I try hard not to embarrass myself with my Spanish skills. However, today I failed. After a lengthy visit with a woman in which we discussed in Spanish her bleeding ulcer and total lack of teeth, she informed me that her birthday was this week. What did I say? “Feliz Navidad!” (merry xmas). d’oh. Her and her daughter had quite a chuckle about that one.
Another horrible faux pas occurred a few weeks ago. I saw a man in his late 40’s, accompanied by a very wrinkly older lady with his list of medications in her purse. I assumed that like many of my patients, he had some cognitive problems and was accompanied by his caregiver. But when I foolishly asked, “Is this your mother?” He replied, “No, this is my wife.” crap. Note to self: never assume that a weatherbeaten older woman is not the patient’s beloved wife.