#np: Life Support – Sam Smith
‘The thing about pain is….it demands to be felt’– The Fault in our stars
July 7th, 2015 I felt it again but this time it was during the day. Normally it comes at night when I’m fast asleep. I can’t categorically remember how it starts, I just know I awaken curled up in bed, hands clutching at my abdomen, wrenching.
First time I experienced it should be before my NYSC (2011). I had been given strong pain killers to help solve the headaches I was experiencing. Then I concluded it was a reaction to the drug especially as it stopped when I did away with it.
Later on, I experienced it once in a while over the years till it came up again 2013 when I was based in Lagos. Tests were run and various drugs prescribed. It became a thing of the past as 2014 progressed, though I still relived it occasionally. I bore it all like a man, or more correctly, due to my dislike for visiting hospitals.
This year it became quite frequent. I wasn’t on any pain killers or anything of sorts. I began wondering if it was appendicitis but the pain wasn’t restricted to my right abdomen, this was general. It always began from the lower abdomen right through the upper abdomen piercing its way to my left chest and sometimes my back…
Several nights I lived through it, bearing the pain, rolling and tossing till I slept off to awake with it another distant memory.
So this Tuesday at work, I had just concluded a meeting and was about sitting at my desk when I felt it. I paused, couldn’t move a muscle. I just stood immobile letting it take me. I sat down but it won’t let me be. I tried to bear it but it was stronger. My colleagues began asking if I was okay. Forget we normally give the cliché ‘I am fine’ response most times we are asked that. This time there was no pretending. The driver was asked to take me to the hospital immediately.
Funny, the doctor said I was in denial of my ailment. I refused the injection she said would help recede the agony. I was actually too damn shy to expose my bum to the nurses. I told the doctor I was used to it, after all I have been surviving it all this while, this one time wouldn’t kill me. I concluded I didn’t need an injection to numb it. She smiled and let me have my way. Drugs were prescribed. She insisted I took the first dose in her presence as she didn’t trust me to take them.
I am no fool, for once I am going to follow my prescribed dosage strictly. This is no silly fever that my body would fight itself. I am battling real pain and it needs to heal. I need to tackle this physical pain but little did I know I am going to face a psychological battle also.
Back from the hospital and time for lunch, the steaming plate of food starred at me. My stomach needed the food but my mouth would not open. My brain kept seeing this picture of hot food getting to my stomach and burning up the injuries. You know that sharp pain when water touches a sore on your skin right? That’s the feeling I expect to feel as I take a gulp of water. It never happens but the scary thought is always there. Eating is now a chore. I wonder how my stomach look right now? Is it bleeding? Is it all turn apart?
I select food a lot and it’s been with me for so long and well, I eat but mostly junk food. It takes someone really close to me to notice my dietary deficiencies. I try to force myself at times but I really don’t know…
I’m trying my best to improve my diet, trying to kick out the image of sore stomach walls that shall cringe once food touches them. I hate taking drugs, the bitter taste when mistakenly the tablet dissolves in my mouth or that repulsive movement of the drug down my throat. Makes my body quiver. I feel weak, sore, feverish and cold at the same time. The weather this period isn’t helping, even Dr. Ewaen was like only you? Kpele o.
I remember the day I came back from the hospital I sent him the names of all the drugs prescribed. Wasn’t trying to be dramatic, just wanted to be sure I wasn’t being given the wrong drugs. Excuse my paranoia but I have once been misdiagnosed. Ended up taking drugs I had no business taking.
His response was that of shock, something along the lines of why are you sending me such drugs? Then he remembered I had gone through the ish before. He confirmed the drugs were the right ones, that’s what I needed, confirmation. I know I will be fine just the whole psychological battle crap I didn’t bargain for.
Sometimes I find myself subconsciously holding my abdomen, thinking and trying to imagine how my insides are. I don’t know why this time around it’s hitting me this hard, maybe ‘cus I had been in denial about it like the Doctor said or I really don’t know….*sigh It just seems all so real this time and I’ve got this battle to fight. Thankfully I don’t feel alone. I’ve got family, colleagues who care and friends who are there too and my personal friend doctor who I can always call on – Dr. Ewaen so I don’t feel alone at all. I’ve got the complete support system though this is the first time I’d be experiencing the physiological side effects of this thing.
I don’t need pity or empathy really. Self-pity disgusts me. Funny my colleague was going along the lines of ‘e yah, kpele o’. Then she began touching my neck in a tender way. I shoved her hands off and asked why she was treating me like an invalid. I’m very emotional, I don’t need stuff that’ll break this bold face I am trying to put up.
What’s that they say again? Big boys don’t cry.
Well, what do I know…I am but just a kid.