How to Kill Your Imaginary Friends: How To Talk Doctor! Lesson 1

by Dr. Grasshopper

Let’s warm up with the Amateur Transplants! (Warning: contains generally-frowned-upon four-letter words. Probably not safe for work, at least for those four seconds.)

Okay, class. Settle down now. Timmy, I saw that. Open your books to page “-itis”, and we’ll begin.

Lesson 1: -itis

-itis = inflammation.

“Inflammation” is a condition that is characterized by
-Rubor (redness)
-Calor (heat)
-Tumor (swelling)
-Dolor (pain)
-Functio laesa (loss of function)

It’s the body’s normal response to a threat: bacterial infection, a splinter in your finger, etc. Certain tissues might get inflamed as a result of an autoimmune process, in which the body attacks itself.

Put the “-itis” suffix after any body part or organ to mean “inflammation of the ________”. For maximum obscurity, use the fancy doctor-word for the body part or organ.

Let’s try it!

Pancreatitis = inflammation of the pancreas

Dactylitis = inflammation of a digit (finger or toe)

Hepatitis = inflammation of the liver (hepatic = liver)

Myocarditis = inflammation of the heart muscle (myo = muscle, card = heart)

Senioritis = inflammation of the senior

Blogitis = inflammation of the comment thread in a controversial blog post.

Thank you for your attention; class dismissed.


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If you use this as if it were real medical information, I’ll digitally palpate your external obliques for the purpose of initiating repeated contraction of your thoracic diaphragm, in turn causing the emission of multiple monosyllabic vocalizations, and possibly triggering involuntary micturation.

Reprinted with permission from How to Talk Doctor! Lesson 1 on How To Kill Your Imaginary Friends, by Dr. Grasshopper

Dr. Grasshopper is a science fiction and fantasy author who is finishing up medical school and seeking residency in the field of internal medicine.