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3Jan

What Do You Want To Be Remembered For? How Do You Want People To Remember You?

I am not going to sit here and be a saint. There are times when I remember certain people and things; I really want to club them. I mean seriously beat the ever loving living daylights out of them. But I hold myself back and I speak to my heart, I am better than this and they may have tripped, I don’t have to go tripping. All I need do is learn from the experience. After all, we live and we learn. And I have learnt that if you are waiting for the complete alienation of anyone before you start living, you will die and rot away, they will still be living. In fact they might never apologise for what they did? What are you going to do? Kill yourself because some raggedy a** didn’t say sorry. I admit it helps the healing process when they apologise but, what if the joker does not understand your apology language? What then, are you going to commit suicide? Hell To The NO! So, you best get over your hurt, pain, anger, bitterness and jealousy because sometimes, the green-eyed monster could be at work and get on with the business of living. There comes a point in life when some people are persona non grata to you. In other words, they are there but they are not there.  However that is not why I am musing right now. I was just setting you up.

Today, the 3rd day of 2010 is one day I believe I won’t forget for a long time. The memories started flooding back because of one man and the difference he made in my life. The last time I saw him, I was 21, living on dialysis and planning for the future did not cross my mind then because all I wanted to do was survive. This man was good to me and seeing him at church today brought me to tears when I got home. I ran to my keep sake box and started going through pictures from that era of my life. I looked at myself again in the mirror and looked at the pictures and I could not reconcile the two people I was looking at. The Belinda in the mirror is a grown lady now and she is fly too and got swagger, and you know ‘I ain’t telling a lie.’ The Belinda in the picture was sick and at death’s door, her face was full of acne and dark spots because the urea (dirt/natural body waste) in her body manifested itself in different forms. That Belinda was swollen and you could barely make out her face. The same Belinda was hooked up to a dialysis machine in one of the pictures and another picture had a full view of the dialysis machine and I saw my blood going through the dialyser to be cleansed. To think that I lived like that for years is unbelievable and to look back now and say I survived makes my heart well up in tears because it does not matter the things I don’t have right now. I have life and that is all I need because with every day that I live, I recover what I lost in all those hellish years when death was so close by.

I'm Grateful For the Gift Of Life

I'm Grateful For the Gift Of Life

I saw him and had to take a second look because he had changed, he looked a little older but that was not the issue. The face, the glasses and he is a very tall man…I thought to myself, I know him. He was my renal consultant when I was at The North Middlesex Hospital. So I walked up to him in the packed church and asked, please, are you Dr. James? He said, yes and he looked at me, most likely thinking, how does my being a doctor have anything to do with you? That was when I told him, I used to be one of your patients? Now, he is wondering; I have a lot of patients, which one are you? I on the other hand, I have changed a lot since those dark days. He looked at me again and that was when I finally said I had had a transplant and he extended his hand one more time but to congratulate me on my good news. Dr James, if only he knew that without him, there is a big chance I would still be on dialysis today.

It was back in 1999 when I first went to the North Middlesex Hospital for Dialysis. I spent three years in that unit and I was the youngest person in there. The other patients were elderly men and women and some middle aged folks. That used to make me so angry, to think that I had not lived at all and had to live the way I was living. Fours hours, three times a week multiplied by the years I lived like that…my maths is not so great and that’s really good right now before the water works start manifesting. So, what’s my story with Dr James? He was the one who asked me my age and thought I was too young to be on dialysis for the period of time I had been on it. So, he referred me to the transplant unit and asked that I be placed on the transplant list. Unknown to him, I had come to the UK as a private patient but when it got hard after a few years to keep-up the private treatment payments, I was able to get on the NHS due to the fact that I was an international student. But I went along for my assessment and that was when the drama started. They wanted this paper and that paper and I didn’t have them. So, I just left them to it and kept hoping for the best and trusting God that he would make a way out of no way.  However, they placed me on a list. I cannot remember the name of that list right now but I think that’s the list where people who may not have the same rights as those who are citizens or have settled in the country belong. That was the end of that story the first time. But if he didn’t send me, no one would have done that for me.

When People Remember You, Will Their Face And Day Brighten Up Or Will They Curse You Out And Hiss?

When People Remember You, Will Their Face And Day Brighten Up Or Will They Curse You Out And Hiss?

Dr James took care of me when I became hyper-calcimic and my bones were in trouble. He made sure I got the emergency surgery I needed by fast-tracking my case based on the fact that he had monitored me and studied the way my bones were getting into more trouble and if I was not seen to as soon as possible, I was going to get into really dangerous territories. It turns out, the surgeon who performed my total parathyroidectomy would be the second person to refer me to the transplant list because again, I was too young to be going through all of this.

Dr James also wrote the letter that would extend my stay in the UK though the moody joker at the home office was hell bent on deporting my tiny self to Nigeria. Dr James argued my case that I would be in danger if sent back to a country with inadequate medical facilities and risked losing my life. The UK was the best place for the best quality of life in my circumstance considering I practically didn’t have one anyway. The Home Office joker would extend my stay for another year and it was within that one year that I would get the phone call that changed my life. Oh Dr James, you have no idea what you did for me. You set the ball rolling and though I was no longer in your care the year I got my graft because they moved me to a different unit. You did all the ground work. And for that I’m grateful. You letter to the home office years later would also go a long way when I was arguing why I cannot go back to Nigeria after my transplant and hell, they said yes again. And this time around, a permanent yes.

I have no idea if today is the last time I will ever see him but I was finally able to say thank you Sir!  Seeing him took me back, it is very interesting how life evolves. Though I have no money to give to Dr James for all that he did for me, I remember him with a heart of gratitude not anger or disdain. The letters, the referrals, the monthly checks to ensure I was doing okay along with the other patients…he took his time with each one of us and he listened. I remember that nasty infection due to a neck line and as soon as it became obvious I was in trouble with a temperature that was above 40, he ensured the infection was clear before he sent me home, two weeks later. And I got a new fistula without delay. Like every doctor, he was doing his job but where I was concerned, he was strategic in getting me on a list I desperately needed to be on.

Today, I remember Dr James in a nice way in comparison to the quack bastard who misdiagnosed me in Nigeria and when he had butchered me, told me parents there was nothing more he could do. And to think the idiot sent me home to die though I was swelling up and he knew the damage he had done, he never apologised. A simple appendectomy cost me two kidneys that could have been saved if he was not so stupid, he would have been able to tell my symptoms were that of renal failure and not an appendectomy that was ruptured and about to burst. The bastard! Do excuse my colourful words but I am allowed to be angry. The sucker took my life and never once apologised for the pain he caused me.

And when I finally sat down and took in what had happened in one day, I asked myself, What Do I Want People To Remember About Me? How Do I Want People To Remember Me? Here is the case of two doctors who had opposite effects on my life. I remember one fondly and grateful to him, the other, I just want to curse him out and swear for him but there is no need. My life has been a journey and I am alive to tell the tale.

So, for Dr James, the only man who could have convinced me to be a doctor if I didn’t have a passionate hatred for hospitals.

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2 Responses to “What Do You Want To Be Remembered For? How Do You Want People To Remember You?”

  1. Myne Whitman says:

    This is a great write-up, Dr James was certainly God sent and your story is so motivational. I hope people remember me for the good too.

  2. Fola Agwu says:

    Wow!!! I am thankful that God used Dr James to ensure your healing.

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