★ Doctorspeak vs Plumberspeak

Mariette Robijn

Ever been to a medical specialist? Ever had a plumber in your house?
After reading this blog you will be able to distinguish between doctor-speak and plumber-speak. Let’s start with the plumber.

Picture the plumber checking the drains.

Most likely they’re horribly out of date. In fact, love, you’ve been sitting on a time bomb. Dunno who installed this bathroom. Good grief, you were lucky not to have a real disaster on your hands. What a mess! Can’t believe it! Sorry love, but you wouldn’t know which idiot is responsible for this? And you paid them HOW MUCH???!! Cowboys! It’s real bad news, I’m afraid. Just as well I’m here now to sort it out for you. It won’t be easy though, but hey, we want you to be all right, don’t we, love?

Now this is the kind of thing a medical specialist would never ever be able to say.

Imagine your doc saying: Right, love, let’s get this brain into the MRI….NOOO! Can’t believe you still know your own name. My goodness, whoever did your veins did not have the first idea what he was doing… Quack! Wow, I’ve seen a lot in my time…but honestly. You came by in the nick of time. Better get this sorted. It might take a few months to get you back on track, but hey, you want to function somewhat reasonably, right, love?

He can’t do that. He just can’t. A doctor has to rely on the vague and circumstantial ‘a little’. And I am glad for it. Imagine you’re completely utterly totally upset, on the verge of an epic breakdown. Tears and all. You’ve used up the entire box of tissues. And all your doc says, is: I have the feeling you are a little upset. Try to relax a little. And try to let go. Little by little.

When your doc uses the ominous ‘little’, you can be sure that what he really means is: “Babe, get a grip. It’s bad news, this whole brain business, but relax! We don’t want you to have a heart attack as well, do we? Be glad I am your doctor. I’m pretty good at my job, so get your act together. Now.”

No go.

Of course I understand both the plumber and the doctor. A little, that is. The plumber needs to get across the extreme urgency of immediate intervention to save your house from flooding, short circuiting and disaster. Perfect sales opportunity. Same as our medical specialist. He’s dealing with extreme urgencies as well, but he doesn’t want to send you up the wall too.

So you’d better wait a little and see how things develop, but mostly the symptoms will always be a little or a little bit more present so you’d better let go and get used to it, little by little, although I must admit, you’re a little bit young. Give it a little bit of time. In plumberese that would be: get your butt in gear, woman.