Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
The medical community amazes me. There are all these big words to describe things going on in the human body. I’m sure there’s a grand reason for using the proper medical terminology rather than regular words. But I’ll never understand it. For example, bad breath is called halitosis. I’m not sure why. You may not even realize there’s another condition called halitophobia. Do you have halitophobia? People who have halitophobia BELIEVE they have bad breath but they really don’t. It’s in their minds. Let’s review. Your childhood piano teacher had halitosis. The real thing. Every time she said, “Work on these chords or you will never get into Juilliard,” you felt like you were in a field of wild onions. On the other hand, your best friend in high school had halitophobia because she constantly blew into her hand and sniffed, ate 27 Tic Tacs™ a day and gargled with Scope™ in the school restroom after lunch.
But there’s one medical term that I truly do not understand at all. Incontinence. Now that I’m in my late 40s this term applies to me more than I’d like to admit. It’s all because I live in the country. I drink three cups of coffee and then go to town and try to get several things done without taking a potty break. While I’m making the trip back to our rural home ... I find myself in a bit of a quandary. I say things like, “Gosh, I wish I had gone to the bathroom at the dry cleaners.” I know. There’s a sign at the dry cleaners that says, “No public restroom.” But get real. If a big woman in her late 40s started doing the twist and requesting a bathroom, I have a feeling they’d find one, don’t you? Usually by the time I see our long country driveway, I’m in a real pickle. Have you ever exited your vehicle before it came to a complete stop? Yeah, me too. I often fumble for my keys to quickly open the door and make a hobbled run for the great white throne. Do I make it in time? Well, as the coach says after the big game, “We gave our best effort. You win some. You lose some.”
But if the above situation turns into a real problem, you should go to your doctor to get help. You’re supposed to say, “Doctor, I’m here because I’m incontinent.” Of course, that word makes absolutely no sense at all. If you tell me you’re incontinent, I’m gonna think you just got home from a cruise. When a friend told me she was incontinent, I responded promptly. “Welcome home. We’re glad you’re back in North America.”
Medical terms are funny. People are even funnier. My boys think that watching their twisting mom jump out of a slow-moving Trail Blazer in our driveway is funny. I think I said in last week’s column that this week I would write an upbeat holiday column. Oops! I apologize. But I thought we could all use a good laugh. Just don’t laugh too hard ’cause ... well, you’ll just have to trust me on that one.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.8.10
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View