I spent last weekend up in Johannesburg. My cousin got married on Saturday. I seem to be attending weddings relatively often, this being the fourth in about the last year, and there have been numerous in the last few years. I suppose at my (ripe old age) of 30 years it is about that time… Weddings also seem to be the only reason I travel back up to the Highveld these days. There are a couple more still to come in the next few months so this blog is going to start to resemble the screenplay for some predictable romantic comedy 🙂
Speaking of romantic, while the family nuptials where the official reason for my making the trip, being in Jozi meant that I got to be with Meryl. I took leave on Thursday, Friday and Monday, so it was 5 consecutive days of catching up. Definitely the best part of the little holiday 🙂
And speaking of comedy, I rented a car for the duration of my visit. Much to the amusement of my friends I went with the same company I rented from the last time I went up for a short visit. I got an old Mazda 323 and I uploaded a picture of it to show a bunch of friends. The guys were in hysterics, as I knew they would be 😀 over the first day or 2 there was absolutely no end to the abuse that I copped. ‘Learn to love yourself’ one of the guys said.
I thought the car had a lot of character actually 😛 and it got me from A to B, which is all I want really. It did make getting up and down in Jozi quite interesting. For example, I usually like to open the car door for Meryl but this car had a funny alarm system that I’m not used. Whenever I opened the passenger side door for my lady the alarm would go off and I would have to then run around to the driver’s side, put the key in the ignition and turn it in order for the alarm to stop ringing. I eventually devised a little routine to avoid this, I would open the driver’s door first, turn the ignition and scuttle around to open the door for Meryl who was (patiently, I think? 😏) waiting on the other side. This probably made for quite a comedic little scene to anyone watching but hec, the alternative is to let her open the door for herself, which is just not on!
The trip was also good for a bit of family time. My father picked me up at the airport, I hadn’t seen The Old Gentleman for almost 4 months so it was nice to reconnect a little. I spent the first night at my parents’ house in Centurion. This is the house I grew up in, mostly. I identify myself as a Jo’burg boy, which after 4 years at Wits University, then 6 years at Wits Medical school (all the while slumming it in student residences) then a further 2 years living and working in Jozi I suppose I can? but suburban Pretoria is where I spent my adolescence. It is always nice to go back to Centurion, I don’t get around much when I’m there, being at my parents is a very comfortable, catered-for experience. Having said that, after a certain age time with one’s parents should only be done in doses I think… So I spent the rest of my time at my apartment in Maboneng, in Johannesburg. Our whole family was re-united that Saturday at the wedding. My sister Muriel made the trip out from Secunda where she works for Sasol in occupational health. She too is a medical doctor, along with my dad. Before you start thinking we’re one of those families there is my other sister Benita, who studied psychology. She is the only one in the family capable of any original thinking. She and her husband Hendrik live in Mondeor, Johannesburg.
Because we’re all off in different places each doing our own thing, having all of us together in one place at the same time is something quite special. This along with seeing everyone else at the wedding (extended family and others not seen in years) and finally seeing my cousin Patrick, a couple of years my junior getting married, all has the effect of making one want to stop the inevitable wheel-turn of life for just a few moments to appreciate it all. At events such as these I always feel an acute sense of “where am I in life?” or “where will we all end up?” I can’t help it…
Added to all of that, this was the first time Meryl was meeting my mother (having already met my dad and sisters at my 30th last year). My mother is like me, she doesn’t open up and warm to people without quite a bit of work having to be put in, from both sides I would say. I will say no more than that about their first encounter. I was tempted to call this blog post ‘The awkwardness that was…’ 😛 I suppose we’ll give it some time.
The wedding aside, there was kizomba, an Angolan genre of dance that Meryl is quite into. We went to a kizomba event in Illovo on the Friday night. I found it quite challenging. I’m definitely an advocate of the standard one-step, two-step. “Rythm, rythm!” Meryl kept saying. Where is it, I thought. What is this rythm thing she keeps on about… 😮
We hung out in Maboneng for the rest of the weekend, not doing much. We did watch a romantic comedy, ‘2 days in New York’ I recommend it, Chris Rock and a lovely French actress. Lovely because she is French… 😉
I flew back down to PE on Monday night. It was an unexpectant pleasure getting into my own car after getting off the plane. In comparison to the vehicle I hired in Johannesburg, Elizabeth (I know I haven’t mentioned it before but that is what I call my car, Elizabeth the First, she is absolute royalty!) provides a very smooth responsive drive, and I had to stop myself from speeding all the way home to the flat in PE Central.
The week back has been work as usual. I have had iron on my mind. Specifically iron sulphate, really how much is too much? A few weeks ago my HOD had asked me to put together a presentation for the weekly physician’s meeting on Thursdays at LVH. I was to talk about a young lady who we had admitted a while ago (I wrote about her in a previous blog post ’12 phone calls’). After an argument with her mother she had swallowed 120 ferous sulphate tablets. Acute iron overload.
Having brushed up on the 5 stages of iron toxicity and the management thereof I put the finishing touches to my presentation after I got back from my little break. On Wednesday my HOD told me that he would instead be presenting at LVH on Thursday. A different case, a teenager seen at our outpatients’ clinic with hypogonadism, low testosterone and underdeveloped secondary sexual characteristics. He thought that this case was more interesting and a better option for presenting at LVH, representing our hospital and all of that. The young man in question has a pituitary adenoma (tumour). I was in attendance at LVH when my HOD did his presentation. “Break a leg” I said to him just before he was due to speak. He didn’t get it…
The lady who had overdosed on iron tablets remained as an in-patient at Dora for 8 days, on admission we had given her copious IV fluids and an IV deferoxamine infusion. She had remained clinically stable and her blood results (particularly her liver function tests) had improved significantly by the time I discharged her home (on the HOD’s orders).
We have a patient in my ward now who was admitted a couple of days ago with an assessment of symptomatic anaemia. Her haemoglobin level was 3.7g/Dl (normal is approximately 11-16). Her blood results show above normal iron levels and her ferritin is sky high. Chronic iron overload. Being a newfound expert on iron toxity I have her on a daily deferoxamine infusion to get the iron levels down. She has also received a blood transfusion to increase her haemoglbin levels. However she has obviously been bleeding for a long time and taking iron tablets to compensate for it. We will need to find the cause of the chronic bleed before we discharge her.
On Wednesday night I ran an 8km time trial at Charlo running club, 36mins 46secs. Happy with that. Nothing like getting a bit of speed work in, and a bit of lactic acid in the legs. This morning (Saturday) I did a 15km road race in 1hr 10mins. Happy with that too. On Sunday I am on call. While a I’m not unhappy about that I am not overjoyed either…