The snoring scrum half
They looked a bit lost! “Is this the right place to see Irma Schutte?” the mother asked hesitantly. “Who are you?” my colleague enquired.
“We have come all the way from Stellenbosch”, the woman took the lead, while the two men accompanying her kept quiet. “We brought our son Hendrik to see Irma”, she said, pointing to the younger of the two men. Hendrik was short, stocky, hair cut short, back and sides. He tried to look relaxed with a half-hearted smile, in response to the introduction.
“Oh yes, Irma is still busy. She will be with you in a few minutes. Please take a seat”. Very often people expect a ‘doctor’s’ room and are surprised to find a relaxed, informal setup. They sat comfortably paging through the available magazines, when I approached them. Once they had settled into my office, the mother took the lead, yet again. “It is a rather difficult problem, you see. My son plays rugby for Stellenbosch University and he also studies there. He lives in the residence there.” She took a breath, her eyes darting to meet his. He sat, looking at the floor, right hand absentmindedly rubbing his chin. “His friends, and the people sharing the hostel with him, have a big problem – he snores so loudly that no one can sleep!
He keeps the whole res awake. His friends can’t go on holiday with him, they won’t share a room with him. When the rugby team goes on trips, he is always a problem. Sometimes his friends pick him up off his bed while he’s asleep and take him to an outside room, just to get some rest. He has had an operation to his throat, with very limited success. He tried the sprays and the other potions available on the market for snoring. Nothing much helps. My mother even stitched cotton reels into the back of his pyjama shirt! The old people used to do that which caused the snorer discomfort when he rolled onto his back, which is when most people snore the most, to try get the snorer to roll onto his side! But to no avail. He even snores lying on his side!” The mother, a middle-aged typically concerned mother, talked and talked to tell the story. That this young man’s snoring was causing such concern and discomfort to many people, was clearly obvious!