Friday, March 12

medical lingo

The web is very useful for learning about how stuff works. It was useful today when the nurse mentioned a "Foley" (it's a kind of catheter, named after Dr. E. B. Foley). The NHS Direct Online Encyclopedia was useful, as well as their specific page which explained the Foley Catheter (among other stuff). There's also info on CT (Computed Tomography) scans (commonly called CAT Scans).

The computer business is full of terms that we take for granted, so I'm not surprised to see that medicine is the same way. When a nurse explained that she was giving a potassium pill, I assumed 100% potassium, but it may have been KI (potassium iodide - used for anti-radiation) instead. I will probably never know.

Aricept is a drug which purports to help people with Alzheimer's keep their memory and thinking longer. Caveat: you must begin taking it when the first symptoms appear. Another thing I read about Alzheimer's Disease (which has an 8-12 year run) is that it is really only verified during an autopsy (I prefer to categorize that tidbit as unverified). Ouch.

There are self-help and support groups for nearly every medical condition. I easily found ones for arthritis; osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease.

I also read about meningiomas in "Brain Tumors that are not Gliomas". Another site ( had some good information about Dementia of the Alzheimer Type. Another book I read (Virginia Morris' "How to Care for Aging Parents") explained the difference between Multi-Infarct Dementia and Alzheimers. If you're seeking assisted living, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging represents several thousand nursing homes.

Not all stuff in a hospital is technical. For example (in the hospital cafeteria) I was spellbound to see that scrambled eggs were priced by the scoop. I skillfully (by admitting ignorance) negotiated a one-scoop price when I opted for 1.5 scoops. Similarly, sausage patties were priced individually. It made for an entertaining cash-register receipt. When I returned for lunch, I asked for the shrimp stir-fry (rice, shrimp, vegetables) but they ran out of shrimp half-way through my order, so the cook asked if I'd mind if he completed the order with crayfish. "Sure," I said .. so I ended up with a shrimp & crawfish stir-fry. It was yummy.

A pair of curious machines (tucked away in a corner of the cafeteria) were made by Debitek (these allow adding value [cash] to an electronic cash card). This hospital had several full-function ATM machines, in addition to the usual gift shops, etc. While there were no public Internet terminals, there were some in the Nursing Library which I was assured were available to visitors.

In the room, I noticed the 2-person visitor couch expanded into a bed. This one was made by Durfold Sleepchair of Jackson MS (specifically, a model DL-27). Finally, I noticed the patient beds were made by Hill-Rom but I found their website cumbersome. A better explanation of Hill-Rom products is on (among others).

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