Short Story: “Mama, meh belly ah hu’t me” – By Geoff Burrowes

By Geoff Burrowes:

Mama, meh belly ah hu’t me

Send fo’ de doctor to fix me.

De doctor ah give me injection

to try an’ clear up my infection!

It’s been many years since this took place and I can’t remember the details clearly but I can remember my impressions very clearly!

For example I can’t remember what the sickness was but I remember that it was severe enough to allow me to skip school, which was good, but it was severe enough for my mother, Nancy Burrowes to call Dr. Sharples, our family doctor and a friend of my mum and dad’s and make an appointment for that afternoon. My dad came home for lunch and after gave me a ride to Dr. Sharples’ surgery which was on the ground  floor of his family house which I think was at the corner of Anira and New Garden Sts. in Queenstown.             

It was one of two in a well kept compound. I think his brother lived in the other house.

Like many Georgetown houses it was very elegant, built in wood, with the usual features of Guyana houses: peaked roof with a triangular hole in the wall right under the peak for ventilation. Tall, slim columns supporting the second floor, a well proportioned stairwell to the second floor, where most of the family living took place, living room, dining room, bedrooms, bath rooms. Demerara windows with slats, also for ventilation. It was a yellow-painted building with smart white trim.  It had a protruding wrought iron balcony on the north-facing upstairs wall with a glass-paned door. The yard was neat with bougnavillea garden beds sporting their colourful pink and white flowers on thin, spidery branches. There were a few large fruit trees giving their pleasant cool shade to the garden.

The office was in the bottom house as was the surgery. I remember I didn’t have to wait very long while Dr. Sharples  finished up with his previous patient and there was a good selection of magazines with large pictures. I think they were Life Magazines ,which were very popular at the time.

Dr. Sharples was a large, handsome man, with a fringe of black hair around a shining pate and silver rimmed glasses. He was pleasant even to his young patients but he was also a trifle aloof, which made him a little intimidating to a  boy. I remember him giving me a wet square of cloth which had  a heavy chemical smell and saying “Count backward from 100” and then nothing else as the chloroform knocked me out.

I came to just as a train was passing on the train line that ran along Lamaha Street, to the north and the horn sounded as if it was wavering, up and down as I regained consciousness slowly. I have no memory of pain, just a hazy recollection of feeling slightly sick from the chloroform and being hugely relieved that the procedure was over.

So there you have it. The flavour of a Dr’s appointment as a young boy in the 1940’s or 1950’s.

Music Video: Mama Me Belly a Hurt Me · Lord Beginner


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