Sexually-Transmitted Translation

, , , , | Healthy | March 4, 2018

(I am a foreign college student and I need to see a gynecologist for the first time. I also need to fill out a medical information form that’s all in Chinese.)

Receptionist: “Can you read Chinese?”

Me: “The basics, but I have trouble with medical vocab.”

Receptionist: “Okay, start filling what you can and come back when there’s no line.”

(I do so and the receptionist translates while I answer.)

Receptionist: “Okay, this says, ‘Are you sexually active?’”

Me: *circles yes*

Receptionist: “Okay, and this says, ‘What protection do you use? Check all applicable.’”

Me: “Okay, does it say, ‘dental dam,’ somewhere?”

Receptionist: “Huh?”

Me: “Um… for oral protection.”

Receptionist: “This is asking what you do to not get pregnant.”

Me: “So, it’s ‘contraceptive,’ not ‘protection’?”

Receptionist: “Same thing.”

Me: “No… It isn’t. Okay, where does it ask for the gender of my partner?”

Receptionist: “Gender?”

Me: “Yes. I’m sexually active with women, not men.”

Receptionist: *long pause, looks around as if for help* “Then you put, ‘No,’ for sexually active and skip these questions.”

Me: “Don’t you care about me getting STDs?”

Receptionist: “Huh?”

Me: “It means I can still get STDs, as I’m sexually active, but you want me to put, ‘No,’ for being sexually active.”

Receptionist: *blank stare* “Uh. Let me talk to the doctor.”

(I am not called back for a while, and when I am, it’s for the actual appointment.)

Doctor: “I’m sorry about the form. We never get people like you. Let’s continue.” *hands form back to me*

(I noticed next to the line asking about being sexually active, “lesbian” was written in, in English. She helped me fill the rest of the form, adding — in English — the details it didn’t support, with no further issues.)

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