Hi there!Mark Whitworth I am Mark Whitworth -
writer, educator, traveller
and all round good guy.
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November 2010

Andrea, Chevy Trailblazer, Doha, Qatar, Mark WhitworthThat Was the Week That Was

Sometimes a week, or even two weeks, can prove to be somewhat more arduous than other, similar, periods that are scattered throughout the year. The last fortnight proved to be one of those times you would rather had not occurred. Fortunately we seem to be getting out of the trough and are beginning to look for the advantages and the positives in life again. Our most grateful thanks must go out to the staff at our new school, who have been enormously supportive over this difficult period; they're a really great bunch of people.


local, mosque, Al Kheesa, Doha, Qatar, Mark WhitworthKey to our difficulties was Andrea being taken ill quite suddenly. We visited the local hospital and were seen quite promptly by a general practitioner; it was certainly the first time that either of us had met an Iraqi doctor. She was lovely and very concerned about Andrea’s health and although drugs were proscribed, it seemed she wanted to admit Andrea as an inpatient, but there was some reticence on the part of the hospital as we did not appear to have insurance. We came away, but it was clear over the weekend that Andrea was in a bad way. On Saturday we revisited, the doctor passed us on to a pulmonary specialist and he put the missus into a hospital bed.

It seems that neither of us has spent a night in hospital before. My friends seem to think the moniker “Sicknote” should apply to me, but I’ve got a pretty clean record, both in terms of absences from work and hospitalisation, my hospital visits have mainly involved X-rays to my fingers after cricket matches! Andrea’s been under the knife for the odd thing but they’ve been in and out jobs. It was therefore a surprise to both of us that her condition should warrant a stay of five nights, and proved extremely worrying.

It turned out to be pneumonia and the Skid was pretty ill, the cocktail of drugs also made her very depressed. The girl was on an IV drip for most of the week and had oxygen for all of it. Antibiotics, steroids, cortisone and whatever else you can dream up were administered but for a while she stubbornly refused to improve; it was a whole week before there was any noticeable improvement and a further week before a return to work was considered.

The Skid is not a good sick person and the toll began to make its mark as she slipped from her normal insanity to outright lunacy. That’s slightly unfair, but certainly the normally calm persona disappeared to be replaced by someone in fear, if not of her life, then certainly her long term health. Now, some three weeks since the first problems appeared, and after twelve days off work, she seems to be better but is fairly weak and is struggling to cope with sustained effort.

coastal, trees, Al Khor, Qatar, Mark WhitworthAn amusing sideshow was that one of the drugs had the effect of raising blood sugar levels and therefore the doctor had insisted on placing Andrea on a diabetic diet; it was extremely bland and unappetising! When finally she was served a normal meal it turned out the food was excellent! On the journey back home she breathlessly hummed Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”, instead of commenting on the dodgy driving behaviour, notwithstanding the fact that Bob’s plea is as much for the executioner’s axe than a comfortable coffee and croissant in the local Starbucks. Gradually the sparkle is returning, Andrea is definitely recovering, but we both know she has to takenew home, Al Kheesa, Doha, Qatar, Mark Whitworth it very easy.

Over the years I’ve received a few complaints that I don’t include any information about Andrea in my emails or blogs. These are fair criticisms, which mainly emanates from the other side of the pond, almost exclusively from Andrea’s own family. I’ve pointed out, more than once, that it’s not my job to pass on this information; this is my blog! If Andrea does not communicate herself, should I be the one to do it for her? Quite obviously the answer to that question is “Yes, it is my job!”

So, that’s 500 words on the Captain Kidd, what about poor old me in all this!

Well, during Andrea’s enforced absence, we changed car and moved house. This was somewhat stressful as regards the latter and an enormous relief as regards the former. The Chevrolet Aveo has gone, hopefully someone turned it into a dustbin, and a Chevrolet Trailblazer has appeared. camels, Doha, Qatar, Mark WhitworthMy own sister complained there was too much about cars in the last blog, so I’ll keep this short. It’s big, boxy, has the romantic appeal of a lump of concrete and has served to protect my sanity on the roads of Doha. It’s another rental; until my residence is through we cannot buy. I’ve never had a car with a 4.2 litre engine before; it’s never really been something I’d regarded as necessary. However, the level of respect from other road users has increased dramatically; only a complete idiot tries to drive through this vehicle! I reckon, in old fashioned terms, it’s averaging about 10 miles per gallon...don’t even think about it! It’s old, snarly, sun absorbing black, but it’s my second best friend at the moment!

I took it off road, accidentally, the other day and met some camels, with their Toyota Landcruiser driving herder and some interesting little villages. Ironically I was trying to find the city centre! The purpose of the trip is so mundane it bears mention; the search for a curtain pole.