Your doctor dictates into your chart, "The patient is tolerating treatment well." Huh? After every treatment you feel nauseated, lightheaded, weak, headachy and, in a word, miserable. What does your doctor mean by "tolerating treatment well"?
Everyday words can cause trouble if patients don't realize that when used in medical contexts these words may mean something different. "Tolerating" is one of those words.
In social contexts, to tolerate is to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of something or someone without interfering. To tolerate is to permit, to put up with, or to be able to handle or manage. For example, I can tolerate the noise, the food or the visits from my mother-in-law. To tolerate well is to manage relatively easily.
In medical contexts, physicians and nurses describe patients as tolerating treatment well if the patients endures treatment without developing serious side effects or complications such as allergic anaphylaxis. Patients who don't tolerate treatment often need to be hospitalized and/or have their treatment regimen adjusted.
When a medical report -- oral or written -- doesn't match your reality, find out if the conflict reflects an everyday word having a different meaning in medical contexts. Periodically in this blog I'll discuss other everyday words that mean something different in medical contexts.