Yearly Archives: 2017


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It was an absolute honour for me to be asked to share my views about parent caring during this Carers Rights Day 2016. The Local carers team did an amazing job setting this up and putting it all together. Many thanks to the Citizen newspaper for publishing the article. I hope that by creating more awareness, many parent carers will find the courage they need to confront all the uncertainties that lie ahead of them with their children more easily. The UK government tries to provide support through various agencies like the Carers UK,  Social services, Community paediatric teams, Community nurses, and doctors within or outside the hospital setting. In some areas hospice care is made available to families with severely disabled children to help provide some well deserved respite from care while ensuring that their children are still cared for in a safe enviroment. If carers do not come forward to access and the explore various support outlets, they just remain there unused. This defeats the purpose for which they were set up. This is why it is essential for Parent carers to access every possible help and support available. There is really no need no need to carry the burden of caring for a child alone. There is no need to habour fears about consequences of accessing well deserved support. Most of the fears will be reduced once parent carers begin to ask the right questions about what is available to ease the burden of care life throws at them with the existence of the illness of their child. There is a saying that a problem shared is halved. True, but I always like to think that this only holds if you share it with the right person. Getting support, asking questions and letting others help will be synonymous with sharing your problem with the right person. It is  truly the right of every carer to access this support. You are not being too demanding you are just being wise and proactive. That on its own deserves applause! I decided to share the article here To show my support for awareness being created on this Carers Rights day. Thank you as always for your support and readership. I know you do not realise it but every time you click, read and share my work you not only spread the word about what you have read but you support me on my own journey. It is strengthening that you find my work useful. Thank you. So sit back, relax and enjoy the interview…. Carers Rights Day takes place on the 25th of November, a national campaign which brings unpaid carers, support charities and local communities together to help carers understand their rights and the support they are entitled to. Carers MK supports over 4500 unpaid carers in Milton Keynes providing essential advice and information to those providing unpaid care to a relative or friend who due to illness, disability or frailty cannot manage without support. Case Study:  Parent Carer, Mrs Hope Carers UK support those providing care and support to a child who is ill, has a physical or learning disability or additional needs. Parent carers face huge uncertainties, stresses and challenges when faced with coping with their child’s condition, and it is important that they receive emotional support, advice and information to help them in their particular caring situation. Parent Carer Mrs Hope has a four year old son who has an inherited metabolic condition called Propionic Acidaemia. His body cannot break down proteins but builds toxins in his blood. He was diagnosed when he was just 3 days old after he went into Coma due to an overload of toxin called Ammonia. and in February 2016 was admitted to Great Ormond Street hospital with chronic pancreatitis. He cannot be fed by mouth but with specialist intravenous feeds called TPN into a big vein in his heart. Mrs Hope is now juggling visits to Great Ormond Street while also looking after her 5yr old son Mark. She and her husband take turns in shuttling between their local hospital  and London to care for the boys. It is extremely strenuous on the whole family, emotionally, physically and psychologically.   Q  &  A   What are the biggest challenges you face as a parent carer? My biggest challenge has been accepting that my 4yr old son will not be perfect in every way a child should be. It was very devastating when he was diagnosed. Initially I felt overwhelmed with guilt because I learnt that the condition was an inherited one. Simply meaning that it came to be as a result of mine and my husband’s matching but defective genes. The realisation that his condition was incurable and degenerative fuelled my sadness for him. It was also hard to make his 5yr old brother understand that his younger brother was different. My 4 year old also suffers from severe autism (as a result of the Propionic Acidaemia). This meant that the 5 yr old brother initially struggled, believing the 4yr old deliberately chose not want to play with him. Our acceptance of the whole condition early meant we were able to reach out for help and support for our family.       How do you manage caring for your son in hospital while looking after other members of your family? I have managed considerably well since I began letting everyone in where safely possible. With a son as delicate as my 4 yr old, I initially felt I needed to do everything for him myself to get things done properly. Unfortunately, I struggled that way. I learnt to share the responsibility for him with the nurses at my local hospital or GOSH London (depending on where he was admitted). This freed up time for me to go home at least once a week to be a mum to my other son- to do the school run, take him to the park or just cuddle him. I have fed off this bit of normalcy. […]

Interview with the Local media


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Lots of students are hit with the harsh reality that university education unlike any other entails a lot of writing. What I prefer to see as “feedback”. It can be seen as something (data) that serves to inform future steps. (Glick M 2011). It happens when a person is allowed to give an opinion about how an activity or interaction has gone. It can be a good or bad opinion. It is usually delivered to someone else or maybe the organiser or other people involved in the activity or interaction. It is not enough to read many books as a student. There is also the need to relay what one has read to evidence understanding in such a way that can only be arrived at by critically analysing all that has been read. There was a report carried out in the US in 1990 by the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCAN). In this report it was determined that upon graduation, students should have acquired skills in literacy, computer usage data analysis and evaluation. In a nutshell, they should have information gathering skills to take into their lives. (Department of Labour 1992). The problem with getting information as a student is knowing what information to get or if what has been gathered will be relevant. The risk is usually in using only a small set of resources irrespective of the problem at hand. This poses the need to acquire this information literacy by learning to find a link between the use of the librarian, faculty and information technology resources available to meet the requirements of the problem at hand. (Weiner 2010). Interestingly, becoming informational literate helps improve our overall awareness as students. It cannot be acquired without sharpening very many aspects including our writing, analytical and listening skills. In the process we learn how to summarise what we have read from various sources into a few words. These become the feedback that we present in the form of assignments, essays and exams. Our writing is also show that we not only understand overall learning outcomes for the course but are able to apply our knowledge specifically to help solve the problems presented by the assignment, essay or exam. It also provides the opportunity for our hard work to be graded. This ultimately ascribes value to our degrees once attained. Information gathering is a cumbersome task. We need to have a fair understanding of what the question is because it is the basis for the whole exercise. It guides the search. Planning the search for the information needed to answer the question require time, patience and strategy. When information is found, questions regarding the suitability of the source of information become necessary. The helps to give the final product derived from the information some credibility and integrity. It is important to know more of the work and why. It is also important to know when the article was written to determine their relevance to the question being answered. In addition, the student has to find ways to put down what has been learnt. Where a quote is used, the marks to determine their start and end should clearly be applied. Techniques like paraphrasing, summarising and mind mapping can be used to sieve out relevant information regarding the question that the essay is required to answer.(UNPAC 2017). Only after all this has been properly done understood then begin to validly engage in a full analysis of the information that has been gathered. It may also include disturbance thoughts, doubts and in-depth analysis. This is the evidence of understanding that academic writing presents. In the end, the learning provider creates a fair system for submission. This allows the work done by students to be checked for similarities. The aim is to reduce copying, cheating and plagiarism. It also encourages students to use references and citations where multiple sources are used. (UNPAC 2017) Personally I feel very daunted by this concept of academic writing. It has now dawned on me that knowing how to write is only one piece of the academic writing jigsaw puzzle. Citation and referencing are certainly good skills to take on board. They would help a person separate facts from their  personal opinions as they write. Improving on communication skills to aid interaction with others helps to check and share ideas. This an article was about writing awareness and the requirements for attaining an academic level of writing. It looked at the importance of researching widely during academic writing tasks. It emphasised on the seriousness of the exercise and showed that there was no room for students to droll over the idea of using appropriate citation and referencing in their work. More importantly it focused on the need for appropriate citation and referencing to give credit to sources used.   Thank you for reading as always. There are many other posts like these. Do you know you might like them? Click here Photo credit : Pixabay   REFERENCES Department of Labour (1992) Secretary’s commission on achieving necessary skills. http://wdr.doleta.gov/SCANS/ Accessed 6 Aug 2013 Margaret Glick (2011) The Instructional Leader and the Brain: Using Neuroscience to inform practice. Corwin press pp113 Chapter 5 Weiner S L (2010) Information literacy: in neglected core competency. Educaus 33(1) Google scholar. UNPAC (2017) Northampton  

What’s all the fuss about academic writing?



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Letting people we love make their own mistakes is an art that I feel we all need to master. For those of us who give ourselves entirely when we care, we can sometimes unintentionally burden people with the level of care and affection that we shower them. It’s hard for them to understand why we just never back off but we only “nag” them because we care. Well I don’t feel that I nag but that’s they word that gets thrown left, right and centre when you keep on warning about the impending disaster. How many times have I seen someone I love ten steps away from a move that will lead to disaster and panicked? Countless times. I have expressed my panic and received sticks in return. Leave me alone … I know what I am doing … It’s my life, my rules, my mistakes!   These become the broken record they play to my listening ears. Yet when the disaster strikes the record changes to Don’t say I told you so or why did you not stop me! Should I have pushed harder despite their express declination or was I right to respect their feelings and let them do things their way? It’s such a hard balance but veering towards the latter means that you allow peace reign. You also show them respect and love by stepping back. This in turn gives them the chance to discover things by themselves. This reminds me of an African saying. I shall just translate it … Don’t tell the child to stay away from flames because when they feel the heat or get burnt from it as a result of their curiosity, they will never play close to the table where the lamp sits. Many people learn better from their mistakes and experiences while others like to add other people’s experiences to their learning pool. No matter how much you scream or honk at them, it feels like they chose to ignore the advice because it came from you. Being a familiar person tends to make you get taken for granted after all they say a prophet is hardly known in his hometown. What better age to live in than now when opinions abound. The internet is filled with chat rooms and fora of all sorts with people sharing and sometimes exaggerating their experiences for full effect. Many are also surrounded with family and friends who volunteer unsolicited advice. While that can be a pain, it can also be a treasure if you have the right level of discernment to help you sieve the chaff from the grain. Trust me discernment is a skill you acquire over time! I have just escaped an interaction with a loved one on the verge of making what I think to be a costly mistake but their mind is made up on their preferred course of action. As usual, I have to swallow the bitter pill of respecting their decisions and taking the difficult step back. It takes a lot of courage to let sleeping dogs lie. So tell me, have you found yourself in this situation before? What did you do about it? Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay There are many other posts like these. Do you know you might like them? Click here

Shhh…Stop telling me what to do!


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Do you know what I did for a few weeks during my son’s hospitalisation? I went home! Having been hospitalised for 5 months at the time without any hope of  discharge, I had to swallow the bitter pill of detachment. I began the transition a few weeks earlier by letting the nurses assist with some of the tasks that I alone performed for him. He did not take to them at first but he soon relaxed when he realised that I was not budging. It proved that bath time could still be fun even when anchored by someone else. I knew deep down that I needed a break. I had to spend some time with the rest of my family too. While at home, I kept wondering how my child was in the hospital. I must have called a million times on my first day away from him and each time, I got told that he was fine. At times when it was impossible to get through to the hospital,  I felt emotionally and psychologically helpless. While at home, I was floating about, not able to actually enjoy my supposed break or even relax.This was my story for the past few days. What kept me going was family. The warmth of being around them. I went on to spend time with them and even allowed myself enjoy that time out. I was happy. We had laughter and of course the odd disagreements. It was fun fun fun! At the end of my break, the time came for me to return back to my duty post beside my sick child in the hospital and did I crumble inside? Of course I did. Don’t get the wrong idea, I love being with my child here in the hospital during his long admissions. On this occasion however,  I think I got too cosy at home and remembered the comfort of lying in my bed and just being at home. It hurt! You see, when you have a sick child and find yourself hospitalised for a long time, initially you struggle to adapt to being restricted to the hospital. However soon enough you adjust and become completely used to the routine. You become hospitaley. It works well for you when you are the parent in the hospital. You adapt to the monotony and sluggishness of time. You start making new connections with staff (to guarantee the consistency of care your child receives) and other parents (to maintain your sanity and give you a break from your thoughts, endless games of candy crush or just boredom!). Going back and forth from home to hospital can sometimes be inevitable especially when you have other children to look after. However it doesn’t make it easier for you as the carer – just wrecks havoc to your otherwise perfect adaptation strategy.  Silly right? It is quite normal to nurse many hospital frustrations and crave home. You may even find that you keep these feelings secret because they sometimes leave you upset with yourself for being selfish. The good news is that you are not alone in experiencing these feelings. Now listen to this there’s more! When you get discharged home with your child, you may find that you walk right into another set of emotions. Every time your child as much as coughs especially in the first few days post discharge, you may see that you begin to feel very terrified by the thought that your child will end up back in hospital. This feeling may petrify you (if you are already cosying up to being at home), or annoy you (if you begin to wonder why your child cannot just be stable? Surely that’s not too much to ask!). As you begin to adapt to home life, the stress starts again to build up with endless things to do and no time to rest! The key to surviving all these emotions that we beset us as parent carers is to stay calm and accept that the ill health of our children are way beyond our control. There is no need letting it make us too sad because it will not really change anything. Some parents have expressed feelings of resentment towards the sickness plaguing their children and this too is quite normal as long as we do not dwell on those thoughts for too long. So you think it, you discard it so that you can move on to the next thing which is survival. All these feelings do not make us as carers wicked or bad. They make us human, tired and most times, exhausted. What we all need from time to time is rest . We get offered help as carers from family, friends, community health teams, social workers and so on. What we have to learn to do is to take as much help as is being offered to us by way of support. Sometimes, we turn down help because help can be feel intrusive even though this is hardly the intention when it is offered. Accepting help can make us worry about our homes being turned into hospitals with healthcare practitioners streaming in and out. I worry about that too. However ,in my experience, it is best not to turn down well meaning help so that when things get too stressful for us, we can always be guaranteed of some respite. This is because, such help although annoying may be the only opportunity for us to relax sometimes as carers. I will tell you some of the reasons why you cannot really go wrong accepting help and support It helps your child learn to allow others help: Reaching out for help and accepting help when it is offered are the elements that can help you survive your journey as a parent carer. The saying that no man is an island becomes even more apparent when you care for a sick child. When you nurse your child, you know how delicate they can be emotionally. Many carers know how difficult it is for sick children to adjust to […]

Hospital life : Why you need help and support.



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It had been a crazy couple of weeks for me. I had thought that through it all, I would have found time for myself ! Well sadly, I did  not. I had very tight schedules with many crazy deadlines to meet. I also had early mornings, late nights and everything in between. What I needed was some me-time but that was impossible to get. I used to be able to steal this me-time within the chaotic days but not these past few weeks. I could neither consistently put down as much as a scribble on paper nor could I even go for a walk. It was absolutely chaotic and left me feeling very messed me up! I always feel that we have it in us as humans find deeper sense in our lives by engaging our hands and feet. I know that it sounds silly but somehow by engaging these two parts of our anatomy to varying degrees and at different times, we secure some time within the nearly impossible schedules we have as parent carers to be by ourselves and therein lies the hope of some sanity for us. The more we are able to steal this me time, the more possible it will be for us to create more order and gain more control over the rest of our day and hopefully our lives. With our hands, we write, colour, sew, do the washing and so on. With our feet, we simply walk (notice that I did not say run because that may be stretching it too far for already exhausted carers like us!). Those of us  who can perform these two activities nee to pause now because there lies one thing to feel very thankful and fortunate for. Do you know why I begged you to pause? Well, It’s because if you are a parent carer like me, you will know that within our chaotic lives, it can be nearly impossible to ever find something to feel fortunate about. It is during these seemingly mundane activities that I find for example that it is possible for me to steal some of this me-time.  That alone time can be 5 mins or less. It just allows you organise your thoughts, make plans  or simply stay quiet. This me time does not necessarily mean that you have to be physically alone to enjoy it, you can still grab it even during activities by shutting everything out and relaxing your self even for as few as a few minutes at a time. Such peace and serenity can be all you need in several bursts throughout your day to restore some calmness and orderliness to different parts of your upsey, downsey or what I like to see as the yo-yo emotions that sits within most of us carers. So for example, a typical day in a carer’s life may start with needing to do administer medicines and give the child a wash. As a carer, you can practice some relaxation by taking deep breathes as you perform these simple activities. Time is one thing that is precious and never in abundance especially where carers’ needs are concerned. It is the most sought after companion that is never accommodating to us. So one helpful way to create time for us amidst our busy lives is learning to make that time within the activities we perform. Learning to take deep breathes even as we perform all our activities can drastically improve our well being. Here are some tips that I practice and find useful: Multi-tasking is good but the downside is that it can leave you stressed. Break down all the tasks for the day into segments before working through them. Reduce your self exertion by performing and completing the task(s) only a few at a time. Remember to breathe and focus your thoughts on each task(s) you perform. This makes you perform them better with more focus and stops your mind from being overwhelmed by everything outside the task at hand. You can sit still in time clusters. So throughout the day, you can sit for 3 mins in every 1-2 hrs just catching your breathe. When you start to get worried and stressed, writing your thoughts in a book can help declutter your mind. In the end, what you may find is a more relaxed you amidst your day. There are many other ways that parents find to cope through the stress of caring for their children. As long as the method is safe and the end result is some level of calmness and stress relief to that parent, then fire away! Every parent will find their own way in the end. No one has any formula but hopefully hearing about different strategies adopted by different parents will help you formulate your perfect method. Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay    

Hospital Life – The Parent caring “Yo-Yo” effect


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Have you ever wondered what it must be like for a parent to be told that their child has an illness from which they cannot recover? That the child may live but have a very low quality of life? That the prognosis is so dire that their life span cannot even be guaranteed? I never had to ever have these thoughts before I had my sick child. It was a random portion of misfortune that had been apportioned to me by nature. Suddenly the lottery of birth had dealt me this very devastating blow. There are many like me who now have to live with the problems associated with this type of news about their children. There are so many aspects to becoming a parent of a sick child that I daresay, not even a single book on the subject will cover.  In fact looking back now, the things I thought were problems were actually not problems and its funny also how my definition of worry has changed with time. On a daily basis many parents in my new world have to deal with these sorts of information. I pray that you never have to because when hit with these possibilities and probabilities, your life changes forever. Some of us have been living on the edge not really knowing from one day to the next what the future holds for our children. What their quality of life will be and how they would cope with their disabilities long term. Some of us even add the worries about our own life expectancies to it. Oh! What if I die? What will become of my child? Who will look after him/her? STOP!!! I will stop you there please. The brain is not made to cope with information overload. So how then can it deal with question over load? That line of questioning only leads to despair.  There are too many unknowns to deal with. Even in mathematics, equations are used to get values or answers for unknown variables. As the unknowns increase, we need more equations to help substitute and solve them. Also, as unknowns increase we just generally stop and give up on any hope of a solution. Life is filled with unknowns. Sometimes we just need to breathe because there is also something beautiful that life is also filled with…Hope! I will give you an example. Who knew some 20-30 years ago that there will be such medical advancements and prowess as there are today? In the past a diagnosis of diabetes or HIV would have been a life sentence. However, fast forward 20-30years later, today, that is no longer the case. There are better outcomes, management plans and treatment options for those patients. In the past, amputees did not get the care and support that are now readily available to many of them. So many have now gone on to become olympians and actively enjoy their lives to the fullest. So there is still hope. Some rare conditions are being researched into daily leaving tomorrow pregnant with hope for better outcomes. The effects of particular illnesses can also vary from patient to patient. This means that there are very different outcomes for different patients even with the same illness. Even amongst the healthy still lie life’s uncertainties. Who said that healthy people do not die in different ways? We will all get to answer the clarion call somehow.  That is also part of the unpredictability of life which we have no control over. What we can control however, is how we choose to live our lives. We can choose to be happy by spending as much quality time as we can with our children- healthy or sick. We can make every living moment count. Worrying too much about death and the impending end of our sick children can rob us of all ability to enjoy life with them. These different situations we find ourselves in, make us stronger people, better people. Only if we allow ourselves power through our challenges. There is so much strength deposited in everyone. They only become available to us on a need-to-use basis. Many parent carers are gurus at multitasking and joggling. Most of them are very resilient. The sad thing is that because they are so busy getting on with their challenges that they never notice how strong they are. The act of caring for your sick child means that you learn to be a more patient person. Can you count how many hours you have sat staring into space waiting for a blood test, or a result, or an operation or just waiting for your child to get better. Did you ever imagine that you had it in you to sit still? Sometimes you find yourself praying for days and weeks for your child to feel better. You find that you possess some form of faith or strong will (which you never realised that you possessed) to help you stay focussed through a stormy bout of deterioration. Did you ever know that you could be as prudent as you have become with your finances? You suddenly find  that you are able to find ways to make your finances stretch through your demanding circumstance. So although problems differ, they all have stress, frustration and uncertainty in common. We can however, control how we allow those problems affect us by adopting a different approach to them. So look inside of you and draw from the strength that lies within. Do not focus on the problem at hand but on the hope that it will get better. Keep taking baby steps in the night directions. Stop over thinking about the future, it is so unpredictable that it seems a waste to allow it weigh us down. Take it one day at a time. One hour at a time and one moment at a time. Deal with each step that lies before you. After then ask yourself what the next step is. Deal with that and then […]

Hospital life – One step at a time.



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Being a parent carer is really not all doom and gloom. It’s hard to be yourself because most times you put yourself last on the scale. However, as carers, we need to take care of ourselves. Our health, our backs and even our emotions. Constantly ignoring that symptom you have because of the attention your child or loved one needs will do no good in the long run. It’s a good idea to always bear in mind that as soon as you become unwell (especially after ignoring niggling symptoms) everything breaks down. You begin to worry about who will stand in for you when you are ill. We all know that worry. It is made ten times worse if you are anything like me. I get caught up in the thought that no one can look after my child as well as I would. This may be true but when you are unwell, it is what it is- you will have to let others step in whether you like it or not. They may not necessarily do as good a job as you can be but they will definitely give it their best shot. Adopt proper posture when performing daily tasks : For some of us, our caring role means we are either constantly lifting or  bending. It is a good idea to adopt proper lifting and bending techniques on time. You really do not want any wrong postures that will leave you in pain over time. It’s quite easy to take bad postures for granted but bear in mind that caring for your loved one may be long term. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date : In the colder months the flu vaccination is a good idea especially if you normally have one. Do not forget to check with your doctor before having the flu jab in order to ensure that it will be right for you. If your child or loved one is very prone to the flu, they may be offered the flu vaccination anyway. The vaccination you get will just stop you having the flu and reduce the risk of exposing your child or loved one. Get some fresh air : Emotionally, carers are at risk of becoming lonely and depressed. It will be a good idea to try to get some exercise as often as possible. The fresh air never does anyone any harm. For those who are unable to enjoy the outdoors for various reasons, even sitting out in the garden or by the window may make a difference. Just watching as much nature as you can through the window, strolling in the meadow etc can uplift a carer’s mood. Stay connected with help and support : In addition, there are support groups for carers in England. The carers UK, or a local branch of carers can provide listening  support and sometimes advice on days when you struggle. For those abroad, similar support may be available. Where unavailable, all hope is not lost, friends and family are always invaluable. Providing support to those who struggle. It always helps when we can talk about our feelings. Remember, that’s child or loved one will want you to look after yourself better if they knew how much you were struggling. It will ultimately impact them adversely in the end. It is a good idea to seek help when you struggle. It does not make you weak, it only means you are strong and working hard at keeping strong. There are lots of things to support parents in the community. Parents who have kids with disability especially can have access to some benefits for them and their kids. When my child was diagnosed, it took me a long time to come to terms with the full implications of the illness for him and for us all as a family. The last thing on my mind was seeking any help. There were too many things to get used to. However, a lot of the stress would have been halved if we sought had sought help sooner. In the UK, it is worth speaking with the citizens advice bureau on time to advise on what is help would be suitable. This is because different families have different needs. However, I found that the government website also provides information. Disability living allowance is made available to children with disabilities. The level of care required for the child is used to determine how much would be awarded. There are two categories: mobility and care elements. Some children can be awarded both or either of the elements in the disability allowance. At times children can still be awarded even without clear diagnosis. The main criteria used are the level of care or mobility needs for the child in relation to children his or her age. The main carer for the child can be the parents, foster parents or any other person. If that person spends over 35 hours a week caring for the child, he or she can also claim a carers allowance. There are rules to be adhered to while claiming the carer’s allowance. It is taxable benefit meaning that it counts towards your personal allowance in every tax year. There are limits to additional earnings per week and it is worth checking before embarking on any extra employment. There is also a restriction on the number of hours the carer can be in education. Part-time education not exceeding certain hours a week are allowed. Some families may struggle with caring for their child and it may genuinely impact on the families ability to work and earn enough money to meet their living costs. Families can apply for income support and child or working tax credits. There are different criteria used to award these and it is worth calling them for advice early enough. When the income is low or the  family claims income support, it is also worth checking if you are eligible for housing benefits.The Turn2us website contains  an online calculator that parents can use […]

Hospital life – Taking care of yourself as a parent carer (Physically and Financially)


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Children start to get frustrated , the longer their healths deteriorate. They act out these frustrations in so many different ways. Unfortunately their nearest and dearest are left on the receiving end of these feelings. Its hard to empathise with a person living with ill health. No matter how much love, attention and affection you have to dish out, it does not stop the child having the monopoly as regards the ugly effects of the sickness. I remember when I was pregnant and completely sick. I remember thinking that it was the worst feeling ever. Constant tiredness, sickness, vomiting, constipation, nausea and my mouth tasting like tar became my daily ordeal. Not that I had ever tasted tar but I imagined it tasted like it, smelt and looked like it! I had my loved ones waiting on me hand and foot as I lay immobile on the “bed rest” prescribed by the doctor. No matter how much they cared, I still felt sick. Too horrible to even speak. In fact sometimes I felt like screaming for them to leave me alone. I had the common sense not to because I could not even walk to the bathroom without help. I envied their wellness. I wanted to eat but I couldn’t. I wanted to sleep but the baby turned on my belly into a champions league field. But I understood what my sickness was. I understood the time range. I even understood that I was pregnant afterall  I was an adult with common sense. Sadly, even that did not diminish my frustration. So, although pregnancy is nothing compared to the ill health that children experience, imagine how it must be for a child. Children are supposed to be free, to play, scream, run around and just be children. Illness does all the things to the child that limits their ability to be children in the way they are meant to be. Sometimes they become restricted, stay for long periods in hospital, it keeps them in pain or constantly nauseated and feeling sick. It  limits their breathing, speech and the list is endless. For some kids, they have one or a few symptoms, for others, they have a combination of symptoms varying in duration and severity. Imagine how frustrating and annoying it must feel that your body just lets you down constantly. Imagine how frustrated they must feel when without any intention we imply that they should get on with it and be used to these feeling? No one can get used to being sick not even a child. For children with siblings, they are left confused about why they are the ones with the illness. They wonder why their symptoms do not reduce or why they cannot be cured, saved or rescued from whatever condition it is that they have. All these feelings may not be easily expressed by the child. Here are some common reasons : Sometimes children do not even realise why they feel frustrated leading to anger, resentment, hostility. Some children feel demoralised as a result of their constantly ill health and experience a total loss of interest or zest for life. Some children get too worried about worrying their parents and tend to bottle up their feelings leading to even more frustrations.. You see, your child loves you and as their health deteriorates do not only see your efforts, they feel your pain for their situation. They worry about you unknown to you and this worry can become a barrier becoming a stumbling block leading to an inability to let you in regarding their feelings. Some children’s feelings get messed up by the effects of several medications in their blood stream. This may impair or aggravate their feelings. Some children begin to get muddled up emotionally as their healths deteriorate because of the neurological effects of some health conditions in children. Sometimes, unknown to us, kids see our fragility especially at times we think we try the most to hide our feelings from them. I always feel sometimes that they know more than they are letting on but with good reason. Unfortunately and unknown to the child, one thing that always erupt to the surface are unresolved feelings of pain, frustration, anger and so on. When these feelings erupt, parents, carers, or even Health care professionals (HCPs) can become the targets. For children well enough to still attend school we may stretch the list to include their classmates and teachers. While we cannot really blame them for lashing out, we cannot also accommodate inappropriate behaviour especially when these outbursts becomes regular and unsafe. It becomes our duty to help them as best as we can. It is a difficult but not an impossible task. Here are some tips Listen – Providing a listening ear to a sick child can be the one thing that will stop things deteriorating. By listening, you are able to detect the reason(s) for their sadness and frustrations. Knowing these may help you address them. Listening provides an opportunity for a you to reassure your child, calm their fears and refocus their thoughts. It is true that their illness may be incurable, life-threatening, life limiting thereby making them very delicate amongst other things. However, by listening you can give them the opportunity to half their problems. As a problem shared is halved. Expressing themselves can relieve the burden of bottling things up. This outcome although halfway to the intended outcome of resolving their feelings is better than no outcome at all. Do not take things personal – Do not blame yourself for the attitude of your child. Try not to think in the first instance that the child is deliberately attacking you as a parent. Most of the things children say to their parents when they are unwell do not necessarily reflect on your parenting skills. Remember that  as much as you love your child, the illness is theirs. This in itself fuels the frustration which they may channel unfairly at you. Realising this fact can […]

Hospital Life – How listening to a sick child can help



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Immersion… An interesting word for today right? Well, It has not come about by accident. That’s just in case you were wondering. It was a word that came about through feedback. A person was described as one who got thoroughly immersed in any activity they performed. It was a compliment actually. I always like to think that once in a while it is interesting to get feedback about how we come across to others. This was definitely an exciting one. Until that point in the discussion, I would have never ever thought of describing the person in question as one who enjoyed being immersed in any activity. I was wrong because right now, the more I think about it, the more I find it to be an extremely suitable description. So let’s turn to Merriam Webster my trusted side kick when it comes to defining terms. She offered me many definitions but the one that I thought was most suitable for the purpose of this discussion was the third definition. Here it comes… ….absorbing involvement…. I like that. For one to be described as having a tendency to be totally absorbed and involved in an activity must be a good thing. Right? Personally, I like not only to do things but to experience them. To do something feels more external than experiencing it in my opinion. I like to watch how things make me feel when I do them. I like to be aware of how I form my opinion about the things I do based on how they make me feel as I do them. I also like to compare my feelings over time … how am I feeling about this now compared to how I felt previously? I can hardly participate in things without deploying all my senses. This creates a lot of internal dialogue which can sometimes be distracting. Feel things from the heart don’t just be a partaker … That’s like an unspoken motto of mine. But that also comes with its baggage. You see not all activities we perform make us feel anything to start with. Especially when they are in their infancy- when we first start to do them. When we are still learning to do them, it can be difficult to feel excited about them. It’s easy to think that someone possesses a mighty  dose of absorbing involvement in an activity when they are enjoying what they are doing. This can lead to the assumption that this feeling occurs with every activity they participate in. It can even make us feel that we do not possess as much potential for being completely absorbed in the activities that we ourselves are involved in. Well, not so my friend, not so…. That absorbing involvement you witness in others is expressed mostly when people perform enjoyable activities. There are many things that can distract us from experiencing the same level of absorbing involvement that we admire in others. I like to think of them as internal and external distractions. Let’s start with the internal distraction. Do you remember how I told you earlier about how I need to experience and not just do things?  Well, that’s a classic example of a potential recipe for distraction that originates from within. I cannot count how many activities I have been robbed of because I have been too impatient to allow myself hop over the learning hurdle and into the enjoyment phase. The need to immediately enjoy and feel can be a distraction from the whole process and objective of simply participating in many activities. In fact funny enough, many of the activities I am currently admired for were those that I learnt when I was very young. I have no real recollection of what the learning phase was like or the resistance I may have put up. I was very young when I acquired those skills and what’s more the responsibility for making sure I mastered them was not mine. My parents and teachers would take full credit for those. Writing, sewing, tidying up, playing an instrument, saying my prayers, reading my bible etc. With those skills, I hear people say I have super immersive tendencies. Now that I am solely responsible for acquiring new skills to help me participate in new activities, I must confess to you that I have found myself as shamefully wanting as any one else. I cannot even learn to play the Wii with my son because I lack the patience to learn what all those buttons are for on the controller. Worse still, the functionalities keep changing with the games and I simply cannot keep up. What happened to just colouring or painting things? So you may see me doing things like that diligently and looking totally absorbed in those but don’t be fooled. I don’t enjoy or feel anything when I play the games because I cannot get myself to be patient enough to learn them. As a result, I safely stick with familiar patterns. In order to reach a point of immersion in the activities we perform, we need to find ways to remove distractions and create a focusing environment in which the so- called activities we get involved in can thrive.Not many of us are able to kill all the noise and things that tend to push and pull us as we perform various activities. This leads to an inability to be absorbed or completely involved in them. In the end, we end up avoiding or even neglecting them. This brings us nicely into the external reason for distraction which is mainly peer pressure. This distraction originates not just as a result of an internal distaste, lack of enjoyment or feeling for the activities we perform but from people whose feelings we put before ours. In trying to please them, we compromise on our personal desires regarding the activities in question. The need to yield to these external peer pressures also fuel the need for conformity. This means that many activities we will ordinarily participate in, enjoy and […]

Word of the day – Immersion


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If you have been sailing through life and never failed at anything, it is difficult to appreciate the gift that failure can bring to your soul. I feel so sad. Failing again and again has bashed my self esteem. it has made me question myself. Am I really good enough? Perhaps I have been very lucky up till this point and escaped with many near misses that I have not noticed, how narrow my escapes have been. That is pretty much how I feel right now. I am so angry with myself. The more success has continued to elude me, the more frustrated I have become. I have tried everything within my power to succeed and it just feels like the more I try, the more I tumble down the slippery slope. I partook in a test that depended on how someone else other than me judged my actions. If they judged them as safe, I passed but if they determined my actions to be dangerous, however innocuous my intentions, then I failed. Every time a tentative feedback was given, I felt judged even though it was sometimes corrective.  By the time the judgement was finally passed,  I felt like an extra switch had been put off and my confidence nose- dived…dimmed one switch at a time. Why could I not see that all I had were just a litany of miscalculations? I just could not understand how I could have been so daft. It’s interesting how we view ourselves compared to how we are viewed. Sometimes, we allow ourselves trust the judgement of people around us (especially if they are external and not prejudiced) and rightly so. However, it does not stop it being very heartbreaking to sit and listen to them talk about how we actually come across. While we mustn’t spend time worrying about how others view us, we cannot totally ignore them. As they say, everyone cannot be wrong at the same time. Failure was an alien term to me until I joined the bandwagon. I really could neither relate with nor excuse it. It simply did not exist. It was a stamp for weakness. But recently having suddenly tasted the pill of failure despite the heavy doses of hard work and optimism I had mustered, I began to appreciate failure. I began to see how the elusiveness of the target could either be a propeller or dissuader. I began to appreciate how failure could secure success or destroy egos. I had no idea that I was such a bad loser until I began to experience failure. I had enjoyed so many victories, I did not know how to fail. Failure really sucks trust me but the truth is that as long as we are trapped in our humanity, it is a phenomenon that is sometimes inevitable. Survival of the fittest!  You are not the only one on a mission to succeed so sometimes others will have their own turn…Let them shine after all when you were a winner, they too watched you take your turn on the pedestal of success. So in order to experience the lessons hidden in failure, we need to learn how to fail. Failure helps us realise that we are human and as such we can never be perfect always. It helps us pay more attention to the things we will normally overlook. It not only makes us aware that what we are trying is not working but pushes us to find new ways that can work. Failing is not really losing, It is in reality a postponed victory. Losing is when you stop trying to find a way to win. Every one will get their own turn only if they keep trying. One thing failure does best is make the victory even sweeter when it finally arrives. Failure provides an opportunity to learn more accurately as we strive to aim higher in our attempt secure success. Failure allows us go through a process by providing us with experiences that strengthen our awareness of success. In order to achieve this, failure helps us listen more closely to the wisdom in the hidden lessons that we can build on as we edge closer to victory. The journey to success that is stretched longer by failure is  the journey that sculpts and fashions  us into tougher beings as we strive and never give up. The one who attains immediate victory knows only the way that works while the one who fails severally before experiencing victory knows not only the way that works but is also the most certain about the ways that don’t work. This knowledge secures the victory once attained because there will be no reason to drift away from the path of success. If we can be kinder to ourselves when we fail, we will be less scarred by failure. Failure is nature’s way of telling us that we are not ready. Failure does not mean that you are not good enough, it just means that you have not yet found the way. Look at it this way, even if you have the best car in the world, you cannot drive from point A to B if you do not know the way that leads from A to B. Even if that car is a Bugatti, the man on a bicycle who has the map or knowledge about how to get from point A to B will get there before you. This does notmake his means of transportation better than yours. Therefore, when we fail, let us stop taking failure personal. Let us start asking the right questions about why we are failing or what we need to get us to where we need to be. Let us go back to the basics if we have to. We must keep trying until we find a way that works. In the end we will be rewarded not only with the victory we seek but with information about so many other ways that may equip is in other endeavours. […]

The power of failure- Why a bit of failure can be a good thing.



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Seriously…. How many children do I have? Well, in reality and to most ordinary parents, this would be their most savoured question. It is like the one they expect and hope to be asked as soon as their parental status comes to light. It may go in the lines of …so how many children do you have?… It will be the opportunity for most parents to go on about the number of children and possibly how cute they are, how old they are, what they are up to. Some might even add a moan or two about how “stressful” parenting is…. Well, blady, blah blah. For me, that question is the one I dread as a parent. The question is like a needle that stings my heart leading to an eruption of extremely distressing emotions. Sound strange? Well, welcome to my world. I used to have very many children and now for some reason, I am left with just one. One lonely child who is now not only left with me, but left alone without a sibling. What a wicked world! Sadly, they all died. My child is only 7 and she has been through the works with me. Well, before you turn on the pity, I just want you to know that I do not actually intend shedding any more light about my situation. Please don’t give me that look…don’t I know it? Well, worse things happen so get over it! Anyway, the reason that question creates a huge emotional sting for me is because when it pops up harmlessly, it leaves me clueless as to how to approach the answer fairly. Technically, I have 2 possible answers I can say I have just one child. But you see, the question is ambiguous if you ask me. How many children, triggers numbers in my head. I had numbers to present to this quiz master but now I have just one child left. To be fair “do you have?” specifically refers to the present tense. You know, like the current state of affairs…which would be 1! This brings me nicely into my second possible answer. I  can say I have one “left”. This also satisfies the answer in the context of the present. However, it also creates an awareness of a change in status quo. “Left” kind of brings the existence of some other persons who were but who now are not here into the knowledge of the quiz master. It’s like dragging them into a party where they are really no longer welcome. At least not to the living who are always inconvenienced by this knowledge. Yes, I insist that creating this awareness is always an unintended inconvenience posed by my response which the hearer has to deal with. Apologies begin to spring up by the askers who suddenly wish they did not ask. Or worse still, who start to worry that by leading me to this response, I will suddenly become so upset that I need one thousand apologies to feel better. No, the apologies do not make me feel better. They only scratch the elephant that enters the room with claws of pity. I won’t break just because I make you aware of my status. Remember I provided the answer even though you asked. So there you go, I have spilled the beans. It’s ok to feel troubled by my answer. To worry about how I might feel afterwards but please don’t fixate. Don’t let it take over the rest of the conversation. Don’t let it make the mood sour. The reason I chose to give this answer has nothing to do with you. It has instead to do with my angels. I just feel like it will be so unfair to give an answer that does not acknowledge their existence in this world however fleeting. It is also not fair on me. It psychologically and emotionally takes a lot from a man to be in this position… to move from being the “one time father” of many nations and to becoming the father of one clan. So that answer gives me a sense of pride too. Its not easy to be me. To cope with as much losses as I have had to. It’s my only chance to show off my strength as a person. Yeah yeah…it sounds lame. Well, it’s not my fault that I no longer have victories at soccer, or straight A exams to boast about for my angel children. But I am still proud that I am still standing here in one piece living and coping with the void that their departures have created. Cheers!   Photo credit: Pixabay

Question of the day: How many Children do you have?


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How do you stay strong and positive when there is really nothing to be happy about? This is one of the main questions parents contemplate every day when dealing with illness of their children. Thousands of children in this country are chronically ill. Some need tonnes of hospital care in addition to needing around-the-clock care when they are at home. Their healths are not only as fragile but also unstable. Their parents and carers are the rock solid people that cope with these emotional troughs and peaks around the clock. But are those calm and calculated exteriors really for real? Could there be butter jelly real-life people standing behind those calm and strong exteriors that many parent carers appear to possess? The answer is an emphatic yes! When the whistle of life blew everybody planned to grow up, get an education or learn a skill, become successful, get married or into a relationship and have kids…. healthy kids. I will be very worried about anyone who before encountering their child’s illness meticulously spent time planning and expecting it. It is no wonder then, that many people who find themselves in this situation are not only clueless and confused about what to do but are also overwhelmed by it. One of the safest mindsets that many of the parents I have come across have is pessimism. Pessimism and not been positive is like a safety net for their emotions. In fact until very recently I shared the same opinion. Think about it this way – if you are not expecting anything good, or not expecting good news about an issue how can you be disappointed? Disappointment is a feeling I think one experiences when people or situations fall below our expectation. If there is no expectation, then there is no disappointment right? Well, that’s how pessimists and “not positive” people think. You will notice that I do not call them “negative people” because my interactions have shown that there is a big aversion for the “negative tag”. It’s like an extreme description that is perceived as a defeatist description of how the mindset that these “not positive” people have. See, whatever we call it, firstly, I will like to bring up the ideology of the “glass”. I am sure you are all familiar with this analogy. Imagine a glass on a table, its capacity was say 100mls but 50mls of water was put inside. This means the glass held half its content capacity. When we all view this glass, we can choose to see it either as half full or as half empty. But I want to ask you one question, does this change the volume of water in the glass? – No. So my point is that, like we all know, the glass is either half full or half empty but one way of viewing this glass can give hope, peace, calmness to the viewer. Remember the contents remain the same. So sincerely it is true that not expecting anything means you do not get disappointed. But the risk in that is that “not ever expecting” or “not being positive” can leave you feeling as low as your expectation. That lowness can leave you sad and constantly existing in a state of sadness can have health implications for you. In the end, the problem may or may not go away but what we lose is “you”. We lose your true self, your true happiness, your true zest for life, you become hurdled into an emotional corner trying to save your heart from heartbreak that may occur as a result of your child’s failing health. Mind you, children feed off the energy we exude. No matter how we put on a front, our true feelings are hard to mask from people we spend hours with. Our frustrations, irritations and sadness filter through our remarks, comments, temperaments, and mood swings. We do ourselves an injustice because we also unknowingly lose out on quality, valuable and irreplaceable time that we can share with our children – Sick and healthy. It is true that by being “not positive” we can shield ourselves from disappointment (remember the no expectation no disappointment argument). What we also may end up doing unknowingly is erecting a wall around ourselves. Only a few people can handle being “not positive” and staying in control of their emotions especially in other aspects their lives.  What really tends to happen when we are “not positive” is that we start to slip away and stop living because we tend to mainly experience worry (even though you don’t realise it). I remember as a child we got told this story- full credit to the unknown author: A man was sent to a village from a shoe factory to see if there was possibility of expansion for the business. He got there and it was a very backward village with people wearing leaves, on barefoot. In fact it looked like Stone Age. He walked all around and the story was the same so he went back reporting that it was a total waste of money going there stating that the people had never even heard of shoes. After a while, the company sent another man to see if any development had come to the village. He did but the story was still the same. So he went back and told the company that there was a massive opportunity there. They asked him if the people had become civilised now, he replied to the contrary. They wanted to know why he had such an idea. He told them that their lack of civilisation was his opportunity. The people had never heard of shoes and it was his opportunity to market it to them. In the end he made massive profits selling more than anyone in the firm. So, why this story? You see the two people like in our glass analogy, saw the view of the same situation differently. It did not change the fact that the village was still in Stone […]

Hospital life – Staying strong and positive



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It was a lovely party and the music was on full blast. Everyone was so excited. I was dancing really hard. My heart was pounding and I could feel the adrenaline rush. Oh! how I loved parties. This one was being hosted by my friend Nkem. No one could pull off this scale of grove better than him. Everyone was there. Everyone that mattered. There was booze, food, small chops …everything. However, despite all the fun,I had a niggling feeling I could not shift. It was exploding within me but the fun was just too much to attend to it. Dance! Dance!! Dance!!! That’s all I was doing. I was just helpless to the beat. Until….. It exploded…. I ran as fast as my feet could carry me to save me the embarrassment. I was 39 years old. How could I explain what was happening. I ran past a couple making out at the foot of the stairs, brushed past a few people on the corridor. I wished I had wings. From my peripheral vision, I could see that none of them could tell what was happening to me. That was a relief. The door was in sight. Phew… I would sort myself out as soon as I reached it. If only I could get there very quickly. It must have been just five steps away. I could see the door and all I wanted was to get behind it. This explosion was under control…at least for now. Suddenly it began to turn into a burning sensation. Bang! Bang!! Bang!!! I wished my fist could burst the door. I was banging for dear life. The door was locked. Someone was in there. “Come out…. come out….”, I screamed. My voice was inaudible with all the racket.The damned music! I could not believe that I had let the silly beats get me into trouble. The door began to open…. slowly….but it was too late.  I could feel the woosh. The explosion was officially on full blast . I managed to save my face as I slammed the door shut behind me. I had peed my pants. It was so embarrassing. At my age, I could not imagine that I had been so daft. I managed to sit on the loo. My bladder was still very full despite the accident. There was more but it felt stuck. “Why can’t I wee?”, I wondered. I tried to push the wee like a woman in labour. I pushed and pushed without success.  It just did not budge. “Was I sick? What was wrong with me?”, I could feel myself entering panic mode. Don’t do it…Don’t wee… Who was saying that? I could hear the faint cry in the distance There was a burning pain in my groin now. So I tried to push again. Don’t doooo iiiiiiiittttt! “Shut up… who the hell is saying this. What is happening to me?”, I screamed feeling very upset. “I need to gooooo”, I said sobbing quietly. pheeeewwwwwww…….. The sound of my relief as I let the sweet urine pour out from my bladder through my itsy bitsies down the toilet. I shut my eyes and enjoyed the relief. Who was saying that.  But suddenly my legs began to feel wet. Errrm… I was sitting on a toilet, why was my body feeling wet. This was a weird day. I had not drank a drop of alcohol. I felt horrified. “Wake up ! Wake up ! You are soaked!”, That was definitely a man’s voice. It was Noah my partner. How did he enter the toilet? Surely, I locked the door behind me. So I opened my eyes curiously wondering how on earth that happened. I was soaked. It was Noah alright, but I was not in the damned toilet! I must have emptied a truckload of urine on our bed….again. “Are you ok darling?”, Noah asked me calmly but no matter how he tried to downplay the obvious, I was too embarrassed to speak. I picked up the pillow and hid my face. OMG! I was soaked in my own waste! I did not answer… I was still in shock. I am 39 years old and have no idea what to do! Thanks for reading Photo credit: Pixabay

A wet dream


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Tribute to CATS   I have this teddy bear cat in my house. It is orange with brown whiskers. It sits proudly on my son’s bed. It is an emblem to us as a family. It represents hope, peace and a united fighting spirit. We call it CATS seems cheeky right? Well you will know why we chose that name in a moment. Looking around my home, you will find many of those CATS around, perhaps ten of them. CATS actually stands for Children Acute Transport Service. It is an acronym. When my son was born, he was very unwell. As soon as I had him in my arms, I knew he was not right. I could have brushed it off as paranoia but because I had been through extreme experiences after birthing each of my boys, the consultant knew not to brush off my concerns and thankfully so. In no time, he was in a coma. He was slipping away. That was when I heard the name CATS for the first time. CATS was the intensive care ambulance we were waiting for to transport us to Great Ormond Street Hospital where hope lived. CATS was the name of the service I apprehensively asked the nurses about when I wanted to know their proximity since the last time we heard that they were on their way… amidst their pleas for me to calm down. How could I? It was hard to be calm when my son’s life hung on a balance it was hard to think straight or make sense of anything. Then suddenly, CATS arrived! When CATS arrived, it felt like an army of knights had arrived. Looking at them, they looked built for the occasion. There was a doctor and a nurse on board. They took what seemed like ages to transfer all the equipment from the hospital into the ambulance. I am sure it happened very quickly but that day, it felt like years. We were on our way to the intensive care unit in London to save my boy’s life. Neeeee…… nooooor………neeeee…..noooooor The sirens blared. I cried with each beep because I had no idea if he was going to make it. Neeeee…… nooooor………neeeee…..noooooor I was scared but reassured by the expertise before me from where I sat on that ambulance. They were pricking and prodding my boy. Putting cuffs here and thermometers there. They simply knew their onions. Although my heart was heavy, it was hopeful. The CATS team were super professional. Reassuring me of our arrival in no time. They tried to keep me distracted by talking to me. I felt cared for…. Not shoved away because I was not the patient. There was a seat for us his parents on the ambulance. After we arrived and our child was transferred into the intensive care, CATS bade me farewell and gave me a parting gift – the CATS cuddly cat. Since then, we have made over 10 of such trips. We unfortunately have had a lot of intensive care admissions but there has not been a time where I have doubted the capability of the CATS team to deliver my son to where help lay. I know many parents appreciate them and we are all thankful for the excellent service that we enjoy via CATS for our kids. My son recently needed CATS again but we got given a bag for life bag with mini brushes and toothpastes for freshening up on the go. This year I understand CATS is 15 years old. 15 years of delivering hope to our little fragile ones. I am thankful to them for a great service. My son will not be here if CATS did not do their job as well as we all know and love them for. So once again, as I look at this cuddly soft toy – CAT I remain happy and hopeful that come what may, help will always be on the way. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay      

Hospital life – Tribute to CATS



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The army of parents helpers. Yes, I like to think of all the friends I have made along my way on this journey of parent caring as an army. A legion, in fact a confraternity! There is something very comforting about meeting and knowing parents on the hospital ward where your child is being cared for. It feels like we all share in that unity of purpose. We all find ourselves trying to be the best parents we can be to the children who are all severely unwell. There is a comfort in sharing our journeys together. I like to group the parents into three categories: the short stayers the long stayers and the returnees Yes, it is pretty self-explanatory. This short stayers come to the ward and stay for a short while. Some are out within a matter of days. The longest ones here stay a couple of weeks. The long stayers are the hospital Methuselahs like myself. They stay for months and sometimes years. While the returnees have been on the ward for  either long or short stays in the past and find themselves back again staying for a long or short time. It doesn’t really matter. I have struck many a friendship on the ward. They are very sincere and true friendships. Unlike other friendships – normal ones that happen in your normal lives outside the hospital, these hospital friendships have no baggage. It is just simply struck over a chat, a cuppa or on a corridor while watching the kids play. There are no complications where these friendships are concerned. These friendships do not depend on class, money, status or things like that. Life humbles us like a pack of sardines and we find ourselves brought together by fate. Our paths cross as a result of something otherwise negative – sickness. These beautiful friendships blossom and grow amidst  our struggles. We seldom plan to strike them but the positiveness and strengths we draw from them keep them alive. We share and unburden our pains with one another without any fear of being judged. There is a comfort in knowing  that when you say the weirdest thing about how you feel, the listener not only understands but chances are that they have felt that same way before. We share thoughts we cannot even disclose to our otherwise nearest and dearest. We moan without worrying too much about boring the other party. It is an interesting type of moan where we all take turns. We listen because we learn from one another. We don’t switch off midway like our regular friends who we feel tend to moan about things we do not consider to be problems and who feel we are broken records. We rejoice when the other party rejoices over the progress of their child. We are allowed to feel jealous and wish for the same progress without being judged. We are sad when we hear the other parents kids are deteriorating. We whisper  prayers for each other. We draw strength from one another and pull ourselves along the path. My friends feel like a support group because in no time, we exchange contacts and carry on our friendships even after the long/short stays. With these army of parent helpers as I love to call them, we are never truly alone. It is always interesting to meet them when we return to the hospital. It is of course sad to be back but for some of us with seriously unwell children, hospitalisation is unfortunately part of our existence. For this reason, it is inevitable that children’s admissions coincide and we see again. It is always fun to catch up on all the progress and gossip from the last time we were on the ward. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Hospital Life – The army of parents helpers.


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Looking ahead can be impossible when you loose someone you love. I welcome you to unite your heart with mine today. We lose the ones we love in different ways. Some fall out of love with us, some abandon us and some unfortunately…die. Of all the losses, death stings the hardest because with death comes a finality. In death lies the impossibly of a reunion with the loved one at least not in this world. However, in death lies freedom. Freedom from all the limitations that life can bring. Limitations of suffering, poverty, distance , time and even … sickness. Death can conjur sad memories… only if you let it. We all experience our thoughts. If you think about something hard enough, you will feel it soon enough. When we lose someone we love, let us be comforted by the life we once shared with them. Let us experience the thoughts about the good times, the happy times, the laughter, the gains, the milestones. This is an important gift from them to us.The privilege of sharing in their joys and sufferings can not be taken away by death. Therefore no matter how death chooses to come, let us experience those thoughts. Let us realise that death is the ultimate end to the journey of all life…. There are no timescales. When it’s time, it’s time. Sometimes it feels too short in our eyes but it is long enough for the deceased. “Fulfilment is not found in the number of days lived. It is found in the unquenchable joy that fills each day. Life may be short but the joy that fills each moment makes it perfect!” … Let us allow those feelings take their roots in our heart because at the end of the day, it is not how far our days on this earth are stretched that matter. It is how well we live and enjoy each of those days we live.. The more you think it, the more you believe it…. Let us forget the if’s, why’s and but’s that bring tears and focus on the gratitude of being part of the story of what was once the life of the one that once shared our lives. I love you all very dearly and I thank you for supporting us through this most difficult time. So I ask you this, in light of what we have just talked about above: “Is there any one you have lost to distance, heartbreak or quarrel?” You have the chance today to make your peace with them and be part of their story again. Don’t leave it till too late you never know what lies around the corner. Make that call you if have the time today!   Thank you for reading If you enjoyed this, you will find more articles like this here Photo credit: Pixabay

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 8 – MAKE YOUR PEACE



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One of the perks of being alive is feeling life flow through you. Sometimes this is all a parent carer feels thankful for. Trust me, I have been there. When you wake up day in day out in a hospital ward with your child, without a discharge date in sight, it can feel very dark inside even when the sun makes an early appearance in the sky.  You may feel ready to take on all the challenges awaiting on one day while you may feel stressed when you wake up the next day. Hospital life can be so unpredictable. They can range from being quiet and having a lie in on the ward to becoming quite full on with your child having to deal with so much pain. One good thing about being positive after all the lashing positivity gets is that it can help keep you in a good place psychologically and emotionally.You know I too like to stay positive. It can help you deal with things that are outside your control by giving you a calm head with which to face the situation. We all tend to only have the ability to give only what we have within us.  If we allow ourselves to be constantly stressed, frustrated and unhappy in our mostly challenging circumstances with our children, then that stress is all we will have to give. You may find that you begin to feel very irritable and pressured. Even the best among us have reported that at such times, they tend to snap at the Health care providers (HCPs)(who by the way mostly mean well), or even start having a go at their children. This brings me to the need to try to find if there is any way of finding this situation palatable. Can there really be anything positive about being in the hospital with your child? Hospital! How can anyone see anything positive about such an experience. Well, you will be surprised, I have squeezed out some positives that I noticed about this hospital life. The most  important one being the ability to have this conversation with you through this medium. It never would have happened if I was living my old life. So for that, I am humbled. I thank you! You learn to be patient : One virtue worth possessing in life is patience. Well, until you are stuck in hospital either as patient or carer, you would never imagine the level of patience buried within you. You have to wait, wait and wait for nearly everything. Wait for doctors to come, wait blood tests, wait for results, wait for your child’s to get better! It’s like an endurance test. This is a fine attribute that most parents in hospital posses which they take for granted. So here I am raising your awareness to it because it is a real virtue that you possess and should be proud of. You learn that you can be creative too : Another funny lesson you learn in the hospital is how to slow down.  Oh! I could just zap through life if I could. But with time you learn to perform activities very slowly to pass the time. If you do things too quickly then you are left with too much idle time which by the way fuels boredom. You start to find creative ways to pass time which only ends up being to your advantage as a human being.. At one point, I was going to the kiddies play room to collect colouring sheets to paint on. Imagine that level of boredom. You will, if you allow yourself get very creative. I know people initially struggled with this in hospital but later became gurus at passing the time. There are many activities that you can try. You can do some colouring, puzzles, crosswords, read books, browse the Internet, the list is endless. You get in touch with your social side : A beautiful privilege you can enjoy is meeting lots of different people. I was lucky to be in a hospital as rich in its medical prowess as it was rich in diversity. People from all over the world were treated there. If you look around you in whichever hospital you find yourself, there will be many people from various walks of life. Hospital life needn’t be all doom and gloom. It can be an opportunity to meet people, exchange ideas, hear people inspiring stories about how others cope with their struggles. Such stories derived through first hand interaction can be quite strengthening. You appreciate how adaptable your taste buds are : Although you might argue that hospital food is not the best in the world, you will agree that by trying various dishes on the menu, you become exposed to so many different types of food. do you realise that if you were not thrown into this situation, you would never have dreamt of tasting many of the near-delicacies you have experienced. Wether or not you enjoy them will be a subject for another day. So you might argue that what I said now was just putting a positive spin on your horrible food experiences. I agree but it does make sense. In all sincerity,  I have increased my recipe library as a result of trying out new tastes acquired while in the hospital. Just keep an open mind, you never know what you might discover.! You learn to be more prudent : Another important skill you acquire during a long hospital stay is prudence. Everyone knows it can be very expensive living away from home. You have feeding costs, transport costs, and even at times it can cost you your job and means of livelihood too! Sadly, not all bosses can accommodate long absences. You learn to spend wisely, find ways to reduce transport costs. For instance, I discovered that by downloading apps for the train, I could get very cheap deals on advance train tickets! You are also prudent with your time. You learn to allow […]

Hospital Life- hospital stay can have it’s lessons


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I remember the first day I heard Yanni’s music. I was young, maybe 17 or 18 years old. I had gone to visit my boyfriend at his own university. It was a very hot day. A typical African day. I remember sitting outside his room trying to get as much fresh air as I could to cool down my burning body. I had many thoughts on my mind. I was not really sure why I decided to sit outdoors. It was a busy hostel. One of the types outside the campus. A studio flat but in those days, we called it a self-contained room.  By student’s standards, that was cosy. Well, as I sat outdoors taking in the atmosphere, watching all the students hustle and bustle about their business, there it was…. The sound of his music… It sounded like chimes.  extremely melodious. My ear canals picked up the sound from somewhere and one thing those ears of mine never did was deceive me.I looked instantly towards the direction of the music. It came from a room about 3 doors away. I sat there taking in the music and hoping there will be no interruption in the power supply to cut my enjoyment short. I knew it was the kind of music that I wanted to listen to. The chords were so calming… so foreign, so different, so me…. I did not know who the musician was but I sincerely did not want the music to stop. I listened to track after track and suddenly the heat did not matter any more. Suddenly, my worries seemed to float like butterflies on the chords of the music. everything seemed to melt away into nothingness as I listened. I had never experienced that feeling before. It had energy. It was rippling through me and making me happy. Then suddenly, the music stopped. It came to an end! I wanted more there was no way I was letting go. I had tasted this musical fruit in the most unlikely Eden but I was certainly not repenting of it. I wanted another bite, another mouthful. In fact, I wanted my own tree. I walked to the room and tapped the door gently. “Hi bro”. I said as a guy opened the door. He was very muscular and stern looking. My fears ignited and I panicked. I certainly did not think this through. I hoped  for my sake that my quest for this strange music would not land me in trouble, There were fears at the time about cultists in this school. I wondered if my move was really a good idea. He looked at me and nodded. He was not looking too happy to be disturbed I guess or maybe that was just how his face was. “O boy no vex abeg”, I began to speak but loosing my courage by the moment as he seemed to frown a bit more as I spoke. ” I really enjoyed the piece of music you just played. You have such fantastic taste in music. Please I hope you will not mind telling me the name of the artist?” He seemed to relax a bit and even smiled to prove it. “Yanni”. Thanks, I did not realise anyone else was listening. People don’t usually like my type of music around here. They call it weird and boring because it is not hip- hop”, he said. We both laughed. “They need their heads testing”. I said thanking him for the information. ” I have never seen you here before”, he began saying as he took a step outside his door. That was the scary thing about asking boys simple questions back then in school. I hoped he was not getting any ideas. “Yes, I am just visiting my boyfriend”. I said smiling, knowing I had burnt any cable of attachment he was intending to throw my way. “Nice one. I hope he knows he is a lucky guy. Only a few ladies with class appreciate my music”. he said. “Thanks”, I smiled shyly. Well sorry guys, that’s all I get to tell you about my first Yanni encounter over 15 years ago now. I have not stopped listening to Yanni ever since. Many have also discovered him through me which is an absolute privilege. He is just an amazing composer. Recently, I had the priviledge of watching him play and it was an even more mind blowing experience. He is one of those people that you could listen to all day. He is as talented as he is inspiring. He seems very interested in connecting personally with his audience. He does not just throw the music at you but gives you some background to nearly each piece. This gives substance to the music. There is no sweeter feeling than eavesdropping on the reason why artists create their pieces. Were they happy, sad, heartbroken or in love when they created the piece? Filling up the human curiousity, giving us the gossip behind the scenes makes the experience even more memorable and remarkable to us as listeners. While you can enjoy the piece as you want, telling us the story behind the piece gives us the added advantage of enjoying it as the artist intended for it to be enjoyed when he was creating the piece. He is also a very spiritual person and puts a lot of thought into his work. He obviously makes a very strong connection with a being higher than him to be able to create each of those mind blowing sounds. In fact what I find most intriguing is the fact that he creates every piece of sound in each piece he presents. I have some favourites and I invite you to listen to them too. These are top on my Yanni playlist. …Deliverance, Playing by heart, Playtime, Rainmaker, Nightingale, Nostalgia, Truth of touch, Aria…. I could go on and on…. I often listen to Yanni in the mornings when I take my walk. I experience an ecclesiastic feeling […]

The sound of his music- Listening to Yanni (A personal tribute)



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We become strong people not because we have the best situations But because we make the best out of every situation👍. Good opportunities can be sandwiched in thorny paths. They are not to be found by everyone but by that someone who is courageous enough to thread that path. Fear 😱can steal the strength💪 to carry on. Rise above fear to see what life is really teaching you with the precariousness of your situation. There are strengths 💪💪deposited in you by God for every journey. You are on a mission in this world and your God “chi” did not send you on that mission empty handed. 🙏 You were created ready even though you do not realise it. The tools 🔧⚒⛏ you need are hidden within you.   You may never know….but when the time comes You will find them deep within…hidden away from prying 👀eyes👀. Forged by the heat of the situations you loathe. So quit complaining and start believing that you can overcome💪💪. That is only when you will see what lies within. I wish you a lovely week and hey….DO NOT BE AFRAID!   Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Strengthening words for this stressful life…Click to see and enjoy ;-)


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As I stood at the reception waiting my turn today and just before me was a man waiting to be seen. It was his turn. He had his daughter in a wheelchair while he stood behind her hanging on some of the bags he was holding on the handle of the wheelchair. He smiled at the lovely receptionist. He seemed surprised to see her. After exchanging pleasantries, he announced that it had been three years since his last hospital appointment. Luckily, his daughter had taken a good turn these past few years. “She has been a good girl and stayed at home”, he joked. We all smiled. I couldn’t stifle my giggle. He was certainly a jolly good fellow. That was when he expressed his surprise at seeing the receptionist (confirming my initial thoughts). “How about Mason?”, He asked “Oh, he was transferred”, the lady announced sounding surprised. “You remember Mason? He left over a year ago”, she added. “How can I forget Mason?”, He asked turning towards me as he did. “Did you know Mason? Sorry I can’t help asking because he was such a helpful man”, he said. “Ah yes! I remember Mason, he was certainly one of the nice ones”, I replied. That was really putting it mildly. I had to give a short answer because I was in a hurry and couldn’t wait for it to be my turn. Honestly Mason was excellent. We could have gone on and on about his nice attributes and not run out of accolades to qualify him with. Every meeting with Mason had been an opportunity to be given a positive experience. One that you took happily into your day. The fact that someone who had not used the service for the past three years remembered him obviously said something about him. It got me thinking about how much of a shame it was that not everyone in the hospital was like Mason. You see, for a place where the primary aim was to nurse back frailty and care for less able children, it didn’t feel like too much to ask for! The last few years have seen the services rendered by the NHS decline at a geometric rate. We hear these things in the media about cuts to the NHS service, shortage of funds, pressures on the system due to rising population, migrant exploitation of the service, inability to hit targets set by the NHS governing bodies and we shrug them off. They really mean nothing to anyone who does not depend on these services to exist. Some of us see it either as an exaggeration or scaremongering tactic but it is actually a reality. Pressures on hospital services have meant that many of the staff are overworked and trusts are short staffed. Consequently, the end users of the service are left to bear the brunt. For occasional hospital users, this decline is neither noticeable nor worrying. However, for those who rely daily on the service to cater for their children, they cannot help but worry about the future. Despite all the grim facts, some staff still shine brighter than others. I joke in my head a lot about the medical profession being like priesthood where ideally you need to have a “call” to it. Although remuneration can be arguably attractive, without this “call” to the profession, challenges like the ones currently faced by the NHS create unfavourable experiences for end-users like parents, carers and ultimately patients. The attitude of many medical and auxiliary staff can be blamed on the level of pressures they have to deal with as a result of the shortcomings inherent in the system. However, the existence of a real call and genuine desire to be in the profession can create the right attitude amidst the trials. Merriam Webster online dictionary defines a calling to be “a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work… A strong inner impulse towards a particular course of action…”. For those who attempt to enter any field without the strong desire to do so, the challenges that the field might throw at them can potentially lead to a change in focus from giving the best to living for the perks on offer eg remuneration, holidays and other benefits. These perks are good but when they become the focus, they can cause disinterest in the job when hard times strike. At such times, they can make work feel more like a chore, become less enjoyable and frustrating. Subsequently the end users of the services rendered by these category of people become the proverbial blades of grass that suffer at the hands of their internal disagreements between the elephants of frustration and irritation at their job. So as it got to my turn to be served by this lovely receptionist, I remembered Mason. He had set the standard for me and I hoped to come out feeling positive after being served by the new receptionist . There is still hope for the future of the service. Despite the hard times, if all staff play their own parts properly, they can make a difference. This will make the overall experience enjoyable for staff, parents, carers and patients. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Hospital life : Attitude can make a difference to the service you receive



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Are you a one night wonder? A flash in the pan? Do you feel like you start many things and never get to finish one before jumping into the other? If you answered yes to any of those then you are like me. In fact we should be twins. The problem that people like us have is that we are multi talented. We have many abilities. We are the victims of our art. The danger of knowing how to do too many things is that you see opportunities everywhere you turn. Each new opportunity looking sweeter and more alluring than the last.  Spontaneity is fun. In fact do you know that some people- the-not-spontaneous-and–over-careful-ones even envy us? That is so funny. What they do not see is how crippled we are by our “very own” selves. We look all around us and all we see are lots of “coulda woulda shoulda’s” stacked around us. We could have done this better if we tried harder… we would have done that better if we stuck by it long enough or should have done this instead of that one we are doing now. We even think that we don’t do regrets when the English meaning of those feelings is just that! Deep down, I wish I were more patient and more careful. I do try to suppress the urge to jump in, out and away from things.It’s so hard to stop myself. I have asked my self why I jump about. Here are some answers I came up with: Some things are just too boring to do. Yes it’s really true and hey… that’s not my fault darling! Some things are just as boring as…i don’t know, colour white? You just do them and they just go on and on and on…forever Some things are too slow. I wonder how people do slow paced. Like pleaseeee….”hurry up!” It takes the life out of Alive when things come together so slowly Some things are more complicated than they seem. Yes. I put my hand up… sometimes I misjudge and underestimate things. In the end I find the next exit as soon as I hit hard times. Life is too short! Some things are too exciting to resist. Ha! This is another one. I need to have a go at the juicy stuff. How was I to know that the one I was bent on doing would be outdone by some others in the future. Some exciting prospects that I bump into are simply irresistible. If only that word choice did not exist! Things are just exciting until new ones come along. I keep on getting sucked in.  So my friend,  I could go on and on but I think you get the point…. It is quite an exciting and adrenaline filled ride on my roller coaster. However I think that at some point when the stock-taking time of life arrives, it is important to look again at the way we live our lives and see if we are really living optimally. Surely my way is exhausting and counter productive. This is why I have decided that the way to go is to spice things up. Although, that said, I don’t want to become boring either. I just want to find a way to enjoy the best of both worlds that’s all. I want to find a new way to enjoy my doses of spontaneity but with my eyes open. Tone things down a bit. Stick by stuff a bit more. You know? That sort of thing. So here is some advice I have for me. I think that if I stick with my own words, they will keep me on the straight and narrow as regards jumpology 😀 : Stay calm always. This is my numero uno advice to moi. Let’s assume for a second that people have 50grams of adrenaline when they get excited. I bet mine shoots up to like 50,000 in less than a minute. I get over excited about things and I am really sure that a bit of calmness would help me see things clearly before delving into them. Think again about the next course of action. Things are not always they way they seem. All that glitters is not gold. So rather than allow my heart take over the decision making, it may be time to engage the brain- common sense as they call it. Do some research. It will be a good idea to take the time to research into stuff before plunging in. I need to learn to find out all I can about something before doing it. Asking questions especially from those already doing what I am trying to get into will help me learn more about what ti expect. It may even spring up some hidden surprises. Things that only those with prior knowledge can feedback to inquisitive minds. Stick at things even when they get tricky. That’s not a sign that I should leave but that I should persevere. I have to give myself time to learn. Until something is learnt and mastered, it may seem tricky and even impossible to do. Thank you so much for listening to me today. It was a rant that has left me feeling tons better than I did before starting. You see, nobody is perfect. We all have our flaws and challenges. Trust me, everyone is striving to improve one thing or another about themselves. Sharing this will hopefully help me and other jumpers like me. Cheers. If you enjoyed this, then please click here for even more. Photo credit: Pixabay

Thinking out loud….Jumpology… Why can’t I settle for one thing?


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Hmmm…. That’s all I can really say Honestly, I totally give up on trying to pack these boobs! Yes, you heard right…my boobs. See nobody told me when I was a little teenager waiting patiently for my blessed jugs to appear that they will later nose dive as they have. For goodness sake I am not even 40 yet. I cannot even bear thinking about how they will look like when I hit the big 4-0! Will there even be anything left to pack? Haba…. e no good o. Well I will give you a background to help you feel my pain. I remember when I was in Senior Secondary School year 1. All my friends had grown their boobies. I mean full fledged ones. I did not even have any trace. It was so annoying. Seeing as many of them had began to sprout theirs as we finished primary school, it was not surprising that I had become very impatient with mother nature. Surely I was not going to be forgotten! I had too much brain-dowment ,perhaps that was why my physical en-dowment was lagging behind. At one point, I even contemplated putting some foams in my bra-tops…. Oh those blessed bra- tops. I had worn the glory out of them. sometimes I wondered why my mother even bothered. There were no breasts to even cover. I am sure if the manufacturer knew me, they would have named the underwear “chest-tops” for my sake.  I like to think that I had very good friends (never mind what they may have said about this subject behind my back) . None of my friends said anything to hurt me. They knew more than most that where I was lacking physical endowment, I compensated for with my sharp tongue. So what if I had no boobs? Had they not heard about late bloomers? That was my bold face talking. The gospel truth was that I was hurting even though I never showed it. I ignored the looks on their faces when they talked about their puberty related woes. Imagine them crying about painful menstruation when some of us did not even have boobs. Please don’t get me started on the silly red ninja. That one took her time to arrive. Story for another day. So having waited for more than a few years for my blessed boobies, I spent most of the time praying for sizeable ones. After all the patient dog always ate the fattest bone right? I even planned what type of bras I would be buying. I expected that I would be endowed with large sized paw-paws. I did my research on how to avoid the back pain many of my friends attributed to their over sized boobies. Then, just before the end of my secondary education, my boonies finally arrived. Haaaaallleluyah! It happened so quickly and even embarrassed me in the process I am not going to lie. I went home one summer holiday bare chested as usual and resumed in September fully bloomed. The blessed boobies arrived with a bang and who was  I to even complain? My prayers had been answered. They say be careful what you wish for but this time, I wanted every “large surprise” that I could get. When school started, I did not go unnoticed… at least not by the boys. They had their heads turning and even some lips wagging. I got nicknamed “young shall grow” that term. I was not even sure if it was a compliment or mockery. Whichever way, I took it in my own stride and ignored it. Those were the glory days. The stupid boobs did not grow as large as I wanted. They were not even the standing ones. Oh don’t tell me that you had no idea about breast categories? Well, let me enlighten you. There were those that stood at attention, those that always pointed downwards, the ones that came with eraser nipples the types that managed to escape with a paint on nipple. Seriously, the last category were boobs that looked like God had run out of nipple material during boob production. Well, since my intention is not to paint you a picture of the boobs I finally got, your guess is as good as mine when I say I was very disappointed with what I got considering how long I had waited for the blessed boobs. Thankfully I was a christian and did not lack in the department of faith so  I hoped for the price in future. I heard that there was a Canaan of maturity where women acquired literal milk (for their children) and honey (for their boob sucking and squeezing husbands). In that boob Canaan, all boobs bulked up and responded to life by growing big enough to satisfy their owners.I waited and bore my pre-motherhood disappointments forever looking forward to welcoming my husband and babies one day. As a result, my wedding day became my happiest day for more reasons than normal as you are now fully aware of. Bang, bang, bang…. I wanted to start having children without any further ado. He, like all men had other ideas. We need to plan, we need to save he said. Let us not rush. We need to give them a steady future….all that was bla bla bla to me. I needed my kiddies. So one day, period got lost in the post and bam! I was pregnant. Happy days…. I watched daily as my boobs metamorphosed into huge jugs. By the time the babies arrived, I was as huge as a cow. I breastfed them. The more I did, the more they grew. After the initial boob pains of breastfeeding, I was blossoming, blooming. I went many cup sizes up. I achieved bra cup sizes that I could have only ever dreamed of. My cleavage was so huge. I did not even need push-ups to bring the breasts together. Happy days… Sadly after the last breast feed, I did […]

Woman being… Why are my boobs so small?



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So today is a Friday like no other. I have had a roller coaster day. It started off very promisingly but waned along the way…. I had an interview to attend. Supposedly the first step into the rest of what has become my new life. I was previously a kept man you see. I had everything being done for me. I did not even need to lift a finger. Money was not an object. Well, that was then… this is now and… the story has changed. A simple disagreement led to a disaster and now I was left to fend for myself. I know what you might think. You will say, is that even a problem? Well I say  it is my problem and a big one at that! I had forgotten how to earn money, pay my own way. I had actually forgotten what it was like to be broke! So that was why I was excited when I got a call from this agency yesterday asking if I could do a job for a reputable company. There was a sense of urgency in the guy’s voice because they wanted someone that could start ASAP and yours truly here- moi was available. We went through all the usual agency-agencee pleasantries. What was your last role? What are you looking for in your next role? Do you think that you can do this role? Those sorts of questions. After surpressing my irritation at these barraging (because don’t forget, I told you that he was the one who called my phone), he decided to put me forward for the role. Come to my office to fill out the formality forms and I will secure you an interview tomorrow, He said. Which by the way is today. So I head up there, fill forms, chit chat, get a time slot for the interview, get the venue details and then waltz off. Happy days! We’ll not until ring ring, my phone goes off. Hello I say Hiya, is this Azuka Mordi? She asks Yeah, you ok? I say I’m good thanks. She says Who’s this? I say still waiting for an intro that did not seem forthcoming! Oh sorry, you came to our office earlier today to fill out forms. She says Luckily for her, that was my only interesting outing and it was not difficult to remember. I have some good news Azuka, She says We have secured an interview for you for tomorrow (Which is today. we had this conversation yesterday …don’t forget) Errrmmm like seriously? Was securing me an interview even in dispute? Don’t worry I did not actually say that. Those were just my thoughts screaming loudly. What I heard myself saying was Oh, that! ok? What time and where? She fills me in with the details as if I did not know or as if it was ever in doubt! So we will send you an email confirmation of all the details. Let us know how you go tomorrow. We are really committed to matching your skills to a job. she says Ok thanks, bye. I say bye bye she says. I hang up feeling like that was so weird! seriously. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx So tomorrow arrives, which is today where I am standing right now and I feel ready for the interview. Mind you, I spent half the night awake practicing all my competencies, scenarios, skills etc for the interview. I then took my time to go through the email that the agent sent me the day before. Suddenly, I felt that spring arrive in my step. This would be a good day. I thought. I would smash this interview and secure the role of my dreams. The agency did say it was temporary but that the firm always kept their candidates on. So nothing to worry about there. I arrived the interview venue 15mins early, good interview ethics in place. I smiled at everyone. I had all my learnt scripts to heart and was waiting to spill them all out. My goal?  To mesmerise the interviewers of course! I aim to please. Come 11.00, interview began. Tell us your skills, tell us a time when xyz happened. How do you handle pressure bla bla bla. You know the usual interview stuff. I had done my research well. I was jabbering away. Good eye contact, good communication, good rapporting. They were smiling, they said they were happy with the spill I gave. Job done! We are happy to offer you this 6 week role! SAY WHAT??? 6 miserable weeks? You mean that all this spill and not sleeping my beauty sleep and I forgot to add, spending the last hour vomiting those first class answers was for only a 6 week role??? GRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr I did not say that to them though what do you take me for? Composure in tact, smile on point Oh thanks for the opportunity I say I shall make the best of it and who knows with my dedication and hardworking, you may change your mind. We all laugh. Then she says just as we shake hands It will last only 10 weeks. That’s the service level that we need to cover. I hope this will be ok? Oh yes that’s fine I say. Still smiling. She walks me politely out of the office into the lobby where we fill some forms and I take a few ID card photos. In the end I say goodbye, promising to commence on the start date. My face is tearing from the smiles. As soon as I leave the building, I turn the smile upside down into a frown. GRRRRRrrrrr again I am so angry. 10 weeks? I for no just bother myself to day learn script na? I for just do am anyhow anyhow. As if that is not enough as I walk on outside the path that leads to the bus stop guess what happens next?  It starts to rain HAAAAAaaaaaaaa I am soaked to my socks before I even get to the bus stop. […]

No TGIF feeling today!


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Many parents know how difficult it is to cope outside the home. What they do not realise is that it is even more challenging when that time outside the home is spent in a hospital ward. Unfortunately, children who became poorly may need a bit more time to get better in the hospital. The good news is that with a few simple steps, it is still very possible to cope even while in hospital with your child. Here are some tips for you which I have found to be invaluable to me as a parent carer. Stop feeling sorry for yourself– I know it’s easier said than done, but all that energy spent feeling sad and sorry for yourself will not change the situation with your child. What is more likely is that by feeling despondent, you will be kept in a state of emotional despair. Try not to dwell on the gravity of your circumstance, take things one step at a time. Ask practical questions about your child’s illness to help you understand things better. Find out about the treatment plan and try to follow the plan one step at a time. For instance, if there will be a blood test, before a scan to decide if an operation will be done. Don’t sit worrying about if the operation will be successful or if everything would ever be normal afterwards. These possible outcomes are real but quite far off. What I found easier to do is To break down the possible events into little chunks. After that, deal with the first part of that chunk sized problem. Next, you can work your way through them one by one beginning with the most imminent step. So from the above example, take the first step by presenting your child for the blood tests, next wait for the blood test results, then get the scan done, after that you wait for the decision about  if the operation will be carried out or not. Only then should you allow yourself contemplate the operation. Working through what lies ahead in this way will help reduce anxiety and keep you more settled. When the operation comes, the team will tell you the next set of plans. In some cases if the blood test results are fine, you may not even need the operation. Therefore if you have expended energy being anxious and scared, it would have all been for nothing. So don’t forget, one step at a time. Know when to ask for help – When parents care for their sick child , they assume full responsibility for them. At home, they are responsible for administering the medicines, preparing and feeds and performing various activities at certain times for their child. Most parents, guardians etc usually like to retain control over these activities even when in hospital. They sometimes request that staff allow them carry on their home routines for medicine administration and/or self-care. Hospital staff will normally accommodate this. However, it is important for carers to know that they can and must ask for help if they begin to struggle. It is alright to speak out without feeling awkward. Staff may not offer to help after the initial request to continue as normal. This is usually out of respect for their wishes. Therefore it may yield no result if carers continue waiting for staff to notice that they are struggling. Not reaching out can mean that help may be delayed. This also applies if you find you are getting stressed and cannot cope emotionally. Accept help especially when offered – Yes! this is a big one. When in any difficulty at times you may find people offering to help you. They may offer to help you take the kids to school, to help you do the shopping, to help you with the ironing. All you most of us keep saying is no no no! You need to realise that the more you decline, the more reduced your chances are of being offered more help in future. People do not like to feel like they are interfering or being too full on. Now please answer this question sincerely – why do you keep declining the help you keep being offered? When people offer you help, it is mainly because they want to. Do you just say no out of habit? Accepting help does not reflect badly on you in any way. It does not even make you weak or a burden. Remember, you are being offered. Even when you go asking for help, it is still a sign that you are strong enough to put your hand up when you feel unable to cope. It does not mean that your acceptance means you are unable to fend totally for yourself. It’s just help. Don’t over analyse why they want to help you. Just snap it up. People can see or sense that you are struggling and generally like to help. So please accept as much help as you can when you are in hospital. There can never be an overdose of help. Make sure you rest – Usually being in hospital is most times synonymous with stress. It becomes impossible to find a downtime amidst the troubles and trials. You must always bear in mind that you matter too. In order for the wheel of your life to keep spinning, you have to be well. If you break down, everything about your superb joggling act either slows down or totally breaks down. You cannot live on air or chocolate and crisps, you need good food and rest for optimal energy levels to be released by your body. So while I agree that it is hard to find good food in a hospital environment, you can at least find shops around that sell good fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water or even bring food from home where feasible. Try not to complain too much – Constantly complaining about your circumstance can increase your stress levels. If you find complaining to be a good […]

Hospital life- How to cope with caring for your child in hospital



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A gastrostomy is a device inserted through an opening that is made surgically from the abdomen on the outer skin into the stomach. You can find medical information about the gastrostomy on the GOSH website. Having a gastrostomy tube, means that your child can be fed directly into the stomach. The kind of feeds that ideally go through the gastrostomy  are  in liquid form. So things like milk, water and medication are given through the gastrostomy. It is not correct to give anything into the gastrostomy if the doctor have asked you not to do so. Sometimes in children with stomach/abdominal problems, the gastrostomy is not for feeding into the stomach but for allowing excess secretions to be expelled from the stomach. There are many gastro-intestinal conditions that can lead to this but it is quite normal for the gastrostomy to be used for this. If this is suggested to you as a parent , please do not be alarmed. For us as a family, it was very traumatic to hear that our son had to have this bag. Considering all he had been through, we felt “what else could possibly go wrong”. The good news is that with time, we became more welcoming of this extra bag as we saw the relief it gave our boy. So if this is you right now, just hang in there! For the excessive gastric fluids (or juices from the stomach) to be expelled, a bag is attached to the end of the gastrostomy tube. The doctors used the term “free drainage” to refer to this new bag that our son had to have. You may also hear medical staff say “the gastrostomy is on free drainage” don’t worry, it means the same thing. So what do you have to do on a daily basis with a gastro bag? Here are 3 of the things I did and found most helpful: Empty contents regularly : The bag is emptied at intervals daily. Sometimes the bag can be full of air or bubbly juices. Removing the bubbles from the bag can also help to relieve the child. The bag should be emptied regularly because, if it gets too full, it will be heavy thereby pulling on the stoma (this is what the doctors call the hole through which the gastrostomy tube comes out of the stomach). It can also make the child vomit causing more discomfort. Check the colour of the juices – Ensure the colour of the juice in the gastro bag is not bloody, greeny or any colour other than advised by your medical team. If this is the case, make sure that you contact your medical team as soon as possible because it may be an indication of something. It may also be nothing but it is best to get their advice. Check the gastrostomy stoma site: Sometimes the gastrostomy stoma site can become smelly, oozy or have abscesses. You also need to check the site daily for this. If this is the case, you also need to let the medical staff know so that they can advise you. Sometimes, you may need to be seen for the doctor to decide what to do. It may not be anything major but as you know it is hard for doctors to make decisions over the phone hence, the need to see the your child for a proper assessment to be made. They may also take swab samples of the oozy gunk to look at under a microscope. This will tell the doctors if there is an infection or not. Some infections require antibiotics or other medicines to be ingested. Some other infections can be topical (on the skin). They may give you a cream to apply daily. Generally, these are quite normal occurrences with the gastrostomy that can be resolved if reported quickly. To help avoid ooziness around the gastrostomy stoma site, It is a good idea to clean it daily. Here is how I did: 1 – Use a disposable towel or a dedicated towel. 2 – Moisten with water 3 – Loose the triangle around the gastrostomy (PEG) this will not be required for a MIC button type of gastrostomy 4 – Clean around the site, wipe thoroughly 5 – Examine site for any irregularities or anything unusual 6 – Put triangle back.   If there is oozing  – report it immediately. Only after that and on doctors advise can you care daily. You can 1 – Follow steps 1-5 above * 2 – Apply cream if given. 3 – Put some gauze around the gastrostomy to soak ooze. 4 – Put some paper tape ( only if your are sure that your child is not allergic ) to hold it in place   For gastrostomy bags, there are nice pouches you can buy on amazon to help the child carry the bag discretely. These bags strap around the child’s waist comfortably and the gastro bags can be placed inside. If the gastrostomy extension is too mobile you may ask your HCP for clinifix to help stick the tube against the skin. For PEG users : To stop the gastrostomy disc from sticking/embedding into the stomach wall, ask your nurse to show you how to push, pull and rotate the device. This is advised once a week. You can: 1 – Open the triangle to release the gastro tube. 2 – Push it into the stomach up to one centimetre 3 – Rotate the tube 360 degrees. 4 – Pull back towards yourself ( the 1 centimetre that you pushed in early ) 5 – Secure back in the triangle Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Hospital Life – The Gastrostomy Stoma Case


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What would you like to be when you grow up? Do you remember the question?  All the answers we gave as children always saw us thinking of ourselves as successful high-flying achievers. One of the things no one imagined was the possibility of things playing out differently. Unfortunately, even with perfect planning, the uncertainty of ill-health sometimes rears its ugly head striking us or sometimes our loved ones down. In some families, the ill-health of a loved one does not come without demands. These demands are mostly down to the constraints imposed on the family’s financial, emotional and even mental abilities. Coping despite these new stresses can be almost impossible. Sometimes the illness of the child means that the current home may become unsuitable. It is very heartbreaking for a family home to be assessed as unsuitable for the child . It can leave the family members especially the main carer feeling helpless and inadequate in this regard. Some parents can be left feeling like they have failed in their duty of providing a safe place for their child to live in. Some have gone on to have a resentment towards the Health Care Professionals (HCPs) who make this assessment. These feelings are quite common but it’s important not to see these HCPs as enemies but as people who have stepped in to support the family. Many families find in the course of caring for their loved one that their current living arrangements may need to change. Homes may need to be redesigned to accommodate equipment like wheelchairs as the mobility needs of the sick child deteriorates. Some families may need more space to accommodate specialist equipment in addition to existing ones in the home. Endless reasons abound why formerly comfortable and cosy living arrangements may become inadequate. Moving house can sometimes be the inevitable option for a family. It is a difficult decision to take and carry out. Housing can be a very personal and emotional subject for most families. A house over time becomes a home, a haven and safe place where most family memories are created. The prospect is even made harder for a family with a sick child to contemplate. For this category of families, moving house not only entails the actual house “move” but also means that the services that support the family may have to “move” as well. The structures that have become part and parcel of the family’s coping mechanism may have to change. When there is severe illness in the home, support although readily available may be inaccessible to the family for reasons such as lack of information, time or a simple dis-interest. Over time as the family becomes even more pressured, they begin to become more aware of support structures and gradually access them. Accessing support requires time, patience and adjustment. It is hard to accept the interference of other parties in the home however well intended. Once accepted, families begin to adapt to their new routine and fit in this support into their daily routines to the point of comfort. This leads to a smooth flow of seamless support from the community to the home. When house moves occur, structures which are mainly tailored to suit the family’s peculiar needs may become altered, irreplaceable or totally lost. The prospect of this change can put a family off from taking the next step in accessing more adequate accommodation. Some families are lucky enough to find suitable housing within the same locality. For those who have to move far away, the case is totally different and adds to the already stressed family setup. Change of energy suppliers and familiar infrastructure which seem quite normal can be very disruptive to a family with a sick child. Children may need to change schools. For siblings or children in the home this can be very traumatic. The school setting is more than a place of learning to them. It is a hub of stability, a safe haven. The social ties and friendships formed impress greatly on them emotionally and psychologically affecting their overall well-being. These social ties protect their otherwise fragile and delicate emotions from the goings-on at home. Changing schools can bring even more disruptions to an already chaotic home setting. The familiar school setting can be the one “constant” amidst the dynamism that sums up their daily lives. For parents who live in the same community but have moved far from the school, the commute may be too strenuous for them to embark on with their children. Support exists within the community to help families through this adjustment process. The children and family practice, carers UK and even the social services can advise on issues relating to home-to-school transport, volunteer school-run groups. Changing the GP surgery can be another inevitable change to expect during a house move. The GP surgery is a structure that can evolves into a hub of information for the family. Many GP surgeries in addition to providing primary health care to all families act as sign posters to other services within the community that can support families with sick children. GPs kick start many support and diagnostic processes by making simple referrals which help families access further help. Moving houses may mean changing surgeries. It is normal to feel lost at the prospect of changing GPs. However it is worth noting that since 2015, all GP practices in England have been free to register patients outside their catchment area. Although this is totally at their discretion. it can be worth discussing your family situation with the surgery if you feel your child or loved one may not cope with the change. Things are easier when discussed with the right people. The cost of moving home may be of concern to the family. There is support out there to help families through this process. This can be provided by the social workers and/or community paediatric teams. In some cases where a bigger home is required to accommodate the needs of […]

Hospital life : when your home becomes unsuitable 2



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Hi guys! Thank you so much for staying hooked to our website. It’s always lovely to know you guys are with us every step of the way. So I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. Career change…. to be or not to be? I honestly do not know what the answer to that question is but I am hoping to find out somehow….and fast! As some of you may not know (especially those new to this website) Karl and I are…or rather were full time carers to our son Otito until his demise early this year. The whole idea of setting up this website last year was (in addition to many reasons) to create an outlet for us to express the different emotions we were going through while we were resident with him in the hospital. It turned out to be a whole year long! A year ago what began as a very roller coaster ride led us to finding ways to cope. Our son was hospitalised and there was no hope of a discharge date in sight. With each passing day, he grew more and more fragile. However, we kept our spirits up by spending lots of quality time together as a family amidst our chaotic lives. The journey although tough and almost impossible at times failed to kill us but it sure did make us stronger. Well, sadly he died…. but such is life…. Tell me about bitter pills. This one was huge and we had to swallow it with every strength we could muster. Till date, the effects of that huge pill of life we swallowed with the passing of our son has left us scarred. With each passing day, the scars are becoming more bearable. It is now taking its place amongst many other  scars of life that we bear. Like every warrior, we are proud that we are overcomes by God’s grace. One thing that was apparent when it happened was that we still had to find a way to pull ourselves up and carry on. If not for any reason, for the sake of our son – Mark. Our hero. He had been through the last year living the hospital life with us and although we sadly had the worst outcome since the financial crisis, we still had to find a way to bail ourselves out of the emotional dip we were collectively experiencing as a family. I remember how the grass looked a duller shade of green. The roses were ugly and the skies seemed too grey to look at through the tears we shed. Thankfully having our boy Mark, gave us every reason to move on. Moving on was a bit difficult to do. At every emotional corner it felt like the ground was being pulled from beneath us. We knew not to dwell on those feelings but to confront each day as it came. We had good days, bad days and everything in between. One more thing that felt very strange to adapt to was working…. I wished a lot that I had the luxury of a holiday….a year long vacation to take our minds off things. Some time to grieve and even heal for that matter. Sadly, our lottery tickets were yet to yield the kind of fruit that would have guaranteed such a break. We had to soldier-on on that front as well. One thing I knew for sure was that having been through the last 4 years with a sick child, I was changed forever. I acquired a different view of life while walking that road. One I like to think of as a privileged view. I am sure that it was the type of view the elders boasted about. The one that gave them the advantage of seeing beyond what the youthful eyes could not even behold while standing on a mountain. It was a view that only came through experience. What does not kill you not only makes you stronger but also wiser, I say…hear hear! Now my dear friends… here I am! I have no idea what this big future holds for us. Hopefully some nicer more positive things to pull us out of the feelings we have experienced in the last few months. I have absolutely no idea what to do next (career-wise ) All I know right now is that whatever I choose to do from now on with the rest of my days must be something that makes a real difference. It has to make a difference in the life of others. It has to be more than just earning a wage. Anyone can do that. What we gave our boy was care, love and affection irrespective of his challenges. It elongated his time on earth. He thrived not only on our love but also on the excellent care he received from lots of medical and non-medical people. Trust me, the list of people to thank for their input in Otito’s life is endless. Sitting here today, one thing that consoles me is the level of connection we have been able to achieve with loads of people especially within the last year. It was all thanks to that little man. The people who come frequently to mind are his nurses. I will never forget the way they loved and cared for him both in our local hospital and at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) London. They were like his mums and dads on the ward. They just understood my boy and even though he was hard to please. They knew all his special needs, specifications, demands and still loved and looked after him just as he was. It was actually a fantastic relationship to witness…filled with true love… never wanting him to change who he was but forever helping him to make the best out of the life that he had. They say “you only live once” he sure had a hell of a ride with every member of his team!  My boy did not come into my […]

Career Change? To be or not to be?


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Relationships Relationships! A lot has been said about how to keep your relationship flourishing, thriving and growing. There are tons of books about this. I find many to be very true with tips and tricks to revamp even some of the most written off relationships. However, I cannot help feeling that they are not in touch with my reality. You see, there are relationships like mine that start to feel cursed because of an un-foreseen external factor- having a sick child. At the early stage of a relationship, that lovey-dovey-you-can-do-no-wrong phase no one sees it coming. Two people come together, feel strongly enough about each other and then commit to share themselves entirely with each other. That decision forms the basis for what later becomes a magnetic union… a fusion… where children are supposed to spice things up! Well, not for everyone sadly. How about when having a child feels like the worst decision ever. A completely wrong move for you and for your partner. How can your relationship still go on to stand the test of time despite all the new challenges you both become beset with  and I forgot to add for no fault of yours…? Let’s insert a disclaimer here for the purpose of clarity. When I refer to relationships throughout this our heart to heart, I do not in any way imply that the two people must be married (although my religious beliefs may scream). I refer to relationships in both the rigid and loose sense of the word. Let’s just agree to see the relationships I am referring to as the coming together of two like minds hopefully for the long haul. Right? Good, now lets kindly jump right in! So how can your relationship thrive despite the challenges you face as a carer? How can you both still look at each other and still feel lovey-dovey?  Here are some ideas that I have found useful: Expressing yourself – This is a key ingredient that can keep your relationship  thriving. By expressing yourself in your relationship, you  overcome the trap of bottling things up. When a barrier exists between you and your partner, you will be unable to constantly share your problems with each other. The reason it is important to be able to rub you minds together as often as possible is that, ultimately, no one else can understand the gravity of your circumstance more than your partner. Take time to listen to each other. Within your relationship is an interesting symbiosis that holds strengths within it. Sometimes one person is strong for the other. But like a race, you ultimately keep passing this baton of strength to each other. Let pride have no place between you both or else the flow of strength will be limited. If one person is constantly strong and never allows the other to help them when they are weak then the pressure starts to  build up. For the stronger, the inability to keep expressing themselves  hinders self-release. It ultimately leads to frustration, lashing out and undue pressure. Similarly when the other person keeps leaning on the stronger one without getting a grip especially when it matters, they become weakened by the situation thereby losing the ability to be strong. By supporting your partner, even when you cannot feel it, you assume the strength that they lose when they are weak. You each then by that act allow each other to be toughened and strengthened by the situation and challenges you face. It is okay to cry. I cry, it is a nice release if used appropriately. However, like all in life, it requires moderation as crying constantly may trigger self-pity and at times build up stress. Sharing the pain – The challenge of having an ill child is easiest when shared. No member of your partnership must assume monopoly of the child. Mums tend to be guilty of this. They feel that they are the ones best suited to care for the sick child. This may hold true initially especially when the illness is short-term. For example the odd flu or immunisation temperature, the periodic flu and so on. However, when the illness is long-term both of you need to consider a readjustment. Sometimes illnesses stay longer than we think and if they are lifelong, then like with everything else you have to adapt the new routines to suit the family needs.  For starters, the child belongs to you both. It does not matter if both of you are biological parents or not. What matters is that you have both agreed to share responsibility. Let this  responsibility not be shared by mere lip service. Put it into action. Allow your other half to care for the child. If they cannot, help them to learn kindly. If you are learning, be willing to learn. Remember that a problem shared is halved. It is also good for the child to feel the attention from both parents. In addition, especially for parents with other kids, this swapping becomes very useful for the other kid(s). Remember like we said earlier, if you take on too much then the pressure builds up. How can your partner appreciate the challenges you face caring for the child if you do the caring all by yourself. It will be easier for them to appreciate your efforts by experiencing them firsthand.  If your partner is not helping out, encourage them to see that it is actually the responsibility of each parent in the relationship. Create time for each other – This is a very crucial factor. In fact it should be key. In the first place, you are both the bedrocks… the founders of your family. To ignore each other will be as good as switching off the oxygen in the relationship. You both matter. The parental challenges imposed on the relationship due to illness can put a strain on the romance once shared by you both. It is important to put the needs of the children first but do not forget […]

Hospital Life- Relationships



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I saw something of my attention today. It was called the 6 C’s of nursing. I was very curious as I saw it conspicuously posted on the noticeboard in the hospital. 6C’s? I thought. A further look reviewed the wheel where each of the C’s were outlined. They were, care, compassion, communication, competence, courage and commitment. It makes sense that these C’s appeared to be the main things nursing was supposed to deliver. I furrowed my brows as I walked away giving each item further thought. I immediately embarked on an unintentional mental assessment of the standard of nursing that I had been exposed to since my son was born. As a team, hospitals dwindle around the standards they are able to deliver from time to time. For example on the weekends hospitals become like ghost zones lacking staff and standards. Facilities are not as looked after as they are during the week. Medical staff are not enough during the weekends. You rather find that weekends are covered by a few familiar staff, predominantly “locums” and  “bank staff”. To me these are mainly roving staff who otherwise have no way of appreciating the delicateness of some patients. Many have no way of knowing the promptness individually required to care appropriately for each patient. In this case not because they lack the skill or competence to do so, but because they have no prior knowledge of the patient as a result of their roving nature. The essential knowledge that familiar staff possess about the delicate patients is taken for granted by the recruiters of these roving staff. It should a prerequisite for caring for people with life-threatening diseases. Notwithstanding, we would never survive without the input of these roving “bank staff and locums” because they not only make up for the ever dwindling workforce on the weekends but stand in when staff go on holiday. Support from the weekday staff may help bridge this knowledge gap if their presence on the weekends can become more proportionate. With that said, sadly even the familiar weekday staff fall short of these 6C standards. Unfortunately not all familiar staff meet these standard 6C’s. The nurses to me should be an embodiment of the 6C’s of true nursing. Here is my layman understanding of what the 6C’s on that wheel should mean. Hopefully I will not be far from the truth but somehow pondering their deeper meanings may help put my thoughts in perspective about the state of nursing in general. Caring for the patients means that nurses should be interested in their patients. This will help them to know and care for them adequately. This level of care proposed by the existence of the 6C’s helps nurses bond with their patients enabling them tailor the care to suit each patient. Compassion to me is another essential ingredient of nursing. A heartless person without any human feeling or sympathy has no business nursing people back to health. Communication as a requirement is quite straightforward. Nurses must be able to understand or find ways to understand the needs of the patients. They in turn must be able to explain clearly their plans to their patients or the carers. Communication also entails understanding clear plans handed down by doctors and carrying them out carefully and accordingly. Nursing will certainly be brought to a halt if this element is missing. Competence is a prerequisite of nursing. A nurse cannot be a nurse until proper schooling and acquisition of the skills required for nursing has taken place. Personally, nursing as an institution has this responsibility to the public. They ensure that the nurses in hospitals are competent before permitting them to practice. I have noticed that further training of students are carried out through hospital placements. When new nurses are licensed, they still undergo further training on the job and are initially paired up with more experienced colleagues before getting signed off for things like medicine administration, cannula handling, using of equipment and so on. This ensures that competence is not only acquired but supported. Courage is another essential element. Nurses have to undergo many scenarios on a daily basis. Some are easier than others. From wound dressings, to highly pressured resuscitation scenarios. Nurses confront humans in their most vulnerable forms for example accident victims, mental health and even death. To expect a nurse to be courageous is an understatement. Courage is the element I think that gives nurses the strength to confront the various challenges that the nursing role throws at them on a daily basis. Commitment was the last element of nursing on that poster. It means that the staff who call themselves nurses must be willing to uphold all their standards of nursing every single time both in and out of the hospital. For example you expect a nurse to be a nurse at all times. You expect that they will show care, compassion, communication competence and courage whether they are in the hospital, on the street or train. There will be committed to saving human lives and fostering public health everywhere possible. As such, nursing is an extremely demanding job both physically and psychologically. However, as with every job done daily, over time, many nurses master these skills until they become second nature. Having been through many scenarios of care delivery, I find some nurses become either “more nursey” or “totally un-nursey”. I appreciate that these are not really words but I am sure you get the point. In my personal experience, some nurses take ownership of the job. The skills and experience acquired over time make them not only excellent nurses but transform them into extremely humane individuals. For these category of nurses, when you’re in their care you can feel at home. They become the embodiment of the 6C’s of nursing. On the flip-side, the other group of nurses allow their experience of nursing turn them into ogres without any human feelings. They become like ice, disregarding every single element of their 6C’s of […]

Hospital life : The 6C’s of nursing


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  Caring for a loved one can be a fulfilling experience. The prospect of being the one that another individual looks up to for partial or total support can be rewarding. However after a while the novelty wears off. Suddenly the harsh reality about the unending nature of the now burdening role hits you. It is made worse especially when the loved one shows no signs of improvement. It can be an endless pull on an individual. The sad part is that carers can hardly confront these burdensome feelings without an equal weight of guilt. Pangs of guilt weigh them down each time they confronts their feelings of internal frustration. “Why should I feel this way?”, they think. “I must be a selfish person after all I am not the one who is poorly”. At other times another line of thought springs up; “I really have no right to feel this way because I am not the one who is sick”. Most times these feelings keep cropping up in their consciousness leaving them emotionally exhausted. It can feel like being carers means that their needs cease to matter. As though the needs of carers should take a nose dive in terms of relevance. I have been privileged to meet many carers who have expressed these same feelings at different times. In my experience, I have come to appreciate that although these feelings are common they are the least expressed. Carers are each alienated in their individual worlds and the mix of individual experiences as a result of this role, helps them find ways to suppress these feelings. On a short-term basis, it may be easy to bury those feelings somewhere within the carer until the need for providing care for the loved one seizes. This works only in instances where the loved ones get better and everyone lives happily ever after. Some of us are living our new lives as carers and each time we stay hopeful about having such outcomes, a new symptom resurfaces. We are then snapped back to the reality of the long-term nature of our roles in the lives of our loved ones. Sincerely, on the outside, and honestly most days, we do not complain. We carry on happily. Our abnormal lives become normal for us. In our respective homes we raised the bar for “normal”by the number of activities we become able to juggle more easily. Some of us complete record-breaking number of tasks daily. This in itself can produces a sense of fulfilment. On darker days, we remember ourselves. We are jolted back to the reality of the implication of the sacrifices we have had to make in order to be there for our loved ones. I call those dark days because for me, on those days all I can think of are the things I have missed out on in my life by being here for my son. The things I wish I could do, the things that continue to elude me. On those days I feel overwhelmed by the fact that I cannot get back out there to do something for me. I feel so aware that my dreams are not just impossible but also not feasible. At times meeting an old friend can remind us of things we used to do. Such meetings make us unconsciously compare the success and progress of friends and family with all our inabilities. This thought process tends to produce sadness… Somewhat of a sinking feeling. A yearning for a life we cannot have for as long as we remain carers for our children or loved ones. It’s important to pull ourselves out of these lines of thought. We can learn to focus on why our current roles as parents carers are also fulfilling. For starters, who else will care better for your loved one? Isn’t it a privilege that you are available to do so? You could have been unable to for many reasons and still felt unhappy. What if you became unwell, will you not expect another loved one to care for you? There’s no use beating yourself up about being the one stuck with caring for your loved one when you can enjoy your ability to be there for them. You can use the opportunity to show that you care and to pour out your love into them. It is helpful to think about the bigger picture of your role as a parent carer. It’s all about finding that point where your needs and that of your loved one are adequately met. Your needs matter too and must never be overlooked. You will find a way to meet your needs while accommodating the needs of your child or loved one who depends totally on you. One of the reasons I find that parents carers feel very frustrated in their new role is because they miss their old lives. They miss being able to do things in the ways they were used to for the became parents carers. Suddenly their lives are not theirs any more. They live for their children and lose themselves in doing so. They lose control of their time, associations and social networks, hobbies and activities that or add to the substance of their lives. All those things give a carers life more purpose. It makes them feel like they make a difference every day. Being able to control when and how these activities take place give the person a sense of control and a feeling of responsibility. Some of these activities pay the bills, provide resources for acquiring things or adding to the substance of that person’s life. In reality these activities give substance to one’s life not because of the activities themselves but because of what we are able to achieve as a result of performing them. Your job for example can give you a sense of purpose, make you feel responsible, help you feel in control of your life only because you let it. It’s all down to […]

Hospital Life: When caring for your loved one feels a bit too much



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During my recent visit to the hospital school at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the Special Education Needs (SEN) arm of the hospital asked for my feedback on the service. You see, my son Otito was admitted there for one year before he passed away. It was a service that made an absolute difference to him. He loved school and was very fond of all his teachers. They were absolutely brilliant. Looking back, I can only be grateful for their input because they not only gave him the best time in  what became the final days of his life, but also they provided us as a family with lasting memories which we will treasure forever. They asked me to highlight areas where they did badly but sincerely, I could not find any. All I found as I took the trip down memory lane were areas that could be improved on. Many of the you here have sick children or know people who do. Some of your children use GOSH London and other hospitals. I thought that it would be a lovely idea to share the feedback here to help give everyone an idea of what to expect from a hospital school SEN service. Another objective of this article, in addition to leaving this feedback, is to also add to the visibility that you will hear me propose at the end of this article. I hope you all find it useful and also gain confidence in using this service in whichever hospital your child is admitted especially if they have Special Education Needs (SEN). So let us start with the good bits…What worked? Child-led interaction: The GOSH SEN school program was centred around my son Otito. I thought that the fact that he was allowed to dictate the pace and direction that the activities took made him feel in control. This method respected and acknowledged not only his needs as a child but gave him dignity. It saw him as a human being and not just as a statistic that needed to be ticked off the box. The result was a boost in his confidence because he felt more able to flourish in his own peculiar way without being pushed beyond his abilities.  Do I think this child-led style of interacting with him worked? Yes! and here’s why It increased his confidence: Otito was given choices of activities to choose from each time. By selecting an activity he felt in control of the space and made him feel like he took part in deciding what he wanted. The child led approach helped the teachers decide the pace and speed that the session should go by not being pushy and overbearing in delivering the session. It helped the teachers stay in control of the plan and intended outcome for the session.This in my opinion, increased his confidence and modelled good behaviour to him. It helped him build trust: It helped him build trust for his teachers. Children like Otito with special educational needs- SEN are accustomed to being interrupted for interventions as a result of their complex health needs. This means that they become very protective of their own space. The child-led style of interaction helped reassure him that his opinions were acknowledged during the learning sessions. This helped Otito build trust towards the teachers that allowed him to learn. For a child like Otito whose complex health needs challenged everyone including the teachers, it was a relief for him to be able to take sessions slowly on gloomy days and enjoy more fast-paced sessions on perkier days. I remember times when Otito became unwell during sessions and how the teachers tactfully ended the session. For Otito his response was usually a mixture of dismay and relief. It made learning fun: The child-led teaching helped my boy look forward to teaching sessions. The fact that he was kept at the heart of the flow of the lesson meant that the whole experience became less of an ordeal for him. The child led interaction helped the teachers become more sensitive and empathetic towards Otito’s needs. As a result, they were more able to identify cues and behaviours that signified engagement, distraction or disengagement during the sessions. The teachers were very innovative in their expressiveness and choice of activities meaning that sessions were absolutely fun for him. This helped the teachers form a bond with Otito. This  further improved the teaching and learning experience for both teacher and student. Tailored teaching: It was very encouraging to see that at GOSH the teaching plans were tailored to suit the specific needs of the child. How? Initial sessions were used to assess the peculiar needs of my child before determining the particular equipment or tools to suit him specifically. This assessment also acknowledged feedback from us as Otito’s main carers about his particular likes or dislikes. There was a lot of observation of my child during individual play to help the teachers familiarise themselves with him, It helped the teachers make sense of what would or wouldn’t work with him. This method of teaching struck a chord with me as I felt that Otito was respected and dignified throughout the process. It allowed his perculiarities to be taking into consideration during the process of planning, preparing and executing teaching sessions. In his case, the teachers were able to determine what worked for him (for example music toys, light up toys, cause and effect toys and sensory toys) and what did not work (for example messy play and water play). Engagement: By mirroring Otito’s preferences with their choice of tools for teaching him, they were able to tailor the teaching sessions to suit him every time. Engaging him in this way not only kept him interested for longer, but gave the teachers the chance to keep steering him towards more complicated outcomes. It gave him the chance to excel at tasks we believed were impossible. For example by using light up toys, giggly balls, cause and effect toys and sensory toys […]

Did the Hospital school make a difference to Otito at GOSH London?


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Hmmm. We are having a history lesson this morning. I liked to think that I was showing my 6year old how tomatoes are sold in my motherland Nigeria (he loves hearing about Naija) when I set up this tomato stall this morning in the living room. It got us all buzzing and talking about home- our history heritage and culture of the Nigerian people (sounds like the title of my GST 101 course in Abraka Thumbs up to all the Delsuites in the house🙋‍♂️) In reality, this was for my own benefit. I bought these tomatoes in the local market “£1 a bowl”. However, for some reason, all I could think of was “abule” in Ajao estate (holla to all my estate gees🙋‍♂️) and Mile 12- the Tomato depot I used to accompany my mummy to. Good old days. As a child, I nursed many ambitions at different times. One of them was to be a tomato seller. I remember how I was always left amazed by the tomato picking, packing and shading skills some of the sellers had. Woman: buy tomarr-to buy timati Mummy: Elo ni tomato Woman: Eleyi 10naira meta 25naira Mummy: (pointing at the bigger ones and adding another pile) ati eleyi nko? Woman: hmmm, emi o ta! Meta meta 30 naira Mummy : jaale nko ( I loved the sound of that word jaale although funny enough in abraka (urhobo) we said blo👊 at this point) Woman: (nodding and looking distracted). Shey ofe ra ata rodo ? Mummy : yes (can’t remember how it sounded in Yoruba) The woman would at this point give my mum a good price. Then little me would stand waiting for this was the time when the best bit would start. The bit that made me scream to “follow”mummy to market. …. It was 1.The-nylon-bringing-out-moment followed by 2.The-packing-the-tomato-with-lightening-speed-moment then, 3.The-tying-the-bag-moment and finally 4.The-putting-it-in-my-mummy’s-bagco-super-sack-moment. As mum made to leave to find where to grind the pepper, I would linger on dreamily as I watched the woman bring out a basin of Tomatoes and start arranging new ones on the dark table in a similar way to the one I did in my picture below ready for sale. Mummy would then shout my name. Lauretta !!! (Because mummy never succumbed to calling me Laura😀) come let’s go you silly girl! Then I would be beside her wondering how the women did it? I loved it and I really wanted to sell tomatoes one day too. These women and men who sell in our markets in Nigeria are not celebrated enough. They work so hard in the scorching heat to help provide this valuable service. No matter how rich or poor we are, without them we we would not eat. Someone has to do the job and please don’t laugh too much at having this ambition. I just wish for a world where they and many others like them who sell staple foods around Nigeria especially would be looked after better. Some of my friends have done this job to survive in the past. I celebrate you. You share a piece of this history lesson that I provided to my boy today. You also have done what I never managed to achieve. Cheers to all the hardworking people out there 🍷 I forgot to say sorry to all the Yoruba people whose language I may have murdered up there….Ekepele Miss Shokunle…..in Lagbaja’s voice😀 Thank you for reading.

A history lesson for my son : Remembering the Tomato sellers



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It’s a privilege to experience “misfortune”…especially as much misfortune as I have managed so far. But defining misfortune can be quite relative. What I consider it to be may not be the same for the next person and vice versa. What misfortune can bring with it is a new lens from which to view life. A lens that can easily be misplaced or sometimes lost if the only focus is the misfortunes. That lens is empowering. As a result of that misfortune, you become able to relate in a powerful way to occurrences that you would otherwise ignore, overlook or even underestimate. Acquiring this lens helps many people feel more compassionate and sensitive to the struggles of people in the most touching ways. People struggle and are seldom able to express the extent of their pain to others. It can be empowering to keep it all in have your “business” close to your chest but as the challenges pile up, they can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Challenges can also be alienating because suddenly you realise that you are only alone in the depth of knowledge and experiences you deal with daily. It’s hard to connect with others unless they can “get” what you mean when you “say” or “feel” the way you do. Don’t feel so alone because if you start to look through the empowering lens of your misfortune you will navigate through your struggles more easily. Through the lens of your pain: You see people for who they really are You suddenly filter the noise that otherwise surrounds most of us. You realise that it’s not really selfish to look out for yourself. You see that while many may like you to believe it’s selfish to look out for yourself, it is their first response to you when you need them the most. It’s not all bad though …. The lens of misfortunes helps you see the friends you otherwise overlook. The best of them are not as flashy as the clanging cymbals because they too bear or have borne a pain like you do and can relate easily with you. Turn those lemons that life gives you into healthy juices that will nourish your life by doing the best you can with the challenges you are faced with. It may be nearing the end for you but at the end always comes the start of a new chapter.  Thank you for reading Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Selfie

The lens of misfortune- A blessing in disguise


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It’s so beautiful to have you in my life. I was just thinking about how long I have had you in my life. It’s been my most successful and longest career. Of all the things I have got wrong and messed up sometimes, you are the one I always get right. You get me and I get you. You are the only key that can unlock my doors. You see what others don’t see on me. I can be me when I am with you. You hear what I say even before I speak. No matter how I hide you always find me. You have been with me through thick and thin. The pains and joys of life are more palatable because you are by my side. You let me shine and step back when I fall because you cushion the impact with your presence. You only want me to live free. I would never have carried out many crazy ideas if you did not believe so strongly in me. You are the most silent friend I have who speaks volumes with the depth of your patience. I envy you because you are everything I wish I could be. You have all the beauty I could only dream of. You are annoyingly handsome with the most irritatingly long eyelashes. You are as crazy as Otito was. Ever quiet and regarding people. You will never be as sweet though because you are now old meat! But you are my love. I tell you always but today I want to celebrate you. You know I hate making public declarations of my love for you but life has become so uncertain that the much we express about those we love when we feel can may be all we can give. It makes no sense writing eulogies for dead people who would never read them. I want to celebrate you because it’s important that you hear and know you are loved while you can. God bless you my darling….. Thank you Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Selfie

For you…..my love.



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It was magical to be able to visit the hospital again since my boy answered his call… The members of staff were as warm and welcoming as always. To me they are family and it was an absolute joy to visit them again. A whole lot had changed on the ward since the whole year that I lived there. For starters, the corridors had been given a new lease of life with a paint splash. Everywhere looked brand-new. Also some of the staff had moved on from the ward and new ones had replaced them. It was really nice to see some old faces who knew Otito again. I spent nearly an hour saying hello’s and catching up with all my hospital friends, medical staff, support staff, canteen, social workers etc. It was so uplifting. In fact, it was a strengthening experience from a grief point of view. As I walk along the corridors, I still experienced magical feelings of the memory laden foot- steps I took down the hallways. Every nook and cranny reminded me of my boy but not in a sad way. My brain was forgetting the pain that those memories once conjured. I could gradually feel my memories metamorphose from pain to fondness. It was nice to remember my boy again through the faces of the familiar staff that surrounded me on that visit. It was magical to remember him on the corridors and in his favourite places around the hospital. As I walked through the streets, I remembered him on the sidewalks, the gardens and I even attempted to look through my eyes “then”. It was incredible how in those precious moments with my son, we were both carving Indelible memories for me to hold and treasure as I was doing and hoping to always do during my visits to  the Great Ormond Street Hospital -GOSH. I knew that in time I would move on from the hospital life but it was nice to be able to enjoy and treasure those moments for as long as they lasted.  I could not see everyone but it was not surprising considering that I did not stay too long. GOSH would always be home for me because as long as the walls stood, my memories will always come to life when I walk through those great big sliding doors. So the Peter Pan magic was real for me today. Like a child I still believe in it. My boy is now flying high in a place where he would never grow old. I remain eternally grateful to all the wonderful people behind those walls at GOSH for giving me those 4 special years to share with my boy! Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit: Pixabay.

The Peter-pan Magic! – My visit to GOSH


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Today I wanted to tell you about an event I attended. It was in support of  the  Learning Disability (LD)Week 2017. I was privileged to be invited to sit on a panel alongside Experts and parents to share our lived experiences in order to help health professionals appreciate the impact of the care they provide through our own eyes. It was a fantastic day at Great Ormond street Hospital London. The heat was less, allowing us to have an enjoyable session. It always feels great to come home to GOSH! Mencap– the voice of learning disability in the U.K. Supported us and it was a fantastic and empowering event to have been a part of. The need for LD nurses on the NHS cannot be over emphasised. We talked about the huge difference staff could make in transforming care for children and the families of children who walk through the hospital doors. We revealed how important it was to have someone who understand the needs of the children. Nurses in their role could also mediate on behalf of the children when their voices could not be heard as result of their Learning Disabilities. Learning disabilities limit the ability of sufferers to understand and learn. It made them appreciate things slowly but not impossibly. Parents talked about the impact of a “smile” from the staff. It helped foster the always values of the hospital. It made them feel more welcome and made an absolute difference to stressful outpatient appointments. Patient said they wished they could be acknowledged more and included when decisions about them were being made. Breaking down communication by using simpler language helps patients with learning disabilities feel included. Non-verbal does not mean that a child or young person cannot understand. Body language and tone of voice hold a strong an essential key to communicating with them. They can help non verbal children warm up! We also discussed about the difference a little patience and empathy can make in the lives of patients and their families.  It was nice to hear feedback from health professionals about the our challenges with dealing with children with learning disabilities. Notable among the feedback we received was how the “Patient passports” that provide more detailed and specific information were found to also fuel the anxiety of staff in delivering the care. Worrying about getting things wrong with these children compromised the confidence of some staff. It was reassuring for them to hear from parents how much it meant to see staff go above and beyond for their children despite their inner misgivings.  Parents were acknowledged as experts with their children by the Health Care Professionals but ultimately, the general consensus was for there to be a partnership between all parties with the child always at the centre of the decisions. This was in line with the GOSH  slogan The Child first and always. The event closed at 4pm and we all felt richer and more informed. Chapter 18 of the book “Through our eyes: what parents want for their children from health professionals” written by Jim Blair and Parents was the basis for our meeting. Jim Blair is a Consultant nurse in Learning disabilities and an Associate professor. Mary Busk, Hayley Goleniowska (Author of down side up), Simon Hawtrey-Woore, Sue Morris, Yvonne Newbold (Author of Special Parents Handbook) and Stephanie Nimmo were all contributors to the book and Experts by Parental Experience.  Photo Credit: Pixabay                 EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK FROM STAFF AFTER THE EVENT Through OUR eyes what people with learning disabilities and parents want from health professionals   The majority of staff were nurses or HCA’s others were doctors, play therapists or from facilities environment design department    How well do you feel the learning outcomes were met today? ‘Very well, much more informative than expected’ ‘The session fully met my expectations’ ‘I don’t know what the learning outcomes were’ ‘I think the session was very important. I feel I can take away new skills and knowledge and use them in my practice.’ ‘x4 Very well’ ‘Beyond expectations.’ ‘V good.’ ‘No outcomes given at start’ ‘Very well, met my learning outcomes.’ ‘ They were met well. A lot of discussion that prompted other topics to discuss.’ ‘The session has been very usful. It has provided me with the knowledge and the experts experiences was interesting.’ ‘A good start, foundation to find out more. Good patient / carer interaction., More.’ ‘Quite well, very out patient based, maybe some more ideas of facilitate nurses and teams on ward area.’ ‘A really interesting discussion and insightful to hear parent experiences.’ ‘I feel the outcome has been met and even several spots have been touched on. I belive understanding, acknowledging, confidence have been the key aspects.’   How will today’s session improve your practice? ‘To not be afraid and be more confident when dealing with patients with disabilities’ ‘I will consider the specific needs of the LD community in the design of departments’ ‘Might consider exploring idea of artist led training sessions for clinical staff around LD’ ‘it helped me to understand the concerns the people with ld have’ ‘By talking what the parent and patient needs from listening. Listening to listen not listening to speak and by working in partnership with them’ ‘x2 Greatly.’ ‘Increased awareness of specific accommodations that can be made for people with learning disabilities.’ ‘it will help me understand the struggle, stigma and fight the patient and families may have been through and how to approach and respond to them. It also has taught me not to be afraid or fear them but to smile and be confident when dealing with a child who has a learning disabilities.’ ‘See, say hello and smile.’ ‘It will make me more aware of how I communicate with patients an dtheir family. As well as how I offer care.’ ‘By treating all patients with LD the same way but ensuring communicating in the way they need to be […]

Learning Disability Week 2017 at Great Ormond Street Hospital



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If you knew that you had a shorter time will you do things differently? Life can sometimes be like a football match. Not that we are all football fans but anyone who has seen a football match will agree that it can seem very life-like sometimes. Teams, usually 2 in number, get themselves set for a game with one purpose in mind: Winning! It is funny how both sides keep hoping to win while knowing that not more than one side will actually win. Even when beset with challenges and odds stacked for or against either side, their optimism does not diminish. The mix of events that occur throughout the match are as unpredictable as life itself. They are filled with ups and downs and not forgetting good or bad luck despite the quality of play executed by the teams. What this means in effect is that a deserving side can win based on their skill sets or  sometimes lose based on the mood of “mother luck”. How many times have we thought that a team had the winning ticket only for them to lose at the last minute swinging the victory to the less deserving side despite all their prowess? One other resemblance that a football match can have with life is the way the teams struggle and give the best when the the game is nearly over. This is very interesting considering the teams had all the time in the world to pull out their miracle winning trick. One wonders why most times, teams leave their best performance till late. It is said that we should save the best for the last but in football terms it seems foolish! If the last minute frantic performance put up by the struggling teams begin slightly earlier, they would not have to struggle so much. We all do this too…. We live like we would exist for ever. Procrastinating and shuffling through life. Wasting away valuable time… Time that we can spend more preciously… …Wisely… As soon as we see a date in sight… death! We gasp and begin to appreciate how much more we could have done with the time we had. Sickness, disease or a health scare can jolt our reality into focus. We become more aware of the fleetingness of life. Bucket lists become moulded to fit in all the “important” stuff. At that cliff edge of life when we are about to slip away we see clearly what is really important, Items spring into our bucket list and like our lives, the buckets lack the depth to contain all we truly desire to achieve. Life us simply too short even for those standing far from that cliff edge only they do not realise it. Just because you are healthy and not being given the sad news of impending death does not mean you are really safe from it. The only ones given the gift of finally appreciating life are those who can sniff the end drawing closer. In essence, when life is nearly over, it becomes clearer what enjoying life really means. We begin to try to make up for lost time. Suddenly life begins to be lived to the fullest. Interestingly, those clutching at the last ticks of life begin to be the ones who know how to enjoy life. They know how not to waste precious moments. Sadly, the moments become so precious because there becomes an actual struggle to fit every single activity into the short time left. It doesn’t have to be that way…. So I wonder …. What if you and I who are not in a position to feel that our time is running out began to be more conscious of the unpredictable nature of life…fleeting life? Would we do things differently? If so, it may be necessary to rethink how we are currently spending every moment of our lives…. We can make a conscious effort never to lose sight of the fact that life is too short. We are all closer to the end than we realise. Sometimes, our loved ones slip away and leave us wishing we had spent more time caring for them. Sometimes our circumstances change and we move far away rendering many chapters we currently ignore or take for granted closed. We can take advantage of every moment we have by living life to the fullest…. Live life to the fullest because no one knows the day or the hour they will go. We all may go in different ways. Death is only one way. Relocation, heartbreak, separation, divorce, ideological differences, work transfer, dream pursuits and so on. Suddenly the time we have to spend with our loved ones becomes scarce. Just because we sit around the table with our families today does not mean the headcounts will be complete next week! … Life happens… So why not savour  every present moment? Stop leaving till tomorrow what you can accomplish today. Delay can be dangerous. If you have friends, hang out! If you have family, spend more time together! Some of the most fun things you can share with family and friends  are free. The gift of your time will not even cost a dime! It does not matter how much you spend when you are with your loved one. What matters is the quality of the connection you achieve with that person in the time you share together. A fortune spent on a gift will only matter if a connection is made. You can also make the same connection if you spend time together. Let the acquisition of material wealth for presents not hinder the quality time that can otherwise be shared with loved ones. It may mean nothing if the time you share together does not translate into happiness for you both. Is there an activity you have always wished to perform? Why not stop putting it off ? Stop over analysing it and just do it! You may not have the time you have […]

What will you do when the time is up!


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My son Otito was born with a metabolic condition called Propionic Acidaemia. This condition sadly compromised his body’s ability to breakdown proteins. The implication of this was that he suffered with lots of metabolic decompensations and his body easily built up toxins called Ammonia in his blood. As a result of this degenerative condition, he was developmentally behind for his age.  His social and communication skills where severely impaired and he mostly existed in a world of his own. As a result, he was subsequently diagnosed with severe autism and learning disabilities. It was a huge shock to me as his mother to accept that my son would be different from other children. I took steps to overcome this feeling by getting as much information as I could once the diagnosis was made. His consultant at the time was very kind and eager to explain the condition to me. Before long, I understood most of the implications of the condition for my child. I also learnt about ways to spot the early signs of a metabolic crisis. Sadly, detecting the early signs did not prevent the metabolic crises that he characteristically suffered. The rate at which they occurred meant that he became a very unstable child. He became frequently hospitalised to keep him safe. Unfortunately, that also meant that he spent more time in hospital than we all would have hoped. By his 3rd  year of life, he suffered  a further complication of his condition with chronic pancreatitis and became hospitalised for one year to keep him safe. During his admission, we encountered many Health Care Professionals (HCPs). These were made up of medical staff functioning in different capacities and across various disciplines within the hospital.. While they all had the sole purpose of delivering excellent healthcare to our son, it was hard to get them to understand the care he needed because his level of development impaired his ability to express these needs appropriately. As his mother, I was also his advocate. I sprang to his defence like a mother hen every time his needs were missed. It was difficult to get the staff to listen. His inability to communicate left him non-verbal. He was also unable to express his emotions appropriately. For example, his expression of pain was not by crying or screaming as characteristically normal for most children. Instead, he became more quiet, withdrawn, less mobile and inactive. This pain response was mainly interpreted as being calm but not in pain. He was also very sensitive to being touched or held. During pain episodes, this touch sensitivity always became worse. His only position of comfort was always one where he could lie curled in a foetal position. He tended to pull in his limbs and stayed in the corner of the bed grinding his teeth. It was heart breaking to see him suffer at a time when he was closest to care. I cried for him every time he pulled away. I cried for the pain he could not express. I wished more than ever that he could do the same. I could not even communicate that to him. It was a helpless situation to be in as a mother. I could not pick him up to cuddle him or comfort him either as he could not tolerate such interactions as a result of being autistic. When the pain team got involved, I was a bit hopeful. However, his scores were low on their charts. The pain charts recorded higher scores for pain based on normal responses. For example screaming, being irritable and displaying active movements especially kicking to show pain was ranked highly. Incidentally, the pain endured by most pancreatitis sufferers I had met where always likened to excruciating labour pains experienced during childbirth. It was no wonder that the HCPs only disagreed with me every time I suggested that he was having yet another bout of the pancreatitis pain cycle. They could not justify the need to give the level of pain relief I was requesting since the pain scores they charted did not support my claim However, given his status as a severely autistic child with learning disabilities it was really not far-fetched. Their lack of experience with this type of autism that could lead to such pain responses in children meant that my son was unintentionally left to suffer. I knew I had to seek help for my son but had no idea how. As time went by my son became very withdrawn. While what the health professionals saw was more of a quiet boy, what I saw was less of my child and more of a chronic patient. To them his quietness was only a confirmation that he was after all unwell. We kept hitting brick walls at every corner trying to get him the help he needed in those first few months when he was admitted. It was while out on a walk along the hospital corridor one day that I made a discovery that changed the course of my son’s care for the better. After one of my routine arguments about the need to administer more pain relief for my son, I needed a change of scenery. That was when I accidentally stumbled across a leaflet hanging casually from a rack on the wall. It revealed the information about the existence of an expert in the hospital called Jim Blair who specialised in supporting families who had children with learning disabilities (LD). He happened to be a consultant and lead nurse in this area. Surprisingly and in the most unceremonious fashion, help finally arrived when I least expected it! Jim was very helpful and approachable. I was able to discuss my concerns easily with him. It was relieving to find someone-a health professional who finally understood my son’s plight. He simply got it! The pain responses that I described to him were anything but alien. In fact he said it was quite common with children who had the level of […]

Hospital life : Getting health care right in hospitals for people with complex health needs and intellectual disability



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As I was on my way out to get some food this afternoon, I saw a group of people. There were like hundreds of them walking along the corridor towards me. They appeared to be on an organised walk. What was interesting was the presence of the lady in front of the pack. She should have left them to go on their own because they simply ignored her! There was a din. Lots of chitchat going on. Suddenly the corridor leading to the hospital restaurant was like a marketplace. The people seemed to be cooing at everything they came across as they walked past. “oh this”… “oh that”….”wow this”… “wow that”! Honestly, I could not understand why they all looked so surprised. It was a hospital after all and nothing was new. It had walls, interesting pictures, a lovely ambience, clean surroundings and so on. It really had nothing inconsistent with what you would expect from a hospital especially in England. …Yet the babbling went on… The lady moderator was speaking but it seemed like the more she tried to raise her voice, the less attention she got from them. As she screamed louder, it got worse. I found the whole idea of the walk around the hospital absolutely irritating. You see, Great Ormond Street Hospital or GOSH was one of the creme de la creme in terms of paediatric medicine in the world. It was always a privilege in itself to walk along such a corridor where historical breakthroughs had been pouring since 1852 when it was established. It was a hospital whose main source of funding addition to other means of funding was made possible through charitable donations and thankfully so. The well-meaning public through various methods contributed a great deal to the fund base at GOSH. This was why from time to time one could understand why the hospital opened its doors to members of the public. It was however highly appalling to witness a near breakdown in decorum when one of such visits was allowed. I imagined that it must have been exciting day out for these people. However what they failed to bear in mind was that it was “a hospital” in the first instance.It was a place of treatment and recuperation. It is therefore expected that the serenity, calm and tranquility of the hospital must be preserved and respected by all who walk through its doors. Although it is not likely that visitors will be given a tour of the main wards, they must be made aware that parents, carers and visitors to the hospital may find all the hullabaloo disturbing. They have to be more considerate about the feelings of these main hospital users who have to use the corridors alongside organised walks such as these. Personally, as a parent, seeing the people behave in this way made me feel a bit vulnerable. It made me feel like the idea of patient-hood was being put on display and made a show of. I know it was not the intended purpose of the exercise but perhaps if the decorum and tranquillity of the hospital was not disturbed, the visits by these people would have yielded a more positive experience for hospital residents like me. On a different day and at a different time, I am sure that many parents and carers like myself may have overlooked the noise. However, the feelings of parents and carers tend to be very erratic, varied and unpredictable. The hospital walls housed people who were being pushed to the limits of their psychological strength by the sickness of their children.These category of people unlike most have had to cope with all sorts of treatments, plans and news about their children. Many were very sleep deprived while others looked forward to the corridor walks as their only time of respite. While these seem like only a few minutes of break, for these parents, they were important even for their sanity. At the end of the day, it was still sweet and appreciable to see people take time out of their own busy schedules to visit hospitals especially  paediatric ones like GOSH. This act of kindness must take into consideration the feelings of all users. This way the thoughtfulness of the well-meaning  members of the public would translate into a good experience for all concerned every time it is expressed. So next time we visit places like hospitals, care homes, hospices and so on even for the sake of charity or any other reason, it may not be such a bad idea to follow the lead of the moderator, quiet down a little, step the excitement down a notch to allow our presence not disturb the peace of the place. This way the good we intend to do will count. Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Hospital life: When groups visit the hospital


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Sometimes you cannot really predict what lies around the corner. I know it is one of those cliche’s but honestly, I literally appreciated the meaning of that statement when I stepped into the corner from the hospital today. I was just taking a stroll to clear my head when I noticed a beehive of activities brewing in the center square. Queen’s square is around the corner from the Great Ormond Street hospital and this Saturday  there was a fair. The organizers were not leaving anything to chance. They had set up the fair rather quickly. It seemed to have sprung up from out of the blues. Endless tables clustered the square. On them were so many different wares all displayed in order to sell for charity. Lovely trinkets, bangles, beads and fancy jewelries drew my attention. I do love a bit of bling.There were books, bric-a-brac and all sort of things. Some tables looked like someone’s house had been emptied out for the auction! Children ran around gaily and the face painting stand had a queue forming rapidly. There were some OAP’s{ Old Aged People} practicing their singing while others seemed to be dancing. Some people sat on the chairs while some tables at the end of the square had home-made food. The lovely smell of pastry filled the air and an interesting looking man in a red hat shook a tiny bell fiercely in his hands screaming out the next activity about to occur in the church nearby. Ding ding ding  rang his bell…. ” The ballet will be starting in five minutes” he said a bit inaudibly. I could hardly make out what he said in the din. As I stood by in the corner taking it all in, I heard a guitar being strummed. It blared through the public address system and I made my way towards the stage. The stage stood cleverly at the center of the fair. As the man strummed his guitar, suddenly a lovely dancing tune was created by his band and they all sang and played. Soon some people formed a circle before the band. It was really a happy atmosphere and so I let myself go. I let the music take me like a lover wooing his beau and in no time I responded by joining the dance. It was as fun as it was groovy! Happiness like the one I beheld on the day was contagious…. There was laughter everywhere. It did not matter what emotional baggage or problems we all had. In that moment, we were happy and that was all that mattered. So this time, something good lay around the corner from the hospital. For once it was not any bad news or event but a good piece of fun and enjoyment and the best part was that it was free!!! This piece was written as a thank you to Mary ward center who were the organisers of the Queen’s square fair. It was really fun and you made people happy that day. Many thanks to you also for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit: Pixabay.  

The Fair at Queen’s Square



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Feminism should not create the yardstick by which women should express themselves. It should not make rules or tell women how to be female. It should create a platform to enable women showcase and express their diverse natures and features as women Don’t get me wrong, fashion and style are not bad in themselves. Women by their nature love to be beautifully adorned, glamorous and attractive. It gives them the boost they need when the situation warrants it. It helps them rise to the “occasion”. However, most of these adornments and practices are not natural. Many are man-made. Something that is not natural can be good for short-term, occasional use but surely not long-term daily use. That said, another concern is the risk they may impose on a woman’s mental view about herself. By adorning this fashion and styles too regularly, sometimes, the view of the person regarding their self image starts to become distorted. A new 3D image becomes projected daily through enhancements, styles and various beauty regimes until but the woman in question as well as her onlookers start to forget the original less fantastic image of the woman. It then gets to a point where the woman rejects herself, her real image… in the mirror. This problem creeps in gradually until even the woman begins to want this image to be painted on as soon as she opens her eyes to the world. Feminism means women are now free to express themselves in any way they choose. For those in the media as well as the so-called icons of feminism who project only perfect images for others to copy I ask is this truly feminism? Should feminism not also include ways to help women accept who they are? A little touch up here and there might be okay but surely a complete metamorphosis (to the extent that an un-adorned “self” becomes unrecognisable) cannot be healthy. That’s not to mention the constant blow taken by the female skin from the endless array of products which leave the woman in a vicious cycle of perfection. This is on the other hand to the delight of the capitalist who sells enough products to feed various stages in the cycle depending on the aspect of perfection or enhancement the woman chooses to fixate on. Make up, hair, skin, weight-loss, diets etc. Nobody is perfect…. At this juncture, a rather dissimilar analogy comes to mind and so, i digress but with good reason. Bad music…. I remember the case of bad music as a child. A particular song would be released by the media. The popular opinion about that song would be that it was more of a joke than a song. The initial response would be of disdain and apathy towards everything that made up the musical piece. However in no time, as the radio station carried on playing the “joke song” regardless, the opinions about the song would begin to change. Not to appoint a love but mostly to a point of tolerance. After months of airplay people although acknowledging the imperfections of the “joke song”, would begin to hear other aspects, elements and less obvious sounds in the song until it became palatable. In no time, a point would be reached when people would find themselves chanting the song. As ridiculous as this was, It was all because they became used to hearing the song. Now back to my argument…. Perhaps beauty, fashion and feminism can be treated this way. Women must not only be able to express their feminism in the way they like, but must also be empowered to resist the pressure of conforming with any set rules for female expression. Perhaps if women continue to constantly project and impose their real selves on the world and stopped succumbing to the idea of picture-perfectedness, like the music on the radio in our earlier analogy, they will become accepted for who they are. Maybe if women did not curl away at the slightest criticism of the imperfection, they will be taken more seriously. It is fair to say that people will only take us as seriously as we take ourselves. We all have to learn that completely and constant acceptability is not real. Nobody is perfect…. Not really. People tend to project aspects of themselves that are appealing to others. Nobody puts their bad foot in front first at least not knowingly. Neither the people dry their dirty linen in public. People hardly go for interviews showcasing their weaknesses while leaving the strengths at home. Therefore we are all flawed by our imperfections and made unique because they exist. If we choose to only focus on what we lack in our beauty, body, wardrobe, then we lose sight of the bigger picture. In the same way you are not only your face or your hair or your shape or your belly as you may want to believe. You are a complete package. You are a person…a woman. Be the self that makes and keeps you happy. Do not join the team natural (who do not adorn or beautify themselves even for special occasions) if you don’t want to. Stay on the team you want because you want to and not because you have been forced to by the media, people or even your demands on yourself. Remember, the real people who love you will do so unconditionally. So stay true to yourself. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this article there are many others like it on this website. You can find them here. Photo credit: Pixabay

Should we all really be Feminists? (Stay true to the woman within) Part 2


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Looking ahead can be impossible when you loose someone you love. I welcome you to unite your heart with mine today. We lose the ones we love in different ways. Some fall out of love with us, some abandon us and some unfortunately…die. Of all the losses, death stings the hardest because with death comes a finality. In death lies the impossibly of a reunion with the loved one at least not in this world. However, in death lies freedom. Freedom from all the limitations that life can bring. Limitations of suffering, poverty, distance , time and even … sickness. Death can conjur sad memories… only if you let it. We all experience our thoughts. If you think about something hard enough, you will feel it soon enough. When we lose someone we love, let us be comforted by the life we once shared with them. Let us experience the thoughts about the good times, the happy times, the laughter, the gains, the milestones. This is an important gift from them to us.The privilege of sharing in their joys and sufferings can not be taken away by death. Therefore no matter how death chooses to come, let us experience those thoughts. Let us realise that death is the ultimate end to the journey of all life. There are no timescales. When it’s time, it’s time. Sometimes it feels too short in our eyes but it is long enough for the deceased. “Fulfilment is not found in the number of days lived. It is found in the unquenchable joy that fills each day. Life may be short but the joy that fills each moment makes it perfect!”… Let us allow those feelings take their roots in our heart. The more you think it, the more you believe it. Let us forget the if’s, why’s and but’s that bring tears and focus on the gratitude of being part of the story of what was once the life of the one that once shared our lives. I love you all very dearly and I thank you for supporting us through this most difficult time. So I ask you “Is there any one you have lost to distance, heartbreak or quarrel?” You have the chance today to make your peace with them and be part of their story again. Don’t leave it till too late you never know what lies around the corner. Make that call you if have the time today!   Thank you for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. You can watch the video by clicking below. Cheers

Death at my door (D.A.M.D) Part 7 Looking ahead after a loss…stay strong!



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I cannot really understand what it is that some women mean when they claim to promote feminism. They base such feminist ideas on things that do anything but enable the budding female embrace her femininity. You see, unlike most females, I am personally not shaped like a bottle in figure 8. I am not the most beautiful among the bunch neither am I the fanciest. What I am is anything but perfect but then “I am me!” Just me… Should feminism encourage me to disassociate from my true self? Should it force me to disengage with the reality of the “me”I see when I stand in all my glory before a chival mirror? Should feminism make me want to begin to adopt and imbibe styles to enable me conform with the ideology of “what a woman should look like?”  To begin to look more “feminine” as some thinkers propose? Why can each female not be seen individually and celebrated without comparison? Why should much of the feminist ideologies be centred around the utopian idea of whom and what a woman should look like? Age is one thing that is seldom kind to the female species. Yet even with the foreknowledge of this never-ending disagreement between age and womankind, females still always engage in a constant battle to defy and conquer age but to no avail. The female anatomy with the passage of time finds itself mercilessly dealt with at the hands of good old age. From the sound of the whistle blowing at puberty, the body of the female begins to transform. Breasts sprout tenderly like succulent cherries while the hips and bellies curve and flatten out respectively- although not for all. Next comes the blow dealt at childbearing females who in time begin to lose the battle slowly and mostly surely. The one-time Cherry Blossom breasts begin to look down south. The flat bellies sag after doing their childbearing duties. The roundness spreads from the hips to other areas of the body. This is a sign of womanhood- femininity, once upheld and celebrated by our grand and great grandmothers. Now some feminist ideologies want to make us see these inevitable occurrences as problems. Capitalists sell the “need” for transformation and perpetual agelessness to these group of women as the final stamp/seal of approval. They make it look like every woman has to stay “pubertised” for ever. Icons of so-called feminism parade naked to show their love for the bodies and unknowingly teach our budding girls to devalue the most intricate core of femininity- nudity. Many feminists are pressured into dressing and appearing in particular ways, eating foods and making all forms of fashion statements as though deviating would be a crime. Tell me how many women like their faces in the morning? How many love their bellies and bottoms as they are? Many real-life women now spend all their psychological strength on products and lifestyle choices that are designed by the capitalists to keep them coming back for more. Ultimately enriching these merchants and seldom delivering on their body transformation promises. When will we learn as women to love ourselves as we are and stop worrying about how others view us? If a person would ignore everything about you… The full package that is you and micro analyse your face, your shape, your smile, your dress sense and so on as the basis for forming an impression about you then perhaps that person is the one with the problem not you. As much as there are things out there that enhance our looks and some might argue “self esteem” we wonder how sustainable that esteem will be in the end if it depends solely on external praise and conformity. Perhaps we need to work on ourselves more and believe in ourselves more so that other people can take us more seriously. Real females need to accept themselves for who they are. Nobody is perfect and the quest for perfection is usually futile. You can attain it, but only temporarily, the real you still resides with you and at the end of the day, it is a reality you have to still confront. One of the more difficult sexes to exist as is female because of the demands imposed on them by everyone even including women. Worse still, the highest pressure on a female comes from within the female herself. They tend to expect too much from themselves by wanting their bodies to do too much and this puts pressure on them. For example it takes nine months of pregnancy to pile up weight on most women, yet they expect to lose it in five minutes. While many magic methods to attain this are advertised, in reality, different women may or may not achieve this especially in that short time. Women are exposed to different circumstances, eating and sleeping patterns, metabolisms, geographies etc. All these play their roles in determining the success of failure of the weight loss project. Yet a typical woman will still pressure herself and asked too much of her body. To be continued… Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this article there are many others like it on this website. You can find them here. Photo credit: Pixabay                      

Should we all really be Feminists? (Stay true to the woman within) Part 1


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Today in the house we had the privilege of receiving this message from one of you. He is very popular for his emotional write ups here at WHHQ. He is simply known as Ezimen. Well he shared a tip that we feel can help us deal with one of the most popularly unresolved feelings we experience quite frequently as individuals- anger. Anger can be triggered in nearly all types of relationships. It can lead to breakups whether justified or not. When I asked him what his best tip for anger management was he said “communication”. In his own words “Communication is very important and it’s the only way to manage anger without committing a sin”. I also asked him about how one can break the communication barrier when emotions are very high. Interestingly his response was “by writing”. “A simple note, text or write up can soothe an angry person”. Words have the power of healing and mending things once applied correctly. The media used to express words does not diminish its restorative ability. By words, we can properly communicate our otherwise misunderstood feelings. It doesn’t matter if the words come through your voice, pen or fingers (via texting). Below is a sample of one of such heartfelt apologies as written by Ezimen himself: I did not deal with my anger properly, I was sulking instead of dealing with my anger about what happened. I let my pride get in the way. Normally, I would have managed the situation better but I allowed myself dwell on the feeling. It spiralled out of control. Since we are bound to hurt each other from time to time perhaps next time we can agree on how best to deal with situations like these. We spoke yesterday and apologised to each other – I like that. We can build on that and try not to hold things against each other. I was sulking and I know you didn’t like that. I was hurt because of my pride and anger. So can we talk about things that we disagree on when we feel less angry? I apologise – do forgive. Thank you Ezimen for your advice. Thanks also for stopping by. Here at Whispering Hope we are committed to supporting aspiring writers. If you also have something you will like to express then do contact us. Have a lovely day guys! Thanks for reading You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit : Pixabay

You can write to say sorry… By Ezimen



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Him: It kills me to write this to you but I have to be in touch with reality. The truth is, affections are mostly never enough for a healthy relationship. We have to constantly work to build what people may perceive as a perfect relationship. Ours is one that is drifting at the moment like a floater on water. I can’t start to explain how difficult it is for me to not see you as often I want to and I know you feel that way too. While I admit that I am a sucker for attention,  I also want to dote and cater to your every need. The way our relationship is currently going, I can’t share your excitements and disappointments on a daily basis. Sadly, there is only so much technology can. I will not blame you if you think I am giving up on us before really trying. However, you will agree with me that we are both at phases in our lives that cannot be uprooted and changed completely. How can I ask you to leave your current identity just to be in the same city as me? This is particularly difficult because we have history … beautiful history. I am taking a closer look at our relationship and feel that I have to be as practical and fair as I am emotional. That is because I respect you too much to give a half effort at this. Instead, I am asking that we build a friendship that would transcend time and space to enable us get settled with the new roles in our individual lives. We must do this without dragging all the uncertainty that characterises our relationship into this narrative. Trust me when I say that I know how you will feel after reading this. I feel that letting it go on for too long would only cause both of us more pain. I have and would always be crazy about you. I am now left with the dream about how actually spending my waking moments with you would have been. I am now only left with memories of how I used to actually share my fears with you,  goof around with you and just be with you as I know how to. I have so much yet to do in my life and it would be unfair to ask you to stand by my side all through considering the place I am right now in my life. I am battling to convince myself that I am capable of achieving my every dream. I don’t want to lose you, yet I know I have to let you go so that  you can find true happiness with someone who would recognise all he has been searching for in you. You deserve a place in the heart of a man that would live his life with a sole purpose of giving you the best always. You deserve to be treated like a queen, loved like a sister and cherished like a treasure.   Her: The fact that you conceived the idea of having me fulfil another man’s desires makes me wonder if you truly treasure me as you say. You have left me shattered into a million pieces with your words. I will break along with my heart if you let me go. There will not really be any reason to carry on aspiring and trying to be all you think I desire to be if you are not here right next to me to share it with. I dream because you dreamt first. I aspire because you showed me the way. You have been my hero since you became mine and so I have allowed myself take my lead from you. What makes you believe that the answer to the question that has not been pronounced is no. The worst judgement a man can face is one for which he was never allowed to stand accused. It would have been my decision and not yours if ever it was brought to my knowledge. You have not asked and so you cannot be sure about how I will answer. Each word of your letter although heartfelt stabbed me as I blinked away tears. The tears were not because of your rejection but of the fact that you belittled what we have. Is our love so weak that it cannot withstand the storm? Is our ambition so strong that we will forgo the love we share? What will be the use if we become all we ever want to be without the very other half to share it with. I will rather a million years in your arms than a million dollars in my account. I will rather take the fall than to be a thousand miles apart from you. I grieve the love we shared because I too have begun to wonder if it was real? That you can give up on our love because of all you want to be makes me wonder now where I truly reside on your scale of importance. It went without saying when you got transferred and progressed in your career that something had to give. At no point did I envisage that I was to be the sacrificial lamb for your success. How you can bear the thought that I would prefer to be with another makes me wonder what you think I meant when I told you that I loved you more than anything in the world. My bags were packed the moment your news came. I was going to surprise you with the news that I had been given the go ahead to set up shop in the town you now call home. As I read your letter today I was so broken that I unpacked my bag. The realisation that if it were I who had to relocate you would choose your career over me is a heavy blow that I cannot recover from easily. I am not sure I can undo my relocation to the place right next to you because it has now been signed and sealed. What I can tell you for nothing is that this […]

Letters for her…by Ezimen


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Today on the D.A.M.D series, there is a bit of a twist I must say. Did you notice something different about the title today?  I omitted my usual “Musings of a grieving parent” caption. You did? Well done!!!  It is with good reason though. Today, the piece is about a grieving parent but not my muse. It is a poem sent in to me by a very special friend Agatha. I have know her for the type of short while that feels like ages. If you have ever met someone who fills your life with joy and the beauty of her intelligence, then you have a friend like the one I bagged in Agatha. She plaits words and has a distinct voice that pierces through her work. I find myself  feeling very excited every time I read from her. Special thanks to you her for this lovely poem. I am really touched by the words and the web of emotions that I continue to experience overtime I read it. She has a fantastic blog where she shares her special romance with the webs she alone can twist with words. Please make sure that you can check it out here. Its called Black girl wanderlust.  I hope you enjoy it too. The beauty of poetry is the way its meaning transcends all intention. Enjoy! Now. There is a boy-sized hole in her heart That is the twin of the child-sized pain sitting In the pit of her belly. In the pit of her belly Where he first resided before he was Where his sinews were joined with bone And flesh was wrapped around his awesomeness. Now it is an empty room Where the fire of his smile has gone out And the ghosts of his memories flit around in the shadow. II That slight quaver you hear in her voice – No, that is not the sound of shattering glass Nor the hint of quiet desperation as it seeps Through a tightly woven mask of placid acceptance This – this here is the sound of a willow; supple Swaying gently in buffeting winds Safe in the knowledge that though this river swelled, Swelled and burst its banks Though its raging waters lap at her roots like tongues of fire She will not be swept away. They hold firm, her roots; Buried deep in a nest of love   Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

Death at my door D.A.M.D Part 6 A Poem – By Agatha (Poet and scholar)



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  So here is this seemingly innocent dude. He believed in “love and living happily ever after”. Once in his life he found the one. Little did he know that he was about to be introduced into a world of heartbreak, deceit, lust and sex. In fairness to him, he kept striving to find the one as he had always pictured (oh yes… guys do that too!) but he kept giving love. Life kept taking from him and giving him nothing in return. A series of events had redefined this young lad and built him to be who he was- someone who had fallen out of love with LOVE. Here is strike one – Guy meets girl, and for the purpose of clarity we shall call the beautiful lady Sharon and the guy Zuchi. Sharon was a goddess; she was so pretty that it scared him. They both met at a matriculation event where he got introduced to her by his sister as her course mate. From that moment he could barely take his eyes off her. Zuchi made small talk and found out that she was also funny and smart. The day went on better than he had hoped. Sadly like every good thing that comes to an end, so did the day! He wondered if knowing Sharon should end with the day but decided against it. He realised that if he played his cards right, then it could be the start of something beautiful. Sharon began to make her way home. As she started to leave he reached for her hand. He looked down at her and asked if he could see her again. She said she was going to be busy over the next couple of weeks and so could not assure him of her availability. Well at least, it was not a no! Therefore, he settled for her number. The next couple of weeks and months were blissful. They spent most of the time talking and texting non-stop on the phone. He tried to arrange a proper date but that didn’t happen as quickly as he had hoped. School was in full swing and both parties got busy with their respective schedules.  One evening, Zuchi decided to find time to visit her at her hostel. That was the best decision. It became easier for them to see each other more often. They always met up after classes and just talked. At other times they took walks, sometimes they even ate together. They just enjoyed each other’s company. He got a little carried away with their arrangement thinking that all he needed to do was profess his love for her and she would be his forever. Luckily, he came up with a plan to tell her exactly how he felt about on Valentine’s Day. Zuchi got the perfect gift and headed to Sharon’s hostel to unburden his heart. He could finally get the woman he had always wanted to call his. When he got there he met two dudes already there to see her. Zuchi was surprised because he had informed Sharon the day before that he was coming to spend the day with her and she had agreed. He didn’t mind though as he acknowledged the guys’ presence. He went in to greet Sharon with a peck but she ducked and opted instead for a side hug. At that moment he began to reassess the scenario he had walked into. Zuchi kept telling himself that he was over analysing it all. He spent the next half hour trying to make conversation with her but she seemed to split her attention seamlessly amongst her three guests. After a while, Zuchi just decided to end the most awkward experience he had ever been in. He reached into his pocket brought out his gift and gave it to her. She collected it from him and smiled. She mouthed the words “happy Valentine’s  Day dear”,  and then Zuchi left. Zuchi left the room thinking and contemplating every second he had just spent in her hostel. He told himself that he would get another opportunity to tell her that he was in love with her. That night he decided to tell her everything. He couldn’t wait till the next time they were together. It was 9.59 pm when he left his room.  He headed straight to Sharon’s. All through the journey, he kept rehearsing his lines and trying make them as smooth as ever. In reality, he didn’t care too much about the delivery. All he hoped for was the courage to say all he had to say. He had held back his feelings every minute and every second he was with her. Zuchi got to Sharon’s door but hesitated for a second or two. He could hear Coldplay’s “In my place” playing lightly in the background. “Yes, the stars are aligning for this” he thought to himself. The mood was definitely right for him to pour his heart out to her. With a deep breath he knocked on the door. “oh!!!!!! Bimpe don’t come back here to ask for anything again”, Sharon barked. Bimpe was Sharon’s nosey neighbour who was always borrowing one thing or the other even up to food items. Sharon opened the door with a frown that quickly turned into shock as soon as she realised that it wasn’t Bimpe at the door. She looked straight at him and started shaking uncontrollably. He moved to hold the shaking arm with which she held the door. Zuchi was also trying to understand her reaction to seeing him. She looked like she had seen a ghost. He tried to go in but she didn’t move. She stood firm, blocking him with the door slightly open now as he held her arm. Zuchi then opened the door wide so he could hold her as she seemed like she was about to completely fall off balance. She was muttering stuff he couldn’t understand. In the dim light he could see a […]

Falling out of love…with love. By Ezimen


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The Journey There are times I think to myself ‘will I ever be finished?’ I want and plan to do so many things, some I have accomplished others remain elusive yet I keep striving to be what I think I can be, where I think I ought to be. It is a constant battle convincing myself that I am making progress, somedays it is slow, sometimes no forward steps at all and I begin to question myself, am I expecting too much from myself? Are my goals unrealistic? Is it possible to achieve everything I have set out to do? Is success meant to determine my worth? Does one stop or keep pushing in the face of failure. These are a few of the concerns of the average person I on the other hand, have felt this way for a long time. During times of success, you ride high on the wave of self-accomplishment and expect every area of your life to at least be this successful and then one disappointment brings your world crashing down, back to the harsh reality that it is not always rosy. Life has its crazy way of halting you when you have a spring in your step on your way to conquer the world, when you are ahead and ready to make history by breaking already set standards. Life will make you acknowledge that you are not always in control, you can plan all you want, execute as ruthlessly as possible and yet your outcome can still fall short of 100 percent. This is not to say that you should give up rather you suck it up and continue striving to maintain and even surpass previous performances. Last year was one of those years, many projects started and some of them not turning out to be as successful as I had hoped. I felt down for a while but as always, I found a way to bounce back and keep working to improve results and to accomplish set out targets. The new year is here ripe with new opportunities, expectations, old and new projects to complete or begin. It would be advisable to hit the ground running but most importantly don’t start your year without a masterplan. Take time to reflect, see where you are now, appreciate your journey because that is the best way to look at it, ‘a journey’. See how far you have come and how much more effort is required to see you to the finish line. Here are some tips to improve your productivity this year; Stay focused, don’t let the noise in. it is a very noisy world we live in but you must be able to filter it all. Be in your own space always. choose your goal and break it down into smaller manageable tasks. Yes, you want to walk on the moon this year, it may seem daunting or even impossible but if you start chipping off at that massive rock little by little you would make a lot of progress eventually. monitor your progress regularly and adjust if necessary. Remember to be flexible in your approach. seek information everywhere you are, always strive to find something new that you didn’t know about. This is the only way you keep growing by learning as you go. If you apply these tips and the many more you can come up with, there is certainly no limit to what you can achieve this year and in the future. I am here, not where I was last year, not where I want to be yet but HERE and I would enjoy the journey and I am proud of my progress, you should be too. You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit : Pixabay

The Journey …by Ezimen



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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! TOO SOON TO MOVE ON I woke up this morning feeling like I could take on the world…. However, somewhere along the line, as the day went along, I soon lost all my mojo, All I really wanted was to just have an early night. The problem though, was that it was just noon and nowhere near bedtime. That was how it felt sometimes… on days when I entered grieve mode. Personally, the weekends are the hardest for me. Weekends used to be the highlight of the week for my family until a few weeks ago when Fred decided it was time to begin his exit from this planet. It was the one time all the boys used be together. I remember fond memories with all of us in the little room that was Fred’s cubicle on the hospital ward. Fred, darling Fred… without a care in the world. Mark?  …he would attend the activity centre where he loved to play. Karl and I? …we mostly watched movies to pass the time. We later converged before the end of the day to take Fred on walks as soon as the nurses thought he could be taken out for the day. I honestly would not have done anything differently about our family time. It was so ordinary, yet so special. Now since he passed, the weekends have become quieter. No stressful trips to London. No looking for what to entertain the boys with. No changing diapers. No listening to Fred’s music for the umpteenth time….No stress! That is good right? Well, that was our normal, our routine and “our thing”. This new normal was something I had desired for so long and had given up on ever experiencing. This new normal feels strange without Fred in it. I still feel so apprehensive about settling back into normalcy. I feel like it’s too good to be true. I know that it isn’t and I am teaching myself to relax more. I am trying to unlearn having to wake up constantly to do Fred related chores- diapers, medicines, feeds, safety… I am trying to unlearn being on alert every minute. There are so many normal things that have become strange to me now, but… I am taking baby steps trying to learn to be normal again. Some friends have been asking me “what next?” …. As a matter of fact, make that … everyone asking me and being on my case! I know they mean well and I probably need the nudge but it feels so wrong to treat my Fred…my pain… like a chapter in a book that should be snapped shut. Well I don’t want to. I want to linger on…fiddling with that chapter. I know I shouldn’t but it seems so disloyal to let go and simply…move on as all propose. Did he mean so little that I should move on so easily?The ripples from the blow life dealt me when she decided in her infinite wisdom to let Fred slip away are still so profound that they are still spreading through my every vein… my every heartbeat… my every step. All I want is to savour and hold on to it for that bit longer because they are all I now have left… I know I should be thinking about what my next move should be in this new normal. However, somewhere in my head, I think it is too soon. It just seems so unfair after all the special times we shared with our son that we would just move on so easily and so quickly. I am trying to clutch at them. Sadly as much as I would like to stay melancholy, my brain is moving on faster than I would want it to. That too is a good thing as well right? I have found sleep to be my trusty companion. It helps get me well rested and more refreshed to take on each day. It is just that the weekends are so quiet…. I am going to talk to Karl about this today. I will find out if he is experiencing these emotions too. You never know. Do they not say a problem shared is halved? Perhaps we can find new ways to fill up the silence that is quickly filling up our weekends. The weather is getting warmer too, so perhaps we could even go out on our family walks again. Find new ground because I am not sure that we can possibly pick up from where we left off even if we tried. So if you are out there, trying to cope with the devastating loss of a loved one, I want you to know that we can all get through this! Thank you for reading

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 5 – TOO SOON TO MOVE ON


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Having a sick child may mean that you have to accept many bitter pills concerning your child. One of such bitter pills is your child’s development. Every parent who has a child knows that one of the joys of parenthood is witnessing the attainment of various milestones by their child. It seems like the most natural thing to expect from a growing child. The beauty of beholding the newborn and watching them blossom as the months go by creates lasting memories that parents capture, share and treasure. Unfortunately, the incidence of sickness means that some families are robbed of this . It is a devastating blow for all parents in this category. From new parents who never get to experience these emotions to experienced parents who experience a certain kind of grief for their child. The existence of other children earlier born in the home means that there is a constant unconscious tendency to compare the inabilities of the sick child against the abilities of other existing siblings. Though not deliberate, this mental exercise can leave the carer in a state of grief and helplessness. For the new parent, this blissful ignorance is taken for granted. One of the impacts of lots of hospitalisation early in a child’s life is that the child misses the opportunity to experience the freedom of trial and error offered to them by being able to roam freely in their natural habitat- home. Children in hospital find themselves confined to beds, cots, playrooms and generally- four walls. This affects all children in different ways irrespective of their physical abilities. Even where physically able to explore, the restrictions imposed on them may be the only way to safely administer all that they require to be nursed back to health. For the more delicate and less able children, these restrictionss and their physical inability to explore their surroundings further compound the issues affecting their development. Thankfully not all children with life long illnesses have to remain hospitalised. Some recover as they grow while others are managed at home with medication, care and experience. Irrespective of the category Sick children later fall into, the long stays in hospital take their toll on early development. Some escape with mild delays that leave them playing catch up with their peers while others remain severely delayed. Speech delays, movement delays, feeding delays, social and communication delays are not uncommon. It is therefore important as a parent carer to be prepared in terms of your expectation from your sick child. While parent carers seldom admit that they set high expectations for their sick children, their sadness at their children’s inabilities can be interpreted as such. Here are a few strategies that a Parent carer might find useful in helping them deal with their feelings of sadness and helplessness concerning their child’s development; Give your child time : As highlighted earlier, children require time to recover from the effects of frequent hospitalisation early in life. Even older children who become unwell and needing frequent hospitalisation also suffer from these same effects. They deal with feelings of shock and uncertainty about the future. They also have little understanding about the effects of the new diagnosis on their lives. Parent carers need to give enough time for things to settle after their sick children are discharged for some of the effects of hospital long stays to wear off. For example A recuperating child who may be finding it difficult to settle back into routines at home may be seen as becoming difficult. Parents and carers also need to give themselves time to understand the full implications of the prognosis for their child’s future health, development and general well being. The dust always settles in the end and every family always finds a way that will work for them as long as they stay calm and patient through the whole process. Try to avoid comparison : The growth and development of a child can sometimes feel like a race. Children appear to constantly face comparisons because their levels of development seem to be constantly measured based on scales and milestones. In reality, these scales and milestones should only be guides as they are derived from averages and do not reflect the differences inherent in the vast population of children’s statistics from which they are derived. More importantly, when a child is sick or recovering, these scales should not apply. Every child is different. Even two children with the same condition may be affected differently by the illness. Therefore to cope better with the possibilities regarding a child’s development, it may be a good idea to view your child individually and measure their progress based on what they were previously able to achieve so that even the most infinitesimal progress can be celebrated. If comparisons are necessary, then they have to be fair and be from a category that the sick-child actually falls under. Do not be too hard on yourself : It is quite common as a parent to beat yourself up about everything relating to your child. This is usually more on parent carers or any parent under any form of stress as a result of the pressure imposed on them by virtue of their position as parent carers. Parent carers may experience sadness because they feel like they are constantly comparing their child one minute and not comparing them enough the next minute. These feelings are very normal. Every parent wants the best for their child. It is quite normal and natural to look up and see how we are faring against others and just because you are a parent carer, you are not exempted from this feeling. What is really not normal is for a child to be unwell and so this is why your child is falling behind. You have to come to terms with this in your own time and at your own pace. While getting to the point of understanding your child, try not to spend most of the time beating […]

Hospital life : Worried about your child’s development



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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! THE SPRING CLEAN Our spring clean this year was long overdue and today we decided to start with a clean up of all our phones and devices. The main reason for this as the primary starting point was that unlike other areas that needed a proper clear-out in our lives- given the events of the last few weeks, our devices were the most volatile and dis-organised. We had many pictures and videos which had suddenly evolved from being mere captured moments to becoming treasured moments. The demise of our son two months earlier, meant that he stopped being captured in our moments from then on. Our devices unfortunately were subject to loss or damage. We had to hold on to every memory we could milk off them. There seemed to be a sense of urgency in carrying out the clear-out although I honestly could not tell why. Although having the memories stored in this way kept them to hand, they unfortunately also made us stumble into our son’s videos or pictures very suddenly. Such sudden appearances of his images were sometimes welcomed and comforting but at other times they were very upsetting depending on the state of mind we were in. It became necessary to keep them safe elsewhere. That way we could reach them when we felt readier to confront them. It also had another alluring advantage of freeing up the space in our devices thus creating room for us to capture even more memories as life sadly went on. Interestingly, something happened as we sorted through our devices. Our emotions swung into overdrive. What we did not bargain for were the surge of emotions that came flooding out as we sorted through each memory that each image or video we came across pulled into our consciousness. What started off as an innocent exercise began turning into a gruelling experience for us all. In no time we were in bits. We thought we were doing well and feeling strong emotionally since our loss or why else would we have felt courageous enough to begin this exercise? Each memory seemed to stick us right into a lane in our memories where we stood watching each event depicted by the capture photograph or video unfolding. We wished we recorded each event more or better still that we started the recording earlier. We filled in all the blanks in our minds as we relived each moment with our late son in those photographs. We confronted the foolishness in the dreams we revisited as we remembered nursing them when those images were captured. Would that we could have known what lay just a few years, months, weeks or even days ahead from when we took those snapshots! Our  activity today made me feel like a child pulling at scabs, fascinated by their appearance and yet not knowing the pain that lay ahead after pulling sweetly at it. The allure of curiosity overshadowing all common sense. I wondered if there was even any wisdom in capturing so many images as one walked through life. I questioned the sense in storing them. I missed the power of depending on only the mind to recall memories as was quite customary before all this technology. A time when memories in our hearts faded away with the passage of time until they lost their potency as painful reminders and reduced to just a dull ache. I toyed with the idea of deleting them all but I knew better than to make any decisions while overcome with emotion. As we all tried to get through each last image, I could see us all crumbling but pulling each other along as we talked through the different emotions we were going through. My little strong son Mark said he wished his late brother Fred could visit us sometimes. He made this painful wish in his usual innocent way. My broken heart ground to a pulp as I explained the impossibility of his simple request. He claimed to understand as he sat on my lap in silence while we all put each memory away in the file we had opened in the removable hard drive. With the last one done for the day, we heaved a sigh of relief. The dull absence of the sunshine to warm our hearts clouded up what was left of our day not only in the literal sense but in every way. Afterwards, we switched on some happier songs on the sound system to tune us out of the emotions we had just unexpectedly confronted, I saw again how we began to brighten up even without any sunshine in sight. The torch of hope was kindled again as we swayed to the beats. We knew the importance of letting life go on. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time would mean that surely one day soon the memories would not hurt so badly. We had to trust as we always did that there was nothing without reason. Our boy Fred was safe in the place where not even the pain of his disease could ever get him. So here I am standing between the isles in a shop where I came to as an excuse to get some air. I am staring blankly and wondering if I would ever open that hard drive ever again? I know I am as curious as a cat and won’t resist but that will have to be sometime in the future when I too feel far away from today, far away from the pain, far away from the emotional drain…. Thank you for your time. Hope you can join me again next time! Just so you know, there was Part 3 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 4 – THE SPRING CLEAN


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GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE? One of the weird things in life is the realisation that you are on your own. You see, it’s not that there are no systems in place to support people in distress and in great need. One must never lose sight of the fact that whatever situation you find yourself the problem remains YOURS. When you are not in difficulty, you find so many people pledging their undying support for you through thick and thin. At times for some who are lucky, they do get the support they need. But for others, they only get some help, no help or useless help (in essence ,not the kind of help they need!). In less developed societies people grow up with the realisation that help may not be around the corner. It is imprinted and stamped into their thinking faculty. There are no assumptions. Most people grow up with so much political and economical instability that survival of the fittest becomes the order of the day. However, in advanced societies especially here in the UK, most people grow up with the knowledge that help is always around the corner. People will help, the system will help and government even factors “help” into their plans. These helpful plans are not only made but also implemented. With all this culture of assistance, some many believe that being helped is their right and that their problems should be shared with everyone else. To them it becomes a crime if this help is not forthcoming or existent. Arguments exist about this subject matter and rightly so for various reasons. I want us to focus on the fact that whether we get help or not the difficulties we face in life remain OURS. Armed with this realisation sometimes, we can cope better with these hard times. We learn to cope in an I-have-to-come-out-stronger kind of way. Sometimes accepting the situation helps us to be better equipped especially psychologically to deal with them. It makes us more prepared to ask the right questions about our situation. Thereby leading us to solutions and strategies to help us live with or manage during the hard times. So while we may be going through a rough patch now we still have to find a way to carry on. No one can suggest or advise on how to find the best way through any challenge. However, we cannot go wrong by taking things one minute at a time, one hour at a time and one day at a time until we get to a point where we can look back and see how far we have come from the challenge. People around us can only help us temporarily or a bit long-term by setting things in motion to provide support. Unfortunately that’s all they can do. The buck still stops with us. We are still the ones who have to live with our circumstances. We have to find ways to pull ourselves up every day, forge ahead, take one small decision at a time. We also have to make sensible choices within the limits imposed on us by our circumstances. At times it is not feasible to get all the help we need. The system is not always able to provide all the support that will wipe away our difficulties. This occurs when the problems we face are either too enormous or a bit unclear. It is not still a reason to lose hope. If we cannot find the help we need, we must learn to use the help we find. Complaining less while adopting a calm disposition from the onset may avail us the opportunity to use what is available early enough to give some relief to our situation. It may be possible to access the rest of the help elsewhere. Perhaps through support groups, charities, the Internet and so on. It is a waste of energy to keep getting upset with people when all the help that can be offered has not only been offered but has also been accessed by us. It just means nothing more can be done for us. We need to start looking for other options early. If you live in the UK, you can always get assistance through various agencies set up to help people passing through difficulties. The Citizens advice bureau is a good place to start. They can signpost you to other agencies or groups that can offer support. You can access this service for free. You can also visit the government website as it is loaded with lots of information that you may find relevant. For those outside the UK, look out for agencies that provide advice and support in your country. Trusted family and friends are also a good place to start when you feel stuck. No matter your circumstance, do not lose hope. Help is never in short supply. The extent of help you get may be difficult to cover all you need. At least a little help is better than no help at all. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit : Pixabay    

GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE?



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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! BACK IN TIME I keep walking… I keep taking one step after another. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it feels like I can feel my feet being printed in the ground as I take each step.   I walk for dear life. I walk to keep you near It’s the one thing we used to share. I can’t stop myself.   And then came a comforting thought as I walked today….   Perhaps all I need to do is retrace my footsteps. Perhaps all I need is to walk backwards. Perhaps 6 million steps back is all it will take. To get me back to the time when you were here.   I would probably need to walk back in time till I find myself … Till I find myself pushing you along the path we used to thread together. With my eyes closed I can feel your little hand in mine. I can see your big eyes looking up at me. Asking me to lead you on as only I could do.   Come along my love and I will take you to the place you loved. I will guide you to your place of freedom. The place you wanted to be all along….   Now all I have is your song. With your song I make that journey every day. With its melodious tune I am guided back to the time When you were here right next to me humming along.   Now all is quiet but right here in my heart you are never silent. I can feel your presence near. On the strings of the cords that you played. I can see the marks that your fingers made.   I want you back! O how it hurts so…. But to have you back will be to wish more pain on you. My only wish is for you to fly free. Sometimes it’s hard, most times it’s easy   To see your face in the memories we carved on still paper. Feels like my heart is being stabbed with a dagger. But catching that glimpse gives me every reason to be strong It makes me long for you but keeps my heart warm on cold nights.   How can all of life point to the exit sign? How come all we have is a box full of memories? How do you pack up a man’s life in a box? How come it all fits in even though you were larger than life?   But back in time my love is where  I know I have to go Back in time is where you live Back in time is where I go when I want to be with you Sleep sweetly my love…. Thank you for reading. Just so you know, there was Part 2 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 3 – BACK IN TIME


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I have now stayed over one year in the hospital with Fred and a whole lot has happened since then. There have been tears, laughter, sadness but most importantly, hope. Just “good old hope” about positive outcomes or at least finding the positive sides to our outcomes whatever they may be. One very interesting should I say side effect of the whole hospital experience has been that I have become more “hospitaley” than I would like to admit. I can now exist in chaos; beeping machines and screaming toddlers make up the sound track of my life. I have turned into an art waiting an art. Somehow I have become less fussed about dates and postponements, they always come in the end no matter how far they are thrown. One less part is that I can now eat bad tasteless food. I can eat fast foods, bad food, good food and you would never tell from my face. My taste buds are as bad as my ears to less than desirable foods and sounds. I have also conveniently forgotten how to do house chores, live at home and be normal. Our life has been quite split into hospital and domestic. Karl handles the domestic side expertly ( and for that I feel blessed and remain thankful) while I handle the hospital side. It has been working for us. Fantastically, I must add because as “Adam Smith” said – division of labour leads to specialisation. Karl and I have become gurus in our chosen fields. Sadly the downside is that I have now honestly forgotten how to handle the domestic side. One of the mums on the ward calls it “being institutionalised”. I can still cook (that will take more than a year to get de-skilled) and that but when I say I have forgotten the domestic side, I mean, I now experience a feeling of apprehension when it is my turn to stay at home with Mark. I find I secretly can’t wait to leave. No one notices this but deep down, i know my brain will rather do what it has now become used to – cleaning beds, clearing up vomits , chanting nursery rhymes, making sure Fred is fine. It is stressful but it has become my new normal. I can’t seem to find where things are kept when I am at home. I can’t get over how much Mark has grown. He sees through our white lies (which by the way are meant to be my parent secret tools). One year is a long time in a child’s developmental clock and it seems like a shame to feel a sense of loss. There is always time to do something. Many parents with sick children especially those who have long admissions can relate with this. There are some ways to try to overcome this hurdle: Communicate: If you feel left out of the lives and routines of the family, it may be time to have this discussion with your partner or one who shares the care of your family with you. Keeping your frustrations bottled up may not allow you find solutions. It may fuel your helplessness. For those without partners or who are single parents, it may be a good time to speak with HCPs or social services. They are there to provide support and signpost you to other services that can assist you. Swapping: It may be a good idea to consider swapping. By swapping I mean allowing a partner, family member or person of trust swap places with you for a few hours or days at a time depending on what is available. No matter how little the time off is, it will still be helpful. Some local authorities provide only a few clustered hours of care depending on the family needs and what is available. Do not decline help except you are sure that it is not really suitable. My rule of thumb is to accept anything I get to enable me consider my options before declining I find it is easier than declining and later realising it may be a good idea to avoid disappointment. Maximise the quality of time spent with the rest of the family as the time at your isposl may vary and be limited, it is not such a bad idea for you to plan the activities you intend spending with your other children or family members. Remember that if you only plan to do anything, you may end up doing nothing. Also, having a plan will endear positive sentimentality towards you. It will make other family members or children feel important and cared for. The siblings of sick children normally feel neglected. Little steps towards improving the quality of the time you share with them can help foster family unity which in turn can be stress relieving for the caregiver. Don’t feel guilty: As long as you have made adequate arrangements for the care of your sick child, there is no need to feel guilty about the time you take from caring for your them. Guilt is emotionally exhausting. It also robs you off the enjoyment of the short time you have to spend with the rest of your family. It can make you appear absent minded and unhappy to be with the family. The other siblings can pick up this from you and in some cases resent you for it especially when they can compare your mood and demeanour and find a sharp contrast between your behaviour with them and the sick child. You deserve a break. Spending time with the rest of the family is good and healthy for you. It can make you happy. Happiness impacts positively on your overall well-being as a person. When your well-being is improved, you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated, becoming the best carer you can be. Make time to rest: resting can help lighten your mood and leave you feeling less stressed. Time spent with the rest of the […]

Hospital Life- The past year



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Those of us who spend longer than the normal time in the hospital know that it becomes inevitable that new “weird” associations become formed. It becomes normal to be intertwined in the lives of the doctors, nurses and staff looking after your child. As much as these health professionals will prefer to keep all dealings with parents strictly professional they seldom do. Such a feat is only easily implemented and achieved with parents that embark on flying visits to the hospital with their children or loved ones. However, for the rest of us who have become co-opted into the “lifetime users’ league” (if ever we had an office) of the hospital wards, this is simply impossible. Daily we witness and are privileged to share different milestones with these health professionals. They become like family to us. Some undergo their training placements and begin being supervised. Others progress into the next level, getting signed off by using our children as learning vessels while we watch them grow in confidence. In no time, and right before our  own eyes, they become qualified doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and so on. Similarly, sometimes we are privileged to snoop out some of the gossip. Some become married,  divorced or even pregnant. Others go on maternity leave, holidays and secondments. These various experiences bring with them different emotions that we as parents become privileged to share in mostly by virtue of our perpetual presence. We then experience some of these highs and lows with them. They in turn become our friends, standing by us emotionally when we are sad. Since our moods determine how we deal better with the challenges we face as parent carers, they make it their duty to scoop out some of our personal gossip and help us work through some of our challenges. They are happy when our children improve and shed a tear when they get worse. The funniest is the bittersweet feeling they experience when we finally get discharged. We imagine that they are sad to see us go but happy that the child is well because  they know the family will finally enjoy some stability while it lasts. On the day I wrote this article, it was the day many of the doctors finished their placements in our hospital. Many of them got transferred to other hospitals. I imagined it to be our turn to experience the same bittersweet emotions. Unfortunately, the finality of these exits unlike the type of emotions ours evoked in them brought with it a sense of quiet dimness. In our case, we were always expected to return. However, in their case, it was final. I felt truly happy and privileged to have known many of them, yet sad to see them go. It was a career growth for them and a good thing. I knew however that it was going to take me time to adjust to. My son although oblivious of these as a result of his health constraints was caught up in a net of endless cuddles and coos which he seemed to endure. He hated being smothered but on that day we made an exception and permitted a squish here and a squash there. They wished they could take him along. Clearly he had left an impression on them and hopefully his zest for life would be theirs to remember forever (especially now with his abrupt exit). As for one of his favourite nurses, her departure was especially felt by me. It was a big blow because when we started to say goodbye it was only because we thought she was off on holiday. Sadly, the cat was let out of the bag when I found  her getting extra cuddles from her colleagues. That was when I realised that her departure, like the doctors’ was final. Our sweet nurse was off to pastures new, pursuing her dream of a lifetime. She was part of the team that looked after Fred at birth when he was diagnosed. The thought of saying goodbye to her felt like a snip to the umbilical bond that I attached to her endless presence. She was meticulous, professional and had an unrivalled sense of attention to the minutest detail. It was our loss but certainly a huge gain to the new hospital. As for one of the doctors who I like to think of as Fred’s favourite in an ironical sense, he had grown to endure her endless cuddles until he began to expect them. He stroked her hair and smiled sometimes to show his approval of her. We all knew that to be a big deal in Fred’s books. It feels like the end of an era when I think of it now. Like Dorothy said in Wizard of Oz,  “people come and go so quickly here”. It is the cycle of life. Everything keeps moving. People keep coming and going in different ways. These were people who formed a big chapter in the story of our lives. It is this chapter that was forced shut by the events of the last couple of weeks. Now we have to look ahead towards meeting new people, creating new relationships, and experiencing new challenges in not only our hospital life but in our life as a whole. So here’s a big cheer to you all… Our crew! We wish you all the very best of luck for the future. May the sun always shine down with a smile for you all. Thank you for all your efforts. The battle is now over for Fred but it was a blessing to have had your input for as long as we did. Ciao! or as they say in the movies “Astada vista!”. So amidst these cheers and tears of joy I ask you … Have you ever had to say goodbye to some of those in the care team for your child or loved one? Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other […]

Hospital life: Saying goodbye to some of your Child’s team members.


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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! ACTUALLY BURYING MY SON I had times were my thoughts were marred by the inconceivable idea of committing him to earth. I thought all sorts. I had all sorts of images about the decomposing and loneliness down there in the grave. As a mum, I felt subdued, helpless and on the receiving end. That was when I decided that I had to take back control of my thoughts. I could not let them control me. I like to think that we experience our thoughts. If we begin to think there is a snake in the room, even though it is not a statement of fact, we soon begin to feel scared or unsettled. I did not want to lose control of my feelings. One of the reasons why death is scary is because unlike most experiences, there are stories about those experiences from those who have been through them that can either throw more light on them, reassure us or scare us. With their accounts, we begin to separate fact from fiction and ultimately gain more understanding about the issue. Death is one experience that by virtue of its finality remains a mystery. No one has actually come back from being dead to tell us about what it is like. There are no real tangible facts. All the facts that exist are intangible explanations that require more than the five senses to make sense of. People tend to adopt a “faith” to help make sense of it. Sadly not everyone has a faith to help.The uncertainty surrounding the death experience fuels anxiety leading to various reactions to death. Shock, fear, grief, loss, anger, confusion and the list is endless. We as humans are made to make sense of things by mirroring them with our past experiences. This helps us understand. So if I tell you that I broke my leg, you are most likely going to remember (draw on a past experience) where you either broke your leg (experienced yourself), nursed someone with a broken leg, or knew someone who broke their leg (experienced by proxy). Either way, you will tend to understand better because you have felt that sort of pain before. Unfortunately, no death experience is felt by any of us directly, it always happens to someone else. This means that we can only make sense of death by thinking about it in the way we can understand. We may worry about how the deceased feels. In my case I worried about my boy being “lonely” in his grave, I worried about his skin “decomposing” and looking horrible. I worried about him being “trapped”, not moving etc… all these are characteristics that affect people who are alive and really nothing to do with the dead. A dead person can feel nothing and therefore can sense nothing because all life is gone from the deceased. The things that lead up to death are a process that release the person into the state of being…. dead. For some the events that lead to their death are peaceful, for others they are tragic. Either way, without these processes, death will not occur. They will then stay alive, just like the rest of us who they have left behind. It is only if the deceased was alive that they would experience the feelings of pain, love, laughter, joy, sorrow, worry and so on. It is important to try to consciously stop trying to make sense of the feelings of the body of a dead person. To stop worrying about how the dead “feel”. That word “feel” is a word that only makes sense when you are “not dead”. The deceased that we think about are in essence “dead” and therefore have no need or ability to feel things. They can neither feel anything on their physical bodies like wounds or decay nor can they feel any emotions like pain or loneliness for example. I prefer to experience a feeling beyond what my senses can call factual to help release me from being imprisoned in by grief. You can think of the dead as free from pain, disease (in my son’s case), free of being limited by whatever circumstance held them down while they lived. It may help you experience happiness amidst the sorrow. It also does not make any factual sense … which is the whole idea of this line of thought. Being dead cannot make sense beyond the lifelessness of the deceased that is left behind for us to deal with. To enter into any understanding about death, we have to find that way to connect interiorly in our being either through faith or deep spiritual exercises. As this may be a feat possible for only monks and mystics, I am afraid, we may be better of leaving the dead well alone. I also saw my son one last time before he was committed to earth and although `I had built myself up for a disastrous experience, it was one of the most emancipating experiences of my life. He had began to transition into a state of oneness with Mother Earth. There was no trace of resemblance with my beautiful boy. He was simply gone! It helped me free him in my heart to be buried. You know when he initially died, he still looked so beautiful and peaceful in the chapel of rest where he lay. Somewhere in my head, it kept feeling like he would wake up. I knew he could not because he was gone but it did not stop me wishing.This increased my anxiety about having him buried. I felt a lot of comfort knowing he was in the mortuary. In my mind, I could only feel comforted that he was “asleep” in death … in that cool fridge. Sadly my emphasis in that statement was on the “asleep” not on […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 2 – THE COURAGE TO SAY GOODBYE



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Do you feel like you lack the punch life needs? Haha…welcome aboard! That’s what I thought when I was a little girl. I was not born strong…I am not really sure anyone was born strong to be honest. Living life is the journey that makes or breaks you. Think about it this way, you will never realise how much you have grasped a course or subject until you are tested. No matter how much you read and rehearse it, there is no simulation that can perfectly mimic the exam day. The tension and adrenaline rush,the uncertainty surrounding what the question might possibly be ….chai! Nothing prepares you for that part unless you sit the exam. In the exam hall, the panic attack can make you fail the exam not even the lack of knowledge. The beauty of that failure is that you can use it as a stepping stone for further preparation and subsequent success. That’s the opportunity that life gives us. In living life everyday, we are confronted with many situations that prepare us for many things that lie ahead in future. We may never realise all we have deposited within us until the need arises to use them. Have you ever heard yourself say this before: ” I wonder how you coped? or I am not sure I would have survived it if that happened to me?” Well if it’s any consolation, I have said that too. The thought about an event or possibility of an event that lies ahead can be more draining than the actual occurrence of the event. That is just because when the brain is not thrown into a situation, it can overthink it to a state of panic. It goes into overdrive and tends to think the worst in preparation for the event. That can leave a person totally drained and overwhelmed by an event that has not even occurred. Well the good news is that you are not alone. All I can tell you today is to be strong in your mind. Stay trusting yourself and you will not fail. If I tell you today that I trust you to smash that interview won’t you believe it? Or tell you that I trust you to stand up for yourself will you not see the sense in it? Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that because you have the ability to tell it to yourself. Just believe it…. The good thing about “believe” is that it is the main ingredient that conjures faith and strength. Remember what they say “if you think you can you can” and I say to you today : if you think you can’t you not only can’t but you loose the oomph! Is there anyone in your life or any situation bringing you down and making you feel small? Ignore it because it is not what “they” think of you that counts, it is not even what “you” think of you that counts because you are human and can get things twisted sometimes. It is what “God” thinks of you that counts. You do not even have to be religious for God to think wonderfully about you. You don’t even have to believe it either, he just does. Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way(TAW)” describes God as an acronym for Good Orderly Direction. I too see the sense in that especially for those that struggle with the God concept. If you listen to the voice within… that still small voice of reason, you will locate that Good Orderly Director that guides all of life and creativity. For me he is the King of kings, the Lord God almighty and the author and finisher of my faith. For you he may be described or named differently. There is strength deposited in you. You have the punch life needs. As you live life, let the circumstance that appears to crush you mould you into that person you will become. Ignore the urge to complain so that you will learn the lessons life is teaching you. Those lessons form the building blocks for that strength which you admire in others. I have a plan to reach out to you and guide you as life has guided and taught me to. Together, we will strengthen each other. Nobody knows it all. Feel free to leave me a comment about your thoughts. Don’t forget to share the post so that others who struggle can be reached. There is hope even as little as a whisper to be found in every situation in life. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay. You can also watch the video by clicking on the link below.

You have got the “Punch” too!!!


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Some children are sick for prolonged periods, warranting the need for at least a parent, guardian or loved one to stay with them in hospital. This provides the much needed companionship, warmth and familiarity that children miss out on by being hospitalised. Hospitals across the country do a lot to support parents when their children are sick in hospital. One of such fantastic support provided is accommodation. By accommodation I don’t necessarily mean providing a place for a parent to stay outside the hospital ward. I also include the acceptance of the fact that at least one parent is allowed to sleep beside their child overnight. Usually hospitals provide beds for at least one parent beside the child on the ward .The bed can be a folding bed or sofa bed depending on what the hospital can afford. This humble boarding “accommodates” the parent right next to their child. Provisions like these seem like the logical ones for hospitals to make for parents. However, in the past this was not really the case. I was once told by an experienced and retired nurse that in the good old days (over 20 years ago now) parents were only allowed to come into hospitals for visits. As time went on, these visits led to children endlessly longing for their parents. Not long after, the whole visitation arrangements that enabled parents see and interact with their kids by visiting the wards were scrapped. This decision had far reaching effects on the children because they were left feeling sad and abandoned. Thankfully many years later, the decision to allow parents stay overnight with their sick children was made. Now parents can enjoy the privilege of being able to nurse our children back to health alongside the healthcare providers within the hospital environment. Hospitals now allow parents visit their children at anytime with at least one parent expected to stay overnight with the child where possible. Hospital admissions can be planned and unplanned. In some cases admissions may occur on an emergency basis. Emergency admissions are not pre-planned they usually occur as a result of an unexpected deterioration in the condition of the child being cared for. When this is the case, some hospitals are able to provide emergency accommodation for both parents but not usually including siblings. This mostly happens in the case of children needing intensive care. Otherwise, hospitals customarily provide accommodation for only one parent by their child’s bedside. Recently we fell into the category of parents needing emergency accommodation as a result of an interesting and somewhat unexpected reason. Otito had outgrown the baby cot provided by the hospital. We certainly could not blame a child who had stayed one whole year in the hospital for growing. As weeks turned into months, we saw this progress but could not really have a formal conversation about a transitional bed for him. There always seemed to be so much going on with his treatment medically which made this type of conversation very secondary. In the meantime, Otito decided to entertain the doctors with a very disturbing acrobatic display during the last “ward round”. As you can imagine, his doctors were in horror. In an instant, the conversation about a transitional cot for him became began. It was clear that something needed to be done to ensure his safety. Somehow, without realising it, Fred himself had given us the nudge we needed. Something was finally being done to make his sleeping arrangements safer. By morning, a very large “specialist” cot-bed became our only option. It was humongous in fact the bed looked like a cage. It was a big transparent box-like bed. It was as wide as it was high. His hands could hardly reach the top of this new cot-side. He was definitely safer in this bed and perhaps even too safe. Our joys were short live as in no time, we began to experience some slight technical issues with the new box-bed. We missed the old cot bars because we could not reach him easily in the bed. We also found that the emergency resuscitation kit was difficult to connect to him whilst in the bed, That was how huge the bed was. We also lost the space for the parent bed beside this new cot. Unlike the old baby cot which had sliding sides to carry him in and out, this new cot bed had a large door which opened outwards, needing more room to operate the bed and robbing us of the space in the already small corner, It was agreed that we needed additional accommodation to be provided for us – Otito’s parents. It would have been a bit straightforward if I was the only parent. Or if I had a female partner. I say this because the only emergency accommodation available was for women. In a place called “the mother’s unit” women were being accommodated. Men were not allowed anywhere near the unit. I had always heard of “the mother’s unit” in the hospital and automatically assumed that there was also a father’s unit. Even though I had never heard it being mentioned, I still assumed that it was because fewer fathers stayed in hospital compared to mothers. Never in my thoughts did I imagine that it had never been mentioned because it did not actually exist! In 2017 it was highly inconceivable that a provision was being made for women and not for men. In an era of equality. A time when human rights had taken centre stage. Where the adage what is good for the goose is good for the gander was seen being made apparent even when it was irrelevant. Well I found this out rather unceremoniously at the event of Fred’s growth and development. Considering all the bad news we have had to deal with in the last year, the one positive news that Otito was growing as he should, finally doing what he should naturally do without any help- growing had to be marred […]

Hospital life: Father’s needs matter



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This is going to be a very interesting write up. I say interesting not because I think that its contents might interest you but because of what I am actually doing while writing. One setback a writer has is the inability to show in real time what he or she intends to describe especially when the discussion is about is something in motion at the time the writing is supposed to be taking place. What am I doing? I am trying to tell you what I am doing now.  Now….I am painting a picture of a city. Actually I am colouring it in more like! I certainly cannot be trusted to paint because I am too fidgety! Earlier…. I found myself in a shop… It was a stationary shop in town. This one was with a twist. Everything was so colourful… so beautiful. There were tons of notebooks, jotters, journals, diaries, pencils, sticky notes, pencil cases… I was spoiled for choice. It was the most beautiful stationery shop I had ever been in. There was every colour of the rainbow in that shop. I got so excited that I felt like a child again. In an instant I began missing my mom. I had that dejavu feeling-  like she was somewhere in the shop asking me to stop staring at everything. The thought made me smile because deep down inside I was happy she wasn’t there to stop me. What’s more, I had my own money to spend! Why am I telling you this? You see the feeling I was experiencing was one I liked to give myself from time to time. We all go through different forms of stress in fact who doesn’t? Stress is part and parcel of life. We all say we like to wind down sometimes. But how do we do that?  Do we perform actions that make us feel more stressed without even realising? Or do we actually find ways to wind down? I have always been the sort of person to buy myself a birthday present every year. Call me self-indulgent but I’ll tell you one thing: …“ everyone needs to be spoiled”… Waiting for someone to spoil you can be overrated. It might come with its own baggage. Who better to take you out eh? You know what you like … you know the restaurants you love to dine … you know what you love to wear … you know where to go … and so on. So you see, I was not wrong afterall… You have all the answers!!! Giving yourself a treat does not have to be expensive. I love a spot of window shopping any time any day. As the Queen of impulse buying, is my only survival strategy. Some people like to eat… Sweet chocolates biscuits you name it. Getting yourself to walk past a cake shop might be enough to add that extra spark to your day. Whether you actually buy something is up to you. Do you remember that thrill … that buzz … and that feeling of excitement you felt as a child when you were invited to one of those colourful places that made you daydream?  Well, you can still let yourself feel that buzz again even now you are grown-up. The good news is that unlike when you were a kid, there is no one stopping you from buying what you want now! So every once in awhile when life gets as stressful as we know it can get, take some time out to give yourself a treat. Finally … I have just completed that painting…sorry…colouring. The splash of colours on the paper is one of the things that always excites me. It sets my imagination ablaze. The thrill of witnessing the transformation of a white piece of paper as it turns slowly into something beautiful is what I find most elating. I feel like no matter how useless I am or  how hopeless things are, this provides a chance for me to do one thing right. Never mind the fact that my only contribution to the masterpiece is a few strokes of my colouring pencil, it is my own part and I got that right!  It passes the time and helps me feel useful. When we feel useful, then we can feel happy and glad to be alive. So even though you don’t know me and I don’t know you, we have one thing in common: we are all people trying to do the best we can with the one life we have. Life is too short not to take time out to spend time doing something for yourself. Try it today. Live free! Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

An easier way to spoil yourself


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Moving house can sometimes be an inevitable activity for a family. It is a difficult decision to take and carry out. It is hard for a family with a sick child because not only does the house “move”but even the services that support their family may have to “move” as well. The structures that have become part and parcel of the family’s coping mechanism may have to change. When there is severe illness in the home, support although readily available may be inaccessible to the family for reasons such as lack of information, time or a simple dis-interest. Over time as the family become even more pressured, they begin to become more aware of support structures and gradually access them. Accessing support requires information, time, patience and adjustment. It is hard to accept the interference of other parties in the home however well intended. Overtime, families learn that their new routine will involve accepting this well meaning “support”. The family adapts to the support they receive to the point of comfort until there exists a smooth flow of seamless support from the community. When house moves occur, some of these structures which by the way are at times tailored to suit the families peculiar needs become altered, irreplaceable or totally lost. The prospect of this change can discourage a family from taking the next step to accessing more adequate accommodation. Some families are lucky enough to find suitable housing within the same locality. For others who have to move far away, the case is totally different and adds more stress to the family setup. Changing energy suppliers and other familiar infrastructure seemed quite normal but can be very disruptive to a family with a sick child. Children may need to change schools. For siblings or children in the home this can be very traumatic. The school setting is more than a place of learning to these kids. It is a hub of stability, a safe haven. The social ties and friendships formed at school impress greatly on them emotionally and psychologically affecting their overall well-being. These ties protect their otherwise fragile and delicate emotions from the disruptions that having a sick sibling can bring to the home. School becomes the one “constant”amidst the dynamism that sums up their life. For parents who live in the same community but have moved far from the school, the commute may be too strenuous. Support exists within the community to help families through this adjustment process. The children and family practice, Contact a family, Carers UK and even the Social services can advise on issues related to home-to-school transport and volunteer school-run groups. Another aspect of moving home may involve changing the General Practice or GP surgery. The GP surgery that the family is used to can be a structure that evolves into a hub of information for the family. Many GP surgeries in addition to providing primary health care to all families act as sign-posters to other services within the locality that can support families with sick children. GPs kick-start many support and diagnostic processes by making simple referrals which help families access further help. Moving houses may mean changing surgeries. It is fine and totally normal to feel lost at the prospect of changing surgeries. However since 2015, all GP practices in England have been free to register patients outside their catchment area. Although this is totally at their discretion, it can be worth discussing your family situation with the surgery especially if you feel your child or loved one’s condition is too delicate for a new surgery to adapt to. Things are easier when discussed with the right people. So while it may be a stressful time for you, we hope that you do not feel alone at this time. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay  

Hospital life : Moving home when you have a sick child



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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! For the next few weeks, I have decided to pen (or type) down my feelings as I walk my way through … and hopefully …walk my way out … of the weight of the emotions that have taken up abode in my heart since my son’s demise in February this year. I, as usual, refuse to let this whole experience be the end of me… but a rebirth. I am absolutely certain that within this circumstance, there will be many lessons to learn. Hopefully many interesting emotions too! I can certainly testify to the fact that I have been swept by many so far.  I will tell you about this one that I feel I have just come through: GETTING HIS FUNERAL SERVICE DONE We had the final service in memory of our son at the St Christopher’s chapel at Great Ormond street Hospital London. It was special. After a lot of e-mails and phone calls back and forth between the chaplain and I, we pulled it off! When Fred died, I was not really sure about how the next hour would be because it hardly made any sense to me. All I knew was that I was not going to let myself worry. The worst had happened and in my mind, everything would be easier…fall into place. Nothing could possibly be worse than his death. I set out asking questions and being initiated into a new world of funerals, flowers, invitation cards, thank you cards and what have you. One by one each activity slipped into place. We were directed to the Coop funeral services by another lovely parent whose daughter had also sadly passed away. She reassured me about how personal and comforting their service was. I knew I had to contact them. Although I had been referred to many other directors locally, I could not shake off the reassurance in this woman’s voice. So I made the call one morning and booked an appointment. The atmosphere was serene and comforting when we arrived. They put me at the centre of all the discussions to my discomfort. As a woman of African origin, it was quite difficult for me to have these discussions when my husband was present. It just felt disrespectful. He was the dad too. Interestingly there was a cultural shift in my favour. My husband was too westernised to care so I ignored the discomfort and let myself enjoy being at the centre of the deliberations. It began to feel comforting that I was being indulged in a sense as the “Mother of the child”. As soon as the signatures and payments were done, the Coop funeral services took over. They handled bringing our boy back home and all I really had to do was focus on giving him the best send-off. The day of the funeral service was a day of remembrance. We had all Fred’s nursery rhymes on cue. We had no hymns per se. What we sang were two of Fred’s favourite nursery rhymes. Row your boat and Twinkle little star. We all shared fond memories of him throughout the service. His lead consultant, Ward sister, School teacher and Former PA to the consultant gave lovely tributes to my boy. There was laughter and love in that chapel that day. It was filled to capacity with all his team. It was amazing that everyone could find the time to come and I will remain eternally grateful to everyone who attended physically. Many hearts were united with us from all over the world… those who could not attend in person. I appreciate all their prayers too. It was also a memorable experience for Mark who now is left without a brother. He kept asking if he could play in the hospital Activity Centre because he had missed not being in the hospital for that reason. It was lovely that everyone who attended made the day special for us as a family. We all felt fired up with strength for the event of the following day which was the day Fred was to be committed to Mother Earth. We did not really want to invite anyone because we were very conscious of what Fred meant to everyone. He was a special cheerful boy and we worried that it would be too much emotionally for some. On that sunny Friday morning, we arrived the Cemetery all set to go on that final walk with our boy. But guess what? We met all the nurses in his Local team right there waiting to walk with us. It was amazing. His consultant was in attendance, some  representatives from GOSH, even Mark’s class teacher attended. We also had friends, Family, Fred’s school Driver, people from his school….we were blown away. Now I am sitting here this sunny Sunday afternoon thinking about how blessed I have been because of Fred. He drew all these people into my life. All this love, comfort and support network now surround me. I am blessed because he was mine. I feel honoured to have been the one who bore him. We hope to learn more about Propionic Academia because Fred once walked this earth. His life may have been short, but it was long enough for him. This is a vote of thanks to everyone who has stepped into our life in the last 4 years. We love you all. Not forgetting all of you online who have supported us through this most difficult time. We appreciate you too. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed this, you will find more articles like this here Photo credit: Pixabay  

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 1 – THE FUNERAL SERVICE


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A good friend of mine sat across me with so much excitement in his eyes as he narrated how he landed his dream job with little or no effort on his part. He saw it as nothing short of the miracle he had been praying for. I was so happy for him that I couldn’t hold back my questions as to how and when it all happened. In that moment, all I could feel was genuine satisfaction that someone who was in a similar situation as I was had found his breakthrough, but as a human being I couldn’t help but have mixed feelings later on when I sat alone thinking about how his prayers and not mine had been answered. Selfish, right? This is the constant battle we face as human beings. The ability to be truly happy for the progress or success of others without making it about ourselves generally eludes us. I am not saying that human beings are naturally bitter. However, the act of being absolutely selfless while rejoicing with the friends or family members who have succeeded at something we have not achieved is difficult. You may have tried a number of times to perform a particular activity without a breakthrough. When you later find yourself sitting across someone who with little or no visible effort has achieved that very dream of yours will you be honestly happy for them? Do you rejoice without remembering your failures, setbacks and regrets? It is really difficult but possible. How you may ask? Well, here is how… 1)Remember that we all walk different paths in life and so you shouldn’t be comparing your successes, your failures, your pains and generally, your life to that of other people. 2)Be grateful for every situation you find yourself in so that you can use every story of success around you to fuel your hunger to achieve your dream. Do this not only because you are competing but because you truly want that job, that promotion or that marriage. Be willing to put in the extra effort required to get it. 3)Wish people nothing but the best and be sincere when rejoicing with them in their time of plenty so that when you are blessed beyond your imaginations, true and equally genuine people would surround and celebrate you. Who wouldn’t like that, I guess we all do, so be that person. 4)Do not let your current struggles leave you bitter or make you a HATER. You are bigger than your present reality. 5)Most importantly, remember that your life is a journey. So be sure to enjoy yours and celebrate your milestones. Whenever you achieve something you have worked or prayed for, look back at your mindset while you waited. If you were patient, you would find that the wait was worth it and you will truly value your accomplishment. On the other hand, if you lived in constant worry while waiting, it would be absolutely clear how unnecessary that was. Worrying about things that have not yet been attained only deprive you of happiness. All you need to do during those times is to master the art of patience. So live in the moment, be grateful and be PATIENT because that’s all you need to lead a fulfilling life. Thank you for reading. You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay

Life requires Patience…By Ezimen



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Feminism should not create the yardstick by which women should express themselves. It should create a platform to enable women showcase and express their diverse natures and features as women “isms” crop up as soon as a minority or sect feel that their rights are not being adequately upheld. Their voices are either not heard or misinterpreted. I have never heard of “male-inism” to be the opposite of feminism. That’s because men by their nature feel very sure about themselves. Some of them even take it a step further by feeling that they are in full custody of self-expression. Somewhere in the history of men and women, the need for feminism came into being to uphold the rights of women. It arose to address issues concerning women. It came about to bring equality between men and women. To say to mankind “hey what is good for the goose will not kill the gander. In fact it can actually be good for the gander!” I do not think that the true purpose of feminism is to suppress man’s expression of himself. The purpose of feminism is rather to create an avenue for accommodating women’s needs. Feminism should give women a voice so they can express their views and ideas. It should make them realise that their opinions matter too in every aspect of life as do men’s. What I see sometimes is the existence of what I like to call neo-feminism. It’s like a twist to the real ideology of feminism. It is an ideology that proposes that women have now come of age and have now evolved from the position they struggled to attain-as equals with men, to a point of superiority to men and unfortunately even women who fail to imbibe their ideologies. The neo-feminist says “I am superior” and you know what, I will do all I can to prove it!” So this ideology begets a new group of women who create new norms and rules about what qualifies or disqualifies you as a feminist. They dictate these by their actions, ideologies and comments in the media. They in turn begin to feel superior to the rest of “womanity”. They do this by imposing their “perfect feminism” over women through their endless attempts at telling them what to do. They dismiss other women who do not appear to fit their mould while portraying their feminist images and incantations needlessly. They would want to fool us into regarding the for-bearers of this said feminism as archaic. Our grandmothers, great-grandmothers and ancestors in the good old days once stood disheveled as they struggled to pay their own way in a world that treated them as second class and mostly articles and properties tied to “man”-kind. Where they found jobs, they were seldom remunerated fairly or appropriately. They had no say in all matters including those that affected them directly. When they stood, they found the time to give other less privileged women a voice. They worked to include all women in their fight. They did not segregate them into pseudo-groups. When they clamoured for female emancipation during their hay days, It was with style, grace, eloquence and dignity. They were to me even more feminist than we all will ever be. They were the truly oppressed who lived in a world were women did not matter as much. Yet their unity of purposed paved the way for what we now enjoy to a large extent as equality, unity and ultimately feminism. Are they less feminist than women perpetually portrayed as feminist through their mostly material self projections in the press?   Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

International Women’s Day : Beware of the “Neo-feminist”


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WORLD BOOK DAY That was celebrated worldwide yesterday….. However, before I tell you my thoughts about it, I want to just say THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR KIND, WARM AND COMFORTING MESSAGES. So back to world book day… Little Mark and his daddy shared a book while on the train earlier in the week. In this day and age books have now taken different shapes and forms. This applies to books meant for children and adults. On that day, the book in question was an audio book called “Nuts in Space” written by Elys Dolan. The truth about books and children is that when you throw “Lauretta” into the mix, what you get is a massive mistake🙀. You won’t believe it but as much as I love reading books, I hate reading stories to children 🙈. There you have it…I said it! I just find it boring and I don’t mind admitting it. As an African parent, I can confess that I have no recollection of stories being read to me as a child. Stories were “told” to me mainly by my dad. These were very interesting stories by the way. Story telling is a very important and popular part of African culture but it usually ends there. Even in the villages and cities, people gather round to talk about their day. Visitors come to homes and bring tales with them. Stories about their experiences, other people’s stories and not forgetting “rumours”😀. I remember “tales by moonlight” on NTA network service as a child. I even remember “storyland by Jimmy Solanke”. We sat and watched-listened to them. Anyway, the culture of writing down the stories is not as popular as telling them. This is one of the reasons why many integral parts of the culture and facts about ancestry and ways are beginning to be watered down. Simply because elders die with their wisdom and knowledge leaving many guessing. Books provide an avenue for preservation of thoughts, ideas, fact or fiction. When you write something down, you trap it. You trap the thought as it is and you trap the memory created by that thought process in the pages of that book. When you are absent, a book also evolves into a tool that speaks for you. It also educates other people about the facts they contain. They create a coherence in the flow of thoughts that can then be learnt by others, built on, discarded or just kept for future generations. As an African in diaspora, I loved the book culture I met. The book culture inculcated in children from the cradle. Books here create a bonding opportunity for parents and their kids. They can help create stability in a young mind. For example the fact that the child will be read to can be the one thing they find to be constant. Books can also be comforting and soothing to a child by surrounding the child with the voice of the reader when they are being read to. So bearing these in mind, you will appreciate how lost and inadequate I felt as a mum about the whole “book project!” The good thing about confronting ones fears is that it is the first step to finding solutions. When you bury your head in the sand, you stay down but when you lift your head up, you find hope. This led me to discovering that I could use the one thing I was almost locking away from my child- Technology! The good news for parents like me in this world has been the introduction of technology. While there are many arguments for and against uniting kids with technology at an early age, I cannot really take a side. At least not today. What I can do though, is tell you about my observation : “Technology can be a saviour for mums- especially if you have been as stressed (caring for a sick child) as I have been these past couple of years. What I think can become a problem is when you let technology take over parenting. There should be some supervision and guidance in order to maximise the benefits of technology for kids. The interface that technology provides for children is not only entertaining and amazing but it is also fun! It helps create memorable dexperiences for children. What I love about it is the return patronage element it always has. Children keep asking for devices and wanting to play with them. It also holds their attention for longer than you can barely boast of with kids- including toddlers. Just as I was about to bin the silly time-consuming devices, I stopped to take a closer look at it. I examined the annoyingly obvious characteristics of technology and balanced it against my parenting inadequacies (especially my story-book- reading-hatred). What I got was a solution! So imagine carefully mixing play time and study time with some technology. What you can end up with is an engaging interaction between you, your child and the gadget. In the end, as long as you can get your child’s attention (which by the way can be a Herculean task for you the human and an “easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy” task for the device), you may actually end up teaching them some useful skills. I have learnt to use this new trusty companion to my advantage. You will be judging Mark wrongly if you saw him playing with my phone. It is the one tool that has helped him learn to read and now provides access to tons of books and educative games to help keep his little inquisitive mind fed. At last…. I can now sincerely join the world book day celebrations this year! We enjoyed many books this year. We have listened through the year to stories being read to us by different devices while all we had to do was sit back, relax and pay attention. I have not had to worry about my no 1 parenting flaw of not wanting to read to […]

World Book Day



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RAINFOREST WARD It is a time in my life that I can never forget. I first walked through those doors 4 years ago when my son Otito was born. He had gone straight into coma and our world was shattered. A simple birth has turned into a nightmare. At a time when we were trying to make sense of the diagnosis, we walked into the loving and welcoming arms on rainforest ward. It’s a ward unlike any other at GOSH because I have been through many wards along the way with my boy unfortunately. There is a personal touch to the care you get on Rainforest ward. The culture and atmosphere is exemplary. The staff there are a team. There is a feeling of peaceful coexistence and healthy rivalry. Not the usual cut throat competition that is quite common in some female dominated professions. In the last year, it became my son’s home- our second home. He was looked after and loved on Rainforest ward. I often wondered if he would ever adjust to life at home after being spoiled by the nurses who loved him to bits. Now and especially at this time, I look at those doors behind me with fondness. Although he never made it back home, he was at home there. When he was there, he was less of a patient and through the year that was to be his last and in their care, we saw more of the happy little boy that he deserved to be. That gives me peace. The interesting thing about hospital life is the unintentional intertwining and inter-mingling with so many people. You learn to get along with them and adjust to all their qualms. In the end, a peaceful coexistence ensues. I remember good times and sad times in equal measure. I resist the urge to sway towards being stuck in the sad times. Instead, I deliberately swing the bias towards the happy times. Otito brought these wonderful people into my life. Had I not birthed him and nursed him through the roller coaster years, I would have remained oblivious to the reality of the wonderful team existing behind those doors. For this I am thankful. When Otito passed away, I saw all the pain and I watched the tears flow through their eyes and I felt very lucky to have them all in my life. Sharing the pain with these team of love made it easier to bear. No epistle can convey how tough the last year has been. However, in the company of the staff on the ward, I felt like they witnessed my struggle and no explanation was required. Therefore I could just get on with trying to make sense of what had unfolded. Rainforest ward was our ward. I made and formed new friendships with many parents that I can never forget. You see, there is one privilege of having a tumultuous life as I have had. You begin to see that many things are overrated. “Friendship” is one of those. Sadly, many long formed relationships fizzle to a trickle. Phone calls reduce to faded chat lines until they become history. This is usually not intentional but it happens anyway. Having a sick child can take you into a different league. You begin to have less common interests with old friends until you drift apart. Old friends cannot identify with your new reality. Trying to get their attention may keep you spinning until you are saddled with so much emotional baggage at a time when you need less stress. I had a friend once think that I was lying when I said my son was sick- again. My supposed friend in not so many words said “Like seriously, how can someone be so unwell?” before ending the statement with the usual “bless him”. On the other hand, I also experienced the helplessness from friends who would have loved to help but did not know how or were too far away. I made new friends on rainforest ward. When I did, the gap was filled. I did not mean to make them but they happened because they could feel my pain. We were in the boat together. Somehow they got it! It was a comforting relationship. We all were united in the struggle and pain we felt for our children. We were fighters and pulled one another along the way. We shared tips and tricks depending on what we had learnt. I am sitting on my sofa now missing them all. Somehow like before, I know that no matter how I try, life will happen again and the calls will fade because we are now in different worlds. We will begin to have less things in common. My day will probably begin to have different events. I may start to feel insensitive when I call to moan about my new challenges and you may start to call less because you do not want to disturb me with your Parent Caring challenges. But it doesn’t have to be that way because no matter what happens, I will always get it. If you have walked this path, you are never the same. It changes your life positively if you let it. You become more sensitive to things you never could have thought you would even notice. One of the mums gave me a life time membership of the Parent carers club. Like an invisible alumni. It was comforting because it really feels strange being “normal” again. I feel like a bit of a cheat- being relieved of my duties so suddenly! For the first time yesterday, I experienced something weird. Before I tell you what it is, I will take you down my lane of memory to help you understand why it felt wierd…. In 2012 when I watched the London 2012 opening ceremony, pregnant, I saw a display by “Drs and nurses at Great Ormond street hospital” and thought -Awwww, bless. God help “those” people. After that, […]

Rainforest Ward…Otito’s final home. (A thank you letter to all the teams that made his last year special)


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If the evil one knew that killing Jesus will bring redemption he would have turned him into Methuselah and stopped his crucifixion. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. There is no mountain we cannot climb if we can only believe. Remember if you can…you can. No one has power over us except it comes from above. God is a good God and there is no evil to be found in him. His thoughts towards us are of good and never of evil. Therefore we have to put all our trust in him no matter the situation. Sometimes things go wrong but at other times they will go well. Life is like a bed of roses. Very beautiful to behold but also filled with prickly thorns. We must never claim monopoly of ill occurrences. They happen to every one- only some are visible to all while others are not so obvious. If we are better disposed, the blows life deals us will be cushioned by our inner fortitude. It is deep rooted in us but sometimes we are not aware of our strengths. Some events occur in our lives that help us access them those strengths. There is no proper certification without an exam. For those of us who are Christians, how can you really know you have faith if it is not tested? The bible called Abraham God’s friend after he abandoned himself to God’s will by sacrificing his son. He who the Lord loves he chastises. So we see Job being tried and tempted to the end because he loved God and God bragged about it. Do you love God? Can God be sure that you will continue to trust that he loves and cares for you even when things seem horrible? The trials we face in life unlock our inner strengths- but only if we let them. Remember the glass is with “half-full or half-empty” depending on how you see it. There is no right or wrong answer. As long as your answer does not draw you down and make you sad- choose it. Whichever one you choose, the quantity of water in the glass remains unaltered. I am a firm believer in God’s strength and God’s grace. I have complete confidence in his God’s divine plan. So I made a deliberate and conscious decision to make today about praising God and celebrating Fred’s life. I cannot change what has happened but I can change how I view it. I can change how I let it affect me. That gives me control. One good thing about being in control about things that happen in your life is that it helps you feel stronger. So you too may be out there feeling down – please rise up today and move on. Feeling down will not lead you anywhere but raising up your head will help you start to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Fred bore his pains gallantly. His passing is now “my pain” but in time it will not be so painful. I choose to see his passing as a way that gave him peace.God’s glory and beauty surrounded him. He inspired me as his mum with his strength -God’s strength. So joy has come in the morning. Joyful trust that this is the Lords doing. Nothing happens in this world without God allowing it to happen. No one can surprise God. I remember when Pontius Pilate got angry with Jesus for not answering his numerous questions. He said ” do you know I have power to put you in jail and release you?” Do you remember what Jesus said? I will remind you today. He said “you have no power over me except the one that comes from above”. This was a man whose life and death had been “foretold” before time began. How could any man claim power over him. God has written down all that is happening and all that will happen in your life before you were born. So let us have trust in God. I know I do try not to make my posts about my faith because I acknowledge that my followers cut across all walks of life. However at times like this… of great pain, it is impossible for me to make sense of it without holding firmly to my faith. Only the joy of the Lord can be my strength at this time. Praises to God in my native tongue: Ebubedike, okwusi ogwu. He speaks and the earth trembles. The beginning and the end I bow in submission to you o lord. I thank God for the privilege of being Fred’s mother. Praise the Lord ! Ije awele nwa’m oma (safe journey my good son), ujor atuzina i (do not be afraid) Otitodilichineke bi na enigwe (Glory be to God who lives in heaven). Igweeeeee💪💪💪💪 Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Death at my door : Giving God all the glory for Otito’s life…



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I have now stayed in the hospital for over one year with Fred and a whole lot has happened since then. There have been tears, laughter, sadness but most importantly, hope. Just good old hope about positive outcomes or at least finding the positive sides to our outcomes whatever they may be. One very interesting should I say side-effect of the whole hospital experience has been that I have become more “hospitaley” than i would like to admit. I can now exist in chaos; beeping machines and screaming toddlers make up the sound track of my life. I have turned waiting into an art. Somehow I am now less fussed about date postponements, cancelled procedures and generally people turning up late for simple conversations. I have learnt that no matter how far into the future a particular time seems, it always comes in the end. Another thing I can now interestingly do is look forward to meal times with some optimism however unpredictable the actual “plate of food” may turn out to be. I have learnt to eat and even enjoy bad tasteless food. My expectation from food has moved beyond tastefulness and presentation to just good old satisfaction! With this new focus, I have now begun to also make an art of feeding myself. All old fussy eating habits have been laid aside. I can eat fast foods, bad food, good food, smelly food, watery food, hard food (I think you get the point). I eat them without giving away the true blows dealt to my palate as they are being consumed.  My taste-buds have unfortunately become as dead as my ears to less desirable foods and sounds. The other side to  becoming “hospitaley” is that I have become a deskilled mum on the home front. It feels like I have somehow forgotten how to do house chores as happily as I used to. My brain cannot seem to settle into my normal life at home. I keep feeling I need to go back to Fred in the hospital when I am at home with Mark. Our lives have been quite split into hospital and domestic. Karl handles the domestic side expertly (and for that I feel blessed and remain thankful) . I handle the hospital side of things. It has been working for us fantastically I must add. We have proved the famous Economist “Adam Smith” right because like he proposed, division of labour has certainly led to specialization even in our home. Karl and I have become not only guru’s in our chosen fields but also feel very satisfied and settled into these roles. Sadly, the down side to this division of roles is that I have found that I do not cope very well handling the domestic side of things when I go home. It is not easier to be in the hospital either but I guess the brain just prefers doing what it has become used to. Cleaning beds, vomits, chanting nursery rhymes, being the entertainer, teacher and making sure Fred is okay is also challenging. It is stressful but it has become my new normal. I feel a sense of panic when I have to go home. I can still cook (that will take more than a year to get de-skilled) and that. However, I have noticed that I now experience some apprehension whenever it’s my turn to stay at home with Mark. I can’t seem to find where things are kept when I am at home. This makes me feel like a stranger in my own home. I can’t get over how much Mark has grown this past year and it hurts me as a mum that I have missed out a lot on this part of his life. One year is a long time in a child’s developmental clock and it seems like a shame to feel a sense of loss because I have been absent most of the time. I feel too tired to play and either want to constantly sleep or leave. No one notices this but deep down I do and it leaves me feeling sad for my son. He deserves to have me fully too and although he cannot know how I feel, I still carry on. I don’t believe that I am alone as a mum and carer. These feelings that I experience and keep safely internalised are very common amongst many parent carers. During my numerous interactions with parents around the hospitals I have been privileged to visit, this is a resounding dilemma. So as a parent carer who is already stretched by the demands of a sick child is it possible to stretch further to accommodate the demands of parenting your other children or loved ones? Honestly if you are not able to do more than you are currently doing, no one will blame you. The only thing in my experience that I find is that in the long run, you still feel cut off from the rest of the family. So why the need to find a way to address this issue? The existence of each child/children on either side of the sphere- home or hospital means that as parents we have to deliberately step out of our comfort zones. So although staying put on either side might work well for our families, we have to find a way to alternate between these roles for the sake of the children. It puts more demands on us as carers but it helps address the needs of the children. Each child in a home deserves the attention of each parent where realistically possible. We miss out on the lives of the other children if we stay put at home or in the hospital. This need to create time for other children is not only restricted to parent carers in hospital, It also extends to carers whose sick children’s demands at home make it nearly impossible to give any attention to the other children. It can be misunderstood unfortunately by […]

Hospital life : Finding the right balance when you have other children


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God is good. He gave us “Otito” and he was a beautiful pearl that brightened up our lives. He was always on loan to us and so we looked after him completely. Now God has requested him back because he was too precious in his sight to overlook. He suffered so… death became the key to set him free from it all. It hurts but he is now at peace. His peace will be my peace in the end. My heart bleeds. Not because of pain but because of a different type of joy. A joyful trust that this bitter pill is good for me because my God allowed it to be. I trust his decision completely because his ways and thoughts are not like mine. If anything his thoughts for me are of good and never of evil. This blow dealt to me feels horrible but nothing happens in my life without God’s ordination. Therefore I decree today that it is the Lord’s doing it is marvellous in my sight and I will continue to praise him through the pain. It is hard now but I know it will get easier. Otito was strong amidst his adversity and so I draw from it and remain strong. Although he suffered endlessly, through it all, he managed to remain happy and filled the hospital ward that was his final home with his laughter and music. He will be greatly missed by us all especially his older brother Mark and all his friends- the devoted staff at GOSH who were devoted to him. Otito was their boy too. They loved and cared for him like their own. He was admitted Feb 2016 and remained an inpatient until he passed away on Tue 21 Feb 2017…. He will always be remembered for his singing, humming, dinosaur stumping around the ward and enjoying endless nursery rhymes with his iPad on Rainforest ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity He brought us all together for a reason and please let his passing not separate us. This changes nothing and although I have been relieved of my duties as a Parent carer, I shall not rest until I spread the word about the world I was privileged to be part of these past few years. This will be Otito’s legacy…… Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Goodbye Otito…



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It was one of those evenings where I had decided to write a piece. It was turning out to be an emotional one but I could not stop myself from writing. Honestly, I was enjoying the distraction but at the same time, it was beginning to feel exhausting as my eyes were hurting and so were my wrists in short, I was just knackered. I knew I had to stop writing but my fingers just carried on pouring out my thoughts and I just continued to write with a life depending urgency. I had been through a stressful day with Fred and as always, writing was my stress relief therapy. When suddenly, tap tap tap..  I looked up and … phew! I stopped writing. I felt like the blaring speakers must feel during a power failure…relieved. It was like my writing jinx had finally been brhellos oken. It was the nurse just coming to announce to me that there was a parent carers art workshop downstairs at the activity center. Normally, I would have declined but I had to admit to myself that I needed to relax in another way. I accepted the invitation and abandoned all my writing materials. In a few minutes, I had my coat on, bag in hand, scarf on neck, sandals on feet and I was out of the ward like flash. As the lift descended, my thoughts were tilted towards the pleasures that lay ahead- colouring, painting, cutting, sticking and a bit of messy play like the kids… what could possibly go wrong? The thought of mingling with other parents all stuck in this hospital for different reasons (but seeking the fulfilment of our one elusive desire-fun!) gave me the oomph I needed to press the buzzer before me, I had a smile spread across my face when the young lady let me in. I bet she thought I was being polite. Honestly only you can tell her the real reason I could not stop smiling. “Bring on the art!” I thought ,as I walked in. So this young lady dressed in jeans, a top and black cardigan ushered me into a room with only a handful of parents. I could feel my smile begin to turn upside down but I was not going to let the poor attendance dampen my fun quest. I was greeted by the artist-in-waiting who quickly took over from the young lady. I said my hellos to everyone and sat down for the briefing being delivered by the artist. He said something about cutting ( which as you know was right up my street) and making box cards – pop-up ones (hmmm… I was not sure I liked the sound of that) but I was going to have a go anyway. It sounded easy when he described what we had to do. The other parents seemed to be Picasso’s and not even budding ones at that mind you. Their art pieces were starting to pop-up (but to be fair, they had started their work way before I walked in).  It was beginning to feel like art class. I am not sure how I felt about that. Anyway, the best thing for me to do was watch. Honestly, I was too tired and had lost ounce of competition left in me. I felt snuffed out. The events of the day had left me too exhausted to speak. I just watched and listened  to every chatter and banter. I became an on looker somewhat of a floater in this room that was not-so-filled with parents. It was fun to see them concentrating and creating art works from scraps of everything that was available from card boards to coloured paper. It was amazing and I must say relaxing. I wan in fact feeding off all their positive energy like a monster. By the time the artist came to inspect my work, I had nothing but cardboard and papers to show. He was really funny and gave me a slight nudge with his words. I started to glue something but the paper was so blank, it looked whiter than snow. In the end, I found a bowl of grapes and crisps on the side for company. At least it helped me showcase my creativity in the chewing department. It ended up being a relaxing evening. I had a nice chat, tea, crisps and company. There was also lots of colouring and creativity to brighten my evening. At least it was fun to see everyone else do something nice apart from caring for the little ones. I have added a few pics from our little parent carers art workshop for your viewing pleasure here. Hey, we might even have an exhibition soon. well done to everyone who attended including the organizers. If you are at the Great Ormomd street Hospital (GOSH) London, the Parents carers art workshop is held every last Thursday of the month at the activity center. You can find the activity center in  the Southwood building level 2 . You can join other parents and relax for a few minutes cheers! Thanks for reading. Related posts are  Boredom Busters and you can also click here for more. Photo credit: Pixabay

Hospital life : An Escape To the Arts Workshop


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She was tired…absolutely exhausted. She had a calm exterior but was screaming on the inside. She felt like running… Running very fast, very hard until her feet made a print on tarmac. She felt like flying so high until she became weightless. Light enough not to be weighed down by anything.   She was heavy and burdened. She was caged and imprisoned. But it was an imprisonment without a choice to be free. It was not for a crime or else this imprisonment would have become a form of punishment. It was an entrapment for which she was never given the chance to stand accused.   She was not given the chance to defend herself. It just happened. It felt like a lot was cast and she was the one who had the shackle slung on her neck. A burden that was immovable. Every time she tried to lay it aside she was awkwardly drawn into positions that felt worse than she could bear.   She could not breathe. She felt constricted. She could not spread out her wings because thorns circled her resting place. She could not rest because there were endless decisions to make. A moment of slumber was costlier than a tired awakening.   She was enslaved… By every breathe she drew, she paid dearly for her existence. To make her own choices and ride on the horse of destiny was to thwart her whole existence and bring it to a halt. Better not to exist fully than to exist and to lose that existence in an abrupt slash of sorts.   What was the point to her life? Vanity they said all was in the end. But vanity was still important to give value to her existence. She could not throw out or condemn all vanity. Some vanities seemed necessary while others were luxurious. They all gave meaning to her life in different ways.   Waiting was the game of the wise… Mother Earth took her time to churn out fruits at times and seasons she chose. She could not be hurried. Yet time waited for no one even her. It was the reason she was tired and weighed down.   She was jealous. Her jealousy is not of anyone in particular but in the unfairness of it all. Like a hamster in a cage, she seemed not to make a headway. She kept running, never faltering, never stumbling yet never arriving at any destination.   What she cannot stand was this fate… The endlessness pain, the enduring, the waiting, the patience. It felt so inappropriate for her because she was a hurrier. She knew she had to take what she was given. She had no choice or influence in the matter.   She was tired and wanted out. The more she moaned, the more she felt guilty. The weight of the guilt burdened her freedom. She was doomed whichever way she chose to go.   Does she sound familiar? Well that is because we meet her sometimes in different ways. Stop daring to dream.  We have to accept what we have got. When the time comes, the status quo will change. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, things will get better someday.   Thank you for reading. Photo credit Pixabay

Trapped



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Hello … I just wanted to share this quick post with you today. I played a simple game but guess what? It got me thinking about life. I hope you enjoy it. So yesterday in the spirit of  boredom bursting, we decided to play “snakes and ladders” with our son Mark. I am not sure of it was a good idea but I will let you decide . He cried every time a snake bit him but soon burst into laughter every time he climbed up a ladder. He laughed happily at every other player as soon as they met the ill-snake-biting-fate but was not too happy when they ascended any ladders especially when such rises meant that he got overtaken by such a player. In no time, we began to laugh right back at him as soon as the snakes bit him which as you can imagine led to more crying. He began to see that if he wanted us to sympathise with him, he had to stop laughing at our misfortune. All in all, I think it was a good way to teach him some valuable lessons. “Snakes and ladders” is a game that feels a bit like life. You never know what lies around the corner when you step into each day…as you do on each tile, there might be a snake lying around to bring tears to your eyes. But you need to change your focus to be able to move ahead and enjoy life. Like we taught our son, focus on the ladders because snakes are inevitable. You have no control over either snake or ladder but you have control over how you let them make you feel. So here are Four valuable lessons I always take away from the game called “Snakes and Ladders”. Lesson 1. Focus on the joy that climbing up a ladder brings. Focus on the ladder that lies ahead. Ignore the snakes of sadness, deceit, sickness, poverty. Dwelling on them will not change them. They will only make us sad. Lesson 2. Do not laugh at others when they encounter their snakes. Remember- if you laugh at peoples’ misfortune there will be no one to console you in your time of sorrow. Lesson 3. Be happy when others progress. Just because they climb their ladders and overtake you, it doesn’t mean you will not succeed. Remember the sky is big enough for all the stars to shine. There will be big stars like the sun and small stars. Don’t worry about what star you are because no condition is permanent. Lesson 4. Don’t expect people to be happy or sad just because you are happy or sad. It is not a competition. Live your life. So tell me, have you played any games lately that felt a bit like life? Thanks for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit : Pixabay  

4 lessons about life from “Snakes and Ladders”- the board game


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What can one possibly do on a journey that lasts 5hours? I decided in the spirit of organisation to plan the whole trip to a “P”. Snakes and ladders✅, Word search          ✅, “I spy” tactics✅, oh…and I forgot Light refreshments✅. About 3 hours into the journey, I was exhausted. I could not sleep because unlike most people, I don’t sleep in public! Haha….only because you fart when you sleep- My husband just managed to add behind my ears. Well, such is life, we are all endowed differently and controlling wind is not one of my strong points. Anyway, we began playing games and by the time the colouring began, Mark twisted himself into knots trying to get the colours in the box. My 5yr old was frustrated. “Mum, the train keeps moving and ruining my work”, he said for the umpteenth time. It was perfect to me given the circumstances. But the little man was not having any of that. “I want it to be perfect!” he moaned. One part of me wanted to ignore him but he had said it so many times and deserved some attention- bless him. Me: it’s fine the way it is Mark Him: No mum it is not. If only the train could stop for a moment ! Me: But it won’t Him: crying Me: you have to accept that the train will keep moving at least for now and keep doing your colouring. Don’t you like to colour anymore? Him: I love it mummy. Me: Then try to focus on enjoying what you are doing. It doesn’t really matter. Soon you will find a way. Him: still crying – but I want it to be perfect mummy. Me: but it can’t though. Nothing is ever really perfect. You just have to keep trying Him: I can’t try mummy, it’s not being perfect Me: try again Him: No mummy, I don’t have to try again because that is not even working. I have to try HARDER. Maybe trying harder will make it perfect. Me: smiling because that made sense but I then said “keep trying that’s the most important thing whether it’s trying “again”, or trying “harder”, just keep trying and don’t give up on your colouring. Ignore the train and enjoy what you are doing. Him: ok mum. …and that was it. There was peace. He began trying harder as he had proposed earlier and suddenly the bumpy ride did not matter. He stopped fussing. After a couple of hours, I glanced at his doodle pad and it looked better than the first time. That’s life really. We all keep trying hard…very hard and sometimes too hard. Life doesn’t have to be such a chore. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. If we change our focus it can make a big difference to the same life as we have found it to be. The bumpy ride, the ups and downs are sometimes constantly there just like our train. So it makes sense to just enjoy what we have to do. Enjoy the job at hand, enjoy the company of friends, enjoy the decisions you are privileged to make. Enjoy the food you have available. Just live life to the fullest. Don’t go emptying your bank account on a shopping spree by the way 😀 Just do the best you can within the circumstances life chooses to impose on you. Have a fantastic day people. Thanks for reading. You may also like some other articles like this. Find them by clicking right here. Photo credit: Pixabay

When things get tricky : Do you try again or try harder?



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Build from where you are, build from where you lie. No use waiting for the stars to align Before you take action to improve yourself You will in turn improve the quality of your life.   In every area of your life take control, Make conscious efforts to be better than who you were yesterday. Make it a project to continually strive to improve. Improvement can be slow, it can be radical. It all depends on you. Build your tomorrow, Leave the past alone. Don’t let it hold you back. Keep surprising yourself by excelling at things that you fear. Fear is a crippling feeling Imposed on ourselves by our minds. Conquer in your mind And see it come to be in the physical world. The first rule is to practice appreciation Always be grateful for the little things you overlook. Your family, friends , that job you keep grumbling about. The roof over your head, your health and most importantly your mind.   You are driven by how you think. Do not compare your path with that of another. You are unique You must find and walk your own path. Learn from your experiences and that of others But never judge anyone. Remember one thing – time waits for no one So get up, start thinking right and most importantly start building your future.   Thanks for reading You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit : Pixabay

Build from where you are – a poem by Ezimen


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Out of every stressful situation that comes our way, something beautiful can be born. The holy bible (2 corinthians 4:17) reassures us that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Praise God. Why then do we scamper and panic whenever troubles come our way? Do we not have a God who is aware of whatever trouble that we face? The bible refers to our troubles as light and momentary. This is a bit thought provoking because we all know that problems vary in weight. Why then does it all get grouped as light? It is because their is a command that Jesus gave to lighten every burden. He said if we come to him when we labour, face trials, problems and feel heavy laden he will give us rest(Matthew 11:28). The question becomes about who we turn to when we feel weary, burdened and weighed down? Do we turn to ourselves, to others (who by the way are as imperfect as we are and are lacking in the wisdom and knowledge that can solve our problems) or do we turn to God? He has asked us to take his yoke upon ourselves. By taking his yoke, we can learn from him how to carry our own burdens more perfectly. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. As Christians, we must learn to focus solely on Christ especially during times when we are unsure about which way to go with our problems. As soon as we stand on our own two feet, we can endure our trials more easily while we await the outcome for our future. Precious metals are made after passing through fire. In the same way, we who are precious to God(Zechariah 2:8) will sometimes face trials in order to grow, be toughened and have a better understanding. What is the use of a lecture without an exam? We have learnt about all the virtues and commandments necessary to lead a good Christian life. Sometimes trials come and when they do, they give us the opportunity to put them into practice. You say you have faith in God, when trials come rather than scampering , you can spend time exercising your faith and totally trusting in God. The Lord chastens and disciplines those he loves (Hebrew 12:6). Rather than will our trials away, let us find ways to cope. We need to try to cope because, things do not last forever. God has the final say. The sufferings of Job teach us that much. He was loved by God and there was no part of his suffering that God was not aware of neither was there a time in his suffering that God was absent. He went through every one of his trials because he was God’s special son whom God had bragged about. This reason remained unknown to him but God took this chance because he had the assurance of Job’s faith. God did not doubt Job’s faith even though he was materially blessed. God could see through all Job possessed and what he saw every time was a true and sincere faith. To think that God is against us because we face problems will be folly. It will be equal to becoming a child of God only because of what we stand to gain from God. A thousand years are like a moment in God’s eyes. Since God’s ways are not our ways and our thoughts different from his, our sufferings remain momentary to him. So it does not matter how long they last because they are not counted by God using our worldly standard of time measurement. Just because we feel weighed down does not mean God will change the time he has set for our answer to come. He makes all things beautiful in his time ( Ecclesiastes 3:11). Notice that the bible says in “His” time. Not in my time or your time. We must trust in God’s divine timing. He said that he will not suffer our foot to be moved (Psalm 121:3). Therefore when we start to wobble in faith we need to go back to our eternal source for strength. We need to replant our feet firmly in Christ by taking his easy yoke. We need to find Jesus in our calamity like Peter at the stormy sea and focus on him so that he can calm our troubled spirit. God can allow suffering to occur in order to propel us into greater things. By complaining we reduce our focus on him and struggle when we should retreat into his presence for the renewal of our minds. I bet when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they had no idea that that singular act was going to save a whole nation from starvation one day. It was all part of Joseph’s destiny and a divine plan by God to redeem his beloved people. However, put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment… a young man enjoying the company of his brothers being suddenly sold into slavery by the people he trusted the most. If we were Joseph with our habit of complaining and rebuking every misfortune as devil designed, would we not have wondered why God allowed it to be our portion despite our faithful service to God? The bible describes Joseph’s total faithfulness to God. He just accepted his new life but knew his God was with him all the way.That confidence in the might of his God meant that in a foreign land, he still served and trusted in his God. his complete trust in God steered the course of his his destiny throughout his life. When we suffer, we sometimes blame the devil and evil forces. How about believing that as baptized Christians, nothing bad can ever befall us without God’s knowledge. Realizing that God knows all things we pass through, can that not be the reassurance we need to be steadfast? What is most […]

Trials Are Not Always Bad for Us