Sunday, August 10, 2008
I'm finding that language barriers can bring unique experiences. This last week I had to take Matt in for an ear infection. When he was one he had tubes put in, so I was told any subsequent infections would be very obvious with noticeable drainage. We've been lucky to go a year and a half with no infections, but this week after a nightmare night of screaming (not knowing what the problem was) I picked him up in the morning and saw his ear and even neck was wet with infection. I felt so bad! We hadn't selected a pediatrician yet, and I didn't know where to begin, but I received a recommendation from someone in Ryan's' program and was able to be seen within the half hour. The office was nice and new and the staff was very friendly. As the nurse talked with me I really had to concentrate to decipher what she was saying because her accent was so thick... (I hate having to ask people to repeat themselves because I don't want them to 1) feel like I'm not listening, or 2) feel bad (or frustrated) because I can't understand them). We wrapped up the small talk and vital signs, at which point she held out a cup and asked for a urine sample. Now I was surprised that a two year-old (or anyone for that matter) would have to produce a urine sample for an obvious ear infection, but the patient before us had turned in a sample as well, so I thought maybe it was just standard procedure in their office. "Maybe they like to do a thorough work-up on the first visit," I assumed. We made our way to the bathroom, all the while I was thinking Matt wouldn't be able to "come up with the goods." In terms of potty training we aren't close to "holding it" yet; how could I expect him to just pee on demand? But he surprised me and successfully provided a sample. He must have known he did something commendable, because he insisted on personally handing it to the nurse and looked proud of himself. As we were waiting for the doctor to come in, the nurse popped in and said his urine looked fine. "Well ya," I thought, "last time I checked an ear infection didn't pose a risk of spawning a urinary tract infection." She went on to say, "Maybe something is just irritated down there and he's tugging at it... " "Tugging at it?" I said, confused. There was silence as I mentally relayed my description to her of why we were here and quickly recounted where I could have been unclear. She sensed my confusion and asked about the nature of our problems going pee. I said, "We're not having any problems going pee... he has drainage in his ear from an ear infection?"... (comprende?) "OH! An ear infection! I thought you said urine infection!" Needless to say, the mix-up didn't produce any disasterous results. The unecessary order to pee in a cup for a urinalysis was no big deal. On the other hand, I can understand why the people during the times of the Tower of Babel prayed for their language not to be confounded. It makes life so much easier.