Saturday, 30 March 2013
A Good Man in Africa
After I had my second heart attack in Angola, I ended up having a conversation with the consultant, a South African on contract to ISOS, an organisation similar to BUPA.
'Well', he said, 'You're alive so you can go now'
'Aren't you going to look at the cardiogram they did?'
'Nope. What do YOU think it indicates?' he asked. He looked bloody knackered.
'That I've had another heart attack?' I suggested.
'Myocardial Infarction actually' he corrected me. 'See? You know better than me so what do you need me for? Honestly, you can go now, you are just wasting your money and I could do with the bed spaces. Here's a prescription, take these if you get the chest pains again. They'll keep you alive until you die. Guaranteed', he added.
'Any other advice?' I asked
'None that I'd waste my breath on', he said looking at his wrist watch.
I must have looked a bit confused so he so took his glasses off his tired eyes, laid them on his desk and pushed my unopened file over to me to hang onto.
'Look' he sighed, 'you're brought in here stinking of whisky, you smoke over 40 a day and you do bugger all exercise. You're overweight and you don't eat properly. You're supposed to be intelligent. If it's the job that's killing you, resign, it's not rocket science. Go and grow potatoes in the Sahara for all I care. If you can't give a shit about yourself, why should I? I have real patients out there some of whom I can help. There's bugger all I can do to help you, you're hell bent on killing yourself. You're alive for the moment so why don't you just piss off and enjoy what's left of it?'
'Was it you who started my heart again?' I asked in one last attempt to connect with my Doctor.
'Nope. It was a machine. It's orange and not terribly expensive. All we have to do is keep it charged and follow the instructions. Sometimes it goes off, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you live, sometimes you don't. In your case you did so we will be billing you and not your family. Will there be anything else?'
You have to admit, this was a very polite way of saying, 'Get out of my flaming clinic'.
You may question his bedside manner, but he was right. Instead of a real mirror, the reflection of which we see only in our own minds and is always distorted in our favour, he'd given me a verbal mirror, an honest opinion.
As I passed ever so humble back through reception, looking at the kids burning up with malaria, comatose in their mother's arms desperately waiting for attention before they died, I came to the conclusion that while his corporate employers may have been concerned had I complained, I reckoned this doctor was a Good Man in Africa.
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Well done doc, and a good story Hippo.
I still have a bit of an issue with the corrupt sheriff but I will build a clinic for the kids before I pop my clogs. I think I now have permission to drill the fresh water well so keep your fingers crossed. Clean water will do so much to reduce infant mortality. Actually, clean water would do a lot to improve my life expectancy as well but I still only use it to clean my teeth and make my morning cup of tea.Delete
Before my youngest went off to study Physics and Astro Physics, I suggested to him that he learn absolutely EVERYTHING about water, wells, and pumps. He ignored my advice. Bringing clean water to people must be one of life's greatest achievements.Delete
I agree totally with your doc'. Mine is less verbose, she just says 'drink less, eat less, exercise more'. But I suppose all doc's say that.
I hoped his blunt words had a salubrious effect on your lifestyle. If you died of a heart attack while writing this blog it would ruin the party atmosphere for everyone.ReplyDelete
The chances of me dying of a heart attack while writing this blog are as great as a snowball's chance in... aargh! Shit! wtf... silufpi4ug+vhºsscnsºDelete
You got told lmao.ReplyDelete
You do realise that the chances are it will be a loved one that finds your dead, bloated body? Or will have the nasty task of identifying it. I can tell you exactly what your body will look like too if it helps you make a change? I can also graphically explain to you exactly what it will do to your kids if they find your body and how it will live with them their entire life.
Make some changes for them if you don't feel you can do it for yourself - I wish my dad had.
Blimey Linda, this was a three year old recollection.Delete
I took the guy's advice and resigned.
I still drink and smoke far too much but I am still alive.
Right now I am dripping with sweat becasue I have just cooked the family roasted pork hock with cabbage boiled in stock, roast potatoes, onions and sweetened roast carrots served with a dill flavoured white cream sauce (it should have been parsley but I ran out). I have not had a whisky all afternoon and have been supping on a couple of cold beers instead. Marcia was astonished when I told her there was no need to send a runner for more whisky.
I am trying.
Can you tell me what my body would look like after dinner, please?
Can I come to yours for dinner :DDelete
A runner? Enlighten me. I have visions of a poor black kid picked from the local tribe at a ridiculously young age to run errands for the local whities :O I put that as politically correct as I could ;) but I'm still intrigued by 'runner' :)
As for your body after dinner - well I suspect you will resemble a weeble ;) but on the upside, you'll not fall down even if you change your mind and employ that runner.
Come to dinner? Anytime. We have a sort of open house policy here.Delete
A 'runner' is a child from an impoverished family, usually anywhere from six to ten years old, willing to run errands. They are terribly efficient and run on two chocolate biscuits per kilometre. I have been known to feed them breakfast every morning, let them watch the cartoon channels with Alexander and then feed them lunch all together in the Jango. Naturally the irritating little oiks need fresh milk instead of just water (can't understand why, they never get any otherwise, I think they are just abusing me) and I have about a dozen toothbrushes in the bathroom so we can have our morning teeth cleaning parade.
Naturally, they have to learn that nothing in life is for free so occasionally I make them sweat picking up a bit of litter in the yard, maybe playing a bit of softball or street golf (great game, I'll teach you it when you visit), fish together in the pond, play some jango football or ask them to nip up the road, get themselves a soda and bring me back a few packets of fags and a bottle of whisky. I know it is terrible but it does teach them life skills. If I give you two thousand Kwanzas and you buy a bottle of Clan MacGregor at 1,200 and two packets of cigarettes at a 100 Kwanzas each, how much change do I get?Twice a week I load my Runners up in the truck and I take them to the local golf course so they can have real lessons from a Pro.
Doctor eh? I side-stepped all of that malarkey years ago and signed up with a decent embalmer. Damned chap still keeps pokin' about, trying to hook me brains out htrough me nose, but I reckon so long as the bandages and fluid are no higher than me groin I'm doin' alright.ReplyDelete
No idea about yours but in re what my body looks like after a decent dinner I've sent you the Greenpeace silhouette identification manual by snail mail. I'm on page eighty-two under "cetacean, minke, beached".
Well you're alright then, Minke are protected. Just keep your eye out for the Norwegians, I'm not sure they have read the relevant legislation.Delete
Gotta respect an old saw-bones, working day in day out, on the edge of death.ReplyDelete
PS.The jobs not done when you put the drinking behind you either.
I'll bet you wolf your food like me and the hyena's. Slow down and chew all that fine dinner, and keep some non-carbonated beverage like chilled water handy during meals.
There, I feel better.
Another great recollection, albeit at your expense.
Scar tissue is the finest writing tool!
Wolf my food? I cook it. I don't eat it!Delete
'But doctor will I live longer?' 'No, 'fraid not, it'll just seem like it!' The old one's aren't always the best... but still?ReplyDelete
My old dad said 'Moderation in all things!' he died at 70, so I'm not convinced?
Doctor: I have good and bad news for youDelete
Patient: Give me the bad news first
Doctor: You have Alzheimer's
Patient: Bloody Hell! What's the good news?
Doctor: You'll forget
What does LLX stand for?
Lettice Leaf wth a BIG whiskery kiss; or Lindy Lou with a handle-bar one.Delete
You have facial hair? Good lord. Although I cannot deny ever having kissed something hairy before. Sort of.Delete
Well, at least you got out of that situation...may you live a long and fruitful life!ReplyDelete
Terrific story...funny, yet poignantReplyDelete
Dreading the day I get told to excerise more. I think thats one of the reasons I love my job, so when people tell me I eat a lot I can say "yeah but I do a manual job..."ReplyDelete