Sometimes we may get too sick to wait for the doctor's office to open. I hope you never have to go to the emergency room.

This dialogue is for practice and may help you if you ever need to rush to the hospital. Please enjoy and learn.

Patient:    I feel very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital.

Nurse:     Please let me see your insurance card if you have one.

Patient:    Here it is and my ID.

Nurse:     Thank you. Now tell me your symptoms.

Patient:    I’ve been nauseous and running a fever since yesterday. Now my fever is much higher.

Nurse:     We will check your temperature, but I need to know if you are taking any medication                            or if you had any vaccinations in the past week.

Patient:    No, I took some aspirin and a cold medication yesterday. It was an over-the-counter                               medicine.

Nurse:     So you've had no drugs, alcohol or medicines in the last 8 hours?

Patient:    That’s right and I haven’t eaten anything either. I just can’t keep anything down.

Nurse:     So, when have you vomited?

Patient:    I threw up everything I ate or drank, so the last time was about 3 hours ago when I                                 tried to drink some water.

Nurse:     Are you allergic to any medications?

Patient:    No, but I do have food allergies.

Nurse:     What are they?

Patient:    I’m allergic to milk, wheat and peanuts.

Nurse:     OK, do you have any pain?

Patient:    Yes, I have a cramp or similar pain in my abdomen.

Nurse:     Ok, you do have a high fever.   I’m admitting you. Can you answer questions about                                   your medical history?

Patient:    I’ll be happy to answer any questions.  Just please help me get well.

Words and Phrases to work on:

  1. admitted
  2. symptoms
  3. nausea, dizzy, light headed
  4. vaccination, shot, injection
  5. running a fever
  6. over-the-counter, OTC
  7. keep something down, hold it down
  8. vomited, vomit
  9. threw up, throw up, retch, upchuck
  10. allergic, allergy
  11. cramp, muscle pain, ache
  12. abdomen   (try to substitute - arm, neck, chest, back or leg when you practice with a friend)

Here are questions you can use if you practice with a friend.

 Did you ever go to the emergency room?

 Do you keep your ID and insurance card with you?

 Would you worry if you were dizzy and vomiting with a fever?

 Do you trust OTC (over the counter) medicines?

 What would be a bad allergy to have?


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Tags: Dialogue, allergy, cramp, dizzy, emergency, hospital, medication, nausea, pain, vaccination, More…vomit

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Comment by Mr. Bob on February 23, 2015 at 1:13
Thank you Onee-chan and Rahil. I will try to give you some more terms for medicine and biology.
Comment by Rahil on February 22, 2015 at 21:09

thanks very much Mr Bob for sharing this dialogue because that was very useful for me . and this days we study about this topic hn university.

Comment by Onee-chan on February 20, 2015 at 1:07

Thanks a lot, Mr.Bob. Really great blog. Thanks for medical words, phrases, and idioms.

Sadly to say, I was in an Emergency Room last year, right in February...:D

I remember when I was asking to stay home, the doctor said: "This is about liver, don't take it so lightly! You must stay here under the surveillance"

Thanks again, Mr.Bob. Wish to see another medical or health English from you.:)

Comment by Mr. Bob on February 19, 2015 at 12:45

Thank you Doc and AR. Medical English (terminology) is one of my specialties and l enjoy using my background in Latin and Greek to understand the roots of new words. Latin is especially good for helping to understand biology and medical terminology because most technical words come from the Latin or Greek. Naturally you also have to learn a few common names for things because the paitent usually doesn't know anything about these formal medical terms.

I taught a lot of Biology and Anthropology before I started teaching English on a regular basis and my parents only used medical and scientific terminology for the body and bodily functions. I got my training before I started school :)

Comment by AReality on February 19, 2015 at 9:43

Alongside the new terms it also teaches how to write a better dialogue, and a conversation, also it clarifies for the new learners how maintain the sequence and harmony in a dialogue writing,

Thank you Sir, for sharing this nice blog.

Comment by Expector Smith on February 19, 2015 at 9:28

Great job, Bob!

It sounds like you're trying to teach medical English here - I just could use those words and expressions.

You never know what English words or expressions could be so useful - just in case of any situation you face, inclding the emergency room. 

Thanks for this useful dialogue. 

Comment by Mr. Bob on February 19, 2015 at 1:09

Here are some more terms we may hear being used for throwing-up or vomiting. You might hear these or read them so I will tell some of the more common.  

Many of them are meant to be funny and only a few people would recognize the meaning.
Regurgitate and upchuck are nicer words to use. Heave and hurl are also pretty well known but more used among the teenagers and younger crowd (not so much your grandparents).

A lot of the terms are supposed to mock the sound the sick person makes like Ralph or calling Ralph. So I would say urp, barf, Ralph, earl and retch are supposed to remind you of the sound of being sick.

Others idioms are describing the action or what it looks like: Blowing your lunch or a technicolor yawn.

Driving the white bus and hugging the toilet, worship at the porcelain alter, and praying to the porcelain god are going to give you the same mental picture of a sick person at the toilet.

Yelling at the ground, talking to the carpet, spraying chunks, spewing supper, cough your cookies, blow your cookies and so on. I could list many more of these. 

Why do many cultures like to make fun of the person vomiting?  It is a time when people are at their weakest and most vulnerable, but we usually smile if we hear a funny story about someone with this problem.  I am curious about how this is dealt with by our members in their own countries. If a girl is sick, will you help hold her hair out of the way, will you run away, or will you get sick too?

Comment by Mr. Bob on February 19, 2015 at 0:51

Thanks Luci. Running a fever means having a fever and doesn't tell us if it is high or low. I haven't found an origin for this phrase, but It is very common and seems to have appeared about 100 years ago. Example- I just checked his temperature and he is running a fever, so I will call his parents. You and Anele are asking good questions.

Anele, That is one idiomatic phrase you may have a problem finding without a bit of work, so I will give you a clue. It does have a literal meaning.

If I am healthy and eat or drink, the food goes down and stays down in the stomach. If it doesn't stay down I will be unhappy, especially if I am somewhere in public when it comes up.

Maybe what confused you was the Nurse’s question dealing with the last 8 hours. Patient says: That’s right and I haven’t eaten anything either (pertaining to the 8 hour period).  Patient then tells us that s/he attempted to swallow some water more recently, but it wasn’t possible.


I hope you have never had the situation where any time you try to swallow something your stomach violently reacts causing vomiting (or when it is empty causing “dry heaves”). If you have ever had the dry heaves I will shed tears for you because it is so painful to have these spasms when your body is rejecting food and drink but there is nothing to “throw up”.  This can lead to the feeling of wishing God would immediately let you leave your body for paradise.


So now I have introduced more terms like spasms and dry heaves. I will go to Afro’s page and copy the comment that I gave her about words for puke, vomit, etc. They may be useful to know, even if some are not best to use when talking to the nurse.

Comment by Lady Anne on February 18, 2015 at 17:13

That’s right and I haven’t eaten anything either. I just can’t keep anything down.

I know that this is an idiomatic expression but somehow I am lost as to the exact meaning of it.  What is it that he can't keep anything down for the preceding sentence told us that he hadn't eaten anything.  I tried to translate it literally but ugh, not a good one.

Even google is no longer reliable so I didn't attempt to search for it, hahaha.  Kind of lazy?  No, I just want to hear it from the expert.  Who else but only Bob can do it?  

Waiting to be enlightened by your explanation, Bob.

(So tags can be more than 3 words.  Where on earth I digged out that tagging was limited to 3 words only.  For four years, I carried this belief, haha!)

Comment by ❁✾✿Luci✿✾❁ on February 18, 2015 at 15:55
Mr. Bob..thanx for this great blog. I have a question. U mentioned..running a fever. Does it mean suddenly fever started and reached like 38,5 (big change) or it is just like to have fever?

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