Seeing a patient who's first language is not English can be quite an ordeal. I once saw a Polish man, who was so drunk that he couldn't not say anything except make a incomprehensible moaning sound. I am sure, had he spoken English, we would have been in the same predicament. At 3am in the morning, there is no chance of getting a translator, and since I could not rule out a possible head injury, I had to admit him overnight, to see if his state changed once he was more sober.
This morning I have just seen a French patient. He spoke English fairly well, but was very anxious and so spat out his words at a rapid pace.
Little Miss Medic: How can I help you this morning?
French Man: I am very worried, that I might have HIV. My body is itching all over. My penis is fine, my pee is fine, my poo is fine, but I am not fine...
LMM: Alright. Itching is not commonly a symptom of HIV. What other symptoms do you have?
FM: I have a sore throat and my chest is burning, but my pee is fine and my poo is fine...
LMM: Let me look in your throat then. ( I grab a box of tounge depressors...) OK just open your mouth and say "Aaah"
FM: But I have a pain in my ball (he grabs his scrotum, in case I don't understand the word "ball"), the pain is just in the one ball. It is not too bad. But me pee is fine, my poo is fine.
(I drop the entire box of tongue depressors on the floor, trying not to laugh!)
FM: Don't worry Madame, I will pick them up (he bends down and at lightning pace gathers them all up)
LMM: Thank you. Let us do the HIV test so we can see if you really need to be so anxious about it all.
FM: I am very scared! I did something stupid. I am so scared. I love my life, I do not want to lose it...
LMM: The test is negative...
FM: ...so scared, why did I do it?
LMM: The test is negative!
FM: What? Negative? Oooh ( he leaps out and grabs me into a bear hug) Thank you, thank you!
LMM: It is a pleasure.
FM: You save my life. You really did!
LMM: Ah it was nothing!
FM: No, you are wonderful thank you.
Gotta love the French!