This topic has been on my mind for years - even back when I was a nurse myself, with Flo Nightingale, it bothered me. It's not limited to nurses, however. Doctors do it. Nurses' aides do it. Publications do it. Before I break into song, someone explain this to me: What possesses people to use food words to describe funky diseases or medical conditions?
Actually, I've never seen a big uproar about this, though some might chime in if I mention how distasteful it is (no pun intended).
Think about it:
- Certain infectious conditions are described as "fishy." Boom. Put down that tuna sandwich forever.
- The breath of a patient diabetic with a very high blood sugar might be described as "fruity." Ugh, and here I was the only adult who still respected Fruity Pebbles. They're so darn fake-fruity. Now, that is ruined for me. Back to Fiber One.
- "Cafe-au-lait spots" refer to brownish blotches on the skin, while red hemagiomas, those vascular clusters that form the red birthmarks, are referred to as "strawberry birthmarks."
- Internal bleeding in your stomach might cause "coffee ground emesis." Now, I'm skipping the Dunkin Donuts coffee for life.
- Body shapes are apples or pears - although I might be described as the new hybrid apearle shape. It is associated with any bad disorders that might arise from having an apple or pear shape. As if someone shaped like a strip of bacon would be healthier (beware, tanning bed lovers). Might as well confess that I have a melon head, too.
- But the worst, absolutely worst, category for the misuse of food words has to be wounds. In that funky environment, you'll see things described as "caked", if there is drainage, some creative writer will say it is "creamy" or "milky"... There goes desserts forever. This could be a new diet.
Every time I see terms like that, I have to ask: can't we come up with another adjective? Mr. Webster wrote a whole book of just words and meanings; any phone that can handle an app can download a free dictionary - or better yet, a Thesaurus.
I've thought about rebelling against this trend and just taking it over the top by using food terms inappropriately everywhere, and see if I am asked to explain what I really mean.
I said things like:
- "That guy's ideas are really corndog."
- "After the party, everyone was all goulashed."
- "I submitted a report, but the boss said it was flapjack. I syruped back to my department."
- "The shoes I tried on were sort of Wonka Bar. I was looking for a more Kit Kat vibe."
- "Fritter away your time." (Oops...that is an actual saying. See what I mean?)
Then again, there's nothing that sounds dumber than walking around doing the dumb thing that you thought was dumb enough to deserve a soapbox.
Before I abandoned the rebellion, I did call the five grocery baggers, all grouped around the cashier but doing nothing, "a cashew cluster."
They just smiled and said "have a nice day, Mrs. M!"