Thursday October 22nd 2020

THE LAST LAUGH – Death Jargon 101

We’re dying – all of us are, but some viagra 100mg with a little more haste than others. We two who are writing this column have been given timelines which can be counted in months. Facing your own mortality raises several questions: how can I get one of those lovely Ghanaian coffin makers to fashion me one in the shape of a giant cock? What sort of contest can I organise for my friends to see who gets the playstation in my will? Does this mean I get a license to take medicinal marijuana? And – what will people remember us for? We hope that some of you, at least, will remember The Last Laugh.

“OMG, you’ll never guess, I just found a new Oximeter – and it’s PINK!”

Being terminally ill, like any other hobby, requires that one become accustomed to an entirely new vocabulary. There are the standard hospital acronyms, the ones that sound kinda familiar even to you, the healthy ones. The ECGs, the ICUs, the DNRs. We have our BPs checked by GPs in the ER.

But then things get a little more complicated. See, we also need to know our PO2s from our SPO2s. We know which Stage we’re at. We discuss body parts you probably don’t even know you have on a regular basis. We watch our statistics like most people watch the stock exchange, always ready to pounce with celebration or dismay at the peaks and valleys.

And, oh, the glorious and endless realm of medical accessories. Forget mp3 players, or the iPhone vs BlackBerry debate, you haven’t LIVED til you’ve compared, stat for stat, the latest and greatest in medical technology. Do you go for quiet? Or portable? Or cheapest? Would you like to be able to carry the accoutrements of your disease around in a small bag on your back, or how about a 15m breathing tube so you can walk around your house freely? My blood pressure monitor is bigger than yours, plus it can tell the time in four time zones, beep to remind me when to take my meds, and emails updates to my specialist every six hours. It’s to die for!

Like any other hobby, once you’re fully accepted into the club, you get to learn the real slang. We’ve both been marked up as LLS on numerous occasions, been told we AGMI, and all we’re good for is a 6PFP, and the best the doctors can suggest is TEETH – but that needs a whole column to itself. Neither of us have ever been FBUNDY, although at one stage one of us was deemed an EFT, and the other actually declared a DFO.

Because when you’re in the business of death and dying, when you’re in the end zone, when you’re fighting the greatest enemy there is, inside yourself, you need to feel like you’re part of a team. We all know from awkward dinner party conversation that acronyms are designed to keep one group of people in, and the rest of the world out. It gives you strength, and hope. It’s like some sort of war time bonding mechanism, and, in good old fashioned Rumplestiltskin terms, once you’ve named something, you have power over it.

So while we might both be FUBARed, no way in hell are we going AWOL sooner than we have to.

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