Chinese Nurse Who Doesn’t Speak English Writes a Funny ‘Cryptic’ Note for Foreign Student

June 12, 2019 Updated: June 19, 2019

We’re all familiar with the phrase “lost in translation,” but rarely does such a hilarious example cross our paths. For one Pakistani international student who found themselves in a Chinese hospital awaiting a procedure, the caring consideration of his assigned nurse was a little, shall we say … convoluted.

Surely the last place you want to receive mixed messages is in hospital!

Illustration – Shutterstock | toeytoey

The student found themselves under the care of a nurse who didn’t speak English, which was surely an interesting (and potentially distressing) experience for the both of them. The diligent nurse, however, realizing how important it was that their patient was well-informed about their upcoming procedure, wrote a note.

The note, handwritten and presumably containing all of the vital information, nevertheless employed some questionable illustrations to get the point  across. See for yourself.

The bizarre and, lets be honest, hilarious note—although perhaps not so much for the nervous patient!—was shared online by a Reddit user named WaspDog with a mischievous sense of humor, and has since gone viral. Reading it, are you at all surprised?

From our ivory tower of hindsight, it’s easy to decipher the nurse’s kindly message. The nurse simply wanted to tell the patient that he or she must refrain from eating and drinking after 10 p.m., as they will be having surgery at 8 a.m. the following morning. But, of course, the opportunity for alternative interpretations was too strong to resist.

Here are two of the best:

How would you decode the note?

Honorable mentions include “After 10 no rice, no water. At 8 we slice ketchup packets,” and “Clearly, no eggs or lollipop or chopsticks. Nor faucet water. Tomorrow knife fight at 8:00.”

Other delighted readers were full of praise for the nurse’s drawing skills. One even joked that the nurse’s handwriting was “more understandable” than that of many doctors, whose writing is notoriously indecipherable. But we sympathize: who has time to think about their handwriting when patients’ lives are at stake?

After all is said and done, we can only hope that the student had a good giggle, got the message, and sailed through their surgery, following their strict (and rather colorful) instructions to stay away from food and drink the night before, of course.

Illustration – Shutterstock | HealthyTechSTUDIO

Kudos to the thoughtful nurse who took the time to get their point across. And kudos to the internet for squeezing maximum enjoyment out of the nurse’s hilarious penmanship.

Sharing sure is caring!


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