I am not a satan worshipper

Posted at Feb 2, 2009 4:47 pm

OK. So maybe that title is funnier than the story but here goes:
I started work at Hadassa yesterday and the language thing is proving to be less of a barrier than I had imagined it would be. However, I still occasionally confuse people with my errors and today i believe I terrified an innocent clown.  I was chatting with one of the kiddie entertainers who comes by to cheer up the hospitalized children and she asked me what the pink ribbon on my stethoscope meant.
So I said זה סימן של סרטן שדים   which should have meant "That is the sign for breast cancer."  What it actually meant was "That is the sign for ghost cancer."  (One letter difference, again.) Because ghost cancer made no sense to her (can’t imagine why) she thought I had said "Satan" not "Sartan" (cancer in Hebrew).  So she heard "That is the sign for Satan’s ghost."
Right.
Which (as I understood later) certainly explained the bewildered expression on her face. The fact that she was wearing a clown costume only made things more amusing.

But all in all, it’s fun to try practicing medicine in a new language.  It’s a constant challenge, actually, but I am really enjoying it. The population at Hadassa is 80% Arab and none of the moms speak Hebrew so I have to speak through a translator. I can dictate the speed of the conversation, Mohammad translates their Arabic into basic Hebrew and I don’t have worry that the parent is going to say something that she expects me to understand.  In any event, everything is signed and countersigned by five different doctors so I have no real responsibilities.  It’s frustrating to go from attending physician to medical student but for three months I’ll do what I gotta do.

My kids have turned into self-sufficient little adults, seemingly overnight.  My oldest gets everyone up and out of bed, packs lunches, walks the little one to gan and then head off to school.  In the afternoon she picks her up again and they let themselves in. I find them reading or playing music when I come home. It’s a wonderful life. Took 12 years to get to this point but I never want to go back.

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