Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who Sent You?!?

Clinic outreach again today at the nursing home. I had a woman who only spoke Spanish the first block, which was a stretch for my limited Spanish vocabulary. Compound this with the fact that she has Alzheimer's and isn't always completely lucid, and you make for an interesting time. The following is our conversation. Me speaking in Spanish is red, me speaking in English is blue. All of her speech was in Spanish.

Hi, my name is Haley, I only speak a little Spanish, understand?
blank stare
Is it okay if I massage you? (Let's face it, that phrase is beyond my translation capabilities)
blank stare
Have you any pain?
blank stare, followed by a shift of the head so she was looking away from me, and falling asleep. After about 10 minutes of massage she woke, obviously confused, with rapid breathing and wide eyes staring at me.
It's okay. You're okay. I'm Haley.
She looked puzzled. I wonder, is this language barriers, or the Alzheimer's? She went back to sleep. Ten minutes later she woke up again, obviously upset.
You're okay.
Her forceful reply: "Who sent you here?
Your family.
Her reply: "Get out."

Teehee. She wasn't angry or forceful, just to the point. I cheerfully quipped a "See you later" and headed out. Now I wonder, was she just done with the procedure, or does she dislike her family? "My family sent you? Get out!" She still got 20 minutes of her allotted 30 minutes of massage, so it's not the end of the world.


Mum said...

Well, hey. Here you are having a peaceful nap and some lunatic strange woman persists in rubbing your shoulders.

What an odd experience. For you, I mean. And yay for the high school Spanish!

SassyBelle said...

oh dear. you should get someone to translate the "can i massage you" phrase for you!

Haley said...

Mum: ha, yes, I can't say I didn't know where she was coming from.

I was impressed that I remembered as much Spanish as I did. I haven't taken any classes since first year university...

sassybelle: my handy spanish-english dictionary tells me it would be "¿Puedo darle masajes?"