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Sep 20, 2019

For all of you nurses, nurses' assistants, doctors, and anyone else who is interested in, or involved in the medical profession, this podcast is for you. A subscriber to my Youtube channel A Cup Of English, Maria, recently asked me to go over the nursing reading and practice that she needs as a nurse. As my job is medical interpreting, I am familiar with a lot of medical language. So, today I will start with some essential, medical basics.

The following is a conversation between a nurse, the doctor, and the patient. Afterwards, I will repeat the essential medical terms, and then we will listen to the dialogue a second time.

Nurse Winters: Hello Mr. Smith. What brings you to the clinic today?

Mr. Smith: Well, I feel terrible.

Nurse Winters: Can you describe how you feel?

Mr. Smith: I feel weak and hot and shaky.

Nurse Winters: Let me take your vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, height, and weight. Could you take your shoes off and stand on the scale please? Ok, 192lbs. Now I will measure your height. Ok, 6'2".

Now, I need you to sit down, with your feet flat on the floor. Please don't move, and stay quiet, so I can get your blood pressure. It's a little high: 129 systolic over 75 diastolic. 

Mr. Smith: What does that mean?

Nurse Winters: I'm glad you asked. The systolic blood pressure is the pressure inside your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number, diastolic, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests.

Now, this thermometer runs over your forehead; it's digital. Yes, it looks like you have a temperature: 104 degrees. Do you know how long you have had it?

Mr. Smith: Two days. I measured it myself.

Nurse Winters: Do you have any pain?

Mr. Smith: Yes, right in the middle of my stomach.

Nurse Winters: Have you recently had an accident, broken anything or cut yourself? 

Mr. Smith: No I don't have any cuts or broken bones.

Nurse Winters: Can you show me exactly where it hurts?

Mr. Smith: Right around my belly button, and then it seems to spread out to the rest of my abdomen.

Nurse Winters: What kind of pain is it? Sharp? Dull? Pressure? An ache?

Mr. Smith: It's sharp pain now. Like a stabbing pain. When it started, it was just an ache, like a headache. But now its a lot worse, and the pain comes more often, and lasts longer. It comes in waves.

Nurse Winters: Ok Mr. Smith. I have put the details in the computer, and Doctor Mojan will be in to see you shortly (soon).

Mr. Smith: Thank you.

(15 minutes later)

Dr. Mojan: Hello Mr. Smith, I am Doctor Mojan. I hear that you have a lot of abdominal pain, and a fever.

Mr. Smith: Yes, that's right.

Dr. Mojan: If you could please lie down on the bed, I will examine you. I'm going to press gently on your abdomen. Tell me if you experience any pain.

Mr. Smith: Ow! Yes, that really hurts! Please don't press any more. It's just getting worse. 

Dr. Mojan: Ok, I'm sorry about that. Have you vomited at all?

Mr. Smith: Yes, twice today, yesterday, and the day before.

Dr. Mojan: You appear to have an infection. I suspect it is appendicitis, but it could be something else. To make an accurate diagnosis, I need to see the condition of your internal organs. So, today, you will have several tests. First of all, a urinalysis. You will give a urine sample and we will see if you have a urinary tract infection. You will also have a blood test, to see if you have elevated levels of white blood cells. This will show if there is definitely an infection. Then, because of your pain and vomiting, I believe you need to have an abdominal ultra sound. It's perfectly safe; it uses painless sound waves to produce a picture of your organs. 

Mr. Smith: So, will I need an operation?

Dr. Mojan: We will know when we get the results back. Hopefully, you only need to take antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Nurse Winters will come in now and take you to the bathroom to get your urine sample. Then, she will take you to get your blood test. In the meantime, I will order and organize your ultrasound.

Mr. Smith: Thank you Doctor Mojan.

Dr. Mojan: I'm glad you didn't wait any longer before coming in. 

Medical notes:

Types of pain: sharp, dull, pressure, ache or achy, throbbing, constant, spreading.

Sensations: Tingling (pins and needles), numbness, shakiness or shaky, weak, dizzy, exhausted, nauseated, sweaty, chilled.

Blood pressure: systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, a stethoscope, a blood pressure monitor or gauge, and an inflatable cuff.

Temperature: thermometer, digital thermometer, fever, temperature, "I'm burning up", degrees.

Abdomen, abdominal, exam, vomit, infection, diagnosis, internal organs, a sample (blood, urine, saliva).

Elevated levels of white blood cells.

Ultrasound, urinalysis, urinary tract.

To give a sample. To get a blood test.