#18. In loving memory…
To see it, I have to raise my hair and gently trace along my hairline. The scar is very faint and high up on my forehead; but it’s there. It’s there. The last visible reminder of the day I almost died.
Just to be clear, I’m a workaholic. I am a trained broadcast journalist and before I earned my first and second degrees I was working at media houses. The long hours didn’t bother me, the stress, the lack of resources, the pressure cooker environment…all of that I can cope with very well because in the heat of the moment, all I care about is the final product. And there’s nothing more rewarding than when the final product matches the idea I had in my head as closely as possible.
But this lifestyle takes a toll…it took a toll…. and on the 24th of November 2014, it almost took my life.
I had had a busy morning that day; it started at Atlantis Radio from 6am til 9am and then to TV3 for production on Asanka Delight. I was fasting til noon that day so I was running on remnants of the previous night’s dinner. Normally, I would have broken my fast at midday with fruit or a pastry before following it up with a proper meal.
I did neither; opting to eat plantain chips and sips of Hollandaise strawberry yoghurt as I joined the Asanka Delight crew to pack up the set because it was going to be fumigated and renovated.
After doing this – as well as a myriad of other little things alongside – I took a moment to relax and chat with my friend Lola. But during our conversation I felt nauseous and there was a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. Lola suggested I go and try and vomit. “It may make you feel better,” she said.
I remember walking down the stairs…..feeling increasingly more nauseous, weak and disoriented…..almost holding the wall as I diverted from the newsroom washroom to the reception washroom.
It was definitely the Holy Spirit who prompted me to move to the reception area. I was later told that if I had gone to the newsroom washroom and locked the door behind me, I would have fainted and died because no one would have been around to help me.
But I fainted in the reception area, flat on my face, in front of the receptionists and the security guard and staff members.
I’m told I was out cold for several minutes whilst they sprinkled water on me and tried to shake me out of it.
I remember the confusion around me and the moment the shock and fear set in and the only word I could utter was “Mama”
I remember being carried out and put in a vehicle and rushed to the hospital with a friend, Mr. Ahiatsi, who spoke to me soothingly and calmly when it looked like I was going to burst into tears.
The rest of that day passed with blood tests and sugar level tests and a pregnancy test (which they insisted on although I insisted I wasn’t pregnant).
My mum, a nurse, came and read my chart, sat on my bed and said calmly, “So, with all these big braids on your head, the best place you could faint was on your forehead?”
I remember laughing loudly enough to startle the admitting nurse.
My chart said I fainted due to low blood pressure and low blood sugar. The nurse told me I was lucky I was not alone when I had fainted; high blood sugar can drive you into a coma you can (possibly) be resuscitated from. Low blood sugar can take you quickly and quietly.
I was sober as I reflected on it.
I should know this; my late Uncle (Daddy John) died from low blood sugar.
I should know this.
But I didn’t really know it til it almost happened to me.
Telling my siblings abroad and close friends was harder than I thought it would be; with each warning me to slow down and take better care of myself. My best friend broke my heart when he said “You know I can’t do this without you. You know how much we need you.”
Another friend, Whitney, wondered about my absence from work.When I told her, she paused for a bit then said “You deserve a spanking.”
I remember laughing loudly enough to prompt my mother to ask me if everything was okay.
It’s been three years since that incident and I am doing much better. I mean, I’m not great at this healthy-lifestyle-balance thing but I’m waay better than before. I have handed in my my workaholic platinum card and work more reasonable hours. I whip up smoothies at least once a week, I bought a yoga mat and use it at least thrice a week, I spend more time with God in prayer, I eat regularly, I sleep better, and most importantly, I don’t let myself get stressed about other people’s bullshit.
The last bit is really important in light of my growing presence on social media – do not get stressed about other people’s bullshit.
That’s why it’s for other people.
Breathe and let it go.
And in the eternal words of the very wise Elizabeth Gilbert : Eat. Pray. Love. ❤