Category Archives: death

Diabetes and governments


Why is this not a more pressing issue? The diabesity epidemic threatens to ruin the whole world and yet so much of silence?

The log curve that shows no even inkling of abating rises like a tsunami and we are all “thula-msindo” – zulu for not saying a word.

Urgent action is required, yes I said action. Urgent.

Alternatively we can go with the tsunami of medical costs that are unsustainable, ill populations, knock effect to the economy due to loss of income, knock on due to high costs (medical) etc etc. It is a disaster and yet we look on.

Wake-up oh sleeper!

Now is the time to do something, its fast becoming too late.

 

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Death Oh who art thou?


To lose a loved one is one of the hardest things for me. I am so unsettled by it, especially if it is someone my age or younger. Because I am young. And Death is so definite.

At someone’s memorial or funeral one expects to gain closure and to get some kind of “feeling” that the world is upright again. But alas it is not always so.

My “friendus” Mark Reynolds was a larger than life person who was always going to defeat death until he didn’t. I met Mark on the “kleuterskool” play ground in a small town called Tzaneen where english speakers were in the minority. There were 3 of us : Mark, Vivienne and myself.

We played on the “baantjie” and said ” get away, get away” a lot. We forged a friendship right there and then that lasted an eternity (I hope). Death confuses me and many of the things I hope for (faith) elude my desire for confirmation thereof.

Throughout junior and high school we played, we learned, we experimented. Mark was the first to offer me a cigarette -menthol nogal. I tried it, hated it and it convinced me lifelong that I would not smoke. We hiked in the gorgeous agatha forest, slid down the rocks. We laughed so much mostly our sides split.

We rode horses in Sabie – galloping into eternity together.

More recently Mark attended my sister and my wedding. I will never forget Mark giving my bemused husband-to-be a flower as was his custom.

Mark’s laugh was one of those that triggered others to laugh and not stop. His smile captivated. His heart was one the most beautiful I have ever seen. He sacrificed so much for others – his important others.

In love I believe he was let down so badly it still hurts me. He painted out of that and gave up on romantic love – which is so so desperately sad but I believe he was trying to self preserve. For me this is so tragic as he was a gorgeous soul and the love between 2 people – true romantic love as it were is something that can take one to heights that nothing else can- and it did – only it dropped him too (as it does many).

He had so much to give – in life and love.

Taken way way too soon, I just don’t understand and I guess never will.

What I know is that we must live here now, and make each minute count. We must cherish each other in the moment. Be present in the moment and live each as if the last.

 

To Mark – my “friendus” ignite heaven as I know you will with your soul. Devastate them with the joy that radiates out of it. The deeper the sorrow carves into your being the more joy it can contain. I love you and I always will.

Celebrate and live each minute


Our time on earth is limited by a number none of us know. The quality that we experience depends almost entirely on us – each one, in our own capacity.

Life is very short for some and interminably long for others. The enigma is that there is no way of knowing.

Where does that leave us each, individually?

Life is a strange bag of tricks and boils down to little more that about 40-60 years on average of a daily slog : waking, working, paying for things, sleeping. And yet it can be so much more. It can be.

It depends entirely on your own self. The quality of each minute. The minutes add up and create memories. But essentially if you are not present in the present and enjoying that very minute wholeheartedly it may be a wasted minute, hour, life.

I wish we knew in a way. The hours we each had and the moments that we should make count.

But we don’t.

Perhaps only when you lose a loved one do you re-evalute life on a minute to minute basis.

Today actually counts for more than you think and if you understand that in the realm of time and space we are each such a small inconsequent speck that may or may not live another day, surely it’s worth making this very minute worth it.

Sorrow and sadness fill my being for the loss of a life so huge at some moments and so full of the very essence of life. He lived indeed and took the time to make it special. I so hope that one day I will understand the reason we have a this life and a “death” or after life. I certainly don’t today.

Coxsackie,yuppie flu, post viral fatigue


Anybody who has not witnessed firsthand or experienced this evil is willy-nilly able to say that this vile vulgar viral disease is “all in your head”. I can tell you that there is no-one on this green earth who voluntarily goes through the ordeal that comes with this virus. It literally flattens you in more ways than one.

I have seen countless patients afflicted with it and whilst “science” on many levels questions this disease (instead of getting on with more accurate diagnosis) it is a disease that no-one wants and is more than happy to get rid of the day it leaves their bodies.

I have to ask though why the medical profession at large is sceptical and ridiculously pathetic when it comes to diagnosis as well as treatment (of which there is little). And once again in my mind it goes back to something similar to semelweiss. The washing of hands idea disdained by so many pompous egotistical physicians turned out to be one of the most important discoveries of science and prevention of transmission of disease. Why are we so arrogant? Who gave us this “god” complex?

When we don’t fully understand something or don’t know we simply say it must not/can not exist and therefore the patient themselves must be “mad” ????????????

Surely surely we have gone past this aged way of thinking ?

No, alas it seems we have not. We will not admit we don’t know. Rather make it the patients added problem.

I think it is sad and poor.

I only hope that none of these arrogant physicians ever actually come down with it as they may lose their egos in the process.viruss

Google the semelweiss history – it’s interesting and very very sad. Sad because why can we not drop ego and rather try to understand what the very truth of the matter indeed may be.

Surgery as a patient


The hardest 2 things I have ever had to do is deliver 2 babies. Yes I did do it naturally and perhaps at the age of 37 and 39 I should have listened to the wise advice of so many colleagues and had 2 planned caesars. I wanted the very best for the two angels that I had waited so many years for and I believed going through the birth canal was that. What I did not realise is what it would take out of and from me.

Delivering a child naturally comes with a lot of waiting (patience has never been my forte). It then involves an “older” body “co-operating” with the birth process. If that had all happened “naturally” I guess it may have been different. My body needed help and in the second birth it needed an ocean of a medication called oxytocin (syntocinon). This very large dose into my system helped my 39 year old uterus contract in order to deliver one 3.5 kg baby.

I will keep you in a bit of suspense, like a bit of a thriller novel.

I have just (last friday) had surgery – 4 years after my precious second child’s birth. It was an operation to effectively remove my uterus. This organ that has caused a fair amount of poor quality of life. The surgeon was extremely happy with his operation (they usually are) and presented me with a photo of the wretched organ and great news that it had gone swimmingly.

Wind back 4 years. I had just delivered a baby at around 3 am in the morning. The team were tired. God knows they had had me in chunks. No nursing staff are ever delighted to “nurse” a lady doctor – goes against many grains. I was lying in a lot of blood and had already started to bleed. I was in a fair amount of pain considering I had already delivered a child. The pain escalated, the nausea escalated, the bleeding escalated. I called for help so to speak and was told to shut up and sleep (in my own blood) they had really had enough of me for one night. I tried again. I phoned a friend – no one was up at 4 am. I tried my husband – his phone was off – he was trying to sleep after a hell of a night. I phoned the neighbour and asked him to wake my husband and come to the hospital.

AT one point I left my body and watched mayhem from above.

I woke up – well “arrived” back in my body about 2 days later having been taken to theatre, resuscitated, transfused etc. They never did figure out what was causing my pain 4 years ago. I started on a long journey of recovery mentally, physically and emotionally.

The surgeon showed me (this last saturday)

what happened – my uterus had ruptured and well lets just say the human body is an amazing thing.

I do certainly wish that it had been discovered 4 years ago for a few reasons. The very first and most important being my marriage which suffered greatly for the rupture. The second being the suffering that could so easily have been avoided. I can actually deal with a fair amount (though I do believe my pain threshold is useless), but my wish would be for another women to not have to go through the journey I have travelled. The third being the faith I have lost in my own “kind”. Never did I think it possible to be treated the way I was that night or on 3 occasions where all I really wanted was an apology from the midwife and all staff closed rank and called me something close to a lunatic and just bloody well get over this and move on.

Well I can now. Move on.

I can also say that a hysterectomy is a relative walk in the park. Almost a non-event. Yes I had pain post-op and yes I required the strong stuff. But 2 days later I was not on anything for pain and today I feel like I could run a marathon (I won’t for all those urging me to rest).

Life is an interesting journey and some of the suffering actually helps create focus and for that I am grateful. The most awesome part is just beginning – a journey with Dave and my two girls.

The world – divided or united?


Where are we at in 2017. Have we learnt anything from our existence up to now?

What is life? What is quality of life? Who are humans? What is power?

From the year dot – and who really knows when exactly that was, humans have lived on earth and by definition had to co-exist. We have grouped ourselves into various different groupings. We have fought wars. We have progressed in many ways and regressed in others.

There are places on earth where justice exists and there are places where it does not. Most of us would prefer to live/be born where there is an inkling of justice and freedom?

So many people were convinced that Trump would not actually become president. They laughed scoffed and said it would never ever happen. It did.

Now here we are in 2017 in a fairly regressed place – I believe. Where one person signs into being orders that blanketly prevent movement of “free” people categorising them by a set of rules. Abortion is bad – terrible and to be frowned upon but living people who are living in a war-torn unjust places are even worse, cursed and must remain that way with no redemption? And America – the once – free world is now becoming an insular, inward focused country with walls around it. No boogy men or women allowed in. Are you really that narrow minded ? Mr Trump? The message preached sounds really quite extraordinary, quite two-faced, quite astonishing.

As the CNN reporter put it – americans risk of being killed in america by any one of these nations so called terrorists is a very very small number with the total counted up to now being zero.

However countries that provide profit to Mr Trump (whose citizens may be more dangerous) seem to be fine for the moment (don’t hold your breath though).

I wonder where this is all headed. In about 2 weeks a brand new landscape opens up across America – no longer the free world. No longer an american dream. No longer.

And yet there is support against Trump worldwide ?

I really wish that the way I see things is perhaps not the way they are – can someone point out a positive here? Is Trump actually doing a good thing? A thing I can not see?

On giving birth and what I have learnt


I believe that from the moment of conception something changes inside of you. Something that you can not quite put your finger on and something that eventually is what one might call motherhood. That in itself is a whole dimension of complicated intertwined emotion and a whole lot more.

From the moment I knew that I was essentially a “mom” I was changed and I wanted only the very very best for this little creature growing inside of me who was body, spirit, soul.

This, combined with hormones (and they were certainly not friendly to me) was a complicated mix of “stuff” to deal with.

I knew that conception is natural. I knew that for 1000s of years women delivered babies at home. I also knew the flip side (being a doctor) and that many things can and do go wrong. This was not a good combo for me personally.

I delivered two babies naturally with epidurals that only worked on one side (both times – apparently I have a filament). The first time was with a “doula” and quite an elating experience. The second was without  (you can read my birth story for reason , I still wish I had had one rather). The second time around I was 39 and things really just never actually

went according to plan.

Long story short I had a near-death and out of body experience. The pain I had AFTER delivering was something I never ever wish to experience again. Despite being a doctor and complaining of pain I was treated unkindly (to say the least)(there are many other phrases I could use). I was eventually resuscitated and taken to theatre. It was unpleasant mildly put. I was not even able to really bond with my little for at least 48 hours. All of this could have been prevented. Recently I had surgery and realised that I had actually ruptured my uterus with the birth (this healed miraculously by itself). There are many miracles that happen every day. I thank God for mine.

I am writing this in part as catharsis and in part to women out there at large.

Lessons I have learnt :

1.) If you are in pain – you really are in pain and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not

2.) Pain (extreme pain ) always means that there is something not right and it needs to be figure out and fixed

3.) When you are over the age of 35 it may be better to cut your losses and have a caesarian section – provisor – if all goes 100% to plan at dates (term) and your labour progresses as it should by all means go for it. However if one requires induction, long labour etc have a caesarian section.

4.) Miracles do happen but medical science is very clever now make sure your “carers” do all they can in terms of what we know to date.