Enteralgia, inter alia

You know you’ve landed in a strange, strange place when you find yourself asking your therapist with all earnestness, “So do you think I should be less like me?”

Ronald, my therapist, is a dear, sweet man. For years I’ve gone to see him once a month (think: verbal blogging), but I went more frequently while I was out on disability—there was a lot going on. Ironically, on my return to work, I not only went back to once a month sessions, but through scheduling problems, it had been two months since I’d been to see him.


So do Latin phrases ever randomly enter your mind? And if not, how about medical terminology? Or if so, do the two ever overlap and commingle? No? Huh.

So I was, uhhh, having some, uhhhh, gastric distress today while working at home (yes, working all day on a Saturday, and tomorrow will be more of the same), and while that may have been apropos of nothing at the time, while I was out getting some dinner with Soonae and Jong this evening, the phrase inter alia crossed my mind. Well, we were in Colma at the time. Wait, that’s a lie. Technically, the phrase “inter algia” entered my mind, but it didn’t have a valid keycard so it had to wait outside of security until its identity could be verified.

I got home and looked it up. Nope. I was right about being wrong. I tried “inter alia” and something clicked in my head even before dictionary.com told me I was right this time. “Inter alia” means “among other things”. Inter = between or among; Alia is the accusative form of “alias” or “other”. See? Simple.

So “algia” is a medical combining form, meaning “pain” (neuralgia = nerve pain, analgesic = pain reliever, etc.), and where did that come from?

Enter: “enter”. It’s the combining form of “enteral”, which means “passing through the intestine”. “Enteralgia” is “Severe abdominal pain accompanying spasms of the intestine.”

Syncretism! Syncretism!


So why would I ask if I should be less like me? And of my therapist, no less? My persona, my moxie, my stubbornness, single-mindedness, small tolerance for bullshit, large vocabulary, short temper for duplicity, long view of consequence, all-of-the-above, none-of-the-above, take-your-pick have caused any number of people in my life and not in my life (anymore) to welcome my opinions, hear them, say nothing for a while, wait for me to ask if everything’s ok, then stage a nuclear nutty on the way out.

Ronald suggested that I may be intimidating. A few months ago when I was in NYC, JMG suggested that I am “almost elfin”. Well, you reconcile it!

Ronald added that perhaps the idea that real-time interaction was a daunting prospect, that maybe the simple notion of a heated tête-à-tête with me was cause to shrink back, and with a technicolor wake of histrionics to sleight-of-hand the escape (ok, that last part is my idea).

The irony is that it’s so fiendishly simple to knock me off balance and destroy any poise—intellectual or otherwise—I may possess. No, silly girls, I’m not going to tell you how—even if I knew what how to accomplish it. Then again, if I knew how it was accomplished, it would no longer be effective, right?

This is not a sonnet to the Portuguese nor a song of Solomon nor a timorous poem at the Mic. Like the very raison d’etat and even raison d’être of this weblog, it’s just one of the thousand things I think about.

Or maybe I’m dyspeptic.

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