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