Thursday, March 19, 2009
What's in a Name
I wonder if the way people feel about their names has some influence over the way they feel about themselves in general?
My daughter, who's a pretty confident, exuberant kid, wrote an essay not too long ago describing her name as something that "inspires" her. We were so happy about that! I think it can be hit or miss, though - parents pick names they themselves love for their children, but often the kids end up not really liking those names.
When I put in epidurals for labor or give spinal anesthesia for C-sections, I always ask, just out of friendly curiosity, what names the parents have considered. Sometimes they prefer to keep them private, but more often than not, they're happy to share.
Someone I know was recently going through some papers and suddenly let out a noise of surprise. "This person's name is Anesthesia!"
"Anastasia?" I asked, thinking I'd misunderstood.
"No, Anesthesia - you know, like what you do for a living."
"That's her name? Is it spelled differently?
"Nope. See for yourself. An-es-thesi-a."
This got me thinking about medical words not to use as names for people.
I don't mind the name Carina pronounced ca-ree-na, but the medical word carina, in English often pronounced car-eye-na, means the bifurcation of the trachea, which might not appeal to some people.
Candida - yeast infection
Coryza - inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes (in other words, a head cold)
Verruca - wart
Milia - the tiny little whiteheads newborn babies get on their noses (which clear up on their own)
Morpholino - a synthetic molecule that blocks other molecules from binding to a particular sequence of nucleic acids
and, my "favorite" among the medical-words-to-avoid-as-names,
Melena - black, tarry stool
...though I can't really imagine anyone choosing any of the above names for their children, except perhaps the one most to be avoided, Melena. You never know, though - with unusual celebrity baby names like Moon Unit, Bronx Mowgli, Sage Moonblood, and Satchel, perhaps it's just a matter of time before we see a Morpholino.
For more medical-name fun, click here for a page on medical terms that would make good names for rock bands. I could amuse myself indefinitely trying to think of a few more!