My need to work harder to learn Portuguese is readily apparent to me today. Cricket has been sick for three days, and hasn’t eaten in that time…can’t be induced to eat rice, or chicken, or cottage cheese. She took a couple of bites of banana and later some peanut butter yesterday, but again today, even those won’t entice her.

I have a call out to a Brazilian friend for help getting Cricket to a vet today. Tom is completely tied up at work and can’t get away, no matter how much he wants to. That leaves me to get her to a vet and explain the problem.

I’ve used Google Translate and my own knowledge to write out on a sheet of paper what the problem is, but the difficulty will come when the vet responds with questions or guidelines. Thus, my need for Monica’s help.

Part of the difficulty here is that unless you say things exactly right, most people don’t extrapolate to understand what you might be trying to say. On Saturday, I went to the local drug store and asked if they had any Pepto-Bismol. Blank stare. Any Pepto? Blank stare. Pepto, a pink medicine, for diarrhea. Blank stare. I tried to explain that my “baby” had diarrhea, “caca liquido.” Blank stare.

Finally, I saw a bottle on a shelf in the hallway behind the counter. I could just read the name on the pink bottle. Pepto-Zil. I pointed and said the name, and then had to direct the fellow’s hand to the shelf to the right, more to the right, more to the right. It was the only pink bottle on the shelf, but he needed my help to find it.


Next, I asked for a syringe, pronouncing it “sir-in-gay” (figuring that was close to how they’d say it). Again, a blank stare. So I mimed what I needed it for, to give the medicine to the “baby.” Oh, a syringa! Oh for godssake, yes, a syringa!

(When I got home, I Google Translated the word diarrhea. It’s the same in Portuguese, except pronounced “jee-a-ri-ah”). Really? I ask for Pepto and say the baby had “dee-a-ri-ah” and you can’t guess what I might be saying?!

Now I wait to hear back from my friend and hope that she is available to help today. If not, I call one of my American friends who has a car and ask if she can help me…maybe we can struggle through this together on the language front. I’ve got to get my pup some help.

UPDATE: Monica took me to her vet downtown, only a few miles as the crow flies, but half an hour in traffic. He was phenomenal! Spoke a bit of English, had a wonderful demeanor (even when Cricket objected to getting her temperature taken), and wrote a prescription using the same fountain pen he had been given as a graduation present 53 years ago. Not a virus, thank goodness, and he thinks she’ll be fine. She’s lost 3 of her 21 pounds, but wasn’t dehydrated. Good news!

Doktoro Osvaldo is amazing. And Monica was the friend I needed, both at the vet’s and later when getting the medication. A colleague of Tom’s at work has also been in touch, concerned about Cricket. Says to give her coco water: it’s healthy and good for clearing up what ails her. Since she loves coco water, this will help a lot. Tudo bem!