As a family medicine doctor, I want to refine how I express empathy with the different types of suffering that people experience. My voice and body language show the empathy I feel, but I don't feel I am verbally expressing it well enough.
If you were to tell your primary care doctor of your suffering or difficulties, how would you expect/want them to respond?
In our southern California clinic, the majority of our Spanish-speaking patients are from Mexico, a number are from El Salvador, and the rest from all over Latin America.
Issues I run into:
- "perdon" has no role unless I made a mistake
- "lo siento" seems to carry the feeling that I am at least partly at fault
- "lamento que" is definitely appropriate sometimes but often too strong
- "que pena" or "que lastima" I don't feel like I have mastered using these well
In English, I express myself well, but don't feel I have a good grasp for the Spanish equivalents of things like:
- "I'm sorry" (that you've had to endure that, for your loss, etc)
- "I'm sorry to hear that"
- "That has to be very difficult"
- "That is quite a burden you've had to carry."
- Mild pain/suffering or just molestias
- Severe pain/suffering
- Accidents or injuries
- Death or other loss of a loved one
- Their having caused harm to another person (e.g. guilt for accidentally injuring one's child etc)
- Discussing end of life care, delivering news of terminal illness
I appreciate any and all help in this! :)
Also, I plan to compile this into something I can share with my colleagues as well, who are different stages of learning Spanish; even when using an interpreter, it helps people connect to be able to express empathy without an interpreter.