My wife Peggy and I are deaf and need sign language interpreters whenever we have important doctor appointments.
My wife had a stroke in 2002 due to high blood pressure. I always was with her for her appointments, but we didn’t always have an interpreter. My wife did her best to understand written notes and gestures but was scared to take her medicines because doses and times were not clearly explained by her doctor or her pharmacist. Later on, she had a second stroke and was taken to University of Virginia Medical Center. With an interpreter there, we found she was on the wrong medicine at too high a dose.
My wife’s health declined fast. She was in and out of the hospital and nursing homes for problems with high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, kidney failure. After a year of dialysis, my wife was tired. Her body had been through so much. I couldn’t force her to continue. She told me not to worry, God was waiting for her. She died in December 2015.
Misunderstanding and miscommunication is not just frustrating, it is dangerous. We both knew something was wrong and tried over and over to explain. My wife was careful about her health and her diet, but we got a bad attitude from the family doctor. Written notes and gestures cause confusion. We need to communicate in our natural American Sign Language and need a professional sign language interpreter for appointments. My wife might still be here with me if we did.