On our recent trip to Paris, we had occasion to call for medical help. Alan's Dad had had a fall on the Metro escalator and also had a bad cold and a few other unmentionable complications. Fortunately, there is a visiting doctor service in Paris, perfect for these situations.
We phoned them up and asked, wildly hopeful, "Parlez-vous anglais?"
I rolled up my sleeves, took a deep breath and somehow managed to get through the next few minutes, telling the very kind, very patient woman at the other end that I needed a doctor for my 80 year-old father, our address, our access code and what the trouble seemed to be.
Would we like a doctor who spoke English?
Enthusiastic agreement that that would be a good idea.
The doctor showed up quickly. Much, in fact, earlier than we had expected. He checked Dad out and prescribed a huge bag of pills.
It was only later that I realized I may have inadvertently told the operator that Dad was dying. Or possibly dead.
Note to self - a French vocabulary that consists almost entirely of food and cooking terms is of very little value when travelling with crumblies.