- I work at an ER in Level One Trauma Center/ County
Hospital in Seattle. Quick story since I type Oh so
slowly, am very verbose, and I am at work at this
moment (and personal email is frowned upon).
I was walking through an overcrowded hallway full of
"medically sick" patients. Literally, we have 15
stretchers lining the hallways between rooms. Crazy
to be sure. Anyway, walking through the maze and
cacophony I here someone saying "mimba." It didn't
click that I knew what that word or something very
close to it ment. In my next round through that
section of the ER I read the chart about a man from
Africa C/O Abdo pain. No one knew what language he
was speaking so an interpreter could not be ordered.
I went up an said hello and he did not say anything.
I asked him what was wrong, all of this in English.
Not a word. As I was walking away he said "Pepani."
That word I know and recognize. So I went into my
wrote Chitumbuka and found out that he was actually
from Zimbabwe and spoke Shone, but knew a touch of
Tumbuka (like me). Romweber, Bone, Westra, and
Shockley would be proud of me. I was able to figure
out where he hurt for how long, when he last went to
the chimbudzi. I impressed the hell out of my
co-workers, my attending and my boss. Finally an
interpreter showed up and I could go back to my
mundane world of CPR and phlebotomy. As the guy was
leaving, I said to him "Lutani macola." His response
to me was, "goodbye," in near perfect English.
All right, brain, I don't like you and you don't like
me - so let's just do this and I'll get back to killing
you with beer.
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