Subscribe: Subscribe to me on YouTube

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If there's one thing I've always said about the Germans, it's that they're excellent judges of character. One of my patients today was an 87-year-old lady from Berlin who had poor vision, poor mobility, and the ability to hear only those words which were shouted twelve inches from her ears. Fortunately I didn't need to try, as she spoke no English.

But as luck would have it, she brought her son along to do all the talking, while she got on with the important business of smiling at everything I said. As the proud owner of a GCSE in German, I can naturally say Guten Tag, Danke Schön, and virtually nothing else, but I didn't need to understand more than the basics to know that between the two of them, they were giving me the kind of respect usually reserved for Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schröder or Boris Becker.

Every time I gave an instruction or asked a question, the son would translate it for me, adding the word "Doktor", which I believe is German for 'dedicated healthcare professional'. Similarly, the lady would reply with the words "Erklären Sie dem Doktor...". Frankly after ten minutes of conversation, the three of us were firm friends, and I felt like I'd spent five years at medical school.

I was tempted to tell them that my daughter has the hair of Hitler and is about to invade Poland on a plastic turtle, in the hope that they might invite me back to their place for some Black Forest Gateaux, but in the end I decided to keep quite about my Nazi connections. So I just mentioned that I like sausages, and left it at that.