Bassy - Love Vine
October 14, 2011
Ladies and gentlemen de simple test

Whenever there is de usual annual Awareness Calm-Pain foh de various diseases like HIV/AIDS, Pressure and Sugar, Heart, Eyes, Cancer and so on. the local Associations would drop me a few lines asking me to give dem some publicity in my Column.

October is the month when Cancer is given its prominence and up here in Canada, de Awareness Calm-Pain is on foh Breast Cancer, and it’s massive.{{more}}

Two Sundays ago in Ottawa, nine thousand people wearing pink capes and fluffy hats participated in the CIBC “Run for the Cure” and raised $1.5 million for Breast Cancer Research. In Toronto another event raised $85,000.

This year de SVG Cancer Society ain’t got to ask me to write, not only am I obligated to do so, but ah can write wid authority. Strange enough ah will not labour on de female aspect like breast and cervical cancers, except to say to de ladies that Researchers have concluded that “Exercise cuts your odds of getting Cancer or a recurrence. Exercise can be your best defense against the rigors of treatment.” So ladies exercise and lose weight, dey recommend Yoga or exercises dat hit de areas directly. But very importantly, get your examinations regularly, don’t miss an appointment. Check your breasts foh dem lumps regularly and go foh de Pap Smear! One ah de TV Ads up here is wid ah man searching his breast foh lumps! It’s funny but even men could get breast cancer too.


How bout We men? Is no secret dat men fraid doctor; we enjoy living in denial. If we get ah sticking pain in we side or chest, we drink some Andrews Salts, give it ah lickle rub, get ah burp, and conclude is “Gas!”

De worst thing yuh could ask ah man is, when last he checked foh his “Pass-straight,” man is all kind ah answer yuh getting from: “Four years ago when ah did de test it was OK;” or we’d twist de topic to things like: “Man ah good, ah using Saw Palmeto, and every day ah drinking me stinging-nettle and sour-sop bush, when yuh drink dem things yuh don’t have to worry bout test.” Let me tell all yuh men out dey, dat is ah set ah hog-wash. Mind yuh, nothing wrong wid herbs, ah believed in herbs, but nah fool yuh-self, dat Pass-straight fellah is ah strange secret agent.

He starts misbehaving so strangely that yuh don’t even notice. First yuh might feel ah licle discomfort, ah stiffness during ejaculation (sex); or he might give yuh ah lickle ah way ole people uses to say “ stobbage-ah-water” or de opposite, “free bladder” getting up four and five times ah night to pass water, ah mean Pee.

In yuh denial, yuh run and boil up de set ah bush dat gives de bladder ah temporary clearance, and yuh tell yuh-self yuh good to go. Fellars it don’t wuk so, once yuh see yuh reach age four-zero, go and get ah blood test foh ah PSA check, and ley de Doctor push his finger up yuh bottom to see if everything is normal, ah lickle uncomfortable, but not painful.

Ah ‘Four point zero’ PSA is the acceptable, but if even yuh gone above dat don’t panic, it does not necessarily mean yuh have Pass-straight Cancer.

An above normal reading could mean several things, and most ah de time it can be corrected wid medication but! Yuh got to go and do this test early, not when yuh start ah Pee non-stop or when yuh Pee stop flow! Ah bin dey, done dat! As ah mentioned ah few weeks ago, ah getting my treatment done in Canada. Unlike some people, ah refused to be devastated, was my wife who consoled me and told me dat God could be using me as ah messenger to reach out to my fellowmen fighting dis dreaded man-killer.

Ah was further strengthened by ah short statement in de Bible made by Jesus, recorded in John Chapter 11 vs 4. Dat was de time when Jesus got de news dat his friend, Lazarus was sick. He told his disciples “Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death, No, it happened for de Glory of God so dat de Son of God (Jesus) will receive glory from this”. Lazarus was four days in de tomb when Jesus arrived, and He raised him from de dead. It is on dis passage ah recommitted my life and vowed dat ah will glorify God! Is ah lot ah men in SVG wid Pass-straight problems living in ah closet, dey treating it like if it’s ah crime and must be hidden. Keith Boyea must be commended foh coming on Radio and declaring his condition and begging de males to go and be tested. Like Keith ah sending out ah serious warning dat if our men (and women too) don’t change dey attitude towards regular medical checks, in ten years time ah lot ah males and females will not be around. And one ah de reason why dey will die is because, proper treatment foh Cancers like Breasts, cervical and Pass-straight is not available at our Hospital; dis, compounded wid de cost foh treatment outside, will kill dem just de same. I ask de question, what have Doctors Douglas Slater and Jerrol Thompson done foh Health Care in SVG. Here we have two young doctors in Guv-ah-mint, one studied in Cuba and the other in de USA where facilities are at de very best. Mind yuh, dey met ah run-down facility when dey returned to SVG, but when dey became part ah de Administration, much was expected.

I am disappointed to think dat two Hell’t Specialists, in-deep-an-didn’t professionals, served as Ministers in an Administration foh ten years (Slater as Minister of Hell’t) and de main health facility in SVG is no better dan when he entered politics, people are living in fear, others are dying widout hope, foh want of medical attention in my homeland; I have figures. Yet these men have de gall to return to serve in de Administration in Port-folios completely foreign to dey medical training.

What qualification does Slater have in Foreign Ah-fear, or Thompson in Till-he-come-he-nah-care-shun? Dem fellars should not go to de Bank or Treasury on “Pay-day.” But nah worry, dey’s ah thing called “Pay-back Day.” I am convinced dah most ah dem fellars in office ain’t care bout de poor, when dey sick, yuh don’t even know when dey fly out and get treatment at de very best health facilities. But ah promise ah will not remain silent on this matter ah life and death.

Foh now is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.