Yesterday, on my first visit to the assisted living facility (ALF), I managed to incur the wrath of the doctor in charge before we were even assigned patients! After we met Dr. L, one of the on-site physicians, he led us down the halls of the facility, peeking in to patients’ rooms and asking if they’d mind having a bunch of medical students mess with them. When he emerged from one, he shouted, “Anyone speak Spanish?” Even though I was, at one point, quite good at Spanish and had visualized myself conducting an interview so fluid and fluent Telemundo could’ve televised it as I lay in bed the night before, my anxiety got the better of me and I blurted, “…not well enough.”
“Don’t be a smart@ss!” Dr. L yelled, and tears sprang to my eyes. He came out of the room and fixed me with a frightening glare, his voice dripping with disdain as he told our faculty doctor, “I asked if they could speak Spanish and this one,” he pointed, “says, ‘Oh, not well enough!'” He inflected it with a girly additudinal lilt*, shaking his head. “Sounds like she should be a lawyer.”
I was mortified! “No, I didn’t mean…I’m sorry, I wasn’t talking about everyone, I didn’t mean them, I meant me, I don’t speak Spanish well enough to feel comfortable and do a good job, and I…” As I stammered out apologies, he chuckled.
“Well, here’s a patient for you.” Dr. L directed me and my partner to another bed in the room. “These two young ladies are medical students and they’d like to talk to you. Is that all right?” The patient agreed and Dr. L left us to introduce ourselves. When I made my introduction, the patient gave me a knowing smirk and said, “Oh, so you’re the lawyer.”
Blushing**, I shook my head. “Not really.” (more…)