Language Is Fluid

, , , , , | Healthy | August 20, 2019

Some years ago I had gastric bypass surgery. During the aftercare, I had appointments with a dietician at the hospital where I had the surgery. As a preparation for these visits, I had to fill out an inquiry. One of the questions regarded alcohol.

Did I drink less alcohol than before the surgery, the same or more?

Well, that looks like a straightforward question, but I couldn’t answer it truthfully. Because I do not drink, and is no alcohol the same or less? It can’t be more, but is it the same or less? The same implies some alcohol consumption, as does less. 

I added an extra line to the inquiry and simply stated that I do not drink alcohol. Ever.

The dietician went nuts. She berated me for 50 minutes for “my excessive alcohol consumption” as I hadn’t picked the only acceptable answer — less. “None” wasn’t a viable answer as it wasn’t included in the inquiry. I asked her to add to my chart that I do not drink. I asked if we could please continue with discussing my diet as I do not drink. She had worked herself into a frenzy and just kept screaming. Wonderful to travel six hours for a useless meeting with someone not listening at all.

Anyway, the next meeting was six months later, with another dietician. And the same inquiry to prepare. Once again, I answered that I never drink.

This dietician was even more aggressive. She rushed out during the meeting to get a colleague so they could scream at me together. While she was out I grabbed a paper and wrote on it in big letters, “I NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL.”

It didn’t help. They still couldn’t grasp that it is possible to not consume alcohol. I asked them to test my blood alcohol level and do whatever testing they wanted as my liver should be in prime condition. Because I did not f****** drink alcohol. And I still don’t. 

Maybe I just should have picked the option of “drinking less” on the inquiry, but… I’m a language teacher. Nuances are important. “Less” is not the same as “none” or “nothing.”

 

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