For my next installment in consecutive interpreting practice videos, I’ve created a telehealth script about a woman who thinks she has COVID-19. Below you will find the video, as well as the complete script below it. For more videos like these, stay tuned to my YouTube channel. I will also be posting additional patron-only videos on my Patreon, as well as interesting and educational discussion videos.
Script: I Think I Have Coronavirus!
Doctor: Hi Mrs. Vera. Can you hear me and see me all right?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor. I’m sorry my camera isn’t very good. I’m using my grandson’s laptop we bought him for school. It’s the only computer we have in the house.
Doctor: I can see you just fine, Mrs. Vera. I see that your nostrils are a little red and you look very tired. Is that the reason for this consult today?
Mrs. Vera: I’m honestly terrified that I have the coronavirus. My nose has been running, I’ve been coughing, and my throat is sore and itchy. I’ve also been lightheaded and had a headache yesterday.
Doctor: I’m sorry to hear that, Mrs. Vera. We’ll try to get to the bottom of this. Have you had any difficulty breathing?
Mrs. Vera: I don’t think so, but every once and a while, it sounds like I’m wheezing, especially if I go outside. I’ve been trying to go out for walks at least once a day, but there are so many people walking around in our neighborhood, it’s hard to practice social distancing.
Doctor: Well, before we proceed any further, can we go over the medicines you’re currently taking?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor. I’m taking my blood pressure medication and my allergy medicine. I’m sorry, I don’t remember what they’re called.
Doctor: Lisinopril and Cetirizine, also known as Zyrtec?
Mrs. Vera: Yes! Lisinopril. I remember it sounds like Lysol. But Zyrtec doesn’t sound familiar. The allergy medicine I take is the one that you can buy on the shelf at Wal-Mart.
Doctor: What color is the bottle that you allergy medicine comes in?
Mrs. Vera: It’s green.
Doctor: Yes, then it is Zyrtec. So you’re taking your medication every day?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor. I take them every morning before I make breakfast.
Doctor: How often do you forget to take your medication?
Mrs. Vera: No, doctor. I never forget to take my medication. It’s part of my morning routine and I keep a little recipe box with my pill bottles in them next to my stove so I don’t forget.
Doctor: Excellent. Are you taking any vitamins or herbal supplements?
Mrs. Vera: No, doctor. Well, I don’t know if this counts, but I take carbon capsules. My cousin takes them to lower her cholesterol. Last time they did bloodwork on me, they found that my cholesterol was starting to get high, so I thought it would be a good idea.
Doctor: Do you mean charcoal capsules, Mrs. Vera?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor. They’re little capsules with a black powder in them. I take two every morning with my medications.
Doctor: I see. Mrs. Vera, I’m glad you’ve told me this. Activated charcoal tends to bind with toxins and chemicals in your gut, but the charcoal itself isn’t absorbed by your body. If you ingest it, it comes out in your stool.
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor. As I understand it, it can absorb cholesterol too.
Doctor: Right, and that’s why a lot of people say it lowers cholesterol. But the important thing, Mrs. Vera, is that it can also absorb other things.
Mrs. Vera: Like what?
Doctor: Well, for starters it can bind with some medications and prevent them from being fully absorbed into your system. It could be interfering with your blood pressure medication and possibly your allergy medication. How long have you been taking the charcoal for?
Mrs. Vera: Oh my goodness, I had no idea! I’ve been taking them for about… 3 weeks now. My cousin gave me a bottle right before the governor told us all to stay at home, and right after they cancelled school for my grandson.
Doctor: My advice would be to stop taking the charcoal for now, just to be safe. If you ever decided to take it again in the future, I’d take it at least an hour or two after taking your other medications to give them a chance to be absorbed by your body. How long have you had the lightheadedness and headaches?
Mrs. Vera: Well doctor, the headache started yesterday, but I’ve had a few ever since this whole coronavirus thing started. I’ve been lightheaded for about two weeks now.
Doctor: That could be due to the fact that you’re not getting your full dose of your blood pressure medication because of the charcoal. I want to rule that out first before we dig any deeper. Can I count on you to stop taking the charcoal?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, doctor! This makes sense. I remember feeling like this before I started taking my blood pressure medication a few years ago. What about my runny nose, coughing, and sore throat? I’m really worried about the wheezing too.
Doctor: When did those symptoms start?
Mrs. Vera: Well doctor, my nose started running about a week ago. Even though the governor told us to stay home, I had to send my grandson out to CVS to buy us some tissues.
Doctor: And the coughing and sore throat? When did those symptoms start?
Mrs. Vera: I started coughing three days ago. My throat was so itchy and I couldn’t sleep! Yesterday my throat started feeling sore, and it hurt to swallow. When I told my grandson this, he said he was worried about me and told me that it sounded like I was wheezing when we would go on our walks together. I don’t want to die of the coronavirus, doctor!
Doctor: Mrs. Vera, to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t think you have COVID-19, or the coronavirus. I’ve had a lot of patients complaining about their allergies within the past week, and some of them have even been worried that they have the coronavirus. You’re not alone.
Mrs. Vera: Are you sure, doctor? Shouldn’t I get tested to be sure?
Doctor: Well Mrs. Vera, it sounds to me like you started with a runny nose. That runny nose likely caused some post-nasal drip, which caused your throat to be sore, which also caused your coughing.
Mrs. Vera: But what about the wheezing?
Doctor: You stated that you really only wheezed when you went outside for your walks with your grandson, correct?
Mrs. Vera: Yes, that is true…
Doctor: There’s a lot of pollen in the air outside right now, so it makes sense that that would aggravate your allergy symptoms. You stated that you didn’t have any difficulty breathing, and you don’t have a fever, do you?
Mrs. Vera: No, doctor. Just wheezing. I took my temperature three times yesterday and I don’t have a fever.
Doctor: Well Mrs. Vera, I don’t believe you have COVID-19. It sounds like allergies to me. There is also a shortage of test kits for the coronavirus in our area, so many physicians are recommending people only go to the hospital if their symptoms are severe. Furthermore, going to the hospital right now probably isn’t a good idea unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Mrs. Vera: Okay. Thank you, doctor. I feel much better.
Doctor: So, Mrs. Vera, just stop taking that activated charcoal. We’ll see if that helps with your symptoms. It may be as simple as that. If after a few days your allergy symptoms don’t improve, try using an over-the-counter nasal steroid spray, but make sure to follow the directions on the package. I’ll check back with you in two weeks.