I remember many years ago asking a patient if she had experienced any abnormal bleeding. ‘No, no, doctor,’ she replied. ‘ No bleeding. But I have been haemorrhaging badly.’ !!
We used to avoid saying the word ‘cancer’ to patients. Instead we talked about them having a ‘lump’ or a ‘tumour’ or a ‘growth’ anything so long as the dreaded C word wasn’t said out loud. Nowadays it seems to be the fashion to say it even with little definite evidence. An elderly lady in her 90s told me she had bowel cancer, and she was desperately upset by this. She was told by her GP before any definitive investigations had taken place.
I’ve used a word recently – the word: ‘retreat’ which I realise might have very different meaning to some people who read it. I meant it as an opportunity to be away from your usual surroundings and by doing new and creative things you could experience being able to ‘sort things out’ come to conclusions about ways to improve your life, work life balance, self- care or decisions you need to make.
I didn’t mean a shutting away in silence as in ‘religious retreat’ Instead an opportunity to have a few days connecting and discovering new ways to change the way you think about a situation you may be stuck about.
Anyway from now on I will truly make every attempt to use words without ambiguous meanings!
PS I was referring to Connect and Change for Doctors in Cornwall