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Rural Express: Sturge Town seniors fight back against chik-v

Published:Saturday | November 15, 2014 | 11:00 AM
The roots of the guinea hen plant, being soaked in white rum.
Norma Lawrence, age 78, resident of Sturge Town, St Ann.
Violet James, age 86 of Sturge Town, St Ann.
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Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

STURGE TOWN, St Ann:THE CHIKUNGUNYA virus (chik-v) is thought to impact the very young and the very old more than it does persons in the middle-age group.

But if the accounts of some senior citizens in Jamaica's second free village, Sturge Town in St Ann, are anything to go by, elderly folks are not doing too badly against the virus.

The incidence of chik-v appears not to be widespread among seniors in Sturge Town. Or, at any rate, it is not stopping them.

For 86-year-old Violet James, who lives in the Fort George area of Sturge Town with her husband, Levi, while the experience was painful, she can now look back and laugh at the chik-v.

The first signs of the virus came on rapidly about three weeks ago, she related last week when Rural Xpress visited her at home.

According to her, she woke up to pain all over her body and started vomiting later on.

"I planned to go to the doctor, but the following day he (her husband, Levi) got it. Him was going to the bathroom and him black out, we had to call the doctor. Me, I couldn't walk, my dear son (she laughed as she recalled the incident). Fever, throwing up."

How do you feel now? Rural Xpress asked her.

"Give thanks, I am much better," she replied. Her husband, too, is back to where he was prior to the advent of chik-v. While he is sickly, the chik-v symptoms have disappeared.

Asked about home remedies, she replied: "No, no," and laughed again. "I see all sort of remedy over the TV, but mi nuh use them."

diet & recovery

Her diet, which consists mainly of vegetables, as she is diabetic, may have assisted in her recovery, she opined.

Another couple, James and Norma Lawrence, also had bouts of the chik-v. However, unlike the Jameses, home medication played a real part in their recovery, as suggested by Mrs Lawrence, who is 78 years old.

"I went to bed and around 4 o'clock, I got up and I just feel the two ankles, the shoulder, the hand, paining me," she explained.

"I got some lime and used it to rub the joints, then in the morning, I get the guinea hen (weed), boil it and use the water and bathe the joints. Then me go back and rub them with the lime again. Then I took the Cetamol."

"I really didn't have any appetite, so I didn't take (eat) anything much for those two days. But after that, mi come on alright. Otherwise from that, I don't feel any effect from it, like how some people say they feel pain. I really have a pain in my shoulder from long time, it still pain me some time. Otherwise, I'm not feeling anything from the chik-v right now."

She is adamant that the home remedy helped.

"Yes, it did!" she exclaimed. She repeated how she used the lime and guinea hen weed, then said that "for the fever, the guinea hen is good too."

Her husband, who had contracted the virus about a week before her, in October, had it worse, she disclosed.

"The whole body, the hip, the foot, the hand, he had to use a whole lot of lime and the guinea hen and a whole heap a paracetamol. Him did pain up, man. Now he's back to normal, he's up and down."

And, two weeks after Nigel James contracted the virus he, too, is well again.

At the onset, he started feeling the pain all over his body and there was numbness in his toes.

"So, mi wife anoint mi with something," he said.

At first, his wife jokingly said she would not reveal her secret remedy. But then she disclosed that it was the roots of the guinea hen plant, soaked in white rum.

That, along with some Panadol, which his son got him, appeared to have stopped the virus in its tracks.

"It neva really affect mi badly," he stated.

Sturge Town is on the list of communities in North West St Ann that Member of Parliament, Dr Dayton Campbell, is scheduled to do home visits, as he visits 1,000 homes in his drive to combat the virus in the constituency.

rural@gleanerjm.com