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JAPA! No be Today.

(The Adventures of a Warrior)

By- Tayo Faloye.

It became as dark as Coca Cola before the alarm bell rang. Prior, I had noticed my urine was starting to get slightly coloured, no matter the amount of fluid or water consumed, but I remained unperturbed and continued with my restiveness until that fateful day the colouration took me aback. I had no choice at that stage than to inform Iya (Mumsy). This was in 1990 or thereabout. I’m not so good with dates.

She ordered I immediately go the Hospital to see the Doctor. Lab tests were carried out and I was asked to come back for the results. That was how I was instructed with a note of urgency to go pack my bag and come on admission when I returned to collect the result. Diagnosis revealed some acute Hepatitis or so due to Sickle Cell Anaemia.

Anyway, it was on admission the sickness reared its complete ugly head and showed me shege. I wasn’t exactly ill before except for the urine discoloration. And kia, my system caved in. Weakness, vomiting, stooling and all set in. It happened to be the longest hospitalization I have ever had.

In my admission ward, there were just two of us in confinement. My other inmate was an older obese man, Mr. R, probably in his early 60s, suffering from some heart issues. The man later took a liking to me because our ward was always very lively as a result of teeming friends that came in almost daily visiting me. No dull moments. It was the onset of the days boys were doing unimaginable shenanigans in town. Exuberance was rife and high. Church members who were my mothers friends too came in sometimes to share the word of God and pray with me.

There was a small cassette player by my bedside where Fela songs, Hip-hop & R&B music of those days echoed from in low steady flow whenever we were in the clear from doctor/nurses checks. Goons sometimes visited with their babes and ‘stepped’ to the gbedu tunes whenever led by the ‘spirit’. Some werey amongst them would descend on my uneaten fruits, mouthing “omo, you no chop this one” while it’s already being devoured. Our bants, gists and animated ways kept Mr. R entertained, which I believe improved his health, to a large extent. Some nurses who were left fascinated for same reason even went ahead jokingly sharing tales with my mother: “this your son is this & that…”

So, one day Iya had stopped over from work as usual to check on me and get updates from the Doctor. That was how I overheard the Doctor telling her that if my condition didn’t improve after a certain time, they could explore sending me abroad for further treatment. And the bell went off in my big head. No be today this Japa bug don dey o. Me that used to think about the abroad, no be golden opportunity be this? But, there was one obstacle; I was already feeling better in my body with the ongoing treatment and strict diet regimen. I thought hard about it and reached a solution.

“Ogbon kin tan laye ka wa losi orun.”
(Wisdom cannot be exhausted on earth to requiring a search party in heaven).

“Shebi they have cut me off meals containing oil, saturated fats and other foods high in fat & protein like meat, fried foods and sugary/ salty things as a way to suppress the yeye sickness, let’s see how they will stop my Japa with what I will start consuming? How can they even be giving person just a slice of yam with a sprinkle of some green leafs as a meal or pap with no milk, etc, if it’s not wickedness?” I soliloquized with a mischievous smirk on my face.

A’nbga adiye e lowo iku oni a je ki oun lo atan lo jeun (we are protecting the chick from the danger of hawks – death, it’s complaining of being deprived of going to the dunghill to feast).

Going forward, whenever my younger brother came visiting, i would send him to go and codedly buy Suya from the aboki stationed in front of a Fast Food Outlet, MORGHETT (if i got the spelling right), at the next building. It’s one of the first bubbly fast food & hangout outlets in FESTAC Town (If you know, you know). I’ll hide the Suya in the drawer as I wacked while on full alert mode. It became a routine for the next couple of days. In the absence of my brother, i would seek permission for a walk around to stretch my legs and quickly sneak into Morghett with my syringe plastered hand to gulp down some junk foods depending on the small money on me. Heads will be turning in my direction casting me awkward looks. I no kuku send. Na japa mission I dey.

If wishes were horses…

At a time, Mr. R was removed and transferred to another ward for some intensive care. I missed him. Days after, he was returned back. I later learnt he vehemently agitated to be brought back to our ward. It was a beautiful reunion. Our camaraderie went on as I continued doing myself, thinking I was doing japa strategy by consuming all sorts I was forbidden to eat.

Then, on a morning checkup routine by the doctor, he said my health was looking good and i could be cleared for discharge soon. I quickly interjected that i needed some more days to be fully strong before discharge, as my mind went into a tumult like a whirlwind. Is it that the quantity of junks I had been consuming wasn’t enough? I must bid for more time to increase intake.
“Everything indicates you’re good to go…”, the Doctor replied, as he walked away with his entourage of nurses.

That evening, Iya came over from work. After seeing the doctor downstairs, she came up and said “oya, begin to pack so we can go. You’ve been discharged…”

Gloom descended on me.

Me: in the thumbnail

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