A Very Basic Primer for the Uninitiated Cancer Patient
First time in the hospital? When traveling to the land of white lab coats it is necessary to know enough of the language to be able to interact with the natives. Speak slowly when you are addressing the locals and always carry a notebook to document those fun interactions. Don’t be afraid to ask for translations.
Common Medication Terminology:
AC-before eating, or before meals
QD-Once a day
BID-Twice a day
TID-Three times a day
QID-Four times a day
HS- At hour of sleep
Basic Primer of Tests You May Encounter:
Biopsy-An invasive procedure that involves removing a portion of tissue for microscopic examination. Your guide to biopsies can be found at CancerGuide.
CBC-complete blood count (for a detailed explanation of all the tests included in a cbc, check out Merck Online.
PET scan-(positron emission tomography)-Test that measures body functions and metabolism utilizing the introduction of a small amount of radioactive material into the body. For more information, Radiology Info has a great patient information site on PET scans
CT or CAT-(computerized tomography )-noninvasive x-ray scan of the body. More information available at Radiology Info.
MRI-(magnetic resonance imaging)-A noninvasive scan that does not use x-ray, but utilizes radio waves in a magnetic field to visualize areas of the body. For more information, Radiology Info.
AMA-(Against Medical Advice)- a patient who checks himself out of the hospital against the advice of his doctor
Benign-not malignant, of no danger to health
Hematuria-Blood in the urine
Invasive-requiring use of a catheter, needle or other instrument into the body.
Malignant-characterized by uncontrolled growth, cancerous, invasive and/or metastatic
Metastatic-transferring cancerous cells from one site to another
NKA-No known allergies
Noninvasive-not penetrating the body
FFP-Fresh Frozen Plasma
FUO- Fever of Unknown Origin
Hct-Hematocrit-The oxygen carrying portion of your red blood cells
Hgb-Hemoglobin-The volume of red blood cells to the volume of whole blood
I & O-intake and output-Measuring what goes into your body and what comes out (includes, fluids by mouth, IV fluids and urine)
NPO- (Latin: nulla per os) Nothing by mouth, or nothing by mouth after midnight. Generally used as preparation for lab tests or surgery.
RBC-Red Blood Count
WBC-White Blood Count
Overheard in the Nurses Lounge: or on reruns of ER and Grey’s Anatomy…
3H Enema-Hot, High and a Heck of a lot
ALS-Absolute Loss of Sanity
Blood Suckers-Lab Personnel
Chart Dehiscence-Dropping patient chart and everything falls out
Chem-Blood Chemistry Panel/CBC
Foley-catheter for urine drainage
LPT-Low pain threshold
Meeting of the Knife & Gun Club-Busy night in the emergency room
Sats-Oxygen Saturation Levels, measured in percentage
OOB-Out of bed
Positive Hilton Sign-patients who demand Hilton Hotel treatment and are obviously well enough to go home
SubQ-subcutaneous injection (small needle) given into the area between the skin and the muscle
Tough Stick-patients whose veins are hard to find when drawing blood
Taber’s Cyclopedia Medical Dictionary
The Merck Manual.