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What a difference a name makes

Why does consumer language matter to health information retrieval and, more broadly, to health *care*? Zach Ryan, quoted in today’s USA Today, illustrates why. “”I can find the most obscure stuff on Google,” Ryan said. “I mean stupid, obscure stuff. But I couldn’t find how to get health care through the government. When you type in Obamacare, you would think it would come right up and have some clear instructions.” [USA Today]

The term “Obamacare” originated as a slur. It is certainly still used as a slur by opponents of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA). However, it has also been embraced by PPACA proponents. But sentiment analysis aside — Obamacare is not actually what the legislation is CALLED. The smartest search engine in the world can do nothing for searchers who can’t do the mental mapping for themselves.

P.S. For Edward Schumacher-Matos’ take on Obamacare — the name– — see “What We Hear When NPR Refers to ‘Obamacare‘.

Flu and theology

In nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an’ women sure was dyin’,

From de disease what de doctors called de flu.

People was dyin’ ev’ywhere; death was creepin’ th’ough de air,

For de groans of de sick sure was sad.

 

Chorus:

It was God’s almighty hand; he was judgin’ this old land;

North an’ South; East an’ West could be seen,

Yes, he killed de rich an’ poor, an’ he’s goin’ to kill more

If you don’t turn away from your sins.

 

In Memphis, Tennessee, doctors said it soon would be,

In a few days influenza will (we’LL?) control.

But God showed that He was head, an’ He put de doctor to bed,

And the nurse they broke down with de same. [Chorus]

 

Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees;

‘Tis a fever ev’ybody sure does dread;

Puts a pain in ev’y bone, a few days an’ you are gone

To a place in de groun’ called de grave. [Chorus]

 

Sung by Ace Johnson, Clemens state farm, Brazoria, Texas, April 16, 1939. “”Learned it off a holiness boy in Amarillo, Texas.”

Text transcription from the Library of Congress “American Memory” site; recording collected by John and Ruby Lomax can be heard here.

 

Drink them both up

“She put the lime in the coconut, she called the doctor, woke him up,
And said, “Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take,
I say, Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?
I say, Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take,
I say, Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?”
“Now let me get this straight “,
Put the lime in the coconut, you drank them both up (3x)

Put the lime in the coconut, you called your doctor, woke him up,
And say, ‘Doctor, ain’t there nothing I can take,
I say, Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?
I say, Doctor, doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take,
I say, Doctor, dooooctor, to relieve this belly ache?’
Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both together,
Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better,
Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up,
Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the morning.”

Harry Nilsson, Coconut (Nilsson Schmilsson, 1971)

Youtube

Hang it up, daddy

“Hang up the chick habit
hang it up, daddy,
a girl’s not a tonic or a pill
hang up the chick habit
hang it up, daddy,
you’re just jonesing for a spill

oh, how your bubble’s gonna burst
when you meet another nurse
she’ll be driving in a hearse

you’re gonna need a heap of glue
when they all catch up with you
and they cut you up in two.”

April March, Chick Habit (1995)