Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guest blogger: If you like pina coladas and other speculations on death

Dr. Katy Rivlin feeling morbid in Accra, Ghana.


5/23 --> If you like pina coladas and other speculations on death

    Drunk again, this time Sari, Maala and I commemorated my last night in Accra at Labadi Beach Hotel, a swanky obruni heavy spot with a pool, sweet cocktails, and food not cooked in palm oil. No yams, no rice, no beans. Aside from the buzzing mosquitoes and the High Life band, I could have been in Miami. 
    In my revery I started to think (and blab) about death in Ghana and death in the US (who wouldn’t over a couple of ice-cold pina coladas??) Sari tells stories of family members blessing her and kissing her when she decides to withdraw care from a patient in the emergency room and the stillbirth I saw delivered on labor and delivery lay alongside its mother for hours, both of them lodged between rows and rows of healthy, newborn babies. I’ve already mentioned the open aired coffin markets on the drive to Cape Coast, and while I never got to visit it, I read in Sari’s guidebook to Ghana about Kane Kwei Carpentry where you can be fitted for the fantasy coffin of your choosing, with shapes like airplanes, whales, boats, birds, even uteruses. 
    It feels unnecessary to provide the US counterpoints, but good luck finding a uterus coffin worth its salt south of the Mason Dixon. My point is that people die here in Ghana. A lot. We die in the US too, but man it drives us (and our doctors) nuts. I’m not saying let's learn to die from the Ghanians, I’m just saying a uterus coffin might be a start. 
    Ok ok, it’s enough already. Either the malaria has set in or I have dysentery of the brain. To bed!

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