What we won’t do for love

3:04pm… the time I arrived at the Mango airlines check in counter at OR Tambo airport for my 3:35pm flight back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon. Just in time for the 3:05pm gate closure :-P. It was the end of another short fun weekend in Johannesburg.

 

Some of the stuff that happened that’s worth remembering:

 

The Hangover 4

The look of surprise on my friend Alain’s face when his brother Olivier walked him in through the doors of Metro, a restaurant in Benmore, Sandton on Friday evening was priceless. Alain was due to be married the next day (the main reason I was in Johannesburg this weekend). He was literally speechless for a few moments as he sat down at the table. Seated around the table were Jean-Paul, Alain’s best friend and the organizer of this impromptu batchelor party/dinner, and about four or five other guys and I. Yes I know, a batchelor’s party the night before the wedding… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ There is no end to the list of ways things could go horribly wrong obviously, but this was (necessarily) a very restrained effort, literally just dinner and a drink or two. I know what you’re thinking, there is always that one guy who with the intent of escalating the festivities will say something like “Come on guys it’s his last night as a ‘free’ man, and it’s still early!” And sure enough Arnoud a good friend of Alain, at the end of the night just as we were looking to disperse piped up “Tous ร  รชtre ร  l’รฉglise ร  13h00? Et puis nous avons beaucoup de temps!” Sure he could sleep in a little the next morning! ๐Ÿ˜Œ Thankfully all such notions were quashed. The look of absolute fear on Jean-Paul’s face at the idea of having to deal with the wrath of Henriette, Alain’s betrothed the next day if he were to not show up, arrive late or be hungover on her special day just about said it all. So ‘The Hangover 4’ did not happen. Me on the phone with y best friend Rodney some other time this weekend, “…that’s the kind of chilled, controlled batchelor’s party I want when my time comes.” He laughed, “No, no, no!” And proceeded to inform me that I have no say in how my batchelor’s will go…

Yours truly and the guys gathered for a tame-I mean tea party-I mean bachelor's do :-P

Yours truly and the guys gathered for a tame-I mean tea party-I mean bachelor’s do ๐Ÿ˜›

 

What we won’t do for love…

On Saturday late afternoon I found myself sitting on a bench in Fourways Mall in the north of Johannesburg. Meryl was sitting next to me. She had her legs stretched out over my lap and I was massaging her feet, sore from being in heels for a few hours. Perhaps I’ll just stop there… ๐Ÿ™‚

We were with two friends of mine, George and Peter who had popped into the @home shop for some last minute shopping for a wedding present for Alain and Henriette. We had all driven together from Braamfontein in Johannesburg CBD where we had attended a beautiful, serene wedding ceremony at Holy Trinity Catholic church. The mass was presided over by a Salesian priest speaking in both English and French, appropriate for the mixed crowd of attendants (Congolese and South African).

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The little shopping trip was a quick stop on our way to the Zulu Nyala Country Manor for the wedding reception.

 

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At the reception the MC ran things eloquently in French and every now and then Jean-Paul would grab the microphone and (apparently) translate what she had been saying. The speeches and pleasantries were gotten out of the way within the first hour or so after the newly weds had arrived. Yours truly was entrusted with the toast. No, let me tell the full story: I happened to have called Alain during the week “Monsieur homme mariรฉ!” I said as he answered. We had a little chat and at one point he said “Oh hey by the way we’re gona need you to say a few words on Saturday, or do the toast or something I think, I can’t remember now…” This was Thursday, and the wedding was on Saturday… ๐Ÿ˜Œ!! I put together a little something to say. Nothing like an anecdote from a previous experience between friends when you don’t know what to say, and also to be honest for such occasions there are certain generic words (although true and apt) that won’t fail, no matter how nervous or unprepared the person expressing them feels.

 

Alain and Henriette, husband and wife!

Alain and Henriette, husband and wife!

Once the party got under way the bride and groom outdid everyone on the dance floor. I cannot find suitable words to describe how happy Henriette looked. She had an air of absolute freedom about her as she and her man swayed and stepped the night away on the dance floor.

 

Keepin’ it natural

My girlfriend Meryl describes herself as a natural hair chic (amongst other things). Natural hair… In my apparently erroneous opinion this describes someone that wears their hair out, you know afro-like. But for the entire time that I have known Meryl she has always worn some or other weave or braids in her hair. I give her a hard time about it “So, where’s the afro? you’re were supposed to be all about ‘natural’ hair!” ๐Ÿ˜ Apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about but, I think I tease her enough about it that she decided it was time to give me taste of what I wanted. “No weave this weekend…” she promised. So my girl’s hair was out this weekend, in all it’s glory. Curly wash and go on Saturday, and all in twists on Sunday. It was certainly different to what I’m used to. She always rolls her eyes when I say this but I happen to think Meryl looks good in anything! ๐Ÿ˜ While I think the wise thing is to let her decide what to with her hair, I might try to convince her to try dreadlocks next… ๐Ÿ˜

 

Me and my girl

Me and my girl

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Cheap cars, romcoms, kizomba and iron, lots of it!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.

These guys are just a few minutes walk away from my place in The Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg CBD. Their rates seem to have made them my go-to guys for my short visits :-P

These guys are just a few minutes walk away from my place in The Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg CBD. They have become my go-to guys on my short visits ๐Ÿ˜›

I thought the car had a lot of character actually ๐Ÿ˜› 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? ๐Ÿ˜) 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…’ ๐Ÿ˜› I suppose we’ll give it some time.

Meryl and I at the wedding

Meryl and I at the wedding

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… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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… ๐Ÿ˜‰

#maboneng #jeppestown #jozi #cityart #graffity

#maboneng #jeppestown #jozi #cityart #graffity

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.

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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).

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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…

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