The hospital is one of the places where we get to see the sufferings and seemingly hopeless situations of people. We get to see bizarre health conditions, unimaginable pain and grief.
During my third year in the university, I got to spend few weeks with my parents in the hospital, my father was in dire need of medical attention.
I saw things, and I learnt too. “You think your case is the worst till you see what others are going through.”
We stayed in the male ward, my father’s bed was close to the window so I could view the beautiful scenery of the hospital. I found it quite thoughtful that there were in fact more female than male in the male ward. The males were the patients of course, accompanied by wives, daughters, daughters in law, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, fiancees, in general I call them caregivers. By day the caregivers including my mother and I soothed, cooked for, fed, attended to hospital runs(bills payments and the sort), and other necessary chores, by night, we slept on the benches, floor or any available bed space if a patient was discharged.
Some patients were still critically ill, some were still there because they couldn’t pay their bills, some had no hope of recovery, some died too.
One day while I was clearing out my father’s lunch, a man and a woman walked in, they looked like very important people and they seemed healthy too, the man had a commanding voice. I assumed they doctors on ward rounds or perhaps visitors. My curiosity grew when one of the nurses on duty assigned the man to the bed next to us, with a big smile I greeted quickly, they responded nicely and exchanged greetings with my parents, my father was dozing off already but my mother was as curious as I was. While my mother went outside to do some laundry, my curiosity made me stay back to watch our new neighbors unpack, they settled in as though they just checked into a hotel room and they were friendly too, the woman said I looked like their second daughter and I blushed, I even helped them fetch a gallon of water. They chatted on in their native dialect which made no sense to me, so I quickly concluded that the whatever was wrong the man would be minor and I resigned to reading a novel on my phone.
Some minutes later, I observed the woman taking out some cutlery (a small funnel, measurement spoons and small white plates) from a small transparent plastic bucket, the type used to sterilize baby feeders. She poured out some akamu (pap) from a flask into one of the plates, measured some milk into it and stirred, it was quite watery, just like baby food, but then, there was no baby. The man lay on his back, propped up against a pillow, then his wife carefully unbuttoned his shirt, the whole of the abdominal area below his chest was covered in plasters and cotton wool, a transparent pipe emerged from the beneath the plasters. She inserted the small funnel into the pipe and poured in the akamu very slowly, after feeding him, she also gave him water through the pipe. They kept talking throughout the process.
When my mother returned, she got talking with the man’s wife and we got to know that nothing could pass through his throat, not even water, not even saliva. The tube through which she fed him was connected directly to his stomach, they had been managing the situation at home but he developed a cough, some of the stitches on his abdomen ruptured during a violent cough. I felt really terrible, I just couldn’t imagine how one could eat without tasting the food, or how water could quench thirst without passing through the throat.
It really got me thinking, seeing the man walk in, I would never have guessed that he was sick at all. There are probably people with difficult conditions everywhere, we ought to be kinder to people.A bad thought flashed through my mind, what if he got into an argument with someone and the person punched him, I quickly dismissed the thought. I remember my mother telling her sister over the phone “the clothes people wear hide a lot”.
This is just one of the many terrible cases I saw in the hospital, of course there were worse cases, the day I visited the children’s ward, I could not keep back my tears.
I was moved to share this post because sometimes, we underestimate the miracle of good health. Staying in that hospital taught me gratitude, some people cannot live normal lives, some don’t have the privilege of taking and uploading fine pictures, some don’t have the privilege of eating what they want, some don’t have the privilege of getting an education because their health wouldn’t permit, some don’t have the privilege of sight, some people don’t have the privilege of bathing themselves or using the toilet themselves, some people are fully dependent on others for everything, some adult wear pampers, some people have gone bankrupt because they’ve spent all they have paying bills and yet did not get solution, some people have become debtors because they have had to borrow to pay bills, some people are afraid of sleeping for the fear of not waking up by dawn, some people cant even afford to care about looking good or clothes or birthday photo shoots or social media, I could go on and on.
Really, we should be grateful each day that we step out of our homes and return. We should also reach out, if you have family or loved ones who are in the hospital, a call or message could make their day and strengthen them. My family members and my father’s friends deserve accolades in this regard, they kept in touch, he was mostly busy on the phone, chatting and laughing, not that my mother and I couldn’t do the job, but that helped to take his mind off his situation, and he got better quickly. Another way to help those in the hospitals is to send cash gifts if you can afford to, a lot of spending goes on in the hospital, some patients have no hope of getting money. During my service year, I got involved with a charity movement ‘Mummy PJ and Friends’. After one of our meetings one day, we put money together and went to the Federal Medical Center. The money wasn’t so much but it was enough to get some medicine and other supplies for a child in the children’s ward, the smile on the face of the child’s mother was pure.
Dear reader, thanks for stopping by, always be grateful for health, and if you can, reach out to those in the hospital. Have a great week, see you soon.