Heteronyms

By: Steve Elias, MD - AVF Newsletter Editor

From high school English we all know what antonyms, synonyms and homonyms are. Or at least we used to know years ago. How about heteronyms? This came up years ago when the instructions written on the surgical specimen report said “after filling out the pathology sheets, please separate all three sheets. Send one to pathology and place one on chart”.  The word “separate” can be pronounced 2 ways. When you take 2 things apart you “separated” them. When you and your spouse live in 2 homes you are living “separate”.  Or you can shed a “tear” when you hear about Medicare reimbursement.  You might also “tear” up at the CPT 10 book when you get the news. Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently.  So when the organizers of the Greek vascular meeting called LIVE (Leading Innovative Vascular Education) thought of the acronym did they mean “LIVE” like “I am alive” or did they mean LIVE like “we should all live to be 100 years old”. We will need to ask the organizers Nicos Labropoulos, Athansis Giannoukas and Militaden Matsagas. These Greek names are definitely not heteronyms. Sometimes they can’t even be pronounced one way. The meeting itself encompasses both pronunciations. It’s 2:00am Friday night in Athens, we are at the faculty dinner for this meeting, vascular surgeons are dancing and singing as Greeks tend to do after some great food and wine. The meeting is called LIVE for many reasons. No sane American is up at this hour unless he’s 20 years old or so old that he needs to use the bathroom 2-3 times a night. I am somewhere in between but heading towards the latter. Greeks live and they are very alive. A great attitude towards life.

This edition of Blue News Now hopefully appeals to our members no matter what age. We continue to explore what younger trainees and practitioners need in terms of venous education. We’ve heard from vascular and interventional trainees in the last two issues. This time it is vascular medicine that sheds light on what we as a venous society need to do to help educate trainees in venous disease. The LIVE meeting included a hands-on segment for attendees to experience new technologies. Brian Verrier from Covidien shares with us how companies evaluate and introduce new technologies from an industry perspective. Endovascular Today is a publication that most of us receive and probably take for granted. Sort of like the Greeks connection with the Acropolis. They know it’s there but sometimes they don’t appreciate the work and thought that goes into each issue. I think you’ll better appreciate what it takes to produce a quality publication as often as they do.

Quality venous education is what the AVF strives for. The Vein Forum course being held in Boston this September will give you the most up to date knowledge about venous disease in a concise and clear manner. Joe Raffetto has changed the format to be more interactive. See what he and the Vein Forum committee have come up with. Read the article and come to the meeting.

So it’s now 3am in Athens on a Saturday. Friday night has turned into Saturday morning and everyone is getting ready to leave the LIVE faculty dinner which has now turned into breakfast. I need to make a 6:30 AM flight from Athens airport. No reason to go to sleep. I need to get up in 1 hour. So I contemplate homonyms, antonyms, synonyms and heteronyms. I think about vein and vain.  Homonym, antonym, synonym? You decide.

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