Thursday, August 2, 2012
Not Quite Berlitz
Our crash course in the language of illness began during the afternoon and evening of June 26. It continued through June 27, the first full day of my partner's hospitalization. On that day we learned several new words or phrases in our ever increasing vocabulary: intervention radiologist, endoscopy, ultrasound endoscopy and our favorite endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography also known as ERCP. We also learned that speculation is part of the early process of diagnosis. Three speculations proposed by the surgical team were in order of liklihood sarcoma, pancreatic cancer and lymphoma. Since speculation seemed to be the order ot the day, we speculated another possible diagnosis: My partner had either intentionally or accidentally swallowed a pinata. With that speculation firmly rooted in our list of possibilities we decided to pay no further attention to the speculations of the surgeons until they could offer proof that we were wrong. The pinata theory, when presented to the growing email list, grew over the next few days in popularity and possibility. And thus we added to our growing vocabulary the word and the reality of nonsense. At least we knew what that word meant.