Spring fever comes in various forms. Most people think of it as an ecstatic release from the winter blahs and doldrums as temperatures warm, new leaves emerge, flowers bloom and love springs feverishly in the air. In the doctor’s office we frequently see a different type of spring fever with terrible pollen reactions that are the seasonal equivalent of autumn’s “hay fever,” when the grasses and ragweed bloom.

Those prone to this sort of thing tend to get either spring fever or hay fever, although there are plenty who get both and become miserable. Usually I’ll blast patients with steroids, put them on antihistamines and nose sprays and within a couple of days, voila, I’ve worked my magic.

But there is another type of fever going around this spring — a nasty viral bug that behaves differently than any I’ve encountered in 27 years of practicing medicine. I should know because — not only have I seen it — but have had it personally.

Usually colds flare pretty quickly over two, three days and then clear out and are gone by the end of a week or so. This particular bug starts slowly and just gets worse and worse over about 10 days. In my particular case I got pinkeye in process, had a bad cough, congested sinuses, and then it all flamed into an incredibly sore throat. Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore — boom — it just went away.

Which just goes to show that it’s amazing what a good shot of whiskey will do for mind and body. I’m kidding (more or less), but it was certainly perplexing how the bug behaved. I thought it was probably just me, but my wife and others got the exact same thing over the same time period. Strange, and now over, thank God.


This is being written a few days before press time, but the reaction to the appalling cellphone video of a North Charleston policeman clearly shooting an apparently unarmed, retreating man in the back and claiming self-defense has been remarkably lawful and orderly, which speaks volumes to the character of the people in the greater Charleston metro area.

The family of the victim — and particularly his father, Walter Scott Sr.— spoke eloquently about the matter, expecting justice to be served because “God is in the plan.” Despite prompting on the “Today Show” from Matt Lauer, Mr. Scott did not inflame the passions of racism and said simply but clearly that he didn’t know if race was a motivating factor in the shooting or not.

Compare this to the behavior of Michael Brown’s stepfather, who was picked up by a New York Times video consoling the dead teen’s distraught mother in Ferguson, Mo., after a controversial grand jury announcement. Brown infamously urged demonstrators to “burn” the area. That is exactly what happened.

If anything, the North Charleston video might have been an even more incendiary flashpoint. But the people of greater Charleston, who have lived side-by-side for over 300 years and have certain understanding and love for one another despite our complex history, chose not to react that way. That in itself is the equal and obverse story which is as revealing in its own way as the horrific video.

What happened to Walter Scott Jr., is beyond awful. Although it’s little consolation to family and friends, I, like the victim’s dad, am confident justice will be served, and that the city of North Charleston will be better because of it.

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician. Reach him at edward