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Talk to your doctor, but learn the lingo first

With all this hysteria over the coronavirus, lots of folks are worried about catching this nasty bug. Although the majority of those who get the virus recover fairly quickly, it isn’t something to mock fun at. If you think you have the coronavirus, or just the plain old flu, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor. But, here lies the problem. With all these adoptive citizens we now have here in Texas and other southern states, these folks from faraway lands like California and New York might not be familiar with medical terminology down here in Dixie.

As a professional in the animal health community, plus a reader of several medical books written by Dr. Seuss, I believe I should disperse my finite wisdom to all y’all newcomers to God’s Country who might need to go to a doctor one day. Although most doctors here are fluent in English, some might have difficulty deciphering a Bostonian accent or jargon from Napa Valley. So, y’all might need to know how to properly describe maladies and symptoms ‘round these parts.

When you twist your knee chasing the cows in the pens, you might need to have the doc look at your leg ‘cause it’s “all swole up.” This terminology also refers to a gastric condition where something you ate has your belly “swole up like a dead hog.” Having a swole up knee may leave you “laid up” for some time, and even after the swelling subsides, you might have a “hitch in your giddyup” for a few weeks.

Now that it’s springtime, you might have to see a doctor after camping in a state park because you’re “ate up with” insect bites such as chiggers. One or two chigger bites ain’t much to fret over, but when your legs look like ostrich-skin cowboy boots, son, you’re ate up. If you don’t want to use this term for your skin irritation for risk of sounding like a hick, you can substitute “got in a mess of poison ivy” or “them ticks thought I was a buffet table.”

Now, if you do catch some virus, there’s all sorts of medical terms y’all can use to describe your illness when you call in sick to work. My go-to phrase is “I’m sick as a dawg.” This condition is much worse than “feelin’ poorly” but not quite as bad as “knocking at Death’s door.” The problem with the flu is it can leave you “plumb wore out” and “weak as a new-born kitten.”

Sometimes, you wake up and just “ain’t feelin’ perky today.” You might even look “peak-ed (pronounced “peek-id”) since you’re “under the weather.” No need to see a doctor over this, but if you’ve got a bad cough, feel free to tell the doc that you have “the consumption.” Then he’ll know what it is.

As we Texans get a bit long in the tooth, we tend to have more maladies. Pert near every morning, I’m all “stove up” from all the work I did the day before. Now don’t get “stove up” confused with “swole up.” While both conditions are painful, they are treated differently. If some ailment sends you back to bed, you can tell your boss, “I’m down with (fill in the blank).”  Here’s an example: “Hey, boss, I can’t come in today. I’m down with the gout. My big toe is all swole up and it hurts like all get-out.”

There are a few colloquial sayings that y’all might say if you’re really sick, like “I’ve got one foot in the coffin” or “I’ve gotta feel better to die.” Other folks might take a look at you and say, “You look like death warmed over.” If you hear this, you might soon, God forbid, be “pushing up daisies.”

Now that y’all are familiar with southern terminology, y’all should feel comfortable talkin’ to your new health care provider. But take precautions to avoid catching these bugs out there. Stay away from sick folks, wash your hands often, use alcohol to kill germs on your hand and esophagus, and stay off cruise ships for a while. Follow my advice and you may stay on this side of the dirt for a few more years.

We’re not sure how often Clint Younts recommends washing hands, but we know that he tends to clean his esophagus with Lone Star Beer.

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