At The Doctor’s

In this episode you will learn how to talk about different health problems when you are at the doctor’s. You will also learn some grammar – Present Perfect Continuous Tense. Woohoo! How exciting! Enjoy :)

Hello amigos, you are listening to English Made Simple, this is episode #78, numero setenta y ocho.

Hola and welcome to English Made Simple, my name is Milena from It is very nice of you to tune in to today’s episode, it’s going to be jam-packed full of new words, lots and lots of new vocabulary. So thank you for joining me guys.

I’d like to go straight into today’s show, we are going to learn some more new vocabulary related to health problems, I also want to teach you to talk about your health problems in English and what happens when you visit a GP or a doctor. I am going to use GP and the word doctor interchangeably, they are the same thing in this case. GP is short for General Practitioner, we learnt this last week. GP is a doctor…

And there is also something here for you grammar nerds, those of you who looooove grammar – in this episode I will give you a tip on which tense to use when you are at the doctor’s. So listen up! Listen up carefully….

We are going to carry on from last week’s episode! So last week we were at the pharmacy and this week we are going to the doctor’s.

If you are new to this show, I recommend you go back and listen to the last episode, and then come back and listen to this episode, ok? Cool!

So let’s start this show!

Hey guys, what I recommend for you to learn first, are the names of different body parts. I think it’s important to learn the names of each body part because you will have to use it when you see the doctor. This is especially important for those of you who are travelling to English speaking countries, you should also learn the Emergency phone numbers in every country you are visiting. If you are in Australia emergency number is 000, in New Zealand it’s 111 and in the US is 911.
We’ve heard this in the movies, just dial 9-1-1…

So just to refresh your memory and for those of you who are listening and are not sure of different body parts, let me quickly run you through this. We have right hand and we have left hand, right and left leg, fingers and toes – remember toes are on your feet and fingers are on your hands, on the face we have eyes, nose, mouth, we have ears and we have a head, the front of your head is called: forehead – or frente in Spanish. We all have a stomach and back.

Great, so when you go to the doctor chances are you might have problems with one of these body parts. So I recommend you learn the names of …body parts!

To describe symptoms of affected body parts use words such as pain or ache, or swelling – hinchason in Spanish, you could also have broken bones – huesos quebrados o fracturado – fractured bones.

For example, some useful terms to remember could be, when you are at the doctor’s you could say things like: my arm hurts, my leg hurts, my neck aches, my foot is swollen, I have a broken bone, I sprained my ankle, esguince in Spanish – I sprained my ankle me esguincé el tobillo, I pulled a muscle – desgarro muscular. Pulled muscle – desgarro in Spanish.

When you are at the doctor’s you will be asked to describe your symptoms related to your body parts.

You can start by describing the pain. There are many words to describe the pain – el dolor, regardless if the pain is inside your stomach, or inside your head or even inside your back, like a backache for example.

Here are some words to describe the pain: You can have a sharp pain – dolor punzante, you can have a throbbing pain – a throbbing pain is like a constant pain, a slight pain or mild pain – dolor leve, you could have a slight pain, you could have a tingling sensation – it’s like a bit ticklish, in Spanish it’s cosquilleo, numbness in Spanish it is insensibilidad, what this means is if you feel numb, it means that you don’t have any feeling whatsover…numb is spelt as N U M B, and B is silent, feeling numb means you can’t feel anything. Imagine if you have a problem with your leg and if I touch your leg and you don’t feel anything, you can say my leg is numb. ok?

You can have a burning pain – quemadura, itchy, you can feel itchy (we learnt this one last week, go back to episode 76 to find out what itchy means), cramps, for example muscle cramps, stomach cramps – calambre in Spanish. You can get muscle cramps all o f a sudden!

Lots of words to cover here, you guys are doing well, if you have to, listen to this episode again to help you remember the terms.

So, last week we learnt about a person who works at the pharmacy, he or she is called a pharmacist or a chemist, then we have someone called a doctor, a nurse, an optometrist, a dentist, a surgeon to name a few – these people work in the – what we call – medical industry or healthcare industry, and they are called healthcare professionals.

So that’s a new term for you guys, healthcare professionals. They are all called healthcare professionals!

Great, more new words coming your way!

Let’s learn about some medical conditions, or medical problems.

Some people could have serious medical problems such as, asthma, diabetes, broken or fractured bones, food poisoning, severe allergies (due to peanuts, eating peanuts for example), fever, bloody nose, vomiting, sprained ankle, an ear infection and so on. We can categorize these as serious medical conditions, and we’d have to see a doctor about them, to help us treat these illnesses
The least serious medical problems, the ones that are not so severe, the least serious medical problems could be headaches, toothaches, backaches, colds, flu’s, insect bites, swollen foot and so on.

So those were some of the things you would need to see the doctor about. Great!

The most common reasons people go to see a GP is to treat flu like symptoms or cold – in Spanish it’s resfrio.

If you work full time, and you have to take a sick day off work, your employer might ask you for a medical certificate. In Australia we have paid sick leave, the employer will pay you in case you are sick and you have to take a day off work, and most often they will ask to see a medical certificate. This certificate is what you can get from a GP, from a doctor. Awesome!

Now let’s pretend you are a patient and you need to go and see Dr Jones.

Doctor’s consultation

Dr Jones will greet you and say, hello Carlos, how can I help you? Can you tell me what is wrong?
Carlos could say: I’ve got a temperature, sore throat, my nose is blocked and I’m very congested.
Dr Jones says: How long have you been feeling like this? When did the symptoms start?
Carlos: Well, I’ve been feeling like this for a couple of days now. I’ve also been having difficulty breathing and swallowing – swallowing is like tragar in Spanish.

Doctor might need to examine you. Dr Jones says: I am going to take your blood pressure, and I am going to take your temperature.

Also, I need to check your throat, can you please open your mouth and say Aaaaah? Let’s have a look! Great, thank you. It looks a bit inflamed. I can see why it hurts.

Great. Thank you.

I will ask you to do a blood test and I am going to prescribe you some antibiotics. You can take the prescription to the pharmacy. A pharmacist will fill your prescription there.
If symptoms persist please come back and see me again.

Carlos: Great, thank you Dr Jones.

–interesting this Dr Jones sounds exactly like Milena from English Made Simple…muy interesante!

Excellent muchachos. I hope you were able to follow me in that little scenario there.

Let’s just recap quickly.

When a doctor asks you to describe your symptoms, normally they will ask you questions like: How long have you been feeling unwell? This is the most common question…

For you, grammar nerds that are listening to this show, the English tense being used here is called the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. We use Present Perfect Continuous Tense to talk about things that began in the past and are still happening now, or they are still important now. The Present Perfect Continuous Tense is formed with the subject + have been/has been plus the ING form of the verb. The ING form of the verb. For example:

How have you been feeling? I’ve been feeling depressed. I’ve been feeling unwell.
I have been feeling very tired. The short version is: I’ve been feeling very tired.

Also another thing to note is, we often use time markers SINCE and FOR with this tense.
We use time marker SINCE – in Spanish it is like DESDE – to show when something started or finished. We use time marker FOR to show how often/how long something has been happening for.
For example, if you are at the doctor’s you could say something like:
I have been vomiting for 2 days.
Carlos has been feeling better since he saw the doctor last week.

Another example, not related to the doctors: How long have you been studying English for? I’ve been studying English for over 10 years.

Cool, excellent! Hopefully you are following me.

Just a little bit of trivia for you: when the head hurts we say, I have a headache, when we have back problems, we say a backache…AND when the tooth hurts, we say…. A toothache! Ha! Bravo! Great, which reminds me I have to see my dentist again…very soon.

Oki doki, I think we had enough for today! I want to summarise today’s episode!
I wouldn’t want you to start having a headache from too much information. You could get something called information overload….too much information omg nooooo, my head is spinning and it’s going to explode. Arrrrgh!

Alright, alright it’s not really like that but I think it’s enough for today.

In the coming short and sweet episode we are going to learn some more phrases and vocabulary to do with health. So stay tuned!

Next week, we will talk about things at the supermarket – Going to the supermarket and what we can buy at the supermarket, who works there, what type of food you can get from there basically. And more new vocabulary coming your way, so be prepared.

Just a reminder, English Made Simple is available on iTunes and all Android devices (make sure you download your favourite podcast app so you can listen to it on your non-iphones) For example, I listen to podcasts on Stitcher, Stitcher is an app that you can download, or you can also download an app called Podcast Republic. There are many apps out there. I don’t have an iPhone so I use one of these android apps for all podcasts that I listen to.

And now that you know this little secret, please share this episode with your friends no matter what kind of phones they have, remember sharing is caring!
Until next time amigos, Hasta la próxima!

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