A fortnight ago, on a Monday to be precise, a client of mine with whom I hadn’t spoken within a year called me, requesting my help to procure something of importance for him, because I already had the next day (been Tuesday) booked with many engagements from which I couldn’t be immediately disentangled, I promised him I would be available the following Wednesday to visit him to address the situation. He spoke in very slurred and sluggish manner when he called, that I felt he must’ve been tired from a hard days’ work and probably was feeling sleepy.
He was in such a pitiable state when I saw him in his home on the appointed Wednesday. He told me he had been out of the country for close to a year, and had just returned from India where he’d been undergoing treatment for a health condition he didn’t name, and being very much older than I am, I respectfully didn’t ask him what it was that was ailing him, especially as I could tell from close observation what it was, besides the fact that I already have experience (with a close relative) of what he was suffering from. He appeared cross with me, for not knowing about his condition, since most of our mutual contacts and friends knew because he told them, but as he had lost my number (which he retrieved from a mutual business partner, when he returned about a few days back) he couldn’t reach me. I apologized and truthfully informed him that I couldn’t have known as I hadn’t been in touch with the people he talked about, and I couldn’t have randomly called him, as it hadn’t been in our nature to so do before this time.
We eventually concluded our business meeting, amidst interruptions from members of his family and aides who were helping him out with many things he had to do, like wearing his shoes and the likes. He didn’t stand up from his seat the whole time I was there, and I noticed that he didn’t for a single moment move his left arm, nor his left leg which appeared swollen and shiny. I wished him well that day and left.
I was back to his house on Tuesday this week for the feedback on the proposition he made me, for which everything had gone as planned and intended. I met him in a better position than the week before, though a wheelchair, a walking stick, always handy toilet paper and a plastic urine collector were now in place within reach of him should he have need for any of those. He indeed had been battling STROKE for what seemed the much of the period in which we hadn’t seen or spoken.
When I left him to pursue other things that day, it left me thinking about the frequency with which most men about his age were now having to battle with Stroke. I felt very sad for his family which will have to now begin to adjust their life and activities to accommodate the pressure that his condition will now place on them, especially his wife who will now make the care of him part of her job description, though they have lots of help around to do his every bidding.
I wouldn’t have posted this, had I not seen someone’s post on Facebook in commemoration of the WORLD STROKE DAY, which incidentally is today some minutes ago and felt compelled to add my voice to raising awareness about this scourge, a silent killer of hitherto active men (and women). It is very important not only for those of us who know about it’s debilitating presence, and have seen people successfully manage it, as well as died of it, but for those not affected by it, to be aware of this scourge that continues to ravage not only the elderly in our midst, but even the young and middle-aged. It is also necessary for us to know the simple things we can do to avoid it occurrence, as much as possible, the best way we can, especially as regards lifestyle changes we can employ to stem the occurrence of the condition to its barest minimum.
Many times, most cases appear to be of sudden onset, but the truth is that the underlying factors are usually ever-present with us, and because we (Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general) are not a society that takes regular medical checks seriously, even routine measurement of the blood pressure, leaving conditions like hypertension to take us unawares. This year alone, I have lost count of high and non-high profile individuals who simply slumped and died, and of a few others who recovered only to be inflicted with stroke. Hence, the need to also avail ourselves of information regarding what to do when we find ourselves in such a situation, or in the position to render help to people who suddenly find themselves afflicted by Stroke.
So my friends, as we mark this years’ “World Stroke Day” let us resolve to do the needful regarding our health, the few moments we will dedicate to see that doctor for a routine health check will not ruin our businesses, nor get us sacked from our jobs (even with the most unreasonable of bosses, supervisors and Human Resources Managers). We need to be alive and well to run these businesses or go to work, or school or any other activity on the priority list that we may cite as reasons for delaying, postponing or outrightly refusing to visit a doctor for the annual routines, and I have more importantly the men in mind in saying this, as women appear to be more forthcoming when it comes to things related to their health. It is no little wonder that they in the main, outlast us menfolk on earth. Have fun again!