At the time of the following story, Michele and i didn’t want to report it publicly because we didn’t want anyone to get overly concerned about my health considering the incident with my irregular heart beat (by the way, i haven’t had an irrgular beat since). anyway…
I went to the hospital in Istanbul (at the end of our tour of Turkey) because, regardless of the heart problems i encountered in Kas, i had been in generally poor health in Turkey and took a definite turn for the worse in Istanbul. Essentially, i just had a fever of about 103 and felt very bad and had diarrhea. We thought it would be a good idea to see a doctor and the hospital just happened to be the best option if for no other reason than we had heard the rumor that the English would be good there.
anyway, on to the examination in the hospital…
i was in a standard hospital room designed to contain maybe 6 patients all separated by curtains. After the doctor asked me what was going on with me (he actually spoke very good English and was very good at interviewing), he did some routine-type examinations. one of these involved feeling my abdomen and determining whether i had any pain in that area. of course, we have all had this exact same examination in the Dr’s office. in order to do this properly, he asked me to unbutton my pants and then he pulled them down maybe an inch or so. ok. fine. also perfectly normal. he finished, stepped back and said, “ok, you can take your clothes off now.” wow! this was really going to be a thorough examination. Michele later reported thinking this exact same thing.
so, i felt just a tiny bit uncomfortable removing all of my clothes (just as most people would) but i did it — every last stitch of clothing. after laying there on the hospital bed completely naked for a few minutes, a male nurse came in. He walked over to my right arm, took my blood pressure and then walked out. hmmmmm… i needed to have all of my clothes off in order for them to take my blood pressure??
a few minutes later, the Dr. came back in and said, “ok, you can take your clothes ON now.” he continued by saying, “i think you misunderstood me. i told you you could take your clothes on, not put them off.” ????
Michele and i both clearly heard “off” not “on” and it wouldn’t have made any sense to us for the Dr. to have said ON anyway because to us, my clothes weren’t off while he was feeling my abdomen.
what could this poor nurse have thought??? he walked into this room expecting a routine blood pressure check and instead his eyes were assaulted by the sight of some crazy, completely naked American. i’m sure he was traumatized!!
anyway, this story has provided both Michele and i with many, many laughs since. we hope everyone else also enjoys it.
a tangent — subsequent discussions have examined the flaws of the English language. it doesn’t really make any sense that we say “take clothes off” and “put clothes on”. the verbs should clearly be swapped such that a person takes their clothes on and puts them off. this, was the logic the Dr. used which may have added to the confusion. regardless, the Dr. in this particular story definitely said OFF and, in theory, the preposition should be the key word in this instance.