Why I Run

Standard

I run because once upon a time I was told that there were two kinds of people: people with brains and people with brawn and that I was the former and that it precluded me from physical activity of worth. I run because although it was meant to be a good thing – brains – it made me feel restricted, faulty, half-human.

I run because I reject the dichotomy. I run because when I am working long shifts and saving lives and keeping the economy afloat (I like to flatter myself) it is not just my brain, but also my body doing it.

BLD6I2fCMAEOcuR

I run because I can. I have two feet that are begging to go places and sometimes slowly is not enough. If you have two feet you can run. If you have one foot you can run. If you have no feet you can also run, but your shoes become more expensive.

I run because sometimes with the wind at my back and the hills in my favour the only thing I need to do is put one foot in front of the other and let it carry me where it will. Sometimes moving takes a concerted effort. Other times going forward is a feat of brain and body combined and you have to force yourself to go, even if slowly is the only way you can.

But in the end, you always finish.

I run because I need to remember that.

Run, because each huffing breath and each strike of the foot interplays with the crunching gravel and the whistling wind and they come together in a rhythm that is all-consuming.

Run, because some days the rhythm is your joy, and other days it is your only survival.

I run because rhythm is life, and I have two left feet, but when I run one of them becomes right and suddenly I can dance.

Communicating with Patients who don’t Speak Your Language

Standard

I’ve been working for just under two months now and one of the most striking differences between my cushy Western Cape training hospital and my current Eastern Cape job is that here, many more patients cannot communicate with me in a language we both understand.

I am bilingual, and in the Western Cape this has meant that I could communicate – either in Afrikaans or English – with probably around 90% of my patients. These days I probably speak an improvised fanagalo 90% of the day; so much so that I sometimes accidentally speak it to my colleagues and family!

That said, in Cape Town I sometimes had refugees as patients who could not understand a word I spoke, so it is not completely new to me. Here are some tips for when you and your patient don’t speak each other’s language, literally.

language Continue reading

Running the Surfers’ Challenge – and Runner’s Hyponatraemia

Standard

East London has an annual run which locals affectionately call “our Comrades” – a wildly popular all-terrain challenge now in its 41st year. 17,5 kilometers of sea sand, shale, rock and ocean, I ran it for the first time eleven years ago, and then every year during high school. I missed out during my university years, but this year I was back!

IMG_4081

Pre-race jitters with my aunt!

Continue reading