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Sunday, June 18, 2017

JUNE 19; IN SICKLE CELL DISORDER AND IN HEALTH

How did it get to be June 19 so fast? I mean, I'm not complaining, nooo I'm amazed and grateful that I'm here again. Another year and well. In fact, so very well I can hardly believe I've been suffering for the past year!

Yes, so, if you've read my last post, you'll remember I wrote about my experience and how I've been having constant bone pain aka sickle cell crises ... I can't remember, did I write on that or just the PTSD? Please don't make me read my post *BBM crying emoji* Anyways, I have been having recurring SC crises and I've been put on basically all the analgesics there is to be put on; from the ones that make me slightly dizzy and drowsy and sleepy to the ones that out right make me a drunken person who has never taken alcohol to point of being drunk. Yes please. I have taken alcohol, as a kid, when all those scammers would come to desperate mother's of sickle cell patients and tell them take such and such it will CURE sickle cell in three months and the poor blessed mother's would obey. Not being medical or scientific to understand that diseases of the genes can only ever be cured through the genes or never cured at all. But, again, I'm swerving *does Fast and Furious swerving back to original lane* ;) and some of those analgesics gave me severe stomach aches and I believe a bit of dependence on them for when I stop taking I get headaches. Headaches from Hades in the down under world! I think I need a new head, a new GI system or a new self, I wouldn't mind! Pretty please!? *Doe eyed*

The aches (crises) made me visit the accident and emergency of AKTH a lot and I got pricked a lot and my once very good and vibrant veins which used pink cannula began to disappear and then I degraded to blue and now I use the yellow and even with that, the Dr's complain that the needle on the yellow are much, much larger than any visible, useful vein. Word of advice, in your daily thanks to the Lord, be thankful for your veins! It started taking long hours and more than one Dr who gives it more than 3 tries to get a line. Sometimes we opt for IM analgesic before a line is set so as to ease my pain. It started to take a toll on me psychologically, I could feel it but no one could, I've become so good at masking my depression  it's a wonder I'm not fully ... Alhamdulillah! I hang on and find joy in distant love that is pure and will never die, hopefully. I think of how our beloved Prophet (SAW) endured so much but was a comfort to others and I say to myself "Girl! You whine too much! Appreciate what you have before that's gone too!" And damn right that's what I do! Plus I cry a GREAT deal, forget about the ones you THINK you've seen, you ain't seen NOTHING and you ain't gonna see too! It helps ease some of the burdens I feel I carry alone!

On a very lovely Saturday or was it Sunday, I can't recall, Dr AD Waziri came to visit, and, yes I've mentioned it in my last post but, tough! He saw as far as his medical haematological expert eye would allow him see, that I was looking awful and needed help and he said I needed to start Hydroxyurea, I did. I have not regretted listening to him. I feel more energetic and probably less loco *LOL* could it be that it has effect on the psyche as well? That would be great, truly. Especially since its side effects are a lot. A very, very lot!

So, I'm on hydroxy and I haven't had crises in three months just one three days back (June 16) probably stress from exam or something. Twasn't so severe but it was aching and disturbing. Although I still experience headaches and that's another story for another time.

Is it a #Happy #WorldSickleCellDay or JUST a #WorldSickleCellDay? I really dunno and honestly don't care! Everyday to a sickle cell patient IS World Sickle Cell Day. We seem to be increasing in number in as much as we definitely are dying in multitudes as well. Sickle Cell is not on the top 10 list of Non-Communicable Diseases and yes, I know it's a Hereditary Disease but then...I'm tired of arguing!

Good night! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

ONE YEAR: PTSD, CHANGE, FORGIVENESS

Being in the bathroom at home in Abuja during the Easter break of April, 2017 brought back memories of a year ago when; getting to the bathroom was a race with myself, sitting on the toilet seat was the hardest task I had to do, getting up was an equally cruel task, peeing was painful, pooing was almost impossible and the only way I could get relief from all physical body ache was to literally empty the water heater! As a person who is not a fan of having a bath with warm water, I went all out to ensure I cooked myself as an analgesic so I could sleep at night without pain and have a day without wincing. I am so grateful to be alive to re-live the feeling through my writing! It's probably the best way I can do it without bothering the same people I've bothered it with for the past year!

The hardest part of the whole ailment was not having someone I was used to, yes I was with family but they had never experienced such with me and I felt like a burden. I missed my Mummy. I wanted the person I loved the most in the world to be there for me psychologically and as much as possible, physically. But I can't always have what I want, can I? I had all the care anyone could ever need and I will be the most ungrateful person ever if I say otherwise. I am forever grateful and thankful to Mama AA who took care of me probably better than any of my blood relatives ever could have, if they would have! Her entire family are a blessing to me. Thinking of it, I don't think it could have been better than what I got, Alhamdulillah!

I have tweeted about the situation, made a post on it and talked about it so much that my friend, Sophie, when telling her friends about me says "she's going to tell you about the Dr who nearly killed her!" LOL! I had gone around for a long time saying the same thing, pointing out the Dr when I had the chance to and just being in a state of mind I really had no idea how to deal with till I came across an acronym, PTSD, and I wondered, "whatever does it mean?" so I checked it out on line: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Again I thought "whatever in the world does this white man sickness have to do with us blacks?!" Apparently, a lot! First, we are all human beings; same basic physiological, anatomical and biochemical settings, we are all the same by default but we get 'customized' by family genes, environment and experiences and as such, we react to situations differently. Example is what I mentioned above. In Nigeria and Africa, we generally just tell a person to be thankful that they survived a traumatizing incident and try to shut the person up. You know, don't go all mushy and crying and stuff, say Alhamdulillah for it could have been worse. In the Western world, such a person is asked if he/she wants to talk about it, if they want to see a specialist for they have experienced trauma and need help in understanding why, how, when and the likes of it. There are even anonymous group meeting where persons who might have experienced similar traumatizing events meet and talk about it in earnest, where they get help from each other, knowing they are not alone.


I never felt more alone in my life than the past year but I am a fine person, have been, will always be! Carried on with my life as it has always been, drifting through people to end up alone, it is not a big deal, I told myself through tears and hurt. don't be sad and don't think much about it, your death will end it all! But I could not stop thinking about it and I wondered and worried why it gave me so much trouble; I was scared. I was alone. I could have died and my last memories would have been of my young in-laws rushing me to the hospital trying to get me the much needed medical  attention. Me crying in severe and utter agony even after a probable OD of opioid analgesics to help, nothing helped. I seemed to be getting worse, I could see/feel my heart struggling to beat, and finally of me being wheeled to the bathroom by a male attendant to pee and him offering to assist me stand from the wheelchair to sit on the toilet seat and stand from the toilet seat back to the wheelchair but me declining because, well because! That was precisely my last memory. I don't know which day of the week it was or what time of the day it was but I know it was a live living nightmare! And again, I was alone!

After reading much on PTSD, I got more upset because what I needed I knew I was never going to get in the way I desired and craved it. I could go to my psychiatrist but I was not sure I would get 100% we are just not into psychology without drugs! I was scared and alone and trusted the wrong person to understand and be supportive. With all those emotion and no comfort, I took a decision to never return to see any Dr in the hospital I attended for 15 years since they gave the impression I was extra work for them, I would stay home to receive treatment; worse outcome; death, but someone informed me of another hematology team I could see in the hospital. I had no idea haematology was divided into 2; Laboratory and Clinical Haematology. The latter is a unit under Dept of Medicine while the former is a department on its own. The person pointed out the greatest advantage I would have is access to bed space if and when the need for it arose no matter what. To be honest, that is a challenge the Lab Haem team face, the patient can get care during the day time in the Day Care which closes at the end of work hours to re-open the next day. Too much stress for a patient who is in serious pain and needs greater than 8 hours medical service/attention.

Met with a former neighbour who is now a consultant Haematologist with ABUTH, Dr. AD Waziri *claps and cheers* so proud of him! and his first reaction when he saw me told me I am in a whole lot of trouble and no medical expert who has known me long is honest enough to tell me that I need help. He was the first professional to say he thinks my condition is being made worse by psycho-social stress and he asked me to start talking...oh where do I start from?! We talked and he gave very useful advice, forever thankful *hearts*.

As part of my healing process, I decided I would need to talk to the Dr who saw me last when I returned for my follow-up before the whole Acute Chest Syndrome + Anaemic Heart Failure drama occurred. I did see the Dr today, Friday, 12th May, 2017! What a blessed day! Alhamdulliah for friends who motivate and, as we say in Nigeria, "take Panadol for another person's headache". I love you, Sophie *hugs*. So, I told the Dr everything...EVERYTHING!!! And I cried, of course I cried, it would not be MY story without some tears, duh! I'm glad he listened to me and he made me feel he DID listen because he thanked me and assured me he had learned and understood that it was not just a cry for myself (I mentioned to him I am among the blessed/lucky few who have people that know people that know...you get the gist) it was also for those who had no human power except that of Allah and that every patient deserves to feel special with their Dr. and know that they are as safe as any professional human can guarantee them with regards to their health and/or life.

We are figuratively at their mercy when it comes to our health; organically and psychologically. Believe me, I know how hard it is to be a medical doctor in Nigeria and I always, always sympathise with them BUT it is harder being a patient in Nigeria, much much harder, very much harder and I feel many of them do not see it that way for they are so very absorbed with themselves; I'm not saying they should be altruistic, no. Yet they have better chances due to being colleagues of each other so they get to Dr each other the way they would personally want to be doctored! Greater health advantage than an ordinary patient.

Like I always say, Health is Wealth! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

DOUBLE THREE, MANY DAYS

I actually never thought I'd make it to 33 years that's 12,045 days multiplying by 365, I dash those other extra days to Neptune. Alhamdulillah is the best, most and really most honest and worthy word I can say about this mercy from Allah! Maybe I'll live to see some more maybe I won't, but these have been a most wonderful, exciting; negatively and positively, fulfilling, disappointing, learning and growing days of my life.

I have learnt a lot from both personal and other's experience and I am very blessed that I know I have learned even if sometimes I don't put what I learn to use! I need to have a talk with myself, maybe over tea and cupcakes, soon!
Here are 33 things I have possibly learned over the years:

1- All things happen exactly when Allah has willed them to happen; not a millisecond sooner or later than its appointed time.
2- Mother's are the best gifts Allah has given. Some are lucky to enjoy them, some are not. Some mother's do things in a way that makes you feel unwanted but they love you, so much while some mother's spoil their children rotten which is pretty much worse than the former. We must learn to be patient with them as they get older and as we mature.
3- A father is a very important part of a child's life esp a girl.
4- Blood does not make family but your blood family are your God-given family and no matter how bad, we must accept and love them as much as we can.
5- It is very important to show/tell all the people you love and care for how much you do care for them NOW! Later is not promised.
6- Health really is wealth!
7- Death makes you remember all things, except to Whom we're returning to, end.
8- Being generous does not mean you have to be extravagant. Moderation helps you live better and happier.
9- Money you work for and earn in a legal Halal way is always full of Baraka (blessing) no matter how little.
10- Saving for a rainy is never a bad idea for those who help you today may not be around tomorrow.
11- Love is all-encompassing. Take it how you wish.
12- Sometimes sharing your problems with a trusted person does help.
13- Spoil yourself; sew a new dress, buy a new shoe, shampoo your hair so it smells sweet on your pillow, go see a movie, cook a new food and invite someone or two over. Make yourself happy. I know most of us are under double opportunity cost system but this life is filled with worries once you're an adult, so once in a while, indulge.
14- Fall in love. It may work out, it may not. It may change your perception of love, it may not. You may do it again, you may not.
16- Learn a skill; there's never only one way to make good money and self-reliance is the best.
17- Don't just go to school, let school go through you as well. You learn better and it lasts longer that way.
18- Sincerely appreciate every effort people around you put in keeping in touch with you, even if they do so because they need your help, it was an effort.
19- Learn your place around people, because you're close does not give you the right to "do your village tinz". We're humans and everyone has their limit. Know when to start and when to stop, when to leave and when to stay. All these considerations endear you to the people around since they don't feel you're a burden.
20- Ladies, take very good care of your bodies; how you treat it today will determine how it treats you tomorrow! If you're not sure, ask. Asking never killed anyone!
21- Gentlemen, be gentle and civil, respect every lady as you would wish other men to respect your sister, mother and female relatives. You should be a blessing to us not a curse!
22- Alone time is a good time to reflect and resolve, a good time to make/reaffirm a resolution.
23- A clean environment is a happy healthy place.
24- Some problems may last your whole life time but Allah still gives you the means to get by, despite the problem. Believe and be faithful in your believes, it will always keep you afloat!
25- Faith is not a constant thing we have; we rise and we fall, the most important thing is we rise again and again and again no matter how many times we fall.
26- As hard as it is, learn to accept people as they are; yes faiths, believes, life style and a lot of things may differ but maybe your act of kindness can be Allah's way of leading them right. You must know however that by "learn to accept" I mean to accept they're human like you and I and treat them how you would love to be treated no matter what!
27- Everyday you're alive and healthy is a good day. It's a day to love who love you and be kind to the less privileged, elderly and kids.
28- Forgiveness. It's even harder than accepting but believe me, it makes you face other problems in your life with less weight.
29- Nobody except YOU is your greatest enemy. Procrastination, down playing your strengths, waiting for validation from others to feel good about yourself...all these are things we can personally handle to the degree we desire.
30- I know they say "happiness is a self decision" I  do agree but many-a-times in order to be happy we need other humans, even if it's just your one person. Man is not an island, they also said.
31- We can never have it all but we must be grateful for what we already have because somebody else is looking for it!
32- Always say the truth even if it costs you, that doesn't mean we have to go about hurting people and their feelings. We can be tactical about telling people what needs to be said even though there's no easy or kinder way to break the truth.
33- Again, love! Love your neighbor as yourself that's a universal religious teaching. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc have all been taught this and until we LEARN and UNDERSTAND the TRUE meaning of this statement we will never be able to practice it or know peace in the world!

There! Thirty-three! At Last! And just like I've come to the end, one day my life will come to an end and I pray it's a good one and will be remembered with great fondness and love. Like I'm always reminded every year this day "a year has been added and subtracted form your life today" so Alhamdulillah and I'm grateful to all who have stuck around with me since they've known me. Thank you *blows kisses with imaginary $100 bills*

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

15 YEARS AND A LETTER FOR THE DEAD

#WCW #NeverForgotten #AlwaysInOurHearts #WeSayALittlePrayerForYou #BurningBright #Friendship #Heartache #Sisterhood #SecretKeeper #SmileThroughMyTears

It's been 15years since I heard of your demise and even though it has gotten easier to talk about and accept sometimes I still shed those tears because I miss you and I wonder how life would have been with you around.

I am always thankful for those many hours we spent at night talking about our friends in school, neighbors and yes, our "Silly big sister" Amina. For those hours we each spent trying to comfort the other through our sickle cell crises, actually feeling and understanding the pain.

I'm so sorry I didn't become a medical doctor like we planned I would be so no sluggish doctor will leave you in pain for hours since I'll be there. I changed my mind and wanted to study Biological Science so I could later branch into Genetics; you knew our disease is genetically inherited, I wanted to get to the root of it and not just stop the pain when it arose, I wanted to completely eliminate what caused the pain. Again, I'm sorry I haven't been able to follow up on the plan. I can openly let you know, I'm a failure and not just in this aspect. I want you to know yet, I've never stopped working hard and striving to overcome my weaknesses and faults to improve in what I can as much as I can. Alhamdulillah I think I'm progressing, slow and steady.

I have so many fond memories of you and I love them all like I loved experiencing them with you. I would live that aspect of my life all over again if there is the chance. I can only pray and work hard that I make Jannah and pray and hope that you're already in there. Our last meeting still plays clearly in my mind, how you followed me round the house begging me to stay in case it was the last time I ever saw you. I still feel the unease and I feel guilty till date for not staying. Nothing was as important as me having to have stayed with you...I don't why I didn't want to stay. I am so sorry I didn't stay.

I love you. Mummy misses you so much Mona and she asked me to give Sadaqa on this your 15th anniversary. May Allah accept it from us and give you the full reward and blessing for it. May your plate for collecting your food never run out of Dua, no matter how little. May you be smiling and not ever be alone or lonely. May your companions keep you glowing till The Day of Resurrection. May you not be in darkness or hardship. May Allah forgive every single sin you committed knowingly and unknowingly, in secret and open, those you asked forgiveness and those you didn't. Ameen thumma ameen thumma ameen!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

#PAIN #CHANCES #DEATH #WSCD2016

In Loving Memory of Muhammad Nura Abdullahi whom I met once and my sister Mona Umar, who both died of sickle cell related complications, may Allah have mercy on their souls and cause the pains and worry they struggled with on earth to be a source of joy in their hereafter. Ameen.

Another June 19th and it's World Sickle Cell Day #WSCD2016 and I'm (probably) alive (written on 14th June, World Blood Donor Day 2016) and I feel so, so very blessed especially after my own very critical episode of a sickle cell related complication that I somehow managed to scale, again and in the words of my very dear friend, Zeeman: "You are really not giving sickle cell chance to take you. You're a fighter!" I am Titanium! Just kidding, it's not my power, I usually have no idea where I am when sickle cell decides to attack in any of its forms. I have been blessed by Allah through my usually awesome medical doctors, the prayers of my parents, friends and loved ones, the thought of my daughter and maybe my will to live, sometimes. This year has been a very tough year and it's not over yet and I really wonder, if I make it till the end, what else will be in store for me?! I know one thing, even though a lot of times it is so hard to remember and believe, no matter what or where or how my next adventure, drama, comedy, sci-fi, tragedy, thriller or horror event may happen, Allah's promise never breaks and for as long as I can remember, He has been Faithful (AL-MU'MEEN). Sadly, many-a-times I am blinded or deafened to the forms in which He has kept His promise and He still keeps it.

But, on to the main issue; WSCD and all the hash tags being done in favor of this day and I hope every single day for as long as Sickle Cell Disorder remains a disease with no cure...*pause*...When I say no cure I mean not everyone with the disease can be rid of it due to many factors. Not that there is no cure, after all BMT has worked for quite a number of persons who have suffered from this ailment! Some of these hash tags include #OneWord which is organized by Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) Nigeria and #DoYouKnowYourGenotype organized by Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation check out their pages on Twitter @SCAF_nigeria @ssscfoundation and on Instagram @scafnigeria @ssscfoundation and donate to their cause in cash and/or kind. We the sickle cellers will totally appreciate.
Moving on, when I saw #OneWord I thought wow! How tough will that be?! And then the first word that came to my mind was #Pain (pretty obvious choice) which includes physical especially physical, emotional, mental, psychological and yes, financial pain! Do you know how painful it is to bring out a large sum of money for something that keeps getting faulty? Imagine you repairing the same problem in your generator or vehicle or handset every other month...yeah? Okay what will be your next thought? Honestly, me, I'm going to get fed up, give the old one out and get a bloody new handset! I pay my medical bills so I know what I'm talking about and I have more love and respect for my parents, Mother, especially. #PAIN!!! But then I saw the sign while I was thinking about my life... since I can't do physical activities I engage in a lot of brain-'wrecking' activities, sadly (the emotional and psychological pain) the sign that said "Hay! You're here today and now after going through so many bad weeks, days, hours and months, with the worst being your recent attack but you still ALIVE! What more do you need? You have been given another chance as you were given after your CS, LC and other attacks you've had to live and love and make right what you made wrong. Sickle cell definitely is more of negative thoughts but there's always two sides to a coin and it's time to flip it and check the positives. You have been given the chances so many times to be the best you can be, to leave a good or maybe even a great memory of you so take it and accept that this disease is your blessing to know the real from the fake and to appreciate every waking moment." After that, my #OneWord changed to #CHANCES and today, I've used this chance to write this piece to ask whoever is reading this to have a heart for sickle cell. I know lots of people are looking to eliminate sickle cell disorder from our community in the near or far future but let's be realistic that might never happen and no need for me to go into explanation but maybe, just maybe it can be reduced through public awareness; schools, from my research, will be the perfect place to start they have a greater and wider reach of audience both through formal and informal educationLeft to me, sickle cell should be incorporated into our basic level syllabus. On our own, we can help make life for those with this disease a lot less distressing than it already is. Discrimination in its various forms are what we go through; some more than others for some have more severe cases than others. We need to help them live whatever number of days they have on earth not asking "Why me?" or resenting their parents, siblings, peers etc. We need to show them a little more humanity because believe it or not sickle cell patients are more human than the average human; they're smart, bright, caring, helpful, graceful, active and most of all they're highly sensitive to other human feelings, words and actions; in other words, they struggle not to "offend" anyone with their ailment and carry lots of emotional and psychological pressure due to this disease. They have fears and doubts when applying for school, work or wanting a spouse, someone who'll love and be by their side in sickness and worse.

Medically, I think apart from worrying about the organic(physical) aspect of a sickle cell patient, a little more attention should be paid to our psychological state as well. Personally, after a severe crises I hardly have the heart to interact or be friendly or even have the zeal for anything; anhedonia, Dr. M called it, a psychological medical condition very distressing can lead to depression or BPD so many of us have unsuspectedly found solace in our analgesics and become addicted not of our will but from the pressure the world has unkowingly put upon us. This, the addiction, many dr's have tried to "avoid" by prescribing less addictive analgesics and some have taken it upon themselves to go ahead and judge or accuse a lot of us of visiting their ER or Daycare for a dose of "pentazocine" that's the analgesic mostly used in Nigeria for severe pain. I have always said if the consulting physician feels or suspects the patient of visting his/her ER just for the pentazocine then he/she should go ahead to refer the patient to a psychiatrist/psychologist. It's not in his/her job description to judge or refuse a patient treatment (which is very rampant in Nigeria). Treat and refer.

I don't know what the latest statistics of sickle cell is but as at 2013, Nigeria had the highest annual birth rate of infants born with sickle cell. Approximately 150,000 which is half of the world's estimate of infants born with this disorder yearly. We can do better, we just need more intense awareness programmes that can and will reach the grassroots and lesser privilaged.

Sickle cell is #Pain #Strength #Survival #Hope #Love #Tears #War #Battle #Drill #Death #Loss #Hate #Discrimanation but most importantly, to me it is #Chances and I'm taking and using every chance I get to do the very best in all my goodly endeavors. 
I know my genotype: HbSS and my prefered and perfect type is HbAA. Do You Know Your Genotype??? 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH

I was given a follow-up appointment for two days after discharge from AKTH to see the hematologists and as the good patient I am *courtesy*, I went and what a waste of time and energy. I never met an incompetent Dr as this, he discharged me knowing I left with some pulmonary stuff and he didn't listen to my chest or breathing or anything at all. He just asked if I had cough and I said yes and he prescribed cough syrup for me saying they'll see me in two weeks told him they'll see me when I'm ready! I was angry but it didn't matter (I didn't know any better) so I just told myself I was going to Abuja to recuperate at home with family; cool weather, love and laughter! But was I wrong!

I traveled on Thursday 28th April and was already starting to enjoy my break when on Sunday May 1st, I began experiencing pains on both shins and waist from 02:00hrs along with fever and headache. I took all my analgesics, covered up praying for relief before dawn. But by 4am it became obvious that I needed a little more than home remedy and oral analgesics but I had to endure till daybreak. Mama AA applied hot water bottle and massaged parts of my body that ached throughout the entire time of waiting. Finally we left for the hospital by 06:00hrs with Noorah. Here we go; first we went to Peacecare Clinics  (PCC) located at Third Avenue in Gwarinpa but unfortunately for me, the care was not enough to stop my agony so by early afternoon, I had to be referred to The National Hospital, Abuja for a more intensive treatment. The Dr there (PCC) and I had a good healthy exchange of words; he came in right in the middle of my babbles, Dua and tears and started in a very loud voice, almost yell-like in fact I pass it for shouting! Telling me he knows how I feel and I told him he didn't and he says 
Dr: Yes I do know how you feel, you know why? 
Me: *in head* he's going to say he's a sickle cell pt 
Dr: ... I am also a sickle cell pt
Me: That's a lie and stop saying it cos I don't believe you
Dr: Okay, let me tell you something
Me: Then stop shouting at me or else I'm not interested
Dr: You stop crying! 
Me: Is that how you were trained in med school? To shout at your pt? I'm not interested in anything you have to say
Dr: Just stop crying! 
Me: Is that how you were trained in med school? Just leave me alone! 
And he realized I really wasn't going to listen to him! So he kept quiet and said he was sorry then asked again more quietly if I was ready to listen, told him to knock himself out after all I was in his office! I tell you, if you don't have a "fight" with your Dr, then you're not really sick or you're unconscious or dead! *smug grin* By the way, there should still be that little respect and must try to never lose temper completely! So anyways, it took all my reserved energy to have that argument, mind you I was dying from agonizing heart-wrenching pain. He suggested I try to stretch my legs and arms as far as possible and then breathe in and out as deeply as I could then rest to which I responded "That's what I've been doing for the past 3 hours!" and he suggested the use of ice over the areas that ache and I've absolutely forgotten the reason he gave! Well, after spending the entire morning and first part of the afternoon there given pentazocine in probably the highest doses ever given to me legally, and bags of IV fluid with no improvement at all, he decided to referrer me to National Hospital, Abuja (NHA) for more intensive treatment and he promised to check on me! I know, he's so sweet! Well what can I say, he knows better! *swishes veil* On the referral letter, from what I remember, he wrote all the treatment that I had been given and what exactly I needed paramount to any other further treatment which were oxygen and a bloody strong analgesic!

I was ready to burn down the NHA emergency building due to very slow response for just a wheelchair seeing as I could barely walk by then, both legs felt like lead being scraped and were wobbly as new born giraffes learning to stand! Finally I got one and was wheeled into the consulting room of the most nonchalant, hopeless and ineffective medical doctor in my history of meeting medical doctors! My sister's Noorah and Zara who were with me seems were thinking the same thing as me...We wanted to slam him into the walls of the consulting room! He sat looking at us so stupidly with one ankle crossed over a knee and a hand under his chin as if we came in to waste his time. Zara handed him the referral letter but he still asked "What is wrong with you now?" Couldn't he hear my voice trembling or see how difficult it was for me breathing and talking or how pale I had become by that time or how wobbly my legs were when he made me stand from the wheel chair to lay on the bed and then stand again or how I had to beg my sisters to lift me up gently before I could stand and support me before I could sit or lay down. Most importantly didn't he read the letter in his hand????? Zara had to call Mama AA to tell her the type of treatment I was getting and how my condition was getting worse by the second so Mama called someone (Professor) they know who before the blink of an eye had appeared in the consulting room and began querying the lousy dr-wanna-be on why after reading the letter I was still not attended to, oxygen was written as a priority so he should have put me on it first and given me an analgesic to calm me. You know, if I wasn't already beginning to step into the realm of the unconscious I would have gloated and maybe said a few words of mine. He was visibly upset because I heard him telling either Noorah or Zara that there was no need to call anyone, he was already attending to us! *snorts* attending to us indeed! Anyways after that I was wheeled into one of the A&E rooms, I don't remember much of anything again, except when I began to comprehend happenings around me, it was Thursday. Somehow I was dead sometime from Sunday till Thursday! Allah is Great! Alhamdulillah!


When I woke up I had a pink bed-cover from home covering me I was not wearing trousers or skirt or panties or bra just a batik looking tank top and I had on my right inner thigh some kind of short rubber tube which I didn't ask what it was or why it was there and a big white bandage with white-ish plastic-like plaster holding it down to my skin. I had a blue cannula on my right hand and an oxygen tube inserted into my nose and adjusted round my ears and neck. I had a urinary catheter attached to me as well. Of all the attachable I hate urinary catheter the most, it is just so discomforting but I couldn't ask for it to be taken out just yet for I couldn't support myself to sit, let alone stand or walk I needed help for all that and everything else. When I woke up, I saw my love, Zara, first. She was standing and smiling at me. Then in came aunties and some other person I can't remember whom. They had gotten me a carton of Ribena and water; according to them, those were the only things I agreed to take and chocolate drink too. I really don't remember that. Opening my eyes to see them filled my heart with so much joy. Y'all know what, when I was in the unconscious realm I would open my eyes to see a couple of family members, wave at them then shut my eyes again only to open it and see another set of family members and even though they all really came and according to them I looked at them for a while and slept back, to me it was all a "dream" and it was lovely! Later that Thursday, my Dr's said I would need to be transfused with a minimum of 5 pints with exchanges to reduce the amount of sickled RBCs and I was told I'd be transferred to the female medical ward (FMW) in the evening; I had spent over 24hrs in Emergency and the rule is maximum of 24hrs but my condition was so critical they made an exception for me so I could be under constant observation. I was given analgesics regularly, from oral to suppositories to injections to IVs, I was flooded with drugs, after all, I was in a hospital. Oh and there was antibiotics too, necessary cos I had some sort of pulmonary infection as well, but that was since from AKTH where I was just given cough syrup to take, remember?!


Did I mention I later found out that even though  I was brought in for severe VOC I was officially admitted for Anemic Heart Failure?! Imagine that! I always felt sure that my heart would never give into any bullying disease because I have been blessed with so great and powerful a heart but that doesn't mean I ever doubted the power of Allah to inflict me with any form of ailment in any part of my body at anytime of my life! Now I have no doubt that He created the strongest part of me my heart and I can never ever be thankful enough to Him or Praise His Greatness and Mercy over me enough! I had about 5-6 blood transfusion, I reeked of packed blood cells *yuck* and itched uncontrollably; partly from the blood and partly the analgesics. But, before I was transferred to the FMW, a new IV line had to be set and it was decided that it would be a central line which has lesser chances of tissuing or getting blocked like normal veins esp mine which requires flushing every now and then and tissues very fast causing me pain during flows then ultimately is changed. Cannulating me is not a small issue, Dr's were running away from the job in AKTH (it was funny, still is). The femoral catheterization was agreed upon (either that or jugular). *Pause* *rewind to when I mentioned a  protruding white-ish rubber being held onto my right inner thigh by white plaster* STOP! The white-ish tube turns out to be a femoral cannula set how extraordinary...not really! Lol! The first time it was fixed, I was in my unconscious state which made me not know how painful and tedious a process it is which also made me pull it out by steadily scratching the place! Why didn't they tie my hands up after the first cannulation??? *wailing* Anyways it had to be done again, on my left leg this time. Three Dr's were present, the two who were going to do the catheterization or cannulation and the hematologist lady (I should find out her name) who was seeing me, she is my favorite Dr! Kept calling me Aisha and was sweet and kind to me, she offered to hold my hands and let me squeeze them as hard as I could when I felt pain while they inserted it. Painful, most, excruciating process that was ever invented for the living patient! I still feel slight pain so I walk gently because of it. But the upside is no matter how painful the injection that's going to be passed through it is, you'll never ever feel the pain and all blood samples could be taken from there, transfusion and blood exchange also through there, in fact, all IV stuff happens through there! Pretty cool stuff! *wink and thumbs up*And then a nurse came about and tried to do her village thing! 

ATTENTION: The patient always pays attention to what is being done to them not because most of them want to but because it's the only thing that's interesting being done to them. So they know, most of the time, the right technique in carrying out a process! Plus a few Dr's actually take the time to explain what they're doing and why they're using that system.

As I was typing, she tried giving my antibiotic without first flushing my line with the heparinized normal saline solution and when I told her she had to flush first she became angry! Look here lady, I'm not about to lose my limb over your stupidity and that's the way the Dr's have been giving me my meds and stuff; flush, do the deed and flush again! But she wouldn't listen and it hurt! I screamed because it felt like a needle was being stuck right into my joint!  A new IV line had to be set on my right thumb and that hurt too! You know what, at that point in time even looking at me hurt my body, does anyone understand that?! 


I seem to remember a few things that might have happened while I was in my unconscious state, it could be wrong that's why I used 'might'. The hematology lady came to ask a few questions with some other Dr's and even though it's not clear, I remember her asking me about my transfusion history and I remember saying I was transfused after my lap cholecystectomy surgery just a pint and she asked before that time but I couldn't remember any other time except that of when I was 7yo and even though she kept calling me Aisha, I just couldn't remember that I had two after I gave birth and numerous bags during pregnancy. Actually, I had no idea I was ever married, pregnant and have a 6yo going on 7yo daughter named AISHA! It all slipped my mind and what makes me sad is that she called me Aisha but it still didn't make any difference to me. I was confused and scared and it seems it showed in my eyes and all over my face "I don't remember any other transfusion", I said quietly. She asked if I knew where I was and who brought me but all I said was "I had crises by 2 and in the morning we went to the hospital and I came with my sisters..." and I got hooked on the words "my sisters" because I didn't know what happened to them or me! I was scared and she saw it and comforted me saying not to worry its normal and very soon I will remember everything I just needed to rest and that I had done well that day. I nodded my head and drifted back to sleep. I was told by one of my sisters, Hanee, on one of days they came to visit and brought food for me, after sitting me upright with support I started eating when all of sudden the spoon and food on it were hanging mid-air in front of my mouth and when they looked at me, I was fast asleep! Another time I was awake but asleep and Zara asked me if I wanted to drink water, I nodded  my head then she asked if I wanted Ribena instead still a nod, okay how about a small cup of hot cocoa drink? Yup, another nod of my head. Hanee and I were almost rolling on the floor cos of laughter but she said "it wasn't funny then, it was very sad and pathetic cos it seems all your answers were just going to be a nod of your head." May Allah help those who have lost their memory ameen. I remember winking at a male nurse after he inserted a diclofenac suppository for me because he promised to give me pentazocine injection. I was already high on morphine I dunno why I still asked for penta and I am so very embarrassed if I ever see him I will run the other way! But to be fair, I was really in pain that particular day, I think I removed my oxygen tube for a long while so it kinda affected me. Not my fault :'( I was tired of all the things poking me in almost all parts of my body. So I guess that's just about what I can personally remember and two stories from my sister.


At last, Thursday 5th May, 22:30hrs I was moved to FMW, a double room with its own bathroom/toilet and air-condition. There was a patient in there already but they left the very next day very early in the morning and I didn't know the AC was working :'( whatever! I was still on oxygen without it my SpO2 would drop drastically to 79% or 80something%. See this life, oxygen is free and everywhere all we have to do is breathe in atmospheric air while our lungs filter the oxygen we need out of it, I was getting mine out of a cylinder and tubes. Sometimes I would imagine an idiot who "accidentally" takes a smoke near me and my oxygen and we'd  all blow-up! I have to stop watching movies and shows </3. Alhamdulillah nothing of that sort happened and in shaa Allah I pray it never does. So, oxygen, many humans don't realize or appreciate how very great a deal it is for their noses down to the tiniest RBC which transports the oxygen to be fully functional and that the RBCs are intact and can take the required amount without any hassle. Enough emotional stuff, later that night I wished, just a bit, that I could be back in the A/E where the Dr's were seriously regularly checking on me and I could easily get the attention of a nurse. Yes, I knowwwww I love attention a lot but most especially when I'm really sick! Really, who doesn't, even while healthy and well? Oh well, nothing lasts forever and I had my first transfusion just before was taken up and then another when I got up then the left side of my chest started aching and the Dr on call said I should take a break so I don't stress my heart and to make sure the chest pain had nothing to do with the transfusion. I slept okay but the bed is so not comfy even though I had it at cardiac position ie the place where my head and torso would be were elevated higher than the rest of the bed. I started moving gradually when we got upstairs and I gave myself a bath and changed my tank top to a black camisole, I brushed my teeth as well and then I pooped too :D and in the process I tried to pee, not planned or intentional, and by Allah it was a nightmare! Painful and blood stained urine! I just thought to myself I have ruined my urethra let's hope it's not serious. I observed the urine bag and the catheter transported urine as usual with no blood stain in it, Alhamdulillah. I asked them to please remove the catheter and they asked if I can move without support  I  said yes I could so either Saturday or Sunday, it was taken out and with a bit of force by the nurse, for it really hurt me. The piece that was inside looked shrunken and kinda worn-out. It spent a very long time inside without change. I'm going to check if there's a time limit for this cos its kinda dangerous, one can easily get infected that way. When I wore my under pants I would feel something warm dropping out of me so I checked with tissue and saw it was blood. Oh dear Lord! How? Why? But I didn't say anything just yet, maybe it would stop. But it didn't and the worst part was it had a smell and my lower abdomen and urethra hurt a great deal while peeing I became very worried over it and concluded but prayed that it should not be VVF!  Even when I was being discharged and  asked any problem, I said no! Yes please, you're allowed to scold me now but don't yell or shout because I will cry and you will wish you hadn't *straight face*


On the morning of the day I was to be discharged, Monday 9th May, 2016, my femoral cannula fell off while I was leaving the bathroom after having a sponge bath. It just dropped right there close to the toilet and I started bleeding, serious bleeding, all I could think was, "instead of slitting the wrist people should try slitting their femoral vein or whatever it is because all this blood being lost from just the tiny opening of a cannula imagine how much faster the person will lose blood from a slit!" Okay lady, you're losing blood that you need so zone back here and do something; but I couldn't, I was watching my flowing blood form a pool at the base of my left foot and it seems I was in shock but thank God for the cleaner who was in the room and quickly told my neighbor to call for the nurse. Lucky for us the nurse came as fast as I have never ever experienced and she put cotton wool on on it applying pressure on the opening and leading me to my bed. The cleaning lady cleaned me up with my wet cloth and soaked it for me then then moped up the floor. The nurse got out more cotton wool from her pocket put it on the opening and continued applying pressure and it was freaking painful then she raised the leg level high too so that blood won't flow down in excess. Well that was some dramatic series*wipes sweat and finally shuts mouth* we should have more bloody accidents in the hospital *innocent smile*.  I slept after that till the first Dr's came in, medical team and then an hour or less later, the hematology team came up and I was cleared to go and return for follow up the following week on Thursday. 

I love all the haematologist who attended to me, they didn't stress me and they treated me like a patient deserves to be treated!

I still experienced fever at night which after my search on-line turned out to be caused by the urinary tract infection I mentioned earlier and when I told the Dr on my follow-up he said the same thing. I had severe bone aches; from tiniest joint to the longest bone hurt and I could only lay in bed and sleep, had very poor appetite; I'd start eating 4 pieces of poatoes by noon and still wouldn't be none by 18:00hrs, weight was about 43KG and I was in a very dark and exhausting place for a very long time. Now only a few parts of my bones ache; right arm and ribs, I can climb up and down the stairs without wobbling or using help, I've even started running my errands, I feel hungry and eat more, my memory gets better daily (still sucky, it naturally was) and I have been able to compose and type down my stories but I still get tired when I try to do too many things at a time. Although I'm far behind at work and school but I'll take my time and trust in Him who spared my heart and life.


FOLLOW-UP: It was the long stay of the catheter and the forceful pull that injured me a bit but I was still given urine mcs (microscopy culture and sensitivity) test to carry out and the result showed no growth. I was given Augmentin, Vitamin C and advised to take cranberry juice (highly rich in Vitamin C) so my urethra can heal and to also drink lots of water for when I'm dehydrated and go to urinate it'll cause me so much pain (very true). Still on my analgesics and routine drugs and to return for a second followup on 31st May.

Y'all stay safe, happy and be very health conscious. Thank you 

BED 26, FEMALE SURGICAL WARD

The plan was to spend a maximum of 4 days in the hospital pre and post surgery. See, I was to have a laparoscopic cholecystectomy which simply means the removal of the gall bladder without being cut open. But I spent 8 days! And I was very mad I had to. I hate hospitals, surgeons, doctors, nurses and patients as ironic as it may seem! I was never gladder being discharged from a ward like this time around. After giving birth to my daughter and really getting the best post-op care, I was so confident it was going to be the same process and care but I was very, very wrong I have never been wronger about anything health wise in my life!


Tuesday 19th April, 2016, was the date set for my surgery but I was to come in for official admission on Monday 18th. I came in the morning hours for their surgery clinic which takes place on Mondays at the Specialty Annex and it was a very long tiring day; before I could get my file (I still don't see why non-hospital staff patients can't go home with their files?! I believe they'll be more careful and with it and it'll cause less commotion during next appointment). But God sent me Dr S who did just about all the pre-admission process for me saving me a lot of stress which I didn't need pre-op! Later that evening I arrived with my trolley, carton of water and a 'basket' filled with plates, food flasks, water thermos, spoons etc... Left to me I wouldn't have bothered about that aspect but the lady, my colleague at work, Madame A who offered to stay with me (patient-relative) said I would need them. Women just like load *hides face* Madame A came in a few hours after I had with her own load too (LMAO) but was told by the nurses and matron that I wouldn't need anyone on the first night since no surgery was done and I wouldn't be needing anything I can't get myself. Oh well, it's their hospital, their rules so she stayed till nightfall promising to return very early the next day. We were told that I would be taken in first, we were two scheduled for surgery that day, and so by 08:00hrs I was to be wheeled onto the theatre. Madame A came pretty early as promised, to help me get ready but I had already cleaned up and was generally ready; no jewelries, hair neatly made, no metals anywhere on or in my body... I've had surgery before, I know the drill *winks* Oh yeah, the Dr's came in at night to question me, you know: if I have allergies and other relevant questions so as to know the drugs they would use on me and I told them everything: an ulcer patient, react to tramadol, don't use NSAIDs, of course a sickle cell pt, had surgery once; CS, was transfused after it, two pints and before that was transfused so many times during pregnancy and transfused the first time at 7yo, was addicted to pentazocine and I don't really react to it or morphine...phew *inhales & exhales* I feel like I wrote all that in one breath LOL! Well, they said that was very comprehensive information and I should get some rest before the next day. But after all had gone and till about 02:30hrs I couldn't sleep and so I entertained myself by watching movies and series on my laptop.

I almost forgot, I was placed on Bed 26, located in the first cubicle on your left when you enter and pass the Amenity rooms, Nurses station etc of Female Surgical Ward. There are 6 beds in that cubicle, Beds 25, 26, 27 to the right and Beds 28, 29 and 30 to the left. Bed 25 had a pediatric (2-3yo) female whom I heard drank poison and so had surgery, her plaster was on her neck and over her stomach. Bed 26 had me. Bed 27 had another pediatric (16yo) female who had been in there for 6 months came in with burns but was considerably healing only problem was, according to stories, when she was told she'd be discharged soon she stopped moving around and out of bed, stayed in a position that had her knee angles at 90° and as the days went by she kept healing and then got 'stuck', couldn't move her legs again. So while I was there her Dr's came by and said she would need to undergo a surgery that would release the tendons to help her move again. Her mother had to beg for assistance, a lot of money needed. Then bed 28 was empty till my third day when an old Fulani-like lady was brought in she had surgery done on her throat region, was told what it was, can't recall. Bed 29 had an Igbo lady, very kind, who seems to also have been in hospital for long, she told us a Calabar woman poured acid on her because she (the pt) asked for her money from her (Calabar lady). Her husband came in everyday, he's a soldier in the Nigerian Army and they lived somewhere down East in a cantonment where it happened. She said the other woman was locked in jail for life and her husband was to be dismissed from his position in the Army but she asked her husband not to bring him into the case for after the mother goes, the kids will have no one to take care of them! But, Alhamdulillah, like I mentioned earlier, she was healing well and had even started physiotherapy sessions for her arms *clapping at her progress*! Final Bed, 30 had the second lady that had her surgery same day as I did. Her CS site reopened or something like that and so she had to be re-stitched back. She was discharged on Saturday! *me wailing* Those were my cubicle tam *Does the cheer-leader stuff* Of course there are several other cubicles which contained different patients with different cases; RTA victims, Domestic accidents such as burns and the rest...I was anti-patients so I didn't interact with anyone! 


When Madame A came the next day,  she began to get bored of waiting for it seems somehow the minds of the Dr's changed and the other lady was taken in first. I was upset, it would have been kind of them to inform us of the change of plans *rme*! Since I didn't sleep much at night and nothing inspiring to do,  I slept back. By 10:20hrs, I was woken up to change into the theatre gown and I had to look for Madame A so she could know I was going in, had to call her and give my mobile to the nurse who escorted me. I hate such confusion! I hate it! To be honest, I was a bit angry and it made my heart beat faster. We got into the theatre 10:40hrs and the place was so cool and quiet, I wouldn't have minded staying in there forever!!! By and by,  after asking me some questions, again, if I had artificial teeth or crown, if I was I scared...I laughed, how could I be scared at that point in time? Then finally I was told to move from the wheelchair before the line to the cart across the line and then I can't remember if I was moved again...I should apologize at this point, I can't seem to remember a whole lot of things after I fell ill and became unconscious at The National Hospital, Abuja. A lot of things are not clear again! I'm really sorry.  Anyways, there I was on the operating table looking around me, enjoying the cold and quiet, with my pulse, heart rate and SpO2 being checked, injections being prepared, IV line being set (those guys should be given awards for setting lines effortlessly and with a green cannula!) Dr. T came in and asked me "Fati when will you be returning to my OR?" Now that I think of it, I think he was codedly asking me when I intended to wake up after anaesthesia bl I remember my BP being 117/85 and one of the Dr's teasing me. He was standing over my head with the face mask I knew what his job was but I didn't know which Dua to perform, I just said all and any that came to mind and I checked the time, it was 11:00hrs. This is it, Ya Allah, I said as the Dr on my left began injecting and he got to a whitish looking injection and said codedly to the gas mask man to be set I checked the time again, it was 11:03hrs!


"Fatima, Fatima how are you?" I opened my eyes a bit and saw Dr T, the head surgeon standing over me and said to him "Both my shoulders are aching. I dunno if it's crises" and I think he tried explaining what was causing the pain, something about air having gone above my diaphragm and something, something else "oh my God, my shoulders are aching" I kept moaning in between sleeping and trying to stay awake. Then he gave me pethidine, yes I know because he told me he's going to give me pethidine to help with the pain so I remember that! Anything that helps with pain I do not forget! A couple of hours later I was being told by an annoying man who kept interrupting my sleep to close my mouth I remember telling him "My mouth is open because I'm thirsty and I want to drink water!" then going back to sleep. I was taken to the FSW not too happy about that for the ward was hot and noisy and I just wanted cool and quiet! I have nothing interesting to tell you dear readers about my first 24hrs post-op just the parts that piss a patient off like how no surgeon came to check on me the 1st 24hrs, how no haematologist came either and how without me eating,  the Dr decided to give diclofenac after I specifically told them I have ulcer, how I had to keep calling a consultant I know to call any surgeon to come and attend to me because any Dr I called said "I'm not your team Dr" oh I'm happy to say, I said the same thing to another Dr, he was getting on my nerves so I told him to get away he's not my team dr! All Dr's that heard said that was not a very nice thing I did. Yeah but it's nice when a Dr does it to a patient. I get the whole "brother's keepers" things, after all we're just patients, one dies, ten more come in so the patient is not important!

Finally a consult was sent to the hematology department when I started having fever at night, crises and headaches from Thursday after I was cleared to be discharged on Friday by the surgeon. And I assumed things couldn't get any worse, I need to accept the negative vibes Nigerian Hospitals and staff send out. It took them a long time to show up but they did and I was very happy and proudly told Madame A, "My people have come, they will know what to do!" LMAO (accept the negative vibes). I'm not sure I want to write anything about them except I told them "Baku yi ba!" (You people are NOT it!) Why is Fati so rude to persons who are trying to help her? Some of you could be asking. Here's my answer: Honesty and truth usually present themselves in form of rudeness! I had four more night's of fever, headache and crises. Was transfused once when my PCV dropped to 18% and after transfusion no one bothered to check it again. I really wanted to go home, I was tired of their mess and I put my foot down on Monday 25th April, 2016 I was going home I couldn't bare the ward and all the screams at night and very nonchalant attitude of the Dr's. I had enough! That's when the hematology team decided I wasn't fully cleared to go home my X-Ray showed some pulmonary whatever infection and they needed me to be under their observation. Excuse me dear readers while I scream WHAT A LOAD OF TRASH! I WANT TO GO HOME! ALL THESE DAYS AND NO ONE PAID ATTENTION TO ME EXCEPT I CALLED SOMEONE TO CALL SOMEONE TO CALL THE TEAM AND NOW YOU WANT ME UNDER OBSERVATION? OBSERVE MY EXIT, IF YOU PLEASE!

Still took my appointment to see them on Wednesday! I'm a good patient, never forget it!!!!!


Thanks for your patience dear readers! I hope to 'see' y'all in my next hospital series *winks