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‘A little leukemia’

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

So the other day I was walking around the Savannah and I passed two young men walking in the opposite direction and heard one of them saying, “I went to my doctor and he did some tests. He found out that I had a little leukemia. He treat me and I fine”.

“Little leukemia!”

That is like saying a small cancer or a touch of pregnancy or a bit of Aids.

The only people who should talk like that are old people, in my case, from the top going down, I have a little problem with my eyes, and if is not the eyes, is the sinus, and if is not the sinus, is the teeth, and if is not the teeth, is the back and if is not the back, is the knee. All of this comes with age or perhaps after ChickV.

You can talk about a touch of this or a touch of that when you are over 65. When you are in your thirties, forties, there is no such thing as a touch of leukemia or a touch of hepatitis or a small stroke or a minor heart attack. When you are young these things are not supposed to happen and you are fooling yourself by talking nonsense like that.

Morgan Job, who has more insight into the Trinbagonian psyche than most of our so called “psychologists”, says Trinis use language to encourage themselves, to make themselves feel good in the face of bad news. This is a good example. You have a “small leukemia!” You have a minor heart attack. You have a bit of high blood pressure. No such creatures exist. You either have leukemia, cancer of the blood, or you don’t. By definition leukemia is large. Huge. Life-changing! 

If he was told this by the doctor, change him quick, the doctor either made a mistake or was mamaguying him or was trying to impress him by pretending he knows how to treat leukemia, no doubt using the current fashionable panacea, coconut oil. There very few people in T&T who know how to treat leukemia.

In fact, saying that you have a “little leukemia” is a sign of mental illness. It called denial or “fooling yourself”. It’s called using the language to comfort yourself. There is so much mental illness in T&T yet I keep hearing from my “real” psychologist friends that their offices are near empty. That’s astounding in this country where there is so much mental illness. Not that this is unique to us. International figures show that mental illness especially the so-called minor ones, anxiety and depression, are going up.

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. (

I myself have begun seeing children with anxiety disorder over the last two years. Either I never saw this before or it was not brought to my attention and in the same way that I pointed out 10 years ago that I was seeing obese children, I have started seeing children with generalised anxiety disorder related to the environment.

Figures from just one pharmacy in town show that they fill out five to six prescriptions a day for each of the three most common sleeping pills, anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications and that most of these people come in month after month for their “fix.” They don’t think they are addicts. “Addicts” are homeless, poorly dressed and beg.

Another example of Job’s dictum.

So you have a “little leukemia”? A bit of anxiety? Depression? Small ting, man! Take some tablets and drink some vervine. The PM appoint a minister who under investigation by the police? Small ting, man! Take ah drink and try today’s Play Wey. The mark is 15.


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