I glanced at her name.
“No English,” she announced. She read my mind.
“Francaise?” I asked.
“Oui!” her eyes lit up.
“Je suis une infermiere...(I’m a nurse)” I started. “But….Je ne parle pas français. (I don’t speak French)” I explained.
“Oh,” her eyes dimmed in disappointment. “My doctor no call? My blood? My exams? Okay?” she struggled through broken English as she fiddled with her hands in her lap.
I should have used the phone line for interpreting. But I understood her. She was looking for results.
“Attend (wait),” I stepped out of the room to look up her chart. After confirming with her PCP that the results were normal, I returned to her room.
“Su resultados… (your results)” OOPS. I face palmed my forehead. Since I usually spoke Spanish at work, whenever I attempted to speak French, my words still came out in Spanish. “Uhh…”
Her brows narrowed and her eyes focused on mine.
Argh! I took a year of French and I don’t remember anything! Frustrated, I pulled out my phone and searched for google translate.
“Vos résultats…” I attempted a French accent.
“Oui?” she sat at the edge of her seat, hope hanging on the utterance of my every word.
“...sont négatifs.” I finished.
She raised her hands up high, palms together in a prayer pose. “Merci mon Dieu (thank God)!” she proclaimed. “Je comprends (I understand),” she grinned the biggest smile.
~ ~ ~
Language is such a vital instrument in establishing a relationship and making a connection with someone, so I try to learn a few words to better connect with my patients. Some days, the language barriers are incredibly challenging, and examples like the one above humble and remind me that I have so much more to learn.
So I’m going to join my friends Esther from Local Adventurer, Hsiao-Ting from Shouting Chow, Mariah from Food, Booze & Baggage, Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages, and Shannon from Eurolinguiste in the “Maximize your Month” linkup.
1) complete 4 lessons of Basic French on Duolingo – Inspired by Lindsay and Shannon and their crazy language learning skills, I’m going to try to relearn French.
2) blog once a week – can’t be a better writer if I don’t write more often…
3) read two books this month – my new year’s resolution was to read one book a month. I’ve read 4 this year, so I’m a few books behind and need to catch up.