Hello everyone, let me introduce a new writer on my #BlogFeature posts to you guys. His name is Mayowa Ojo and he is a Writer, Script Writer, Baker and Dancer based in Lagos. His stories, be it real or fiction, are always very interesting and captivating.
He also happens to be my kid brother. (Yeah, that's how we roll in my family, lol)
It was precisely five weeks to Christmas. The air was cool and thin with the harmattan chill but hazy with the accompanying dust that is de rigueur of that time of the year. I felt the chill even more because a little over a week before, I’d asked my friend of ten years to be my girlfriend and she was yet to say a word in the affirmative or otherwise. Being a baker, I instinctively turned to work, distracting myself with early-bird festive-cake orders while being a little antsy about those who would call on the 23rd of Dec wishing for a miracle, literally.
The day started out like any other except for one seemingly minute detail – my dad was slightly under the weather. I shrugged it off, ascribing it to the sudden chill that started over night or maybe “just malaria” as he suggested. I went about my day’s activities in the bakery while he went out to purchase drugs for a fever that soon evolved into bouts of coughing throughout the day.
By the end of the week, my father had gotten no more than 4 hours of sleep in total, most of which were sudden power naps that lasted for about 15 or 20 minutes. He was frail, in gross discomfort, hungry but lacking the will to eat and looked like he had aged 20 years in 5 days. In spite of these, he refused to go to the hospital - swollen feet and all!
At four weeks to Christmas, his condition deteriorated and his breathing was now labored. We shipped him off to the family clinic where the doctor assessed him for 2 days before recommending that we see a cardiologist.
The bills were piling, opportunities to sleep were far and in between for mom and I. For the most part, my business had shut down - I stopped taking orders and ignored all business calls. Christmas was looming but we barely even noticed.
In addition to the conclusive results of a battery of tests that were run, the specialist also strongly recommended that we needed to get him to the teaching hospital late at night. Our car was the ambulance, my dad the obvious patient, my mom the paramedic and yours truly - the designated driver. We encouraged my dad to hang in there while I prayed frantically against any screams from the back seat.
After a few phone calls, we made a detour for the military hospital since there was “no space” at the University Teaching Hospital, not even in the private ward that would have cost an arm and a leg for an overnight stay.
Diagnosis in plain English? His heart was weak and incapable of pumping blood out as fast as it was pumping it in. This caused excess fluid to accumulate in different parts of his body, part of which had found its way into his lungs and caused an infection that irritated his lungs. The irritation explained the scary coughing fits he had whenever he lay down, it also explained the hyperventilation and his sleepless nights. Soon after we arrived at the military hospital, he needed an oxygen mask to breathe.
Prognosis in plain English? There was hope but even the doctors could not resist the urge to suggest that we pray – never mind that we had long turned the corner onto that lane.
Watching him sleep for no more than a few minutes at a time, I constantly had to support his head to keep it from tilting to odd angles while he slept in the chair. By our third day in the military hospital, he started to tell me about family history, rehashing family ties and describing family property in his hometown - all the stuff that people say when they feel their time has come. I don’t remember the smallest fraction of anything he said because I wasn’t having any of that. He then started to say “I’m tired. I’m fed up,” repeatedly and I had to subtly but firmly call him to order. I was not having any of that either even if I was very shaken within.
By our 2nd week at the military hospital, he’d received several rounds of antibiotics to clear the infection, and had passed most of the excess fluid in his body and especially his lungs, nonetheless sleep continued to elude him. Then one afternoon on the 16th of December he yawned. For the first time in three weeks, he showed the age old sign of fatigue and that night he slept like the proverbial baby.
I remember how proud I felt at the sight of that first yawn and the nap that followed. You would have thought I’d just witnessed my child take their first baby steps. For him, it was the first step on a 10-week-long journey to recovery. As though on cue, my friend became my girlfriend on the 17thof December. Christmas loomed closer and I was finally starting to notice.
Save the prayers and faith, no other sign gave me the hope that he would make it through his stay in the hospital. That yawn signaled an end to the battle for his life, and I knew we were on the winning side. Before he came home on the 22nd of Dec, I was certain that I would sing “Silent Night” at Christmas remembering the birth of Jesus and not the death of my father. With that yawn, I knew Christmas had come in early for my family.
We found our miracle in a yawn!
Article by: Mayowa Ojo