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Lost in Translation

I have been around Russian language off and on now for 17 years.  While I understand most general conversations in Russian, I still struggle with speaking it correctly and tend to get lost when having to listen to “technical” conversations.

One of those times happened today during a visit to the eye doctor.  I remember my first visit to the eye doctor 17 years ago.  I had only been living in Lugansk for a couple of months when I broke my glasses.  So, an interpreter took me to the eye doctor.

As soon as I sat in the chair, I knew we had a problem.  The eye chart used Russian letters and I hadn’t learned the alphabet yet.  So, after we all had a good laugh, we improvised and went on the best we could.

Seventeen years later, I went to an ultra modern clinic with lots of gadgets I haven’t even seen in my doctor’s office in Wichita Falls.  When I walked into the exam room I felt so confident that I would be able to tell the doctor what letter I was seeing.  Then, the nurse handed me a document to fill out and right away I felt like the guy did 17 years ago.

I had to ask her to explain the first question, then the second… eventually I did get to the point where I at least understood the jist of the questions.  After filling out the questionnaire, I had the eye test, then he did some checking.

He sent me to another area for further tests, then the cataract test, periphery vision and then they dilated the eyes.  They put me in the waiting area and after about 15 minutes, they came and got me and did some further testing. Probably the funniest moment was when one technician asked me if my eyelashes have always been white.  Of course, I didn’t know the word for eyelashes and I touched my eyebrow and she said “no” and then pointed to the eyelash.  I told her that I have always had blond lashes and brows! 🙂

The thing I probably dislike the most is when they put this thing in your eye to hold it open so that they can put this extremely bright white light near the eye to do further exams.  I have had the same test in the US and I still don’t like it.

After all the tests, the doctor sat down with me and explained all they did.  I didn’t understand it all, but he provided me with a written explanation that I will get someone to translate for me.  I do know that I didn’t have a big change in the prescription and so will probably wait to get new glasses sometime later.

Probably one of the coolest things that happened is that they took a picture of my eyes in “color” and black and white.  Here is the color version of one of the eyes:

Overall, it was a little frustrating not understanding everything, but I quickly accepted that I wouldn’t.  I know my limitations and should understand that some things just get lost in translation!

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