Reading Between The Lines

Note by Dr Suraj Manjunath : This is a guest post by Haripriya Suraj. Haripriya is a wellness practitioner, author, and early childhood educator. As my better half, she has been my source of support and inspiration through our years together.

“Eustachian tube openings and torus tubarius are normal

Oro and hypopharynx are normal

Supra-glottis, glottis and sub-glottis are normal

Carina is normal

Brachio-cephalic veins, superior vena cava, azygos vein are normal

Cardiac silhouette is normal

Pulmonary trunk, right and left pulmonary arteries are normal”

These were words I read aloud from a medical report.

Suraj was in the midst of peeling a giant jackfruit on a weekend when a colleague called and said he had texted him some reports. He needed an urgent opinion.

Since Suraj’s hands were all sticky, he requested me to read the report aloud.

Over the years, there have been many such pressing instances that have required me to read reports for Suraj.

In the beginning, I struggled even to pronounce some of the words correctly.  Now my pronunciation is near perfect, and I understand many words, but the meaning of many others still eludes me.

Every time I read a report, I am exposed to new vocabulary and often feel curious about what all of it may mean.

I marvel at what a miraculous work of creation the human body is. Reading such reports makes me feel even more in awe of the body!

Yes, a Google search translates medical jargon in an instant.

But having observed Suraj interpreting reports and talking with colleagues, I have come to realize that there is a huge difference between reading up about medical terminology and knowing how to apply it in context.

“I read somewhere that the average medical student learns about 15,000 new words in medical school,” I said to Suraj.

“Really?” he laughed “I am sure you understand most of those words by now.”

I smiled back “Maybe. But you can’t learn a language by reading a dictionary!”



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