Thursday, March 1, 2012

On Being Pleasantly Baffled

Recently I was reading a doctor's report, something I've become somewhat proficient at after 9+ years of dealing with the Federal Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.  This report was for a health problem caused by my inability to use my left arm correctly (the OWCP injury) but not actually submitted as a claim because I am not dumb and one uphill battle is really enough, thank you.  Anyway, this report made me giggle because the doctor used the word "pleasant" to describe me.  More than once.  What do you suppose they put when the patient is unpleasant?

I just found it funny and started to think about the words doctors use and how those words tell a story.  In my experience, it's usually got a lot of mistakes in it, but nonfiction is hard to get right.  Half my lifetime ago, there was this orthopedic doc who described me as slender.  I came across this years later when I had to request my medical records from his office for the cursed OWCP thing, and they just sent everything.  I never really thought of myself as slender.  Ever.  Then I realized it must be a medical descriptor, not an aesthetic judgement.

So many words mean different things to doctors (and lawyers and government offices), and sometimes I forget that context matters.  I do love hilarious quotes out of context.  But pleasant?  What does that have to do with a hand injury?  Really, I wonder...

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