The Ecphorizer

A Public Service Announcement
Katherine V. K. Schroeder

Issue #49 (September 1985)



When one has the time to look at the list of possible diagnoses on a clinical charge form, one comes across many items that just don't make sense. The following is a list of selected diagnoses and what they mean, for those who want to know.

Albuminuria: This could happen to you if, while glancing at the family photos, you make the wrong remark about someone's beloved (but imperfect) relative.

Appendicitis, acute: Neither the appendix nor its toxic disease is cute. A misnomer surely.

Arachnoiditis: You have this if you think you are a spider.

Arrhythmia: When you're out of sync with the rest of the world.

Arthritis, acute: Another misnomer. Arthritis isn't a cute anything.

Chronic brain syndrome: Many suffer from this but don't go to the doctor about it. These people think they have brains and are smart, but they don't and they aren't.

Depressive reaction: This is a very general term. It could refer to what happens after a button is pressed, or a typewriter key, or a person with a sore back. In each case the reaction is different.

Derangement, knee joint: When this comes in pairs, you have crazy legs.

Foreign body: Yvette Mimeaux, Gina Lollobrigida or Sophia Loren.

Fracture, humerus, closed: When the break is healed, you can laugh about it.

Furuncle: Not furaunt.

Goiter, simple, non-toxic: Safe for children to have swollen glands.

Hepatic coma: Liver goes to sleep and refuses to wake on time.

Idiopathic grand mall: Shopping center full of Valley Girls and other mall walkers between the ages of 12 and 20.

Irritable colon: When isn't it?

Labyrinthitis: When you're obsessed with mazes. The Pontifexes in Robert Silberberg's Majipoor Chronicles and other tales of Majipoor had this disease. Incurable.

Laceration, hand: When tying your shoes becomes a battle, this is what happens. Buy velcro shoes.

Left bundle branch block: So you leave it there and move the right bundle branch, thus clearing the way for the left bundle branch.

Lumbar disc disease: Cross-section of a tree trunk shows signs of parasitic decay.

Lumbar lordosis: You have this if you think you are the king of the forest. Tarzan had a sort of Lumbar Lordosis; he thought he was Lord of the Jungle.

Lumbar strain: The result of lifting heavy trees. Cut the big ones down to size or lift light trees. Lumberjacks suffer this more than any other professional.

Mastitis: You get this if you've been in the crow's nest too long.

Obstruction airway disease: Lately a serious problem, which has accounted for several plane crashes this year. If this disease is not brought under control, flying may become a hazardous means of travel.

Orchitis: What you get from reading The Lord of the Rings too much and too late at night.

Organic brain syndrome: What we fear computers may develop, if they haven't already.

Psychogenic G.I. disease: You go crazy if you join the Army.

PVC: The doctor has determined that you have turned to polyvinyl chloride. Fatal.

Rectal mass: A very strange religious experience.

Surgical complication: The surgeon hasn't had any OR time.

Thrush: A bird in the gut is worth about $100 to remove.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Hit and Run Disease (HARD).

Traumatic Amputation, arm/finger/foot/hand/leg/thumb/toe: Redundant. Any amputation is traumatic to the amputee. Ask the amputee.

Traumatic shock: What you have in addition to whatever else the doctor says you have. Usually caused by doctor's diagnosis.

Vertigo: You take off at the sight of green. Traffic light designers must have taken this wide-spread disorder into account. So common, we don't usually think it's a disease.

Weakness: When you work Sunday through Saturday every week, you suffer this. Take the weekend off and regain your strength.

Wilm's tumor: If you have it, give it back to him. You don't really want it, do you?

Wound, trunk: The "Tree Doctor" usually makes this diagnosis. If you have it, get a little more exercise, or a little more sunlight. 

Contributor Profile

Katherine V. K. Schroeder

Besides writing, she is a fan of mythology, fantasy and the works of Tolkein. She lives in Victoria, Texas.




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