The call came in late at night, 11:30 pm to be exact. The nurse on the other end of the line apologized.
“I’m sorry, but we couldn’t find an interpreter. It’s a holiday and they all seem to have gone on holiday.”
I assured her I would help and asked what the call was about.
“I have Mrs. XXXX and she’s in labor. We need your help translating.”
“Please put Mrs. XXXX on the phone,” I said, “and I will assist you during the call.”
My mind began racing, quickly going over terminology for labor. Baby, dilated and incision came to mind. Being male doesn’t help. What’s the Hebrew word for nervous again?
Mrs. XXXX seems calm. She’s young and this is her first baby. I am told her husband is not there, and in the delivery room are the doctor, the nurse and young Mrs. XXXX.
The doctor picks up the phone: “We will give you an epidural now. You are dilated 10 centimeters. Try to relax Mrs. XXXX.”
We are talking. General delivery room talk. And suddenly the line goes quiet. Was it something I said?!
“Hello? Mrs. XXXX? Are you there?”
The nurse picks up the phone and exclaims: “Mrs. XXXX is having a baby!”
The next sound to fill my ears are the cries of a newborn girl and, since the phone is still at the mothers ear and the baby is now lying on her chest, the cries are loud.
“Thank you interpreter” is all that was said through the phone.
I hung up. I sat back in my chair, crossed my arms, smiled and thought “Well that was an interesting call!”
For good measure, I went out to the porch and smoked a cigar.