Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mulalu or Psychotic Disorders?

When tragedy decides to rear its ugly head, we are often caught off guard. Sometimes it will let slip and provide for ample time for the soon-to-be-suffering family to prepare, to adjust to what is about to happen.
In my opinion, most times there is no warning. As I sit here typing out this column, unbeknown to me, there is a chance that the wires that make me tick are on the verge of a meltdown.
People would then say: “He has lost his marbles, wires have snapped, he has gone doo la li, he has lost the plot” and so on. Yes, those are the words we use today though Google tells me that the social or rather the clinically acceptable way to describe such a person is to say:   organic brain syndromes, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.
The painter Vincent Van Goth lost the plot that he cut off his own ear, while the ilk of Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot – well, we all know what they did. But they were people I had never met, so it’s never bothered me.
Closer to home, Friend called. He was in a spot of bother. His sister had ‘lost the plot’ and there was a need to take her for a stint in Butabika. To be honest, nothing could have prepared me for what I was to see over the next couple of weeks.
When we got to Sisters abode, she had barricaded herself in the house. The compound was no longer a neatly trimmed compound but seemingly part of the Amazon rain forest that had migrated to Uganda.
To get her out of the house, we had to break the door down and when we got in, it resembled a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Maggots were slithering all over the kitchen and fridge. Dog poop was everywhere. The dining room table and all it held looked like a tsunami had ripped through them.
As the gravity of the situation soaked in, Sister on the other hand, could not see what the fuss was all about. In her opinion, she was okay. Her wires were firmly welded on so what was with all the talk about Butabika. But she had to go.
Getting her there was not easy and the following day when we checked in on her, there were two tales – hers and the doctors. She of course was ‘okay’. Doctor on the other hand had a different story. Yes she has lost the plot and yes, she needs to be with them for a while, for she is a danger not only to herself but to the public too.
Sister was fortunate to be in a private ward. Those in kayola ward are usually dumped there, abandoned and disowned by their families and at a time when they most need family support.
While Sister got the support she needed, there was a need to reflect because tomorrow it could happen to any of us and for sure as hell, I would not like to be abandoned to the dogs by my family in Butabika.
However, Butabika is not all doom and gloom. I applaud the administrative staff, for it is far cleaner, more organized and a better run hospital than Mulago and many of the private hospitals.
Next time we see a mad man or woman, let’s not shout out mulalu or throw stones at them for they are still human. What has happened to them is unfortunate and remember, tomorrow it easily could be one of us.            

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