Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unforgettable patient

I was doing a 12 hour shift in a South Florida ER, lucky me right? Being South Florida, and the neighborhood this hospital was located in, 99.999999999999999% of the patients were Latino, and consequently the ER functioned using Spanish, except written records. I often wonder how many times some of the nurses who spoke less-than-perfect English flubbed written instructions, but whatever.

At some point during the evening a woman arrived in the ER. I heard her before I saw her and I my head snapped around because after hours of speaking Spanish, hearing English grabbed my attention. But it wasn't just any English, nay nay. This woman talked like Larry the Cable Guy and Loretta Lynn had a red-headed bastard. The attending was  perfectly bilingual, but couldn't understand a word this woman said. I, however, must claim that I understand Hick, Hillbilly, and Redneck beautifully and can transition between the three with little effort. No, I'm not overly proud of that, but hey, roots is roots y'all. My grandmother left Small Mountain Town in the late 40's, but never dropped her Hillbilly speak. For instance, "7" is pronounced "sevum," 11 becomes "elevum." Nancy becomes NAIN-cee. Jennifer becomes "GINNNNiferrrr." Michael becomes "Mahkahl." And so on and so forth. I'm not making fun of her, just stating facts. So, to make a long story short, I had little difficulty deciphering this lady's obviously mountain accent. The doctor did, however, and there are no words to describe the look of relief when I translated and then took over the interview. He also decided that the stench from her cigarettes was also more than he could bear. The remainder of the conversation went something like this:

Me: Well, ma'am, let's see what we can do for you. -- transliteration "whale maham, let's seeah whut we can do fer you." (Damn! Was that me talking just now???? STOP IT!). Apparently I speak like that around my grandmother. Oh.god.

I proceeded with my interview and examination. She quivered and giggled when I examined the LLQ and LRQ. Would anybody mind if I wretched??
PMH: A whole bunch of stuff I wish I could elaborate on...but won't because of HIPPA, and a procedure she described as..."They took out all mah toys!"...And this affects me how?....
Social: from Western part of State X where there are many mountains. Ahah!!! Paydirt!. Came to South Florida (Flerdy as she pronounced it...) to have a procedure. Had a gay roommate, not sexually active. Are the two statements mutually exclusive? Nevermind. I don't want to know.  She also felt the need to tell me what her children did for a living. So, because you're dying to know: her daughter is an, ahem, exotic dancer, and bears a striking resemblance to Ann Margaret. Thanks for telling me? Doesn't drink, but smokes what she says aren't cigarettes but aren't cigars but are kinda like both of them. Thanks, that helps. She smokes them because they only cost $1/pack. Ahhh, that would explain why my eyes are watery and I'm getting a migraine. (I'm very sensitive to tobacco smoke). She also admitted to smoking a rock of crack the day before her symptoms started. Ugggh! Greeaattttttt! Lady, you've just insured you'll be here at least two extra hours. Can't wait. At the end of everything she said "I like you! You're nice and got a grayt smahl." Oh goody! Thankfully that concluded our interview....

BUT...nobody else in the ER could understand her. So guess who got tracked down if she needed something...yubba, yours truly. It would go something like this:

FOB-y Cuban nurse: Esa mujer en 9, no puedo entenderle! Habla con la puta! -- I can't understand that woman in 9. Go talk to the bitch.

Me: Uhhh, ok, algo mas? -- Um, sure, anything else?

FOB-y: No! La puta solamente!!! No! Just go talk to the bitch!

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