Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Language Barriers

"We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up." -Phyllis Diller

Today was the day for Skiffy's orthopaedic check-up. I look forward to these appointments with all of the zeal I would approach a root canal with. It is not that I don't enjoy visiting with the doctor; I do. I look forward to hearing about Skiffy's progress and so far, the news has always been good. What I dread is Skiffy herself. Something about these appointments brings out her teenage best. As soon as we arrive she flops down in chair in the waiting room and starts making the face. You know the face- the one that says 'I hate all adults for no apparent reason and I would burn holes in their bodies with my eyes if only I had super powers'-yeah...that face.

You see, there is a small obstacle here; Skiffy and I don't speak the same language. The native language spoken in the home is English. Skiffy speaks Teenagerese. The hospital we visit is no help at all. They have interpretive services for a variety of foreign languages and for visually and hearing impaired individuals, but not one interpeter there speaks Teen- I checked. So, when we leave the hospital, we are never on the same page and we proceed to argue all the way home.

Me: The doctor said you can bear more weight now.
Skiffy: No, he said I could go rock climbing.
M: He said no such thing! He said you have to protect that hip.
S: He said I was all better and I could take on the whole world if I wanted to.
M: He said take it easy!
S: Skydiving is easy.   
The last time we visited with the doctor, he said Skiffy would probably walk without crutches by September. I asked about band camp in July and he squirmed and said "we'll see." Today, he looked over her x-rays and declared it was time to start physical therapy and that she may walk in as little as three weeks! Gibberish. He must have been speaking gibberish. I heard "the x-rays look incredible, the bone is fusing, she can start therapy now and if all goes well she may be walking in three weeks." Skiffy heard something different altogether. Her version went "I can start walking TODAY."

Excuse me, interpreter...where is the INTERPRETER....I NEED AN INTERPRETER!!

So, the bone is fusing in the left hip around the screws and for now at least, the femoral head (big round ball on top of the femur) looks healthy as if it is maintaining the blood supply. The growth plate is also fusing in the right hip which means it cannot slip and created problems like the left side did. All good news! She is going to walk months before we thought she would. It looks like this child has been part of a small miracle. Oh, happy day!

She pouted all the way home. She did not like the doctor's lecture about only getting one first chance with this hip and that taking risks could cause her to endure a hip replacement at a young age and how that would be a terrible thing. She did not like that she couldn't walk TODAY. She did not like that we did not go see a physical therapist TODAY. She does not want to wait three more weeks to walk.

Good grief. The biggest joy of the day- we don't have to do this again until May. I hope they hire a new interpreter by then.     

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