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Apr 11, 2022

Eight New Names For Minor Medical Conditions

De-stigmatizing de stigmas is de name of dis game

By Ed Goldman

This is a quasi-follow-up to Friday’s quasi-discussion about people reading on Facebook about the quasi-symptoms of a medical condition and assuming they indeed have that condition.

Today’s topic is the danger of labeling.

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Most of us don’t like to be characterized based on our medical challenges, whether minor (like being called Four Eyes if we began wearing glasses at a young age) or major.

As an example of the latter, a recent story in the New York Times features an interview with someone who doesn’t like being called a schizophrenic because, she says, people hear the word and assume she’s “violent, amoral, unhygienic.”

Harvard psychologist Dr. Raquelle Mesholam-Gately agrees, telling the Times, “That term over time has become so associated with hopelessness, with dangerousness, with volatile and erratic behavior, that doctors are afraid to use that term with people and their family members. And people who have that condition don’t want to be associated with that name.”

New names for schizophrenia have been suggested, everything from “altered perception disorder” to “disconnectivity syndrome”  (which I happen to think sound even worse than schizophrenia). 

Well, what about minor infirmities and weaknesses? If we’re going to tackle the big problems, let’s start with eight less-fearsome acronyms and names that demonstrate both humanity and humility. 

  1. YGIA (YouGotItAgain) SYNDROME. This is the new diagnosis when a doctor is unsure what ails you but after a quick glance at your chart, sees that it ailed you previously and was also unsure back then of what it was.
  2. BTH (BetThatHurts) DISTURBANCE. This is one of three all-purpose semi-medical reactions you can affect when someone falls from an elliptical machine while reaching for his or her water bottle. Also known as OHO (OverHydrationObsession).

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  1. ICJI (ICanJustImagine) COMPLAINT. This is another of the three all-purpose semi-medical reactions you can deploy as needed—usually as you ride in the ambulance with the friend who fell from the elliptical machine and he or she won’t stop whining about the pain.
  2. IHTT (I’veHadThatToo) SICKNESS. The third and final all-purpose semi-medical reaction. Be careful to use this one appropriately—e.g., be certain you’ve actually suffered from Aquagenic Urticaria (allergy to water), as your complaining friend has, so you don’t mis-empathize. 
  3. IKMMK (IKeepMisplacingMyKeys) AILMENT. Also known as “aging.” Still vastly superior to the alternative, warmly referred to as “checking out of the life hotel.” 
  4. NTHWWM (NothingTheHell’sWrongWithMe) CONDITION. This can grant you unintended pariah status at a school reunion, the best-planned of which allot 45 minutes at the beginning for attendees to discuss their aches and pains. The more practiced whiners will include PowerPoint. 
  1. APGILA (APrettyGirlIsLikeA) MALADY. This is just a silly pun someone let slip through customs.
  2. MICBYI (MyInfirmityCanBeatYourInfirmity)-ITIS. If you’ve ever spent time with elderly or even young hypochondriacs, you know that a tacit competition can blossom into outright warfare when it comes to who’s sicker. Left unchecked, this can have tragic consequences. The following old joke may serve as a cautionary example:

Two doctors meet on the golf course. One of them says, “Hey, how’s that crazy hypochondriac you were treating, the guy who always thought he had a bunch of illnesses?” 

The other replies, “Well, as of last week, he thinks he’s dead.”

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).