Tuesday, August 24, 2010

emergency spanish


They work in church.  They work on the internet.

I am often slow to come to the party.  Too much of Florence King's "I would love to; I just don't want to," I suppose.

Several bloggers have already extolled the virtues of  Mexican Trailrunner's Emergency Medical Spanish.  It is such a good idea, I am surprised no one thought of it before now.

The marketing data is out there.  Expatriates are retiring to Mexico.  The number is unknown.  Even though we all know the real estate-engendered figure of one million expatriates in Mexico is no more accurate than a teenage boy's recounting of romantic conquests.  But there are quite a few of us.

And, to be less than delicate, we are old.  With all of the ailments that cloak the withering process.

For most of us, Spanish is not our first language.  And, for a large portion of us, we will, at best, gain a nodding acquaintance with it.  Being able to distinguish Spanish from, say, Mandarin Chinese at least half the time.

And there is the rub.  Old expatriates trying to explain medical problems in English to a care provider who speaks only their native tongue -- Spanish.

The solution, of course, is simple.  People living in Mexico need to learn Spanish.  For lots of reasons.  But, because the answer is simple and the learning is hard, it often does not happen.

Mexican Trailrunner offers help in bridging part of that gap.  A former emergency medical technician, she knows her medical terms.  But she also knows her Spanish.

She has compiled a list of phrases -- in Spanish and English -- to cover most of the medical circumstances a patient might encounter.  The same conversations that go on in hospitals and doctor's offices around the world.

I received my e-book copy this morning -- in PDF format.  I spent almost two decades litigating medical cases.  For that reason alone, this may be a good method for me to get back into the Spanish saddle and start re-learning what I have forgotten (and what has atrophied) on this trip north.

So, let me add my voice to my colleagues' chorus.  For $10, 
Emergency Medical Spanish is a bargain .  I could have used it five months ago as I lay on that gurney in Puerto Vallarta with a flopping right foot.

But I am certain I will have plenty of opportunities in the future to dive into the book.


1st Mate said...

For sure that book would have come in handy when you had your accident. Not that your computer would have been easy to access when you were on the gurney. I think it would be worthwhile to print it out, though I haven't done it yet.

Anonymous said...


You need only learn one sentence for medical purposes in Mexico:

"Senior Doctor, one of my multiple personalities has taken control of the bridge and I need your help to regain control of my ship's command."


Calypso said...

Indeed a wonderful thing to have here in Mexico.

Steve Cotton said...

1st Mate -- I have printed a copy to keep in the truck.

ANM -- My multiple personalities held a meeting. They voted 5-4 to -- I can't recall.

Calypso -- It truly is a good idea.

Al Polito said...

That book would come in handy for the people in Claims at SAIF.

Steve Cotton said...

Al -- Good idea. I should mention it to the bilingual team.