Learn Spanish for the evaluation of vertigo. In today’s lesson, a woman presents to the physical therapy clinic with complaints of dizziness. This lesson is part of our Physical Therapy in Spanish series.

This dialogue was originally written in English by a listener named Brigette Schwimmer, a physical therapist who sees patients with vestibular conditions. While studying at the San Pedro Spanish School in Guatemala, my Spanish teacher, Elizabeth Cortez, and I rewrote and recorded the dialogue in Spanish. First, we will listen to the dialogue and then we will break down the vocabulary and grammar as we practice interpreting the dialogue line by line.

Access member content: Physical Therapy in Spanish

LEVEL - UPPER INTERMEDIATE

A woman holding her head because she is dizzy.

Diálogo

2:41

T: Hola, bienvenida. Mi nombre es Erika y seré su fisioterapeuta. ¿Usted es Angela?.

P: Exacto.

T: Leí en su expediente que usted ha padecido mareos. ¿Podrías explicarme un poquito más?

P: Pues, esto pasó de repente hace aproximadamente dos semanas. Me desperté por la noche y cuando me volteé, fue cuando sentí los mareos. Sentía como si el mundo estuviera dando vueltas. Intenté levantarme de la cama porque tenía ganas de vomitar y por poco me caigo. Afortunadamente, no me caí y llegué al baño a tiempo. ¡Menos mal! Porque vomité en el lavamanos.

T: Lamento oír esto. Debió haber sido una experiencia incómoda. ¿Es la primera vez que le pasa esto?

P: Sí. Nunca me había pasado antes.

Repaso

Padecer mareos

3:41

el/la fisioterapeuta, terapeuta física
physical therapist

Seré su fisioterapeuta.
I will be your physical therapist.

el expediente, el historial
chart or record

padecer (de), sufrir (de)
to suffer or to have (a symptom or illness)

OJO: Both PADECER y SUFRIR are used to express experiencing an illness or symptom, but without the same intense connotation that SUFFER has in English. Also, both can be followed by the preposition DE, which is optional.

los mareos
dizziness

OJO: LOS MAREOS is a catch-all term for DIZZINESS. It can refer to either motion-sickness/vertigo or light-headedness.

el vértigo
vertigo

OJO: Just as in English, it is uncommon for patients to use the word VÉRTIGO in Spanish to describe their dizziness.

Leí en su expediente (historial) que usted ha padecido mareos.
I read in your chart that you have experienced dizziness.

¿Podrías explicarme un poco más?
Could you explain a little more?

Me volteé y sentí los mareos

6:09

Me desperté por la noche y cuando me volteé fue cuando sentí los mareos.

de repente
suddenly

Verbo en pretérito + hace + período de tiempo

Esto pasó de repente hace aproximadamente dos semanas.
This came on suddenly about two weeks ago.

voltearse
to turn around / over

Me desperté por la noche y cuando me volteé…
I woke up in the night and when I turned over…

…fue cuando sentí los mareos.
…that’s when I felt the dizziness.

OJO: First, we used the two REFLEXIVE/PRONOMINAL verbs, DESPERTARSE y VOLTEARSE. Then, then we used the NON-PRONOMINAL verb SENTIR to express WHAT we feel. Therefore, when SENTIR is followed by a NOUN (SUSTANTIVO), you use the NON-PRONOMINAL form of the verb.

Fue cuando sentí los mareos.
That’s when I felt the dizziness.

OJO: We use use the PRONOMINAL verb SENTIRSE to express HOW we feel with an ADJECTIVE, como por ejemplo, MAREADO/A.

Fue cuando me sentí mareada.
That’s when I felt dizzy.

Me desperté por la noche y cuando me volteé, fue cuando sentí los mareos.
I woke up in the night and when I turned over, that’s when I felt the dizziness.


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In the upcoming lessons, the physical therapist asks about the duration of the episodes and when they occur. She also asks about other associated symptoms that may indicate a more serious problem. They review Ángela’s medications, and then Eliza concludes by asking Ángela what she hopes to accomplish with physical therapy. For Medical Spanish members, the next lesson in this Vertigo evaluation will be available within the week.

Related lessons


Special thanks to Elizabeth Cortez, my Spanish teacher at the San Pedro Spanish School in Guatemala, and to Sonja Um Siri, who reviews of the lessons before publication. 

The lessons offered at docmolly.com are a fun way to practice medical Spanish. They are not intended to teach medicine or provide medical advice. These lessons are intended to improve communication with Spanish-speaking patients, but they are not intended to substitute for a qualified medical interpreter.

Quiz

Review the Spanish covered in the first member lesson
of the Spanish for the Evaluation of Vertigo series. 

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