RNIOS: Injecting humor into health challenges

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 57, No. 8, October 2015, Page 324 Editorials

“In case you are wondering, we named it Sidney,” my patient offered during a recent visit.

“Pardon?” I responded.

“I was cleared by the transplant team and Sidney the kidney is going to my sister.”

I believe the Random Naming of Inanimate Object Syndrome (RNIOS, pronounced rhinos) has been well described in many esteemed journals (or at least in this one starting now). I was reminded of this syndrome by my favorite youngest niece, who has faced more than her fair share of health challenges at a young age.

It started with her nasogastric tube, which was named Babar after the famous elephant for obvious reasons. After Babar left on permanent safari, her new J-tube became Lil’ J. When hooked up to the portable pump and backpack for exploring purposes, Dora was born. Apparently when Lil’ J and Dora’s collaborative efforts fail they are covered by the blanket moniker, PITA, for pain in the ass. Sadly, extra help was needed, so Juliet the central line punctured the picture. Groshong and Hickman are such ugly names, but since her catheter is a Bard product Shakespeare was happy to lend a name by which any catheter would smell as sweet. Lastly, my niece was pretty excited to find out that her wheelchair for long-distance travel is a Helio product. This way she can sit in Julio down by the school yard, hey, hey.

Apparently, she is not the only one afflicted by this syndrome. She has heard of many port-a-caths with names such as Persephone and Penelope. She is aware of one girl who named her feeding tube Sally, and her pump Harry, as a result of When Harry Met Sally. Another acquaintance loves Grey’s Anatomy, so her venting G-tube immediately became McDrainy.

This random naming practice inserts some humor into often trying and difficult situations. I am constantly impressed by my niece’s ability to accept her situation with grace and levity even when faced with one difficult challenge after another. She chooses to soldier on and surmount the obstacles put in her way, all the while sharing her experiences with others in a compassionate and caring way. Her blog (http://findingmymiracle.com) puts my editorial efforts to shame. Her honest, well-crafted thoughts offer important reflection for those of us on the other side of the stethoscope. I have often encouraged her to submit an article to the BCMJ, but to this point she has resisted. I’m sure this will no longer be possible because the half dozen or so readers of my editorials (depending on if you count my family members) will now be clamoring for her authorship.

David R. Richardson, MD. RNIOS: Injecting humor into health challenges. BCMJ, Vol. 57, No. 8, October, 2015, Page(s) 324 - Editorials.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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