I do understand that people who visit hospitals really want to help give their support for the sick patient. Its jus that many of them don’t know exactly how to do it. It would have been better had they stayed in their homes and sent their support through others, because the words they utter to you at your bedside add more to your suffering than bring relief.

” hey my friend you look so terrible,” How sad it is for me to see you this way,” they don’t understand that all you need now is to calm down and relax, you don’t need to be reminded of your miserable condition, or what you should be thinking, how you should be feeling, “heck no, you are also preaching to a patient, what good will your ministry do at this time of their lives, comfort them not condemn them, don’t really know whether they listen to you”

No wonder why medics understand the power of putting up a positive face well, they’ll smile at you even if they know your situation is hopeless, better a stranger to smile at you than a friend condemningly frown at you in your weakest hour.

Because they are doing it after being pushed by others to do so, if they don’t come to visit you as expected, they fear people would rebuke them, they fear being called names, that’s why they talk nasty, because they never really cared about you or anyone else in the first place. They visit simply because it is considered rude not to.

Then there is this category of people who belittle or deny your condition, they claim you are making a mountain out of a molehill “you are just suffering from a small headache or a slight stomach-ache, stop acting very sick,” they say, they make it look to others that you have no illness at all, you are just pretending to be very ill so that you can gain sympathy from others, it’s the only words they have brought to comfort you. “Oh how I wish I could give them this broken arm of mine so they could carry it only for a week, so that they can feel the piercing pain as it cracks while they walk. How I wish we could change places for only a short while then they wouldn’t be saying that.”

When my condition started to turn from bad to worse in the bed, the nurses gave stern instructions which says, “Mr Thompson is in a very vulnerable condition right now, should anyone want to say something to him then they should do so in writing.”

When a patient is undergoing pain, it’s the people who love him/her most that suffer the greatest, when you see the sadness on their faces, it tells you for sure that your trouble is causing them uneasiness. “Please doc, take me out of this hospital I don’t want to be a burden to anyone anymore,” as some patients would say, “I don’t like to see people gathered around me with their faces frowning at me. The look on their faces scares me more than the pain I am feeling.”

My suffering as I happened to discover it was hurting others more than it was hurting me, for I had already gotten over the pain, and learned to cope with the situation. My mother was the one hurt the most, she could not accept that I was in such a bad condition, she did everything she could to make sure that my condition improved. When I was being walked down the van from hospital, everyone stopped whatever they were doing to look at me, they saw me limp like a hyena, my both hands being held like an elderly old man. The children suddenly stopped playing around the compound and came over to take a look, “Thomson what happened?” they ask, I could read from their faces that they had taken in the pinch, they could feel what I was feeling, each one of them tried to help me get into the house, they did whatever they could.

For the first time in my life, I could feel the overwhelming concern and care my neighbours had over me, even after I am carefully taken into the house and placed onto the bed, they still crowded over me, they filled the room and blocked the doorway that people found difficulty getting in or out. Some children clung onto my bedside and refused to get out, even when their parents loudly called out to them from the outside they refused to leave, they sat there silently and watched me. Previously, I used to play with them a lot, now they cannot understand how this once strong man who carried them on his back as they ran around the compound, is so weak he could barely lift himself off the bed. They all wanted to help me, they all wanted to do something for me, but what are they going to do, and exactly how? They too felt hopeless. They had equally received the blow.

Some of those who came to visit thought I wasn’t going to make it, they waited for me to die. But I didn’t. They were curious to see how a dying patient looked like, they wanted to witness the experience of it. It looked like they feared for me and my condition and excited at the same time.

Patient is forced to lie to them saying that he is okay, when they are actually ill just to please the visitors so that they can stop frowning over him.

Thanks very much for your words of comfort, I do really appreciate your presence, but all I need now is a moment of relaxation, I need to lay over and have a long deep & sound sleep, thanks once more you can go for now, if there is something you need to tell me, send it to me through writing, most visitors at the ward have an idea of what they would like to do for the patient, they just don’t know how to do it.

I still do not like the way they are looking at me, they gaze at me as if I am already dead, and they add more pain to my suffering. It is better they say nothing for there is lots of strange looks on their faces, others exaggerating while others underrating. They forgot that I needed only one thing, which is comfort and not their tormenting judgements.

I would rather be alone than to have people come and try to comfort me with their ill remarks, some even blamed me for being sick, saying that I should be up by now and running around the place, not saddening everyone with a sickly appearance.

For me personally, I am okay, my condition is improving. What troubles me most is the look on their faces, they come in to agonise over me. “People leave our hospitals with the full capacity to recover from their illness,” said Doctor Stew, it’s the words from their friends and families that crush them, it gives them a big blow, which sends their once precarious posture into unstable condition. Every person diagnosed with chronic or acute illnesses has the full strength and capacity to fight it, but when they begin to see the despair in others around them, they quickly give in the fight as they too despair.

I remember a time at the patients ward when I asked  a nurse something, instead of helping me out she bursts into laughter, another nurse who happened to be nearby asked her what the fuss was all about, she too burst into laughter,  they laughed there for almost half an hour, one of them almost slipped over and fell onto the ground, for the floor was very slippery, I don’t remember exactly what I said at the time because I was very ill, but those nurses who laughed at me when I was helpless I still remember their tone, I can still hear their voices now joking over my bed. I forgave them a long time ago though, whatever motivated them to do that I do not know, maybe they had inhaled toxic gases from the pharmacy that drove them mad, had my condition worsened after that, I probably would never have forgiven them, they would have been the ones who sealed my fate and possibly a damnation. Those cheeky nurses who saw me as an amusement toy, and laughed at everything I said, I plead with you, please treat other patients well, I hope I am the last person you ever do this to.

There were ministers who came, and said a few words of intercession for me, but I also remember a guy who came and started to preach to me, he asked me what my ailment was, “haemorrhagic  fever, a very rare condition,” I said to him, I am probably the first person in this hospital diagnosed with this condition, the surgeons have done their work, there is nothing more they can do for me at the moment, one of them says that my life is in God’s hands now, then he began to preach to me with all his wisdom might and strength, sometimes he mentioned things I did not understand, he acted as if he was a priest performing some ritual of exorcism, which made me and some other relatives who were nearby very afraid. He claimed that my illness was a work of the enemy, and I needed the hands of the divine in order to break the strong grip the enemy has had over me, and many more terrifying things he said to me, I never thought he was ever going to finish, the few hours he took standing over my bed were like weeks or months to me. Finally he got to finish performing his rite and walked away.

Getting Back home

At that time I was struck by a terrible illness, I grew so weak and thin, I had to stay indoors to avoid public ridicule, all my pride was gone, what is left of me now is hope, the future looks uncertain, when my friends come to visit me, upon looking at me, they fled back in terror and never came back, the four walls of my room have been my guests ever since, people you knew before could easily escape from you, as I write to you now, I am about to be moved to a new bed & home, in three months’ time, the thought of that place scares me even more.

One day when laying in home bed, some women came to visit me, they had heard from family and friends that I was ill, my mother had described to them in details the severity of my condition, so they decided to stop by to pay a visit.

After assessing my health situation they sat there and began to chat, they discussed many things among themselves to the point of almost forgetting that I was there, within a few minutes they were lost deep into their conversations, I still lay there unflinching. One of them then brought up a story of someone who had a long illness then later died. A relative of theirs I believe, right in front of me! I never saw that coming! I fumed with what appeared to be a mixture of fear and rage, swore if I had the least strength to lift myself off bed, I would chase them out the room like mongrels who have come to lick my wounds. Luckily for them I wasn’t that strong, the illness also kind of numbed my vocals a little so I couldn’t speak clearly, how could they discuss such a matter right at my bedside? They failed to realize there was a patient laying right next to them.

When the will to live is stronger, nothing can ever kill you

“Let me assure you this mafriend, when the will to live is stronger, nothing can put you down, no matter what,” said the nurse to me at the patients ward. When the will to live is stronger, no ugly thing can cross your path, no shapeless chivvy can end one’s life unexpectedly, I said to the physicians I still have some unfinished business, I CANNOT DIE NOW, and that’s how those words came to be true, and here I have come to stand as a witness to the tribulations I have experienced over the past years due to my poor health conditions.