Of course, language must evolve, else would we still speak the speech that Shakespeare spake. As attractive as that is to me, I already get enough criticisms about my spelynghe, so perhaps we should move on to more modern modes. However, this ‘progress’ can go too far.
In my commercial work recently, I contributed an article on buzzwords and how they interfere with actual communication. I didn’t say all that I thought because my best source of annoyance isn’t considered commercial.
Hospitals and the Medical Arts.
Recently I saw my doctor for an annual physical, but it wasn’t an annual physical because now they call it ‘a wellness visit’. He wanted labs done, and I was sent, not to the lab, but to ‘the Diagnostic Care Centre’. This is supposed to make the patients more comfortable, although I suppose now they’re ‘participants’ (since you’re supposed to be part of your own ‘Care Team’.)
This trend is silly. Soon, if you want to have a baby—I mean, pre-adult—the distaff parent will be attended by the Haven of Future Assurance. If an x-ray is needed, skip Radiology and go to the ‘Salon of the Inner You’. Surgery will be known as ‘Interior Redesign,’ and Occupational Therapy will go by the title ‘Toys are Us’. In the event you sustain a mishap, don’t go to The Emergency Room—the Surprise! Department will see to your needs.
Of course, things may not go well, in which case you will be passed along to an Afterlife Transit technician (mortician, actually, but technicians are all the rage these days) who will prepare you for your Celestial Celebration (funeral), no doubt conducted by an Ecclesiastical Management Executive (but I still call her ‘the Vicar’).
All this might be avoided if you visit your wellness artist frequently, who can prescribe for you wholistic adjustments, thirty at a time, take one by mouth with meals.
It would be a lot more comfortable, and much less silly, just not to get sick.
I appreciate what doctors do, and how challenging and difficult their work can be. I don’t appreciate infantilizing the language to prevent the patient being upset by unpleasant realities such as ‘you’re going to have an examination and I’m going to listen to your heart by putting this freezing stethoscope on your naked chest!’ People understand that language.
As the Resolute Protector from the House of the Vibrating Piercing Implement (William Shakespeare, see above) has said in his performance on youthful amorousness, Romeo and Juliet:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet.
Paul TN Chapman
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