Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

A Verus Fabula

Once Upon a Time in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Picture 1I worked as a medical transporter. I started the job while finishing my college stint (circa 1977) on a part-time basis. A few months after I left projecting movies behind. Most of the time, I was just transporting hospital inpatients to X-Ray procedures.

It wasn’t a bad gig, and was somewhat rewarding in that I was making a (very) small contribution toward the benefit and care of a human being/patient. To be clear, in no way was it a clinical job. But, I did manage to become acquainted with a portion of the medical nomenclature in the performance of my duties.

Throughout the work day, I gathered the patients from their hospital room, in a wheelchair or gurney or sometimes the bed, and brought them to their procedure. Or returned them. And like the military (or us tech-heads), medicine loves its use of acronyms. The one you need to know for this decades-old tale is NPO:


So, on the day in question I came to pick up a spry, elderly woman with a gurney for an X-ray procedure that required her to be NPO. Around the same time, a surgery tech (a separate group of workers who always wore surgical scrubs and transported patients to and from the suites) was picking up a similarly aged woman two doors away for her operation that morning.

Almost in unison, as we transporters were backing our now patient-loaded gurneys out of their respective rooms, the surgical patient spotted the “NPO” placard on her room door. She then asked out loud, “N-P-O. What does NPO mean?” And before the nurse standing nearby could answer, the spirited woman I was moving piped up:

“Oh. It means npanties on!”

True story. Really. You can’t make these things up.

6 Responses to “A Verus Fabula”

  1. Claire Packer

    Nice story, Michael 🙂

    I work in the automotive engineering sector and we have acronyms for practically everything. One of my favourites is JFDI – just f****** do it!

    Liked by 1 person


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