When doctors tell you they have to cut your perfectly beautiful skin, how would you feel or react?
I couldn’t sit that at work that fateful Friday evening. I was feeling pains at the left side of my stomach. I had been experiencing this for quite some time now but this, this is quite unbearable. The pain made me feel like giving up the ghost. But I didn’t want die, at least not now. I haven’t given birth, I haven’t achieved my purpose in life. No! No! I mustn’t die, not yet!
I ran outside my workplace, feeling nauseous and ready to throw up. I began vomiting the rice I had managed to eat that evening. It had been quite a busy day for me. Passersby were concerned; even I felt alarmed. I am hardly ever sick. “I don’t know what is wrong with me” I replied.
Or am I with child? But it’s not possible. I started thinking of pregnancy signs and symptoms — Vomiting? Check, Stomach pain? Check, bitter mouth? Check. Well at least those were the signs I knew and all of them checked.
I am just going to bear the pain and try living through the day, maybe by tomorrow, the pain would subside.
Saturday morning the pain was still obviously evident but was better. I went to work and took some drugs and felt a bit better. Phew! What a relief! I did some work at work and went home late at night.
I woke up 3:00am Sunday morning with pains; excruciating pains and when I couldn’t bear it any longer, I started crying and calling for help. Trust my sisters, they came running towards my bed asking “what is it?” “My tummy hurts” I replied.
They gave me analgesics to relieve my temperature and called a family doctor on the phone who said she wasn’t at home. She gave us her diagnosis and gave us a resident doctor’s phone number who fortunately was a neighbour. To my relief he knocked at the door.
Despite my being naked (due to constantly rolling on the floor), I wasn’t ashamed; I just wanted to feel better. He asked us to carry an abdominal scan the next morning.
I was like the next morning? Won’t I die from this pain. I encouraged myself that I wasn’t ready to die. No! Hell no! I’m too small to give up the ghost
The following morning, we headed to the nearest hospital. After registration and exchange of pleasantries with the doctor, he said I had a ruptured appendicitis.
Ruptured appendicitis? What does that even mean? Is that anything? Is it something I’m going to recover from?
To cut the story short, he said that I would have to be operated upon. The thought of having my skin dissected gave me the bumps.
Wasn’t there another way? I mean I’m a typist and I sit most times, does that mean I would be unable to sit? Would my skin heal because the operation was to carried out inside my stomach -no more bikinis? Ughhhh
They said there was no other way. Do I have a choice? Face the blades or die! What a dilemma! We couldn’t perform the operation at that particular hospital because their initial deposit was too high and the surgery expenses was excluded. We had no such money therefore I was referred to a military hospital and scheduled for an operation.
This was when I knew Nigeria had to improve on their medical services. The doctor who was scheduled to operate on me on Monday was missing in action (MIA).
I spent the night on a drip and in pains (the first time I was ever admitted in any hospital since my birth). I kept tossing and turning; truthfully speaking, I never knew I would survive the pain. Infact that was when I knew I was a survivor! When the pain worsened, my temperatures hit the road and the hospital admin were forced to refer me to another military hospital. I was carried in an ambulance and driver drove all the way down to the hospital on speed.
SORRY, YOU’RE TOO CHUBBY!
I was admitted and the doctors said they would have to carry out another test on me so they would need to draw my blood.
Again? Whatever happened to the tests conducted in the other hospital? I can’t have my skin pierced again and again. It hurts already!!!
Oh shut up Favour, do you have a choice? They tried drawing blood from my hand and said they couldn’t find a nerve; that I was too chubby! They said they would have to draw blood from my thigh (the skin close to my vagina). Already I was being a cry baby; never knew the pain was just beginning. They inserted the syringe and I kept on shouting and shouting; my screams could be heard all over the hospital. The pain was like “just die because you can’t survive this” and at last no blood, just a little.
SERIOUSLY? A TUBE IN MY NOSE?
They told me to inhale a tube forcefully. They were pushing it down my nostrils. It was too painful; how is it even possible to swallow a tube this big. The doctor, short and plumpy was asking me to do it. I tried but was just crying and after it was forced down my nose, I just kept on throwing up. I couldn’t breathe and felt like pulling it out. Obviously these people were hell bent on killing my ego.
They said they would begin the operation immediately and I was shaved and cleaned, ready to be wheeled into the operating theatre.
I could remember being pushed in a stretcher into the elevator. I could hear the elevator jingling as we reached the floor. I remember seeing the matron undressing and prepping me up for the procedure. She is calling me sweet names and allaying my fears. She is telling my family “Favour is a good and strong girl”.
What does she think I am? A baby? It won’t be alright. I’ve never been to the hospital all my life and the first time ends up being an operation! Isn’t this too much for me to handle?
I remember her wheeling me to the Theatre and telling my family to wait outside; I remember my heart beating, wondering if I would survive. I remember praying and asking God to give the Surgeons the wisdom to perform the operation and not allowing them forget any tool/instrument in my stomach like I had heard they do.
I was wheeled into a cold room where I could only hear machines beeping. I saw people with their faces covered, surrounding me. I looked around and saw “big machines looking like mainframe computers”, a woman is looking at me now (probably an anaesthetist). I could see the extra flesh on her hands because she was undeniably fat. She is telling me to count down to 20. I’m foolishly counting down and everything around me slowly faded away into oblivion.
I woke up to a blur, could hear me being wheeled again, carried and placed on something (I don’t know what it is and truly I didn’t care). I couldn’t feel anything, everything was hazy and smudged. I could see my brother and my sisters. They are jokingly abusing me. My brother says “She can’t hear us” but I can hear them. I wanted to speak to them but couldn’t open my mouth. I wanted to touch them but couldn’t move my body. I began to cry, I know this because I could feel tears dropping on my cheeks. Everything blacks out again.
AFTER OPERATION; RECUPERATION
I woke up the next afternoon and everybody surrounded me, asking how I felt. A tube was passed from my vagina for urine. The tube still hurt my nose making it impossible to still breath. The nurse came announcing it was time for my routine injection. I hated injections but was left with no choice. Injection which I dreaded so much became my best friend.
When the doctors came for ward rounds and asked me how I felt, I would tell them I was not fine, and to make me feel they just needed to remove the tube from my nose. They said it would still be there; it was serving a function, they reiterated. I checked my stomach it was stitched ‘carelessly’ and as if the damage was not enough, a hole was drilled by the side of my stomach to allow entry for a tube (to seep out pus) and I was placed on oxygen.
Finally it was time for all these baggage to be removed. I took my first step early, graduated from Nil Per Oral (NPO) to light liquids and took my first steps early. Doctors were amazed that I could walk just two weeks after the operation. I was discharged and couldn’t wait to get to the home I was never appreciative of. Home sweet home, there was truly no place like home! I went back to work after two weeks and sat only for a few hours, took lot of walks, watched my diet, had numerous diarrhea because my stomach was still recovering, took uncountable drugs and went for regular checkups which I hated.
As I throw my mind back to the past, a scar on my stomach leaves a constant reminder that I’m a survivor and ever will be. If the injections, incisions, drugs and tubes couldn’t kill me, nothing can kill me.
As I look at the pictures taken of me during admission in the hospital, I come to understand that this world we kill ourselves for, is nothing at all but vanity. I mean look at me above-all swollen, nothing but dust! Why then do we do hurtful things to one another.
If you feel touched by my life encounter/story, please hit the love button to recommend my story #reallifeexperience
Are satisfied with level of care in your country? if not, what do you really think should be done about this?