Humor: Words Matter in Medical Updates to Family and Friends

    Senior man in a blue t-shirt smirking while covering his mouth with his hand.


    (SENIOR WIRE) I’m not good at pronouncing medical terms. On top of that, I am a senior originally from New York City, and I talk funny with a heavy accent, like I’m a character from the movie, “The Godfather.”

    I was with my wife, sitting in a doctor’s office, listening to the doctor explain the results of an MRI with contrast on my right hip. I also wear hearing aids and don’t always hear clearly. I remember hearing the doctor say I had a labral tear followed by a host of words that were all medicalease. In other words I had no clue what they meant.

    When we got home, I fired up my computer to send a quick message via email to some of my friends in New York and Pennsylvania to let them know how I made out with the doctor. My wife was sewing in the next room when I called out to her asking her what term the doctor used to describe my tear.

    My memory is not as good as it once was, and I wanted to check with her.

    Later that night I was outside in the yard with my dogs when my youngest son called to find out how my MRI came out. I came back in the house to find my wife doubled over in the chair she was sitting in, laughing out loud while she held the phone to her ear. My son was a medic during the First Gulf War and knew a bit about anatomy.

    My wife was still laughing uncontrollably when she handed the phone to me to speak to our son, who was also laughing very hard. When he was able to stop laughing, he explained to me that it was impossible for me to have a torn labia as that was part of female genitalia.

    I immediately realized that this was the term I used to describe my injury to my friends in my email.

    By now, I realized  the East Coast of our country was probably having trouble trying to stop laughing at my email regarding my medical condition.

    The term I should have used to tell my friends was “labral tear” and not “labia tear.”

    The fact that I had a prescription for physical therapy for my tear twice a week, which I had added in my email, probably caused more laughs because of the incorrect medical term I had used previously.

    There is no question. I am an idiot. I did have a typewritten report on my MRI, which described in correct medical terms the injury to my hip for the physical therapist if I had taken the time to read it before sending out my emails.

    The good news is that several people got some laughs out of my idiocy. I did learn to pay more attention to medical terms and to stop confusing my wife with my mispronunciation of words.

    Words do matter. I know that truth now, and, hopefully, I will remember it for a long time. MSN