* * Anonymous Doc

Friday, April 15, 2011

I am fighting a cold, which is why the slowdown in posting this week. Hard to summon the energy. I've written before about how it's very silly that we don't get sick days, and we're supposed to show up, throw on a mask, and pretend that we're able to do just as good of a job as we can when we feel okay. Aside from the fact that I'm sure my patients aren't thrilled to see that their doctor is sneezing, I have to imagine that my Sudafed regimen doesn't exactly sharpen my diagnostic skills. But that's what we're told to do, if we're able, because calling in sick means we have to make up that shift with our copious free time, and that the hospital has to find someone to take our patients, which they don't have any desire to do.

I had a translator have a nervous breakdown on the phone today, which was completely bizarre. The patient was explaining something about his condition, and all of a sudden the translator stops and says, "doctor, I can't do this anymore. I understand what he is saying, but I do not want to deal with him, please, I need to hang up the phone and you should call back and get a different translator, goodbye." And she was gone. And the patient continues to talk in a language I don't speak. So I tried to stop him, and then called the translator service back, got someone new... and we started from the beginning. This patient has been in the U.S. since 1964 and speaks not a word of English. I don't have a political opinion about this (or anything), I don't have any kind of opinion about this at all, I just find it baffling that someone of seemingly normal intelligence can live somewhere for over 50 years and not pick up the language, or at least a little bit of it. Or want to pick up the language, even if he doesn't use it in his everyday life. You'd think you'd have some interest in knowing what everyone else who lives here is saying. Or it would be unavoidable.

But, no, we got to "hello," and he said, "no, no English." And I told him to sit down and he stared at me blankly until I pointed to the chair and made a 'sit down' motion. And sneezed.

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