As he watched Ursula and Lein-lein receive their first ant-rabies injections at the Louis Pasteur Clinic in Sao Paulo it reminded him of how he had gone through the same process in Pakistan in the 1940’s.

Everything had seem to be so promising when they moved into the house on Volta Redonda on 12th August 1966. The ‘Glorious 12th’ he had recorded in his diary as a further comment to their having bought this lovely house and then, as this was not enough, ‘Pam’s birthday.’ His sister in England was now forty six years old. As emigrants in a foreign country, keeping these contacts was important as they built up a network of pretend Aunties and Uncles for the children from their collection of new friends here.

One of these who was a neighbour from where we had moved from the rented house along Rua Barao de Jacequai had given them a puppy as a present. We named him Badger and rejoiced in our new possession. It was at the house warming party in September that Badger nipped the two year old Lein-Lein and drew blood. Someone said he was showing signs of having distemper and so the following day we took him along to the Louis Pasteur Institution and it was while we were getting out of the car that he nipped Ursula and also drew blood.

We were advised at the Institute to leave the puppy there for tests and, meanwhile, Ursula and Lein-lein should have a course of anti-rabies injections as a precaution.The puppy died on the eight’s day and was diagnosed as being rabies positive so the injections had to continue until the fifteenth and final one.

Every morning we drove into town for the injections. Lein-lein ws placated by sweets after each one; then back home and I on to work. The injections began to give both of them reactions; Ursula gave cause for real concern when she seemed delirious from a high temperature that would not come down. A few days earlier she had trodden on a rusty nail and whereas normally she would have had a tetanus injection, the doctor attending her said that this was impossible because it might prove to be fatal on top of the injections she was having. I learned that there was a 2% fatality rate for the present anti-rabies serum being used, and everything that happened seemed to be closing in on the two sufferers. So severe were the re-actions to the daily injections that some days they had to be missed but the full course had to be completed; and all these injections were in the stomach. It was a gruelling time for all of us.

When the two sufferers had completed their course of injections it was some time before they fully recovered their physical and mental equilibrium. With two year old Lein-lein, of course, it was impossible to know but it was only after a subdued Christmas that Ursula was back to her sunny self again. My re-actions were strange and long-lived as, for the first time I lost control of my nerves and lived in a twilight world of abject dejection that continued for months afterwards. I would sometimes feel myself within a finger touch of a nervous crisis when conscious attempts at control were of no further avail. Like a car in a skid on an icy road, with the wheels no longer obeying the brake, one can only wait and see whether there is going to be a crash or no crash. The experience opened up a whole new world to me; one that I had guessed at but never entered and therefore never understood. It brought back to mind the actions of people in the past whose actions had been like mine were now. When people are on the brink the healthy cannot understand this and usually can barely tolerate. Lacerated nerves heal, oh so very much slower than lacerated flesh. and usually have more drastic and enduring consequences. Once I went to the factory doctor, Simonsen, who I esteem as a good physician and a good man. I asked him for tranquillisers. he prescribed them for me but said that I should have more faith in God. I dwelt on this and thought, how strange; would the opposite be like going to a priest for help and he, whilst praying for you but saying, what you really need are tranqullisers? Could Dr Simonsen’s advice ever have been given by a British doctor? I don’t know. Perhaps a nervous state is basically a lack of faith in God or, put another way, a falling into disharmony with Nature? And that could be biological.