In Kamloops we have a gentleman who writes a column and calls himself the ‘Armchair Mayor’ and he provides his prospective on different situations in our city and province.
Having been working in healthcare for 20+ years and seen things from both the prospective of a patient and a healthcare provider and also having a love of all things logical I I think I’m going to call myself the ‘Armchair Patient’ or maybe ‘Armchair Linguist’ and here is my first musing:
I’m having trouble with phrases such as ‘very critical’ ‘and ‘urgent emergency’……..are the descriptors really necessary? ‘Critical’ is critical and an ‘emergency’ is an emergency. Are we such a dramatic society now that basic words like ‘emergency’, ‘’critical’ and ‘abnormal’ have lost their impact and we now need the descriptors?
Don’t get me wrong, I know the difference between slicing an artery with a kitchen knife and having a heart attack – but aren’t they both emergencies? When we call 911 do we say ‘uh, it’s only ‘kind of’ an emergency that my blood is spurting out of my arm – it’s not a ‘huge’ emergency’ ? NO!! Because an emergency is an emergency.
If I fall down and break my ankle is it an emergency? No. Do I need to go TO emergency – yes. This is where the English language gets tricky – am I using ‘emergency’ as a noun, modifier or adjective? Am I using oxymorons such as ‘minor emergency’? The word ‘oxymoron’ itself is oxymoronic.
A throat swab comes back positive for strep and that makes it an abnormal result. Is it ‘very’ abnormal or ‘sort of’ abnormal? Nope! It’s either a yes or no answer – positive or negative, abnormal or normal. It’s like saying ‘I’m slightly pregnant’. Huh? Either you are or you aren’t.
Maybe it’s my fevered mind and all these holistic and not-so-wholistic remedies I’m taking but those are the things that I’m thinking about today. I think I need to get back to work………rapidly fast.