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Breeze, and the less exciting echelon problem of actual vs. current. 6th of May, 2021 POST·MERIDIEM 11:26

A friend of mine put up débris as the word of the day in the IRC channel we both join now and then, and that prompted me to look up its etymology, and more particularly whether it is related to English breeze.

Not at all, as it turns out, and the OED2 entry is further of interest in that has an echelon problem in rendering the continental (“standard average European”) actuelle / aktuell / actual etc. as “actual” (which is not the current English meaning) rather than “current” (which is).

Anyway, the full entry for breeze from the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary below, for your edification.

breeze (briːz), n.² Forms: 6-7 brize, brieze , 7 brise, brese , breze, breaze , 7–8 breez, breese, 7­ breeze.
[In 16th c. brize, brieze, app. ad. OSp. (and Pg.) briza (mod.Sp. brisa) ‘north-east wind’ (though, according to Cotgrave, brize also occurs in Fr. (in Rabelais a 1550) = bize, bise ‘north wind’). Cf. also It. brezza ‘cold wind bringing mist or frost’ (Florio), Milanese brisa ‘cool wind from the north’ (Diez). Cotgrave’s brize = bize, supports the suggestion of Diez, that the word was orig. a variant of bisa, bise ‘north east wind’. On the Atlantic sea-board of the West Indies and Spanish Main, briza acquired the transferred senses of ‘north-east trade-wind’, and ‘fresh wind from the sea’, in which it was adopted by the English navigators of the 16th c. The further extension to ‘gentle fresh wind’ generally, is English; cf. the actual F. brise (in the Dict. of the Academy only since 1762).]

† 1. orig. A north or north-east wind; spec. applied within the tropics to the NE. trade-wind.
1565-8b9 Hawkins’ 2nd Voy. in Arb. Garner V. 121 The ordinary brise taking us, which is the north-east wind.
1595 Raleigh Disc. Guiana in Hakluyt Voy. (1600) III. 661 Against the brize and eastern wind.
1604 E. G[rimston] D’Acosta’s Hist. Indies iii. iv. 128 In that Zone..the Easterly windes (which they call Brises) do raine.
a1618 Raleigh Apol. 19 When the Easterly wind or Breeses are kept off by some High Mountaines.
1626 Bacon Sylva §398 The great Brizes which the motion of the Air in great Circles..produceth.
1685 Phil. Trans. XV. 1148 There are continual Eastern winds under the line which they call Brises.
1706 Phillips, Brizes, or rather Breezes, certain Winds, which the motion of the Air in great circles doth produce, refrigerating those that live under the line.
† 2. a. The cool wind that blows from the sea by day on tropical coasts. (This was on the Atlantic sea-board of tropical America an east or north-east wind, i.e. a breeze in sense 1; thence the name was extended to the ‘sea-breeze’ from any point of the compass.) Obs. exc. as in b.
1614 Raleigh Hist. World i. iii. §8 These hottest regions of the World..are..refreshed with a daily Gale of Easternly Wind (which the Spaniards call the Brize).
a1618 — Inv. Shipping 39 Southerly winds (the Brises of our Clymate) thrust them..into the Kings ports.
1627 Capt. Smith Seaman’s Gram. x. 46 A Breze is a wind blowes out of the Sea, and commonly in faire weather beginneth about nine in the morning.
1628 Digby Voy. Medit. 38 Intending to goe in in the morning with the brize.
1665 G. Havers P. della Valle’s Trav. E. Ind. 373 Sending a breeze, or breath, or small gale of wind daily.
1696 Phillips, Breez, a fresh gale of wind blowing off the Sea by day.
1839 Thirlwall Greece II. 307 A strong breeze which regularly blew up the channel at a certain time of the day.
b. Extended to include the counter-current of air that blows from the land by night; hence sea-breeze and land-breeze.
a1700 Dryden (J.) From land a gentle breeze arose by night.
1706 in Phillips.
1731 Bailey II, Breez, a fresh gale of wind blowing from the sea or land alternately for some certain hours of the day or night only sensible near the coast.
1782 Cowper Loss Royal George 9 A land-breeze shook the shrouds.
1832 Macaulay Armada 31 The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner’s massy fold.
3. a. A gentle or light wind: a breeze is generally understood to be a lighter current of air than a wind, as a wind is lighter than a gale. ‘Among seamen usually synonymous with wind in general’ (Smyth Sailor’s Word-bk.).
1626 Capt. Smith Accid. Yng. Seamen 17 A calme, a brese, a fresh gaile.
1762 Falconer Shipwr. i. 350 The lesser sails that court a gentle breeze.
1798 Coleridge Anc. Mar. ii. v, The breezes blew, the white foam flew.
1863 C. St. John Nat. Hist. Moray vii. 167 The breeze was gentle, but sufficient to take us merrily over.
b. Slang phrases: to hit, split or take the breeze: to depart; to get (have) or put the breeze up: to get or put the wind up (see wind n.1 10 b).
1910 ‘O. Henry’ Whirligigs xiv. 168 We got to be hittin’ the breeze.
1925 Fraser & Gibbons Soldier & Sailor Words 35 Breeze up, to have the: to be nervous, to have the ‘wind up’.
1931 Runyon Guys & Dolls (1932) 29 And with this she takes the breeze and I return to the other room.
1934 D. L. Sayers Nine Tailors iii. 279 He got a vertical breeze up.
1948 D. Ballantyne Cunninghams 89 She was only making out she hadn’t seen you so’s you wouldn’t get the breeze up.
1951 J. B. Priestley Fest. Farbridge 296 Put the breeze up me.
1959 I. & P. Opie Lore & Lang. Schoolch. x. 193 Expressions inviting a person’s departure, for instance:..sling your hook, split the breeze, [etc.].
4. fig.
a. A disturbance, quarrel, ‘row’. colloq.
1785 Grose Dict. Vulgar Tongue, To kick up a breeze, to breed a disturbance.
1803 Wellington Let. in Gurw. Disp. II. 367 The cession would create a breeze in the Konkan.
1811 — ibid. VII. 320 There was an old breeze between General — and —.
1837 Marryat Dog-Fiend i. xv. (L.), Jemmy, who expected a breeze, told his wife to behave herself quietly.
1865 Sat. Rev. 28 Jan. 119 ‘Don’t be angry, we’ve had our breeze. Shake hands.’
b. A breath of news, whisper, rumour. colloq.
1879 Stevenson Trav. Cevennes 215 There came a breeze that Spirit Séguier was near at hand.
1884 Denver (Colorado) Tribune Aug., Give us a breeze on the subject.
c. slang. Something easy to achieve, handle, etc. orig. U.S.
1928 G. H. Ruth Babe Ruth’s Own Bk. Baseball 299 Breeze, an easy chance.
1958 M. Dickens Man Overboard ix. 136 This will be a breeze for you.
1962 S. Carpenter in Into Orbit 75 All in all, the test was a breeze.
5. Comb., as breeze-borne, -like, -shaken, -swept, -wooing, adjs.
1805 J. Grahame Sabbath, On the distant cairn the watch~man’s ear Caught doubtfully at times the breeze-borne note.
1798 Coleridge Day-Dream ii. 5 A soft and breeze-like feeling.
1802 Wordsw. To H.C., The breeze-like motion.
1742 Young Nt. Th. ii. 300 Fate..hair-hung, breeze-shaken, o’er the gulph A moment trembles.
1872 Calverley Fly Leaves 4 Lingers on, till stars unnumber’d Tremble in the breeze-swept tarn.
1894 G. Bell Safar Nameh 48 On the threshold of his breeze-swept dwelling.
c1830 J. H. Green Morn. Invit. Child 22 The bee hums of heather and *breeze-wooing hill.

COVID-19, negative nasopharyngeal swab, clinical positivity. 8th of February, 2021 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:21

I was in the interesting situation over the last few days of dealing with a patient with a recent hospital admission (discharged two weeks previously in the context of a distinct clinical problem), brought in by ambulance with a decreased level of consciousness, dyspnoea, and bilateral pneumonia on chest X-ray, CURB-65 of five. With our pre-test probabilities as they are, he almost certainly has COVID-19, and he improved dramatically on Airvo® treatment (high-flow nasal cannula), after iv dexamethasone, iv antibiotics, and a failed trial of CPAP. His nasopharyngeal swab was negative for COVID-19 (and it was correctly done, I was in the room as it happened), and I write this post to document that the man had a urea of about 48 mmol/litre (about 7 times the upper limit of normal) and was dry as a bone, with skin flaking and dry mucous membranes. From my assessment, the reason the nasopharyngeal swab was negative was because the man was secreting nothing at all from his upper airway, because he had little to no fluid to help with that secretion process, as is not shocking with a severe acute kidney injury.

Free Kirk o Scotland (1843—1900) 7th of April, 2020 POST·MERIDIEM 07:43

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free Church of Scotland (1843—1900)

“The first task of the new church was to provide income for her initial 500 ministers and places of worship for her people. As she aspired to be the national church of the Scottish people, she set herself the ambitious task of establishing a presence in every parish in Scotland (except in the Highlands, where FC ministers were initially in short supply.) Sometimes land owners were less than helpful such as at Strontian, where the church took to a boat.”

An individual I used to know well grew up speaking a Turkic language in Iran, together with good Persian. Neither of those have grammatical gender, something that contrasts with classical Arabic and with many European languages. This person was very much on board with the idea that languages either had grammatical gender or did not, and was very irritated by the standard English-language habit of referring to ships as ‘she’ and the less standard habit of referring to individual vehicles as ‘she’.

The above paragraph describing the circumstances of one of the presbyterian churches seems calculated to enrage my acquaintance. As a non-Scottish English speaker, it is only remotely comfortable to read for me because of my German, and I would be irritated if the gender differed from that of Kirche in German. I write this entry to document my surprise at this sort of consistent use of grammatical gender for the word church in English.

RCEM Learning Podcast. 6th of December, 2018 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:35

I worked as an SHO in the Mater Emergency Department in Dublin from July 2014 when Andy Neill was a registrar there, and my thinking then was ‘this man is clearly great as a doctor, I am glad of any input from him on almost any presentation, my one concern is not to overload him with questions, I’d prefer him not to burn out while I’m here.’

The Irish secondary care system is, let me phrase this diplomatically, uneven, and when I was working as an SHO in non-central-Dublin hospitals the guidance from registrars was of limited benefit to the patient or to either of the doctors. There was no whisper of this situation from Andy, and from most of the registrars in MMUH.

The correct specialty (in terms of benefit to patients and long-term quality of life for the doctor) for most of the doctors most of the time in the Republic is General Practice. And so I applied for the training scheme, and have been in Donegal since July of 2015; I thoroughly recommend the Donegal Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice, I have spoken at length with trainees across the Republic and the North about their schemes, and in terms of almost anything objective, the Donegal scheme comes out best.

But; the first specialty I worked in post-intern-year, early 2013, was Emergency Medicine. And, well, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how general it was, I enjoyed randomly having to deal with an Afghan refugee where my Persian was of some use, knowing that نقرس is gout was of actual help to the patient, I enjoyed managing patients well through French without issue when the triage nurse in Blanchardstown (closest hospital to the airport!) was worried about the need for an interpreter but hadn’t actually organised an interpreter on triage. I even enjoyed that anyone who had put up with the fourteen hour wait was actually sick enough to need to be in hospital, and so I knew how to manage them from my intern year! I didn’t know much about sprained ankles or migraines, but I did manage to learn it.

And I still like it. Five years later, I am still consistently seeing ED patients a proportion of the week and enjoying it, there is no prospect of me stopping ED work in the medium term. I’m not doing it in Dublin, but that is mainly a constraint of my registration rather than an explicit choice.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I listen to the RCEM Learning podcast because I enjoy it and it is relevant to my day-to-day work. I write this post today because I now contend that it is a high point of human learning.

I attended some local teaching in Donegal yesterday from a medical specialist, about one of her areas of interest and the appropriate management and approach to referral; and it reminded me of how bad medical teaching can be. She used data from the US population that differed importantly from the Irish population to make decisions; she appeared to have no insight into the day-to-day pattern of presentations to GPs in general and how her recommendations would impact on her clinic numbers, when making a presentation to GPs in large part advertising her service; practicality and pragmatism were at no point involved in the presentation. It was as bad an experience as any of the bad presentations involved in my experience of Computer Science lecturers, and those fellows had the theory of mind of a four-year-old Sheldon Cooper.

Nothing like the above ever happens with the RCEM Learning podcast, of which Andy is the backbone. Doctors’ weaknesses of understanding are usually with formal statistics; the RCEM Learning podcast gets this right consistently. Practicality and pragmatism are front and centre. The variation in speakers, from the UK to ourselves to Australia, a little bit the US (certainly not a massive cultural variation, but a big variation in how health care systems are funded and how the associated incentives play out), mean that the decision-making cul-de-sacs that give bad outcomes for economic reasons are mentioned as avoidable.

I listen to lots of North American podcasts relevant to Emergency Medicine, and they’re great, much better than our medical specialist above. RCEM Learning still edges in front of all of those I listen to. If you are a doctor who drives and has anything to do with Emergency Medicine (whether working in it, taking referrals from it, or making referrals to it), make your car handle podcasts in some way, and listen to the RCEM Learning. podcast when it comes out. You will make better decisions, you will have a better understanding of the decisions made when you refer, and you may incidentally start rhyming ‘now’ with the French word for ‘eye’, which will be entertaining for everyone.