Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed

The “D” is Silent

...there but for the grace of God...

“Mom is HIV and HepB positive,” the resident says, handing me the chart as she makes her way out the door.  “Can you write orders for acyclovir, the Hepatitis vaccine, and the HBV Ig?  Consent is already in the chart.  You can go interview the mom for an H&P, too.  And, oh gosh, I almost forgot – mom’s a heroine addict so we need a methadone drip, as well.  There’s a protocol in the system you can use.  I’ve got to head up to the NICU but you can page me with questions.”  She smiles as she sweeps by.  “Welcome to the newborn nursery!”

I briefly flip open Infant Jones’ thin paper chart and begin to gather information about the pregnancy and delivery from her mother’s EMR.  When I’ve a good idea of the major issues surrounding her new and somewhat precarious existence I take a quick peek at the little one.  She is very small and quite irritable – one of the early signs of withdrawal – but her bedside glucose is normal, there are no focal neurological defects, tremors or signs of altered mental status, and she is breathing comfortably.  I help hook up the methadone drip, pulse ox, and CRM and write orders for frequent vitals and dexi’s – not that I even need to, the nurses here are pros – then head off toward the mother’s room.  Once outside the door I peruse mom’s paper chart, where I find a copy of the birth certificate and her sweet infant’s little inked footprints.  The name is listed as “Shawnesa Miracle.”  I knock and hear a groggy, “Come on in.”

The room is dark and quiet, but mom is awake, pecking at one of the iPads the postpartum floor lends out to new mothers.

“Oh, hi.  These are so cool!” she says.  She grins up at me, her pupils so small I can see the lovely variegated color of her irises.  I note the scars, the fresh track marks on her arms and sigh inwardly.

“Good morning Ms. Jones!  Aren’t those fun?!  My name is Mullberry, I’m one of the medical students helping to take care of Shawnesa in the nursery.  Congratulations on your new baby!  How are you feeling?”

“Wait…what did you call her?”

“The baby?  Shawnesa…I’m sorry, am I saying it wrong?”

“It’s DA-shawnesa.”

“Oh gosh, it must be wrong in the paperwork.  How should it be spelled?!”

“No it’s right, I saw the certificate.  It’s S-H-A-W-N-E-S-A.  The ‘D’ is silent.”

I pause for a moment.

Out loud I say, “Thanks for letting me know.  Dashawnesa is a very pretty name, and she’s such a cutie.”

Inside I say, “Well that’s umb — and istressing,” making sure to note the “silent” D’s.


9 comments on “The “D” is Silent

  1. Amy
    April 16, 2012

    I never ceased to be amazed at the names people give their children sometimes…

    • mullberrywhine
      April 17, 2012

      No kidding! This one was just so sad. Silent? Not quite. Invisible, perhaps. High and highly damaged? Absolutely.

      • Amy
        April 18, 2012

        I’ve seen a few very very unfortunately named children. Like D-ana (pronounced DASH-ana) and Assholé (pronounced ASH-OLAY). I can’t imagine their life from school onwards…

        • mullberrywhine
          April 19, 2012

          I took care of a La-sha a while back. Luckily, I always called her Ms. Smith, but just assumed her first name was Lasha – I even called her PCP and referred to her as such. Imagine my surprise when we started talking about “La-dash-a” at a family meeting! And heaven help “Asholay.” I can’t even imagine the torment at school…

          • Amy
            April 19, 2012

            Ah, goodness. People really need to think about how the names they choose look on paper. Picture it: The first day of school and the teacher starts roll-call and sees the name Assholé (most likely without the accented ‘e’ because all accented letters are like that on such lists)… [any chance of social life suddenly comes to a halt]

            I guess that’s where relatively normal middle names come into play in life…

  2. ElizabethWolf
    April 17, 2012

    Oh no…

  3. mima
    June 17, 2012

    I once bumped into someone called Eunis, pronounced anus thanks to his accent. Even worse, his surname was Boyle.
    For real.

    • mullberrywhine
      June 17, 2012

      Oh dear! That’s a veritable pain in the Eunis, I’d say.

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Nothing under the table.
The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
Mullberry Whine can be enjoyed daily; there is no unsafe quantity. Real wine, though, should be enjoyed in moderation. At-Risk Drinking for males under 65 is defined as >14 alcoholic beverages per week or >4/day, with >7 drinks a week or >3/day being the cut-off for females under 65 and for anyone, male or female, who has graced this planet for 65 years for more. Drink Mullberry Whine like there are no consequences. But drink alcohol responsibly. Your friends, your family, your health-care provider, and your liver - heck, ALL of the organs in your body - will thank you.
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