Tag Archives: malaria

MALARIA, DEATH AND BABIES

    

We lost another friend this week.  She was 95.  A few days later, on the same day as her funeral, our youngest daughter gave birth to our tenth grandchild.   Grayson Gabriel, weighing in at 8 lbs 13 oz.   Because we are both sick, neither of us has seen him yet. (Diane has a head cold, which she could pass on to the baby.  A hospital is the last place you want to go when you’re sick!)

I’ve got malaria back again.

It often re-occurs at this time of the year when the weather is changing.  It’s also a problem when winter is moving into spring. These two periods of time coincide with the biblical holy days, which makes the problem very inconvenient.

Malaria remains the world’s number one killer.

The World Health Organization states:  “Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.  In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths.”

It is not contagious. You can only get it when you are bitten by an infected mosquito, always, as it happens, a female.  So be sure to check the sex of the mosquito if you get bitten!

I used to have a “Far Side” cartoon I cut out and inserted into my Bible.  It showed one of Noah’s sons asking his father a question: “Should I kill the two mosquitoes now while we’re ahead?” If only . . .

Malaria and I go back forty years.

My wife, Diane, got it first when we moved to Ghana in 1978.  She spent the Feast of Tabernacles that year in a hotel room in Kumasi, very sick with a mysterious sickness, until a doctor identified it. It was our introduction to Africa’s major illness.  It’s not so long since West Africa was described as “the white man’s grave,” as half of all the whites who went there died within two years from the mosquito borne disease.   Modern drugs make it easier to handle now, but it really is best to avoid getting bitten, an impossibility really.   You can’t spend all day under a mosquito net.

A couple of years later, Diane ended up in a hospital in Accra with the same disease.  And I still vividly remember carrying our four-year-old son into a clinic in the nation’s capital, when he was in a really bad way. Even now, I don’t want to think about it.

On one occasion I was in Cameroon when I came down with malaria. I was in bed in a hotel room for days.   A Cameroonian we knew went to find an anti-malarial drug I requested, but the names in French are different.  It was here, too, that I first heard the comment that “when you get malaria, in the first 24 hours, you’re afraid you’re going to die; in the second 24 hours, you’re afraid you’re going to live!” There’s great deal of truth to this!  In that second 24 hours you just WANT to die.

A few years ago, we were in Zimbabwe and spent a few days at Victoria Falls, the most magnificent site in the world.   We took a “sundowner cruise” one evening.  Our tour guide pointed out the hippos (hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse”) and told us that “the hippo is the most dangerous animal in Africa” and added “except for the mosquito.”

Sometime later, I remember staying with friends in Kariba.  I wanted to go for a walk, but could not as I saw a hippo at the end of their driveway!

Almost thirty years after leaving Africa, I can say that I no longer have a fear of hippos; but I still don’t like mosquitoes!   In Michigan, the bigger problem is West Nile virus.  Mosquitoes are a problem everywhere.

I do have a little annoyance over malaria.   A couple of times I’ve had to go to the hospital for a shot.  But they never believe me when I say I have malaria.  They always want to put me through a series of tests, costing one thousand dollars or more.  Then they come and say, “You have malaria.”  “Well, I told you that when I arrived here four hours ago!  All I wanted was a shot of chloroquine.”

I now have a doctor who prescribes me an anti-malarial drug, which I can use anytime.  It saves me a lot of time (and money) in ER.

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DIVERSITY NOT A STRENGTH

Pat Buchanan has written an excellent article showing how diversity does not work anywhere else in the world, so why do we expect it to work here in the United States?

His article was inspired by Tucker Carlson who asked the same question on his TV show last week.

“Ethnic diversity, after all, tore apart our mighty Cold War rival, splintering the Soviet Union into 15 nations, three of which — Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia — have since split further along ethnic lines.

Russia had to fight two wars to hold onto Chechnya and prevent the diverse peoples of the North Caucasus from splitting off on ethnic grounds, as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had done.

Ethnic diversity then shattered Yugoslavia into seven separate nations.

And even as we proclaim diversity to be our greatest strength, nations everywhere are recoiling from it.” (“The Unpardonable heresy of Tucker Carlson,” PJB, 9/13).

Mr. Buchanan continues:  “The rise of populism and nationalism across Europe is a reaction to the new diversity represented by the Arab, Asian and African millions who have lately come, and the tens of millions desperate to enter.”

He points out that Japan has not encouraged diversity and does not have the ethnic conflicts that are afflicting other western nations.

Israel has passed a law that enshrines Jewish identity into the state itself; while China is taking active measures against Muslims in the country. Burma did the same and has been condemned for it.

Cleary, diversity doesn’t work and we will come to see that more clearly in the years ahead.

When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples what would be the signs of His coming,   He replied: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7).   The word “nation” is from the Greek “ethnos” and refers to ethnic groups; a kingdom is a political entity.

Expect more ethnic conflict in the coming years, including western nations.

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A GAY THOMAS?

THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE’ INTRODUCES INCLUSIVE GENDER-BALANCED, MULTICULTURAL CHARACTERS IN MAJOR REVAMP OF CHILDREN’S CLASSIC

–headline in Huffington Post 9/1/18

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Unplanned Break . . .

sick-man-turning-green-while-laying-in-medical-bed-with-ice-pack-over-head-by-ron-leishman-734

Melvin has been down with malaria this past week and has been unable to write anything.  In fact, he couldn’t get his head off the pillow.  It doesn’t usually last this long but this round was a doozy.  Hopefully he will turn the corner into recovery soon and shake it off.   We’re working on him!

Diane

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS . . .

mosquito-artery-hit
Pull out, Betty! Pull out! You’ve hit an artery!!

The two grandchildren who live with us have been fighting a flu bug for well over a week now.  That has, of course, affected us all.  They whine or cry 24/7 – it’s impossible to explain anything to them as they are too young.  They are just miserable and don’t want to do anything.  Every hour or so one of them will throw up.  As liquids are coming out both ends, we are concerned about dehydration and have to keep a close watch on them.

In the midst of this, Sunday morning I started shaking uncontrollably, a sure sign of my annual reunion with an old friend from Africa – malaria.

When we lived in Ghana, we all got malaria at different times, It’s said that it’s impossible to live there more than three months without getting it.  If you are taking the prophylactic, you might not actually get the fever, but it will still be in your blood.  Mosquito bites are very difficult to avoid.  Any one bite can give you malaria.  As only the female mosquito carries the malarial virus, always check the sex when you’ve been bitten!

When I first got malaria 35 years ago, I asked a doctor what to expect. He said: “In the first 24 hours, you’re afraid you’re going to die; in the second 24 hour period, you will be afraid you might live.”  In other words, it gets worse.

It’s not so bad now that I live in a cold climate (very cold right now), but a sudden severe change of climate can bring it on, which is what likely happened on Sunday.

I suppose I should be thankful.  In my years as a minister in Ghana, I buried a few people who died from the disease.  It’s still the world’s biggest killer, but I’ve managed to survive half a lifetime with it inside me.

There are frequent rumors of developing a vaccine, but that would not help those of us who already have it.  There’s also a major problem with a vaccine – the malaria bug mutates, rather rapidly as it happens.  The same problem exists with flu and HIV.   So it’s doubtful any solution will be found in the foreseeable future.

You just have to learn to cope.  I have my pills, which I take as soon as the shakes start.  I get a new prescription every year and the pills usually last.

I have every confidence I will be OK (at least, this time).  I just hope the boys are as they work their way through the flu bug that has stricken them.

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Talking of Africa, the world was aghast at the sign language interpreter standing behind President Obama when he gave his speech at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

People were flailing in the dark trying to figure out what happened.

There is a perfectly simple explanation.

It’s called BEE.  BEE stands for Black Economic Empowerment.  This is the South African government’s policy of advancing the majority black population, “encouraging” white and Indian employers to replace workers with Africans.

Sometimes, this results in people being advanced who are just not capable of handling the job.  The sign language interpreter is just one example of this.

It’s not just in South Africa that this happens.  My African-American doctor here in Michigan laments affirmative action programs that are designed to give minorities educational opportunities that lead to better jobs.

His point is that most white people are afraid to go to him because they wonder if he is really qualified, or was advanced by a government program that was well meant but clearly has negative side-effects.

It’s time to end affirmative action – and BEE!

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On Friday I went to a local grocery store and as I checked out with my groceries saw the cover of a tabloid that drew my attention.  It was the Globe and the cover showed Kate, Prince William’s wife, with a tiara on, under the headline “Queen Katie – it’s official.”

Now, I think most people realize that the “Globe” does not rank up there with the “Wall St Journal” or the “New York Times.”  It’s more likely to be read by those who have never read the other two papers.

But I still feel a need to comment.

The implication of this cover is that Kate will succeed Queen Elizabeth as Queen.

This is absolutely impossible.  I repeat – totally impossible.  (Hopefully, I’m putting the Globe out of business here!)

Kate’s husband will be king one day, after his father Prince Charles.  At that time his wife will have the courtesy title of “Queen,” simply by virtue of marriage.  It does not make her “Queen” like Queen Elizabeth, who is a reigning monarch.  Kate will simply be a consort to her husband, the King.  This is the same role the late Queen Mother had when her husband, King George VI, was alive.  As soon as he died, she assumed the title “Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.”  She was never vested with any political power.  That can only come by virtue of birth.

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After yet another school shooting on Friday, this time in Colorado, a police spokesman made a comment that needs to be corrected.  If anybody knows him please forward this.

I write this with great respect for the police, who have to deal with these incidents.  But we can never solve this problem if we don’t face up to an incontrovertible fact.

The police spokesman made the comment:  “We hear about these things happening in other parts of the world.  We never expect them to happen here.”

Again, with respect, we don’t get to read about them happening in other parts of the world.  They are a peculiarly American problem.  In one year since Newtown, we’ve had 28 school shootings if you include all those on school land as well as in buildings.  Seventeen children have died – since Newtown.

During that same twelve months, there has not been one school shooting anywhere else in the world – not even in Syria.  Yes, there have been isolated school shootings, Dunblane, Scotland, almost twenty years ago; and Beslan, Russia about ten years ago, a politically motivated attack.  But these were isolated – they have not become a regular feature of life in either country.

I’ve asked friends in Canada, the UK, Australia, South Africa and Zimbabwe if they worry about school shootings when their children or grandchildren go to school.  Sometimes, they can’t believe I’m asking the question – the very idea is inconceivable.  Even during the Zimbabwean civil war, there were no attacks on schools.

Again, this is an American problem and it requires an American solution!

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On a lighter note, the title of this column is “Random Thoughts.”  I hesitated before using it. It reminded me of Lord Haw Haw, an Irishman who broadcast German propaganda from Berlin during World War II, with the intent of undermining morale amongst the British people.

Having heard on the BBC that “German planes had been bombing at random,” he announced to the British people that the Luftwaffe had destroyed the city of “Random.”

There is no such city.

His credibility was destroyed, though people still listened for a good laugh.

He was hanged for treason after the war.