Sunday 19 July 2009

My parents are worried

Off the hinge with shingles

Just about 4 weeks ago I saw blisters appear on my upper left arm and over a day of so, it spread up my arm over the left side of my chest, it amazingly travelled across the entire upper back to parts of the upper right arm.

Now shingles, theoretically should not cross the mid-section of the body, I probably carelessly spread it to the right side not seeing that rubbing my back was bursting the blisters and spreading the virus.

The worst of that phase is over but we are now in what is called the post-herpetic neuralgia stage where the pain radiates just behind the skin where the blisters and then the rashes appeared and dried up – all those places temporarily discoloured and bearable to sight.

The business with mum

As I gained my strength, I phoned mother, I call her Iya, which is mum in Yoruba; to see if she had some home-grown remedy which she seems to always have for any malady.

The conversation we had was too business-like for my liking I was really taken aback, but on reflection, I felt she must have been busy on some important thing that required minimal disturbance.

Me: Hello Iya, it’s Akin

Iya: Hello, How are you? What do you need to tell me.

Me: I’ve been very ill with shingles.

Iya: Is that all I need to know, now?

Me: Yes, that is all.

Iya: You will be well in Jesus Name, bye.

Me: Amen.

Dad, I had it as a kid

So, there I was wondering and considering my mother already had a premonition I was unwell and already had an expectation I would call – later that day, she tried to contact me and even the next morning, we finally chatted again where I explained exactly what shingles was, how I was feeling and got a few ideas for remedy.

Meanwhile, having not chatted to daddy for a while, I called him too and told him I had been ill, he had never heard of shingles and did not think I had chicken-pox as a kid – well, I am glad I had chicken-pox as a kid because the pox on adults is just not good.

So, I explained to him that one usually has chicken pox as a child and its reappearance in adults is indicated by shingles.

They are worried

However, these benign pieces of information shared with my parents had gotten them extremely worried even though their approaches to the same problem were diametrically opposed with me caught in the middle as usual.

My father also used the situation to advance once again the need for companionship, well, my neighbours have been extremely neighbourly and helpful during the more difficult times, single people find ways to adapt and survive – companionship is not a compulsory essence of life even though it can be useful.

Iya’s view had a spiritual dimension to it which one should not discount out of hand, I listened again as she offered more useful advice and remedies.

When I spoke to my father again, he was concerned about the differences between home remedies and Western medicine and wondered if I could get West African remedies consisting of herbs and the possible ritual – well, I don’t think the ritual part would have been to my liking, but London offers an interesting eclectic mix of the Nigerian ghetto in Europe with the possibility of rat tails, cat heads and every scary concoction out of this world.

Viral becomes venereal

Meanwhile, I was being driven to complete distraction at night with severe itching on my back and sometimes down my arms; I had cut my nails and tried to ease the itch with rubbing gently or passing a towel over the affected areas latitudinally back and forth.

Another call from my father included the advice to call a doctor relation of ours who I had chatted to a few weeks ago. The doctor had explained to my dad what shingles was, saying it was a viral infection and what it entails.

By the time my father was on the phone to me, viral had become venereal, I was not going to correct him or explore the ideas between viral infections and venereal infections.

You suddenly realise that of all you will like to discuss with your parents, your sexual proclivities do not rank anywhere in the exchanges, I was glad the conversation was over though worried about what he might have thought I was up to when I really had not been up to anything untoward.

In all, one takes from the situation a sense of how worried the man and lady were, and the link between us so happens to be their parenthood – the healing effect of realising that people so dearly care for you is without peer and I am glad for that.

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