Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On the move still

Sorry for the break, I have been making very positive efforts to stabilize myself emotionally to be able to continue writing. Dele Ariyo Chinedu and Christy Orji shook me back into shape by their comments on my wall. I have to do what I have to do, I said to myself. And this is is me continuing.

Before I start, I would love to inform you all that I am planning a major 4th anniversary commemoration event for my Princess on Thursday the 7th of October, 2010.
I plead with you to be part of this event whether you are here in Accra or not. Just remember that at 19:00 GMT, the event will be starting and just say a minute prayer for those who are still going through the pains of sickle cell anemia.

As I lay on my bed that night, my mind sailed to Late Femi Adeniyi, Princess' immediate younger brother, also a sickle cell patient as at that time in far away Takoradi on a hospital bed, nursing a fracture he had in a bathroom accident. God, how do I tell Femi what has happened? Knowing how close they were, the news would certainly worsen his situation. Before this time, any time Princess goes down with a crisis, Femi was very certain to go down in few days time, and vice-versa.

I kept tossing and turning until it was about 5:00 am. I got up and went out of my room to meet with my elder brother, my mother, my big sister and Princess' best friend, Ify (Anoro). We had a prayer session which included my boys in the house, Gizo, Pascal and Richard.

At this time, my daughter who has been asking after her Mom and Bam-Bam as she called Baby Kofi while he was still in the womb was getting more confused. So that morning, I took her into my room, closed the door behind us and carried her on my lap. I looked her in the eyes, trying not to break down in tears; then I started what I have never thought of how to go about, breaking the news to my dear baby, O'jel. So I called her by her pet name, "Jeli-Jeli" and she called me back in her own way, "my own Daddy". Then I asked her, "in your sunday school, you have been taught about heaven not so?" And she nodded her head in agreement. So what is heaven, I asked. Heaven is where God and Jesus Christ are staying with all the good Angels, it is where we would also go to if live according to the bible, she replied. Very good! I said. Now do you want your Mom and Bam-Bam to go to heaven? Yes she quickly replied. Then I went on to tell her that Mom and Bam-Bam are now with God in heaven, and it is up to both of us left here to work hard so we can also make it to heaven. She looked at me and asked, "so I won't see them again till I get to heaven?" Yes I replied. She smiled and said, "then we'll meet them there later, ok Daddy?" At this point I was almost bursting with emotions, but I needed to give her hope. I agreed with her and sent her to go and play with Grandma. Immediately she left the room, I broke down and wept bitterly.

After a short while, I heard a knock on my door and my brother telling me to get ready so we can move to the mortuary.

We all prepared and set off.

To be continued...

It is like having your fingernail removed...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still going

While the arrangements were on for the burial here in Accra, Baby Kofi was still battling with life. Unfortunately, four days after the demise of Princess, he gave up. The Doctor who was fighting with him called me that morning to come to the hospital. When I got there, he broke the news to me. I was shocked and puzzled. Why should all these happen to me? I called Mrs Davies who was taking care of Baby Kofi and informed her. I also called every other person involved in the arrangement.

The plan for the burial now had to involve 2 and no more one person. The man in charge of the Osu Cemetery was shocked when I went to him again for a space for Baby Kofi. Mr Amuzu, that is his name, was so comforting and did his best to console me.

Princess's younger brother who came in from Trinidad & Tobago was then in Accra and with input from his brother and my father-in-law, the Osu burial arrangements were sealed.

The most traumatic time for me was going to purchase the casket for Princess. I went with Mr Baiden, her MD to Korlebu road where the casket makers had theirs shops. On getting there, it hit me again with the force of a bullet that Princess was gone. The sight of those well decorated wooden mansions sent an instant message to me. I started wondering how they will feel inside those things. Haba! I couldn't believe I was actually buying this thing to put my precious Princess.

Immediately we made the choice and paid, the ambulance that was to do the job of moving them from 37 Military hospital to Osu Cemetery picked up the casket. Mrs Davies made arrangements for baby Kofi's casket to be brought to the mortuary straight the next day being the burial day.

On getting home that day in the evening after all the running around, I couldn't sleep. I was so distraught. My mind was racing through a maze. How would things turn out at the burial? How will I stay here without all the laughter and jokes from Princess? Couldn't it have been different? Can I control my emotions at the burial?
That night was the longest night I ever had. It was like the clock was finding it difficult to move. Finally I decided to relax and float away. At about 2:45 am, I woke up with a start. I was sweating all over. The day's activities were playing back in my subconscious. Like a flood, all the anxieties of the burial came rushing in back again. HOW WOULD IT BE AT THE BURIAL OF MY DEAR PRINCESS AND MY BOY, KOFI?

To be continued...

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A very good day to you wonderful people.

I have been away from my dear PC for some time now. I had to attend to urgent family matters. Thank you once again for following me on this journey. I will be checking my plugs and servicing the car today. By God's grace, we'll be on the road again tomorrow. So watch out for how far we've gone so far, coming tomorrow.

Thanks and have a wonderful day!

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And it still goes on

How are we doing today? I will not hesitate to thank you for following me thus far in this journey. I will be making a quick stop over at another pain store and I will give you the details as we move on.

You remember Baby Kofi [My son] who was hanging onto life at the paediatric intensive care unit in an incubator right?. All these while that Princess has been the main focus, Baby Kofi was fighting for his life. From the moment he went into that glass enclosure that was meant to save his life, one woman dedicated her life and her time to making sure Kofi had all the comfort he needed and more. This woman, Mrs Yayira Davies, wife of my Evangelist Charlie Davis is an angel. I still don't know how to express my gratitude to both of you. Every morning as early as 6:00 am, Mrs Davies would be at the hospital to make sure that Kofi was cleaned up, changed and fed. She wouldn't let my old mother stress herself she always said. She would leave her family responsibility to attend to Kofi. Her husband, ever understanding Charlie Davies gave his nod to this change of plans in his family arrangement and even had to drive her to the hospital to make it easier for her.

Kofi was a masterpiece from God. Very dark Shiny black hair, just a little bit fairer than his Pa, well shaped black lips and interestingly big for his age. The nurses would tease me whenever I went in to see him, telling me that he is finer than me. Anyway I was happy. After-all life is all about improvements. So if he is finer, then that means he's an improvement on my model.

Back to the road again.

My mother was able to come to terms with the situation on ground and pulled herself together.

It was now time for the arrangements and we had to go to Ope Babalola's place. At the meeting was Nana Akoto, the GM at Princess' work place, Wellington Baiden, her MD, Yaw Osei Dua, my colleague at INDX Advertising, Mr & Mrs Winful, Samson Taylor, Soji Fagbemi, & Tei GIzo Madjitey.

To be continued...

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Friday, June 4, 2010

And it goes on

After crying profusely for about 15 minutes, I went into the washroom and freshened up. I stepped out into the sitting room with my heart feeling a little bit lighter. I had to go and see the Doctor, so I explained to Ope Babalola and his wife and I left.

On getting to the Hospital, the nurses there were solemn and misty eyed. The front desk person quickly ushered me into the Doctor's office and left. One look at the Doctor and my eyes were filled with tears. He had his handkerchief to his eyes. In a very deliberate attempt not to break down totally, he stood up to welcome me and pasting a very plastic smile on his face. He showed me to the seat and sat down. "I am so sorry Val" was how he started. I just wanted to know exactly what went wrong, so I asked him. He explained to me in a very patient and pitiable manner how the infection from the decomposing portion of the intestine had caused blood poisoning [Sepsis]. He went on to inform me that he would be very glad to assist me in any way I feel I need assistance. He had tears in his eyes.

Princess was his most interesting patient in his so many years of practice he told me. The way she managed crisis pain and the psychological stability she had over her situation. He spoke to me like a father and told me that the nurses were heartbroken when they heard the news. While Princess was in the hospital, despite the pain of sickle cell crisis, she still had the strength to play with the nurses and the ward attendants.

Everyone who came in contact with Princess had a smile while leaving. It was a very difficult thing for them at the hospital, but professional ethics had to hold sway over emotions. I thanked him for his efforts and that of his staff and took my leave.

I was still a little bit dazed as I drove off from the hospital back to Ope Babalola's place. On getting there, I met Sam Winful, his wife Aunty Claudia and Samson Taylor. We had to decide on how to break the news to my mother who was expecting me to come back with good news. Finally, after deliberations and suggestions, it was agreed that I call Princess's Elder brother in the UK to inform him first. It was a herculean task, but I had to do it.

Immediately he picked the call, the first thing he said was, "Hi Val, how is she?" At that point I knew I was going to be fast about this or I wouldn't be able to do it. So I went ahead to tell him that unfortunately that morning against all my hopes and prayers, she gave up the ghost. "Jesus Christ!" he screamed and I could hear his wife ask from the background what the matter was. I did my best to keep my composure while what seemed like an eternity of silence took over. When the silence was broken, the next statement he made transfixed me, "Why did she get pregnant again for God's sake?" The question came as a surprise and a shocker. I didn't know if he wanted an answer to the question or it was just a comment. He said he'll get back to me and hung up. Next I called my elder brother and sister. I told them what had happened and that our mother had not yet been told. They consoled me and told me to hold onto God and that things will work out just fine. After the calls, we decided that I will go home with Ope Babalola and Samson Taylor to talk to my mother. So off we went.

On getting to my house, I was a little bit panicky, but I pulled myself together and went in. I tried to put a smile on my face, but maybe it is only my mother and my boys in the house that can actually say if it was a smile or a grin. But I thought it was a smile. I called my mother out to the sitting room where my emissaries were waiting. They exchanged pleasantries and Samson Taylor went straight into the matter with the wisdom of an elder. Starting with how Princess and myself have been good friends to their families, how it was a great thing to know that she came all the way from the Eastern part of Nigeria all the way to Accra to come and take care of Princess and the new baby her age not withstanding. At that time she was already in her 70's. He thanked God for her heart and health. Finally he dropped the bombshell with very great care. "Mama, I want to tell you that God in His infinite wisdom has decided that our sister Princess should be given a time of rest from all her pains" He went ahead to roll out a few more wise words and by this time my mother was in tears. She was sobbing like a baby. I couldn't stand it so I had to leave them in the sitting room and I went into my room.

To be continued...

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Continues

Every time I try to to remember the events of that very day, I still feel chills running down my spine.

My mouth went dry and my head started banging. A rapid playback of the times I spent with her started running before my eyes like I was watching a movie. It lasted for about ten seconds but it looked to me like ten minutes of playback. The news had taken out the air in my sail and had left me motionless.

"Are you there?" I heard the doctor ask from the other end. "Yes", I managed to say. The doctor insisted I come to his office to see him one on one. I agreed and told him to give me like 30 minutes to get there.

I stretched my seat backwards and reclined fully. I was in a state of shock. I couldn't bring myself to accept the obvious truth that I will NEVER be with Princess in flesh & blood again. How?, why?, but they said she was past the danger period? what happened?

My mind swerved dangerously from the news to Baby Kofi [My son] who was hanging onto life at the pediatric intensive care unit in an incubator.

Baby Kofi as the hospital staff called him came out into this world with what the doctors called sepsis due to the mother's condition. I said a short very deep heartfelt prayer to God not to allow Baby Kofi die. I quickly got out of the car and proceeded to the pediatric ward almost running. On getting there, the nurses were avoiding my eyes and were acting exceptionally nice towards me. One of the senior nurses, an elderly woman came to escort me to the room where baby Kofi was lying down in this small glass enclosure breathing evenly with a smile on his face. I stood there beside him wishing & praying to God that his life be spared at least. Tears were streaming down my face as I stood there. I begged him to stay with me and that I will be a good father to him.

Reality came crashing on me again. I had to inform her people and my people of the mishap. How do I start? Before all these events, my mother had come from Nigeria to Accra - Ghana to be with Princess when the baby finally arrives. How do I tell my Mother who was very fond of her that she is dead? How do I tell her family that they will never see her again? The lady tapped me on my shoulder gently to bring me back to reality. I thanked her and went outside. Once outside the ward, I called Mr Ope Babalola who was there with me from the first day she was admitted at a private hospital in an area of Accra called Dzorwulu, to the time we had to transfer her to the 37 Military Hospital for the surgery. He was there with me and three other men Mr Sam Winful, Mr Samson Taylor and Mr Soji Fagbemi all through the time she was in the theater till she came out, which was about five hours.

I just told him in plain language that I have lost Princess. He was shocked and he told me to wait for him to come pick me at the hospital and that I shouldn't drive myself. I told him that I could drive and that I was stable. I drove to his home and there he met me with his wonderful wife. They took me into one of their rooms and there Mr Babalola gave me a real soothing talk. He left me in the room and at that point I broke down totally. I cried like a baby.

It is like having your fingernails removed...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am sorry I am late in getting to you my dear reader. 2nd of June seem to have less than 24 hours. Hey, just kidding; I was neck deep in schedules, I couldn't sit down to write. All the same i wish you would enjoy my piece today.

In trying to keep my mind busy, I decided to go and purge my injector at a service station at TOTAL filling station at Adabraka. The man was so swift and in less than an hour, I was good to go. I paid him and drove off. Deciding that I should get some things for the house as another way of killing time, I went into a supermarket where I bought various household items. At this time it was close to my appointment with the lab people so I had to start making my way to the lab. This was 7th of October, 2006. I remember that the previous day was her elder brother's birthday and that of my elder brother. As I was driving towards the lab a terrible thing flashed through my mind; 'what if she dies?' Haba!!! 'God forbid' I had to speak loud to myself to banish that thought. On entering the lab, I was given a sealed envelope which I believe had the results of the tests. I paid and left.

On getting to the hospital, I made my way straight to the intensive care unit and when I got there, I was met by a very much smiling nurse who said that the doctor would like to speak to me. I made very positive effort not to let my mind wander. But it was not to be. My mind was whirling at a dangerous speed. There was nothing you could imagine about tragedies that didn't flash through my mind in that short period. Finally finding my voice I asked the nurse gently if I can see my wife and she sternly insisted that it would be better if I went to see the Doctor rather.

At that point I quickly put my native intelligence to work. I started asking multiple questions and answering them at the same time, all in my head. If I had to be sent to go do these test I was made to believe were very important, and now they are no more interested in even asking for the results, then I'm in big trouble. So I thanked her and went outside. I called the Doctor and he said I should just come to the office instead of burning units because he would love to talk with me. At that juncture I knew something was seriously wrong. I went into the car sat down on the driver's seat, put my head on the steering wheel and all of a sudden, I felt very light and disoriented. After about 5 minutes, I picked up my phone, dialed the doctor again and immediately he picked the call I just told him that he should just tell me whatever he wanted to tell me on the phone because I have enough units to last me an hour or more. He tried to persuade me but when it became obvious to him that I wasn't going to give in, he gave me the bombshell. "PRINCESS IS DEAD"

TO be continued...

It is like having your fingernail removed...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I find it extremely difficult trying to focus my mind on re-establishing and re-enacting my life as a married man. Allow me to say here that most of what you will be reading is from the depth of my heart and I would want you to detach yourself from yourself while reading and pondering through this blog.

I got to the hospital (37 Military Hospital) at about 6:15 am and met with a nurse at the intensive care unit where she was recuperating from a Caesarian section / a major operation to remove a certain length of intestine that was Gangrene due to sickle cell crisis in the intestine. That is according to the hospital reports. I saw her through the glass partitioning and waved at her. She smiled and made a face at me since she couldn't move much. The nurse gave me two blood sample bottles and said I should take it to the lab for tests that were written out on a sheet.

I waved to her again on my way out and made my way straight to the lab recommended by the hospital. On getting there, the lab was still closed as it was obviously too early for them at that time, 7:14. I had to sit in the car and wait till about 8:15 before they arrived. Quickly I sent in the samples and I was given 2 hours to come back.

I will continue the next part of this story tomorrow. PLEASE JOIN ME.


My Daughter Ojel & My Late Wife, Princess