Of all of the challenges that you would anticipate me facing during the next month, I can honestly say that the language barrier will be the least of those. I am not fluent in Russian, however, I have been studying on CD (Pimsleur) over the last four months and have learned just enough to get by (greetings, numbers, days, common phrases). To fill in the gaps, I have my handy dandy Google Translate app on my smartphone. Today, when I needed to have a taxi called for my mom to come pick her up at the hospital, I spoke that directive into my phone in English, and then played it back to the nurses in Russian. They understood, completely, and before you know it, mom was safely back at the hotel. I went so far as to kiss my phone in front of the nurses, as if to say “Thank you God!” and we all chuckled and nodded in agreement. The translate app also gives you the ability to take a snapshot of Russian print (menu, food box, directions, etc.) and it will tell you what it means in English. My phone and its apps have been an invaluable tool in navigating the language, currency, measurements, temperatures, etc.
I think it’s important to mention that even if I wasn’t electronically dialed in at every step, communication with the staff would still be relatively cohesive. There’s a lot to be said for charades, the simple nod of the head or a warm smile. They are pretty much the universal language of the human spirit. The staff at this particular hospital is well aware of why you are here and how far from home you are. They know what you are about to endure, and they really do go over and above to make certain that you feel safe, secure and cared for.
A distant ship smoke on the horizon…is getting closer every day. It’s my future life, free of the chains of MS.
I should be moving to the 3rd floor for the remainder of my stay, and, stimulation injections (the first phase of the treatment) are scheduled to begin tomorrow night (Friday) at 11:00 p.m.