From the moment, I got discharged, my 6 week count down to my healing begun. I had quite the journey ahead of me. I was told to take short walks several times in the day to help me heal faster. It was hard but I was prepared to do anything that would fast track the process.
I moved into my parent’s home because there, I could get all the assistance I needed. Every morning, I would gently make my way to the bathroom, bath carefully while avoiding the cut. After I was done, I would rub it with spirit and iodine and then dress up in something really loose. For meals, I was served cereal without milk and then soup during the day with very soft rice because I couldn’t eat normal food till after a week. It was pure torture watching everyone eat regular food I craved. After each meal, I set my timer and slowly walked around the house for ten minutes. It was painful at first but each day it got better and I walked a bit faster. The stitch also itched quite a bit as it healed but I wasn’t allowed to scratch it.
Kobby stayed at our house with DJ. He dropped him off at school every morning and my mother-in-law picked him up and took him home to supervise the nanny as she fed and bathed him and Kobby arrived to put him to bed in the evening. Drew stayed with me. My mother took care of both of us. The first few days were depressing. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have the strength to carry him (even if I did, I wasn’t allowed to). Anytime Drew saw me, he would raise his hands to be carried and he would cry when I didn’t. I kept having to call for someone to come lift him up. I like to be in control at all times especially when it has to do with the kids and I absolutely hate being a burden on anyone and that’s how I felt-like a burden. Drew was still waking up several times in the night to feed and my poor mom was losing so much sleep. I could hear him cry but I was helpless.
Back at home, DJ had also been crying hysterically and had a very high temperature. Once my mother-in-law informed me, I asked for him to be brought to me. We all realized he was sad he was away from everyone. I arranged for his cot and clothes to be brought. When he arrived, it was obvious he wasn’t well. He was so warm and had lost his appetite.
I told my mom we had to take him to the hospital immediately to get checked. Kobby came straight from work and met us up at the hospital. DJ was examined and we were told he had to be detained.
“Detained? How? This doctor doesn’t know this boy very well” I thought
“Doc, he will never lie still long enough to have an IV inserted and even if it was inserted, he might pull it out.” I explained
“But he needs to be detained so we can monitor him because he has an inflammation in his tonsils and his temperature is too high. I need to see a patient but I’ll be right back.” he said.
Just as he left, we all sat there wondering whether or not to have him admitted. I just didn’t see it happening and Kobby and my mother weren’t keen on it either so we decided to leave (which, in hindsight, was a bad idea.) We got back home, sponged him and gave him some Calpol and he went straight to bed.
The next morning, 30th August, exactly two weeks after my surgery, I woke up exhausted from the night before. I was supposed to be resting but how could I? Thankfully, DJ’s temperature seemed a bit better but his appetite wasn’t any better. I had a strong feeling he had malaria. I asked one of my brothers to take him to the pharmacy close to the house for an instant malaria test. They did and he tested negative. However, I was told in some cases, the parasite could still be in there even if it’s negative so I knew he needed to go back to the hospital.
We went back that afternoon and met the paediatrician. She examined his tonsils and was alarmed because it was really infected. She asked for him to have a malaria test done which came out positive like I had suspected. She got off duty and handed over to the next doctor who happened to be the same one from the day before. You can imagine how awkward it was to meet the same doctor we had practically run away from. He kept asking why we left and then it was followed by the usual “I told you so” and what not. So anyway, he HAD to be admitted this time and there was no way we could avoid it.
It was heartbreaking seeing him weak, crying from the injections.The worst part was not being able to carry him or comfort him like I wanted to. Kobby decided it was best he slept there with him while I went home since I also needed to heal. We went back and forth on it but deep down I knew it was the right thing. My mother and I left the hospital at about 11pm that night. I have no idea how I managed to sleep. I woke up at 5am the next morning, slowly bathed and got dressed. My mom was also up getting breakfast ready for DJ and Kobby so we left together to the hospital. There were more than enough people at home to take care of Drew so it was fine. We headed straight to his ward and met him lying there, wide awake. Fortunately, the IV line they had set in his hand was still intact and his temperature had dropped considerably. They had wrapped the line with a bandage to prevent him from taking it out. He was still very low on energy but there was a bit of improvement.
Kobby had barely slept since he was keeping an eye on him so he decided to go home with his breakfast and get some rest. My mother also had to leave to go take care of Drew so I stayed there with him.
At this point, his drip had been disconnected because he had started his malaria treatment and so the antibiotics had been put on hold. We decided to walk around the hospital a bit since he was bored. It was a very small hospital with a very small compound which was enclosed and patients were allowed to walk in and around the hospital’s yard for fresh air and a change of scenery. You could also use the staircase which leads to the balcony where you can have a seat or go to the children’s section inside where there were lots of books and toys . This was the same hospital I had been to that night when my ectopic episode begun before I was transferred.
The mistake I had made was taking him outside to the compound. He saw a car similar to mine and assumed we were going home. He cried uncontrollably, literally screaming when I told him we weren’t leaving. I had to lift him (obviously not the right thing to do in my state) up the stairs and shut the doors behind me. Just as I entered, I had one of the worst encounters of my life. One of the nurses walked up to me and said in twi
-“Ei! I have never seen a child who dislikes his mother this much. If his dad was here, he would’ve been calm!”
She laughed and then tried to playfully grab him from me. At this point, I kept telling myself to remain calm and not utter a word.
DJ pushed her away as she reached for him. He naturally doesn’t warm up to strangers unless I ask him to say hi so I knew this would be his reaction and Lord was I glad! She tried reaching for him again and this time, I just walked right past her.
As foolish as those words she uttered were, I had convinced myself she was just ignorant and I wasn’t going to waste my time. That afternoon, my mother-in-law came by and we sat there chatting. I told her what the nurse had said and she said
“Ah, but this nurse paa. She met me just as I was entering and told me she had never seen a father stay overnight to watch a child. It was usually mothers who do that and that it seems the child prefers his dad over his mom”
At this point, I was livid. I understand Ghanaians naturally don’t mind their own business but to say what she said to my face and then gossip about me to my mother-in-law was nonsense! First of all, two people made a baby, why shouldn’t the father stay behind? Forget about the state I was in and the surgery and all that. Why can’t a father take care of his own child?!! It is HIS child too after all isn’t it ? Jeez!
I went out to confront her but I was told her shift had ended. SHOOT! I called Kobby and lamented and then called my mom as well. She was furious! I can’t even begin to type every insulting thing she had to say. Kobby came that evening to run his “night shift”and I went home to rest.
The next morning was Sunday and this time, I decided not to disturb anyone. I called an uber (since I still couldn’t drive) and left for the hospital. I went to relieve Kobby of his night shift and took over. The “kokonsa” nurse was also nowhere to be found so I figured it was her off day. I brushed DJ’s teeth, wiped him, got him dressed just as my mother arrived with his breakfast. He had a bit of it. The nurses came in and administered his medication and we went for a walk –indoor this time. He was more playful this time but I could still tell he was bored and wanted to leave badly. He wore his back pack several times and held my hand depicting he was ready to leave.
He cried anytime I explained we couldn’t. I eventually put him down for a nap and walked around. Guess what? The nurse was back on duty. I walked up to her and asked
“Excuse me. Did you know me before I had my son admitted here?”
She looked puzzled.
– “No oo I didn’t. Why?”
-“Did you know my mother-in-law?”
-“The woman who has been coming here in the afternoons?”
-“No, I didn’t know her”
-“Okay so what right did you have walking up to her to talk about my husband and I and how we choose to take care of our child?”
I went ahead to tell her about the state I was in even though it was none of her business and educate her on the fact that fathers CAN and SHOULD take care of their OWN kids too. I also reminded her of her foolish words from the day before and the fact that I was shocked that a fellow woman would talk like that. She looked visibly ashamed and then started to explain that she had no idea and she didn’t mean it like that. That was all besides the point. The point is, people should learn to mind their own business and the careless talk has to stop! How is this different from total strangers who call kids “obolo” infront of their parents or church members who ask people when they are having kids without knowing what exactly might be wrong. It disgusts me.
After “telling her my mind” I walked off. She came to the balcony where I was to apologize again and then offered me a chair to sit on. I laughed in my head. I nodded and sat comfortably on it. I could tell she felt guilty and I pray that serves as lesson for her in the future. I stayed with DJ throughout the night because I didn’t want Kobby to miss work the next day. Besides, I knew he was going to be discharged the next morning so I was too excited.
Finally morning came, I got him ready and his mood seemed to have improved. This time, he stayed indoors and watched Elmo on my laptop. Later that morning, he was examined and discharged with lots of medication which he had to finish at home.
I have resolved never to go back to that hospital ever again especially anything kid related. The experience there was unpleasant from the paediatrican (which is another story for another day) to the nurses. Every morning, I would find out what times he had to take his medication and then I would stillllll have to remind the nurses on duty that it was time for his medication! Even after they’ve been told, they would still delay about an hour before arriving at the ward. There was an instance where they came in with the bandage but had left the scissors and then took another 30 minutes getting that. The bathrooms weren’t cleaned as often as I would’ve liked and it was just nasty going in there. The doctor there who saved my life is great, I would forever be indebted to her. However for my kids, I would never take them back there.
The day DJ was discharged, I had my 2 week review at the hospital I had my surgery done. My mom-in –law drove me there and the doctor was happy with my healing after my examination. Thankfully, all the heavy lifting hadn’t affected the wound. The days that followed, things seemed to be picking up. DJ’s appetite was back and he was eating sooo well. His energy was through the roof and he had finally gone back to school. I thought I was finally getting my life back until suddenly Drew also fell sick.
This time, I took him to my old hospital where I delivered my babies. The paediatrician asked for a blood test. He tested positive for malaria and I was told he had also had an infection his tonsils. I was wondering when this hell would end!
We got the medication we were prescribed and went home. Unlike DJ, Drew hates medicine. He threw up every single dose and for some he simply refused to open his mouth. Once it was forced in, he would cry and then eventually throw it up. He was refusing to eat, his temperature was rising as I was checking and the sponging didn’t do much to help. I had gotten the number of a paediatrician a friend of mine had suggested who did home visits. I decided to give it a shot. I called him the next morning and he arrived within 20 minutes. After examination, he confirmed what the doctor had said about the infection and malaria. He decided to give him a malaria shot in his bum since he couldn’t hold down the medicine. He also prescribed a new set of medication which I had to get from the pharmacy. I got them and I devised a plan to help him take the medication. I would use the syringe to push a little bit in his mouth and then stick his pacifier in right after to prevent him throwing up. This method helped A LOT! Funny, I found out later, I had the Munchkin medicine dispenser , at home which basically does the same thing.
The next day, the doctor came in to give his second shot of anti-malaria and then the rest of the days were oral. Slowly he started to get better and his appetite improved. I was so relieved.
Just as Drew started to get better, my mother and brother also fell sick. Fortunately, they got better within a few days. The months of August and September were truly the worst months for me. I never had the luxury of rest during my recovery. I guess in some ways, seeing them recover helped me heal somehow. Super grateful to God for health!