What Did You Say?

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Have you ever listened to someone speak about a topic and thought “Wow I have no idea what they are talking about.”? People who are experts on topics tend to use the language that comes naturally to them. This is what they know and these words make perfect sense to them. However, what if it is not making sense to everyone else in the room?

During an emergency room visit for a family member these words were being used non-stop. Here are a few examples:

“I’m going to flush your line now so I can give you some fluids.”

“No, I don’t think this is a surgical belly.”

“A head CT is necessary to rule out any type of neurologic defect.”

I understood these words and phrases because I have years of experience as a nurse. Keep in mind, there are medical phrases and verbiage that I do not understand. Considering this, would a person with no experience working in healthcare understand? What about a person who has never been sick or in the hospital? Maybe yes, but I’m thinking more likely no.

It is only fair for healthcare providers to speak to patients in a way that can be understood. I’m not saying that healthcare providers shouldn’t use the proper terminology, they just have to take the time to explain those specific words to the patient in a way that can be understood. A lot of these terms are things that a patient will hear repeatedly so it is best that they are taught what they mean.

In the world of oncology there are a lot of overwhelming words relating to treatments, medications and the diseases themselves. Once you are diagnosed it is a good idea to do some research on your own to familiarize yourself with the world you are being thrown into. What is a biopsy, a hemoglobin, a prostatectomy, etc? Having introduced yourself to some of this language can ease the stress of taking in all of this new information. Use the OncoPilot tool to help yourself keep track of your journey and all of this new information you are being exposed to.

Also, as a patient or caretaker, please do not be afraid to ask questions. Being sick or taking care of a sick loved one is stressful, challenging and at times exhausting. If your provider is speaking in a language that you don’t understand ask your provider to slow down and explain what he or she is talking about. It’s your health and you deserve to know and understand what is going on.

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