Wordfoolery is just back from her holiday in Tuscany, Italy. I’m tempted to discuss an Italian word this week in honour of my trip but honestly my Italian isn’t strong enough despite consuming liberal quantities of gelati to aid fluency. The pomegranate ice-creams in San Gimignano and the peach in Castellina were the best, in case you’re interested.
Instead I’m opting for a medical term – idiopathic. This was on my mind as I had to consult my local doctor before departure for a checkup. He was obviously using a seasonal checklist as he reminded me to wear sunscreen (I’m a factor 50 girl all the way) and recommended a new cream to use in addition to anti-histamine tablets for my severe idiopathic urticaria.
I stared at him for a moment. That sounded scary and I didn’t remember having any horrid sounding diseases. He caught my look and explained that’s the medical term for the fact that a simple insect bite causes me to swell up.
But idiopathic caught my mind as it sounded way too close to idiot for my liking. Was this a sneaky doctor way to laugh at those of us covered in itchy lumps every summer?
Luckily he wasn’t mocking me. It just means that the disease has an unknown cause. The word origins are Greek (not Italian, that would be too neat) – idios – one’s own, and pathos – suffering. Literally idiopathic means a disease of its own kind.
Given that my reaction to the bites only began after a spider bite in Canada in my early twenties, I know the cause of my disease, but I’ll let the doc away with it for the moment. Now at least I have a rather grand name for an irritating side-effect of the summer.
Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling. Don’t let those mozzies bite and don’t forget the sun-screen ;-)