Warning! Your name or the name of someone you love may be disparaged in this post. Read at your own risk.
It boiled down to two possible names for my daughter: Claudia or Ariana.
Pete wasn't keen on Claudia. "Would you name your son Claude?" he asked.
"Then why would you name your daughter Claudia?" he asked practically.
Because I love the name. It's beautiful, it's solid, it's got years behind it, it's not overused. And yet, something didn't quite sit right about it. Finally, when I looked up the meaning, it all came crashing together: Claudia means lame. Of course - from the Latin claudus, from the same root as claudication. I was mortified that this hadn't been immediately obvious to me.
As a physician I'm more finely attuned to the medical implications of names than most, and I don't expect others to associate Claudia with vascular disease. But the name had been spoiled for me. Ariana it was.
Having narrowly averted my own baby naming fiasco, I am sympathetic to parents who inadvertently grant their newborns medically inadvisable baby names. By which I mean, I may inwardly gasp but I keep my mouth shut.
I met a little girl recently named Nevis. Maybe to her parents the name conjures up the beauty of a Caribbean island, but to me, well, she was a living, breathing mole.
Then I came across a variant spelling of Kyle, a name which until then I had considered benign. Chyle is a milky fluid consisting of lymph and emulsified fats, formed in the small intestine during digestion - not a preschooler.
Tanner reminds me of the stages of puberty, Addison warrants an endocrine referral, Lance is asking to be incised and drained, and Brady needs an ECG.
I can medically bastardize most names, but that doesn't mean the general public can. So I don't recommend that parents fret over the medical implications of their name choice. Unless they're planning for a medical career for their child.
Because Melena isn't going to get past round one of the medical school selections process.