As part of my program in Medical Coding I am in a class called Medical Terminology. It’s a real bitch. But some parts of it are real fun. You get a good dose of Latin, and a good refresher on word formation (prefixes, suffixes, etc.)

And some of it is even useful for fictional writing. For instance the gland that produces the oil that waterproofs the skin is called the sebaceous gland. So an uncouth character could be described as sebaceous “oily”. Or a fine woman could be described as having hair as fine as lanugo which is the very fine soft, downy hair that covers a baby before birth.

Lots of little things that I’m tagging for future use.

Because one thing is for sure, when I am done with this I am hitting the keyboard like Asimov. For those that do not know, Asimov was quite the prolific writer.

Today I received my hardcopy of Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, a 2150 page beast. Together with my DSM IV, I don’t see how I can’t be invited to every party in town!

Anyway. One of the appendices is Phobias, obviously with the technical terminology. A few exceptions is the fear of Satan – satanophobia… really?

I did note that the dictionary does not suffer from current cultural bias so there is no anti-concept in there such as homophobia, nor Islamophobia.

But there are a few head scratchers. Hadephobia or stygiophobia – the fear of Hell. Alright, that is not a phobia. If you believe there exists a place called hell, then it is fully rational that you fear it! I don’t think there can be an excessive phobia of such a place. Unless you’re stuck in the corner, paralyzed of movement lest a wrong move condemns you to eternal damnation. Then perhaps you need a little help from your psychologist or your priest.

Enosiophobia – fear of sinning. If only modern man had a speck of this. There should be some aversion to performing wrong acts. An aversion, a fear of feeling shame would be a great start. I am not too terribly sure what keeps most people nowadays from acting on whatever they want besides fear of legal retribution. And some do not even have that.

And, alas, most of us have some phobias. Here are some of mine I found.

Dysmorphophobia – fear of body defect – I get queasy being near the mentally retarded (yes, I hold that is a fully acceptable term) amputees, and general bodily deformities. That sounds terrible and I even have a cousin who suffers from severe cerebral palsy. The phobia causes me no small amount of guilt. It is terrible, but it is involuntary. I can’t help it, the feeling proceeds immediately the perception.

Acrophobia – Heights – I don’t really view this as a phobia. Unlike coprophobia (the fear of poo) heights will kill you and does so all the time. Well, the person rushes to the bottom of the height…

Phonographophobia – This one I joined a word to make a new word, and it is not so much a phobia as a strong dislike – the fear of one’s recorded voice. I hate the sound of my own voice, I sound like some sort of flasher or pervert. I might be the latter, but I don’t even unbutton the top button of my shirt in front of other people!

Batophobia – no, not fear of bats, but fear of passing high objects (I assume passing under high objects such as cranes) I think I fear this worse than heights. I walked nearly under a crane last year. Scared the hell out of me.

Cremnophobia – fear of precipices. I am not really sure how this differs from fear of heights, but I don’t like precipices either. My new patio is four stories high. I think I’m going to buy a big mountain climbing rope to tether around me when I go out there.

Asthenophobia – fear of weakness. I haven’t researched this one at all. Weakness in one’s self? In others? Weakness physically? I do fear weakness both mentally and physically. More so weakness mentally. Although extreme physical weakness is sort of terrifying too. If you were physically hopeless, dependent on another’s good will – or lack of psychosis… Anyone read Misery by Stephen King” Or seen the movie? Both great, btw. James Caan, Kathy Bates.

Emetophobia – fear of vomiting. If there are two on here that I am 100% I possess it is heights and this one. I remember as a child keeping my mother awake long into the night as I bawled my head off and refused – fought against even – to vomit. Even to this day only a really, really bad flu, a flu that makes vomiting involuntary will get me to perform this most heinous act. I even fear the feeling of being queasy.


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