Today I was talking to fellow intern Dr. Gina-Bean (not her real name) about our skillz in Vietnamese. I had a catastrophic time with one patient who had a kidney problem (“test your urine protein level by placing this stick under your urine stream” became “pee on a stick and look at the colors”).
Rachna had Gina interpet for her today, and it sounds Gina did better than I could with the HPI, but we both have the trouble that some words we just never had to use/learn.
I think, if I ever wake up feeling motivated, I’m going to make flashcards and have a Vietnamese “Word of the Day” thing going.
Couldn’t hurt.

Talking about this did make think about my trip to Vietnam three years ago. I remember the Vietnamese med students were trying to talk me into doing a spinal tap (but with no insurance I wasn’t going to!). The kid, who was 10-ish, screamed and kicked and got into a karate pose, ready to pull a Jackie Chan on us. So we took a rock and knocked him out with it. Just kidding! it wasn’t like that.
But kids were put two in a bed, and there weren’t seperate rooms so there was a whole room full of kids with suspected meningitis. And there was a whole floor dedicated to Dengue Hemorrhagic fever.
Me “Umm…isn’t this spread by mosquitoes?”
Doctor: “Yes.”
Me: “so there aren’t any windows (the rooms were all open to the outside) or netting…couldn’t a mosquito just fly in here, bite one kid, and fly around and bite someone else?”
Doctor: Possibly.
(silence)
Me: oh well, ok then.

I had a bag of stuff to give out to the kids. I handed one of my patients (I noted petechiae on him, and later turned out he had leukemia) a spongebob pencil. He tried to eat it thinking it was candy. A boy after my own heart!
I wanted to learn Vietnamese while there, but when they sat me down for a lesson, it turned out to be very elementary. I learned how to say ‘black dog.’ Cho muc= Ink Dog. Black dog. Amazing. So if my patients ever get rabies, I can ask “was it a cho muc?”

Next up Grandma Jasmine reminieces…reminieces…thinks back about the days in South India.

*this blog is going to remain upbeat, I’ve decided. But be darn grateful for the things we have here.

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Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 12:55 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey the flashcards are a good idea. I think I’ll also start carrying around one of my two Eng/Viet dictionaries. They’re just sitting around gathering dust right now.

    Hope I can find them…

  2. I would totally be with you on the flashcards thing. I’d like to be able to avoid any more accidental accusatory handicapped remarks in the future. :)


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