Like scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) or a laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), the hospice/medical use of SOB is an acronym.
Which is to say the patient was short of breath. When a patient’s medical history is recorded, acronyms play a key role in sharing and keeping information brief. Until I started working at hospice, I hadn’t seen MOM used for milk of magnesia . . . but there it was, betwixt lasix (a medication dealing with water retention in the body) and MSIR (morphine sulfate instant release).
Under any circumstances, being short of breath is scary.
Once, in a middle school football game, I had breath knocked out of me. Yes, I remember that far back, and that experience! For several precious seconds, I struggled to breathe. As kids, we may feel indestructible—but in that long, literally breathless moment, a hint of mortality created fear. In my late twenties, in prime physical health, I hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney. At 14,505 feet it’s the highest peak in California’s Sierra Nevada (and outside of Alaska, taller than any other mountain in the United States). Nearing 13,000 feet, I wondered why my breath felt labored and my stride had slowed. It was like trudging through molasses. Less oxygen! Read More →by