Thursday, 22 September 2016

Hospital: Testimonies and phlebotomies

Knowing me well
I have learnt to take my medical situation in my stride. From a time when wanted no knowledge of what I might have acquired through the indifference about it might be, the denial at what might be happening to me and the concern that I might be tethered to some palliative unsure of how it might well end.
Seven years ago, after a visit to my doctor, a referral and another referral, I left home with a change of underwear with my partner to attend a hospital appointment.
Within the hour of seeing the consultant, I was in a hospital bed and there for another 18 nights and with that came a seriously life-threatening cancer diagnosis and an interest in understanding what was happening to me.
Beyond medicine
Intravenous drips, pills, patches, phlebotomies, biopsies and chemotherapies later, I settled into a quarterly visit to the hospital for check-ups monitoring my health through the tale in the bloods, the clues not a few about where I was and how I was doing.
I regularly looked forward to these visits, no more out of angst or concern, but in anticipation of better indicators and that ever glowing compliment about how well I was turned out.
Besides, the conversation always moved beyond the minutiae of medical matters to life in general, interesting repartee and learning more of each other, our interests, our engagements, and much else.
Parting with routine
Yesterday was no different, I had seen literally all consultants in that department and this time I was back to see the main man, to think he was a registrar some 34 years ago, considering I am just coming to 28 years in my field of expertise. He spent 3 years being a doctor in the Apartheid era, Republic of Transkei, an exposure to a system that demanded much beyond his medical prowess.
Then he refilled my prescription for another six months, allayed my concerns about my once unusually high blood pressure before sending me off to the phlebotomist who might have attached a hose to my carotid artery than seek a vein in my upper arm. Six vials later, I was released from service to the vampire’s convention, it could have been seven, but two of the blood tests could be done off the contents of one vial. How forgiving and considerate.
His parting words with a firm handshake were, “You just keep on being elegant and putting us all to shame.”

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Ìsosíwájú àtẹ̀yínwá

Mo gbésẹ̀ láì jẹ gbèsè,
Mo dájú láì jẹ̣́́ ọ̀dájú,
Mi ò díbọ́ láti dìbò,
Ọ̀rọ̀ kún ó sọ mí dodi.
Ìbáe ní abáj,
Ì̀wádìí ni olórí ìmọ̀,
Àìbíkítà àti àìka ìnkan kún,
Ló da ẹgbẹ́ májè́óbàjé rú.
Fàmílétí kí mo gbọ,
Fi ìganrán lé tìróò,
Ọmọ amúnisúre,
Má fijà tẹ́ mi.
Ẹni ò mọ̀ wẹ̀ ò mòwe,
Ati jáwọ́ nínú àgàbàgebè,
Àti rí fúró adìyẹ,
e àná ti di ìekúe òní.

Gbérè omo,
Bẹ́ẹ̀ni kí o máa
Mámà yíwà padà,
óníkálùkù farapamọ́.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Thought Picnic: My city of sights and sighs

Walk this way
On the rare occasion that I spend the weekend in what is essentially for me a hotel city, I could easily be at a loose end. Not given to much rigorous exercise until those who I have asked to teach me how to swim, find the time to send me the forms and offer me a slot, I go for walks.
Night time walks around the city can be interesting and it could be anything from 90 minutes to two hours. Easy, unaided, purposeful and consequently tiring.
Obstructions abound
On this walk, I took a different route, up the road to a section that was buzzing with more activity than I thought was possible, loud music, people outside smoking, pavements impassable, you wonder what the bouncers are there for if the patrons of the establishments they work for, block the public freeways.
Anyone who had to navigate the city in a wheelchair will probably not venture out again after one night of running the gauntlet of unreasonable and inconsiderate human impediments.
The result of excess
Of the people, in interesting states of dress and wear brought on by the excess of party, drink, food, drug and whatever else, there is much you probably would not like to see. A lady wearing one high-heeled shoe with the other in her hand, a wobbly gait that would make a silent movie a hit.
Across the road is the indulgence of emesis, the effluent of which, some hapless fellow will step into with the very likelihood of capturing the sensation of a waterslide, forget the stench. Others with eyes glazed, words slurred, gaits unsteady, just coherent enough to call out their home address before the slump in the backseat of an Uber cab. What a night, it must have been.
Emerging for emergency
The night is busy, blaring sirens of ambulances and police cars piercing the night with an uneasy cacophony in a rush to incident, accident, disturbance or crime. The price of peace is hardly won in tranquillity.
Then down the road where both police and ambulance were stayed, the aftermath was a van over a motorcycle, the rider probably survived, but very likely will see the hospital before getting home in a week, if lucky.
You can never say whether it was inconsideration, indifference, distraction or impatience, but at that time of the night, dangers lurk and so the need for more care from all users of the roads.
On reflection
I have my vices, but they are neither of drink, of substance nor of inhalation, I wear my sobriety in many places like a middle-aged man yet to lose his virginity, unaware of any of the whys and wherefores of what others over-indulge in that they are non compos mentis.
My vice is of the hidden sort, acquired at a time when I had no choice, an innocence lost to the pleasure of another and from that issues that have me railing against those who freely take advantage and face very little consequence.
Silent amongst the revellers in some doorways, however, are other people without choice, a blight on our consciences and society, the homeless verging on the helpless. We may never hear their story beyond a plea for spare change or a light for a cigarette, we have a great city of sights and sighs; may we find more sights than sighs, lifting all in aim and cause for the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Dame Patience Jonathan: The Dosh Is Mine

Sing this to the music of The Girl Is Mine by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, it is incomplete, feel free to adlib, freestyle, contribute and improve.
Without doubt the saga of Dame Patience Jonathan’s frozen millions is exciting some untapped, yet amateurish poetic lines for publication. [Quartz Africa]
The Dosh Is Mine
Now it’s for me to act so tough,
Since it’s money I have earned,
Sure the bankers used another name,
But I have the credit cards.
The dosh is mine,
The whole damn dosh is mine,
Take you to court,
Because the whole damn dosh is mine.
Let me put you in the frame of things,
For that dosh was always mine,
You can threaten me with all you’ve got,
Really just a waste of time.
Because it’s mine,
The whole damn dosh is mine,
It’s every dime,
Because the whole damn dosh is mine.
I’ll tell you who I am,
Am untouchable.
And when I’m done with you,
You would so regret.
Never ever, ever mess,
With the dame.
I am really going to fight this,
You have just now heard from my lawyers,
Now unfreeze all the proceeds,
I need the freedom to spend my money.

I might yet complete this with more inspiration and whatever else.

In Nigeria, we've lost to all of them

Losing Things
The thief is an opportunist,
The swindler is cunning,
The armed robber is daring,
The kleptomaniac is audacious.
The thief makes a smash and grab,
The swindler wins your confidence,
The armed robber cares nothing for you,
The kleptomaniac doesn’t know you exist.
The thief picks a pocket or two,
The swindler drains your coffers,
The armed robber demands more than they can see,
The kleptomaniac takes all that is there.
The thief places no value on the thing,
The swindler places no value on your trust,
The armed robber places no value on your life,
The kleptomaniac has no values, period.
The thief has hands,
The swindler has wits,
The armed robber has weapons,
The kleptomaniac has lawyers.
The thief is probably petty,
The swindler commits a fraud,
The armed robber is a complete invasion,
The kleptomaniac is always politically connected.
The thief gets lynched,
The swindler gets jailed,
The armed robber gets shot,
The kleptomaniac is untouchable.
The thief begs,
The swindler pleads,
The armed robber dares,
The kleptomaniac boasts.
The thief you know,
The swindler you trust,
The armed robber you fear,
The kleptomaniac you defend.
The thief you catch,
The swindler you snare,
The armed robber you stalk,
The kleptomaniac you love.
The thief might skip with dozens,
The swindler can access millions,
The armed robber runs off with thousands,
The kleptomaniac flaunts in billions.
The thief is criminal,
The swindler is again cunning,
The armed robber is a brigand,
The kleptomaniac responsible.
In Nigeria,
Here is the deal,
Most laws would nab the thief,
Some sleuths will trail the swindler,
The military will shoot the armed robber,
And we all party with and honour the kleptomaniac.