Wednesday’s Sick Notes

In the course of researching some (likely obscure) phenomenon the skeptical cardiologist encountered  a reference to a book with the fascinating title of “Fritz Spiegl’s SICK NOTES: An Alphabetical Browsing-Book of Medical Derivations, Abbreviations, Mnemonics and Slang for the Amusement and Edification of Medics, Nurses, Patients and Hypochondriacs.”

The book is no longer in print but I was able to purchase a used version for less than 10$ via the wonders of the internet.

Published in 1996 with a forward by Lord Smith of Marlow, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons, the book is most enjoyable, quite suited to short bursts of reading.

From time to time I will share random selections, most likely on a Wednesday.

Without further ado I give you today’s tidbit- the pancreas.

The name of the digestive gland comes from the Greek pan, all + areas, flesh; or so all the dictionaries tell us. It is actually fish-shaped, and the all-flesh connection is puzzling, as surely all our soft giblets-human as well as animal-are ‘all flesh”.

Could there be a connection with Latin panis, bread, in view of the fact that the pancreas of lambs, calves, etc. when used in cooking, are called sweetbread(s)-although the pancreas is, of course, neither sweet nor bread?

Further etymological investigation seems called for. The pancreas also contain small groups of cells called ISLETS of LANGERHANS, which secret two hormones, INSULIN and glucagon, regulating blood-sugar levels:  another connection with sweetness. See DIABETES.

I can’t reference the islets of Langerhans without thinking about the brilliant humor of Firesign Theatre

Langerhangingly Yours,

-ACP

3 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Sick Notes”

  1. OMG – the Firesign Theatre – I lived those years long ago!! I don’t need the link to remember “The far flung isles of Langerhans”
    The boys with the fires sign birth dates…
    Philip Thackray

  2. it’s available on Amazon

    From: The Skeptical Cardiologist To: mdooley482@sbcglobal.net Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 6:23 PM Subject: [New post] Wednesday’s Sick Notes #yiv6883858782 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6883858782 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6883858782 a.yiv6883858782primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6883858782 a.yiv6883858782primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6883858782 a.yiv6883858782primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6883858782 a.yiv6883858782primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6883858782 WordPress.com | Dr. AnthonyP posted: “In the course of researching some (likely obscure) phenomenon the skeptical cardiologist encountered  a reference to a book with the fascinating title of “Fritz Spiegl’s SICK NOTES: An Alphabetical Browsing-Book of Medical Derivations, Abbreviations, Mnem” | |

  3. Beginning in the mid-1960s, we lived across the street in Webster Groves from Dr. Paul Lacy, the diabetes research pioneer who spent more than thirty years in his lab at Washington University Medical School trying to perfect a method to transplant islets into diabetic patients. I always smiled when I saw Paul’s personalized license plate: ISLETS. Needless to say, he had no competition securing his first choice. 😉

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