much better.

I plan to be a coffin dodger, otherwise known as a person who survives against all odds or lives to be very, very old. So far, so good.

Circling the drain refers to a patient whose death is imminent and nothing can be done to arrest the process.

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