Using an interpreter

ap1287

Member
That seems to me to be an issue with what the doctor is saying rather than the interpreter's signing. Have you tried asking the doctor to explain in less technical terms?

I have never used an interpreter for the doctor because I'm afraid of this. I basically have my doctor write everything and I take it home and discuss it with my partner and email my doctor back if I have any questions.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
I have never used an interpreter for the doctor because I'm afraid of this. I basically have my doctor write everything and I take it home and discuss it with my partner and email my doctor back if I have any questions.

This is how I am too. I have the doctor write or type things for me. I've never used an interpreter. I don't even know how to ask for one. Does the doctor's office provide one or would I need to find one? I think in the future I might be inclined to use one once I'm less anxious. When you request an interpreter can you tell them how you want things interpreted? I've seen different deaf people sign online and some are so clear I understand everything and others I just can't follow.
 

Swedeafa

Member
My issue with this is even as a signer I don’t understand all the medical terms myself. Too often interpreters are over my head and then not beneficial.

You need to take a lot of responsibility yourself for the communication. It’s mainly the doctor’s responsibility to be clear enough for you to understand. So do ask for clarification when things are unclear. The interpreter can be helpful too, so don’t nod and pretend to understand, because then the interpreter will just go on and think things are fine. You can ask the interpreter to spell more terms, in order to clarify, or talk to them about other ways they can be more clear. But both the doctor and the interpreter needs to become aware of that the communication isn’t working well in order to change something. I know this can be hard. For me, I get into situations like that both when I cannot hear something in a hearing context even though people try to be clear and repeat things, and when using interpreters or in signing contexts because of my still limited fluency.

Another option for doctor’s visits might be CART, if that is easier than using an interpreter.

In general it is important to signal to both doctor and interpreter that the message isn’t clear. You can try to ask questions yourself to get clarification.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
I’m going for an eye exam next week by myself. Normally my mom or dad would go with me but they are working. I’m going to use my phone and see how it goes. I think I can do this alone. I need to start doing things alone and get comfortable with my hearing loss as I interact with hearing people. I won’t always have someone by my side.
 

ap1287

Member
I’m going for an eye exam next week by myself. Normally my mom or dad would go with me but they are working. I’m going to use my phone and see how it goes. I think I can do this alone. I need to start doing things alone and get comfortable with my hearing loss as I interact with hearing people. I won’t always have someone by my side.

I just went to the eye doctor today. No interpreter. I had my hearing aids and thought it would be easy...then she dialated my eyes. And I couldn’t see anything. It was all blurry. I lost my ability to add the visual cues to my minimal hearing. It ended up okay but I definitely had to speak up for myself today.
 

Jane B.

Well-Known Member
I haven’t thought about my eyes being dialated. How long before your eyes go back to normal?

It varies greatly from person to person. And I assume how much is put in could also vary. I find how bright a light I am in really makes a difference for me in how much I can focus.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
I haven’t thought about my eyes being dialated. How long before your eyes go back to normal?
Not too long. They'll most likely just have you sit in the waiting area till your eyes undilate. Be sure to tell the eye doctor that you won't be able to communicate w/o both your ears and eyes so, hopefully, s/he'll communicate everything you need to know after the dilation before they dilate.
 

Jane B.

Well-Known Member
Not too long. They'll most likely just have you sit in the waiting area till your eyes undilate. Be sure to tell the eye doctor that you won't be able to communicate w/o both your ears and eyes so, hopefully, s/he'll communicate everything you need to know after the dilation before they dilate.

I have been in the waiting room for awhile to wait until the dilation takes effect, then had the exam that the dilation is for. After that it already starting to let go and I have just handled the paperwork about the bill and setting any next appointment. They have given me plastic sunglasses the fit behind the lenses of my glasses and rest on the arms of the glasses that go to your ears. Most of the time I have not needed that as I have my own sunglasses along.

Also, it depends on why you are having an exam if they even dilate your pupils. If you are just there to check refraction for new lenses and not to check for other conditions they are not likely to dilate.
 

zephren

Well-Known Member
Usually it takes me an hour for my eyes to recover to a point where I can drive. My vision is no longer cloudy before that but everything is just too bright.

I do get an terp for my eye exams. Although I have gone without one, It helps a lot. Once I take off my glasses I can still understand the terp but I cannot clearly see the doctor's face for lip reading. Also, they ask a lot of questions while you are looking at something or in the dim light that I miss.

For my primary doctor, I have been struggling with getting a terp there. They use VRI and too often they can't get it working. I have had appointments rescheduled or just have to go with writing notes. Sadly, even calling ahead of time asking them to test their equipment before my appointment, they again couldn't get it working last week. I do like that my doctor is very willing to write and after my last appointment he started learning some signs. It was nice that my communication with the doctor was a bit better between the writing and some signing. The conversation is a bit less detailed than it should be because of the communication method though.

He did make a request for a live interpreter for our next appointment since they have been having trouble but I'll have to see if they follow through. The doctor seems to get it and cares a lot but the staff who are responsible for setting up the equipment and scheduling don't seem to understand the problem.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
Usually it takes me an hour for my eyes to recover to a point where I can drive. My vision is no longer cloudy before that but everything is just too bright.

I do get an terp for my eye exams. Although I have gone without one, It helps a lot. Once I take off my glasses I can still understand the terp but I cannot clearly see the doctor's face for lip reading. Also, they ask a lot of questions while you are looking at something or in the dim light that I miss.

For my primary doctor, I have been struggling with getting a terp there. They use VRI and too often they can't get it working. I have had appointments rescheduled or just have to go with writing notes. Sadly, even calling ahead of time asking them to test their equipment before my appointment, they again couldn't get it working last week. I do like that my doctor is very willing to write and after my last appointment he started learning some signs. It was nice that my communication with the doctor was a bit better between the writing and some signing. The conversation is a bit less detailed than it should be because of the communication method though.

He did make a request for a live interpreter for our next appointment since they have been having trouble but I'll have to see if they follow through. The doctor seems to get it and cares a lot but the staff who are responsible for setting up the equipment and scheduling don't seem to understand the problem.

I am not sure if I should go alone or not now. I am anxious as it is but now I'm beginning to think it is not such a good idea. I'll talk with my mom about it. I just wanted to be independent and do for myself.

What is VRI?
 

Lysander

Well-Known Member
This is how I am too. I have the doctor write or type things for me. I've never used an interpreter. I don't even know how to ask for one. Does the doctor's office provide one or would I need to find one? I think in the future I might be inclined to use one once I'm less anxious. When you request an interpreter can you tell them how you want things interpreted? I've seen different deaf people sign online and some are so clear I understand everything and others I just can't follow.
The doctor's office is required to provide one at no charge to you. I've noticed that the deaf people who come to my facility meet with the interpreter about 30 minutes before the appointment to get comfortable with each other's signing and to give the interpreter a run down of what's happening so they aren't going in with no starting point.
 

zephren

Well-Known Member
VRI: Video Remote Interpreter. The interpreter is on a computer screen - similar to VRS: video relay service - and not actually in the room. VRS is for the telephones. This is a federally funded service that neither caller or receiver is required to pay for. VRS cannot be used in place of live interpreting or when the communication is taking place with individuals in the same room. VRI is an interpreting service is similar to live interpreting where the individuals are interacting in the same room but the interpreter is on a screen. VRI is offered by private companies and charges a fee pay for by the doctor or hospital.

In theory VRI was a great idea - interpreter available as needed and only for as long as they are needed - not the standard two hour minimum plus travel costs - so cheaper for the office.

Sadly, the reality of it is it has many problems. One problem is these are usually setup on low bandwidth guest wifi so even when it does connect properly, the image can freeze and be choppy so you miss information. Sometimes depending on how it is setup, it may be hard to see the interpreter clearly. I have also had issues where the interpreter couldn't hear the doctor - very quiet or no audio at all working. Another issue is most of the time the staff are not familiar with their equipment - do not know how to set it up or connect. At some locations I have had to show them how to use it. While I understand that for some offices deaf patients are not common, they should still have someone who gets regular training on how use it when it is needed.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
VRI: Video Remote Interpreter. The interpreter is on a computer screen - similar to VRS: video relay service - and not actually in the room. VRS is for the telephones. This is a federally funded service that neither caller or receiver is required to pay for. VRS cannot be used in place of live interpreting or when the communication is taking place with individuals in the same room. VRI is an interpreting service is similar to live interpreting where the individuals are interacting in the same room but the interpreter is on a screen. VRI is offered by private companies and charges a fee pay for by the doctor or hospital.

In theory VRI was a great idea - interpreter available as needed and only for as long as they are needed - not the standard two hour minimum plus travel costs - so cheaper for the office.

Sadly, the reality of it is it has many problems. One problem is these are usually setup on low bandwidth guest wifi so even when it does connect properly, the image can freeze and be choppy so you miss information. Sometimes depending on how it is setup, it may be hard to see the interpreter clearly. I have also had issues where the interpreter couldn't hear the doctor - very quiet or no audio at all working. Another issue is most of the time the staff are not familiar with their equipment - do not know how to set it up or connect. At some locations I have had to show them how to use it. While I understand that for some offices deaf patients are not common, they should still have someone who gets regular training on how use it when it is needed.

Yeah, using VRI seems like it could be very frustrating. Do the doctor's office get mad that they have to pay for the interpreter? or do they think the patient should pay? I mean like would they not want to have a deaf patient because it's extra work and they need pay?
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
You are right AlleyCat. I am not fluent in ASL yet. I am learning though. I'm trying to figure out how I am going to move forward in my life. I don't know where I belong or what I am doing. But I'm going to explore all my options. For two years I felt sorry for myself and I'm sick of feeling that way.

I get very anxious and have panic attacks when I go out at times. My therapist suggested that church would be a "safe place" for me to go without any pressure to interact with deaf or hearing. I could sit back and just watch. I wouldn't be put on the spot to sign to anyone and if I didn't understand the interpreter it would be ok. It would be a learning experience. I've been watching the Mass signed by a priest for months now on the internet. I understand it well enough. I grew up in the church so it's basically the same thing each week. What I'd need to watch is the sermon since that would be different from week to week and it's not written down.
Does your therapist have a lot of experience with Deaf clients?
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
I did e-mail the church near my house and asked about deaf ministries. I asked too if they didn't have anything could I get a copy of the sermon or if they knew of a church that had services. I didn't get a reply. I might have e-mail again or call.
Deaf ministries are varied and not consistent. They can range from full service (Deaf pastor, teachers, members with separate meeting area) to using professional interpreters who only interpret services, nothing else, to volunteer church members who interpret and minister to the Deaf. You have to be specific when you ask about what's offered at any given church.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
My issue with this is even as a signer I don’t understand all the medical terms myself. Too often interpreters are over my head and then not beneficial.
As a consumer, you need to keep the interpreters informed of your needs. Let the interpreter know that you need to have medical terms explained, and also have that conveyed to the hearing medical staff. There's nothing wrong with asking for explanation of medical terms. Hearing people do that, and you should, too.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
... When you request an interpreter can you tell them how you want things interpreted? I've seen different deaf people sign online and some are so clear I understand everything and others I just can't follow.
Yes, you absolutely can and should. For example, if you want to do your own voicing. Whether or not you prefer simultaneous silent speech with signing (SIMCOM), or no lip movement. Slower signing option, more ASL or more English--whatever you want. Let the terp know--they aren't mind readers, ha, ha.
 

Calvin

In Hazzard County
Super Moderator
Premium Member
When I go to the Dr appointment not long after I checked in, I was greeted with interpreter 10-15 (sometimes 30) mins before my appointment to introduce each other and get comfortable with signing. If there's no interpreter available and they do have VRI service, I'm fine with that as long as my dr, nurse and I communicate and understood each other.
 
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