Thursday, August 02, 2007
Timing: April 2007
We’ve managed to throw the cheddar medical system into quite a tizzy. It seems this may be the very first case of Malaria in this sleepy township. Maven’s got the killer headache that twice before has indicated the mosquito sickness. The local general practitioner flew into a proper panic when he heard the word. “A mistake has been made!” he proclaimed. “You should not be at a general practitioner!” Although said GP has more letters after his name than all the experts in Ghana, those doctors wouldn’t panic if a busload of heart attack victims crashed into their clinic.
After several phone calls we found a hospital that agreed to do the necessary blood-work and we’re on our way. First we had to register then wait. Then answer questions about our problem, then wait in another room. Then answer more questions about the problem, then wait. Then Maven had to lie down to answer questions about the problem and give blood. The young and serious doctor refused to crack a smile as he asked if Maven felt up to returning to the first waiting room or preferred to remain horizontal. And we waited. In fact we waited out the doctor and another was on shift by the time we gathered the courage to ask how the tests were coming. Five more minutes till they led us to another room, this one with beds, one of which was assigned to hold Maven. We waited, 4 ½ hours in all, until two men and a woman gathered 10 feet from us to discuss Maven’s case just loud enough for us to overhear bits of it. Finally Dr. Singh told us that there was no sign of malaria in the blood, and that Maven’s symptoms were not severe enough to be cerebral malaria, but since she has no fever it could be a case of undetectable malaria. He added that the hospital can’t prescribe anti-malarials based on unconfirmed suspicion – they can be prescribed only when Maven starts peeing blood. The GP, however, could have prescribed drugs, had he not panicked.
Dr. Singh told us not to worry – he comes from another country where malaria is no big deal and drugs are given over the counter. “That’s because they don’t have the diagnostic tools we have here,” he said. “So it may take 4 ½ hours instead of ½ an hour but you at least know you get the right treatment” once you pee blood. In the meantime, you take aspirin and water and sleep on your giant throbbing head.
Seems both you and I had a little trouble with our opening paragraphs today, in our respective blogs.
We both began with somewhat murky opening paragraphs.
Look at how you began "cheddar medicine".
Your opening paragraph seems to go in all directions and the message you convey isn't the meswssage necessarily received by the reader. The mind doesn't immediately get the references to Maven, to Ghana or the poor GP.
Your (wife's) name brings about
the word maven itself, which is another matter, so I think you should introduce her as the wife before giving her name.
Take it with a grain of salt, pal; I myself have been edited all to hell by the Star at different times, but I think I would open with:
We’d managed to throw the Cheddar medical system into quite a tizzy. It seems this may have been the very first case of Malaria in this sleepy township in Southwest England, the cheese capital of the UK. My wife had had this killer headache that twice before. It certainly indicated some form of mosquito-related sickness.
The local general practitioner flew into a proper panic when he heard the word. “A mistake has been made!” he proclaimed. “You should not have come to a General Practitioner!” But the said GP has more letters after his name than any number of experts in Ghana, another place we'd visited.Those doctors wouldn’t have panickefd if a busload of heart attack victims crashed into their clinic.
My somewhat awkward attempt at a fix, Benji, but I think you see what I'm getting at.
What do others think? Should this intrepid reporter take more pains for the sake of clarity? yeah, probably.
Marva: we survived, and at the risk of giving away the ending, it wasn't malaria after all.
Mytopia: I've had better ones, believe me.
Tomcat: well, I guess malaria wasn't their strong-point. To give them their due (my new favourite cliche), they didn't charge us a penny even though we were foreigners.
You could say that the confusion was deliberate as a device to convey the confusion of the situation, that you intended for the reader to experience some of the uncertainty in the narrative.
If you said all that I would think that was bad ass clever.
Glad it wasn't malaria but now it needs a part two or you will leave your readers hanging and that would look like the opening scenes in Braveheart.
josie: naw, they didn't. it just went away after a few days. maybe it was just the stress of a new environment (we had only left ghana a couple days before).
TWM: it occurs to me that at the very least i could have capitalized the name of the town so that it didn't seem like an adjective. anyway, lol on braveheart. more tales from england to come.
Tomcat: we did have travel health insurance, but even that probably wouldn't have saved us down south.
I do think that Americans in general are anti-intellectual. Of course, there are very smart people here naturally, but the general population is anti-intellectual. They actually find it suspect. I.e. Adlai Stephens was a great presidential candidate and they said that the reason he didn't get elected was that people didn't trust him because they percieved him as an intellectual....the word they used was egg-head. But conversely, some great ideas come out of here as well.
And Benji, The liberals were in control here in the 60's and 70's and made so many great changes and the backlash has never ended. If you are a Liberal and you want to get elected you have to pretend that you aren't. Sad isn't it. All the money that we are spending on this war and all the kids here without health insurance. Just pathetic. Do you know that George Bush refused to grant the states more money for healthcare for the uninsured.
We live in a country where people think that Bill Clintons Blow Job from Monica Lewinsky is more morally wrong than a kid suffering from lack of medical care.
Behind Blue Eyes
HOD: Damn, I'm glad we weren't in Sweden then.
Miss Smack: I appreciate that, but I also happen to think that you are most clever.
Crashie: actually he's from India. But they do have malaria there.
UTMG: Hmm, good question. I think it was after because I remember he being in fine form that evening.
Is that a word?
The time-frame of illness was the only element of confusion in this post for me.