‘My people, we don come again today, as my Yoruba people go talk, ‘Ofe ni igbala’(salvation is free), we don come to do free health check-up, you no wan miss am.’
‘If na B.P you wan check, we dey check am, blood sugar sef, e dey check, even cholesterol, we dey check and all na free of charge, this awuf no dey run belle, quick come meet us for our stand opposite mama Kaduna canteen.’
‘Today na the last dey so no carry last.’
Several women kept trooping in and out of their tent, bearing in their arms insecticide treated mosquito nets and bottles of multivitamins. The medical team had begun their outreach the previous week but I was not interested in carrying out any of their tests.
I was fit.
However, the market woman in me arose when my neighbor, Iya Bisi returned with a new mosquito net, multivitamin capsules, a branded T-shirt and face cap.
“Mama Ngozi, you no go collect this free things, no just sit down there, sebi you no go pay and them no dey give injection. You sef quick go before market go start.”
I raced to the medical stand, no one would deprive me of my right. The young doctor that attended to me was very nice. She motioned me to have my sit.
The table between us was covered with a white cloth, there were several items on the table, a brown box containing a bag and pump which I later discovered was a sphygmomanometer, an instrument for measuring blood pressure, cotton wool, a bottle of methylated spirit, another black small equipment that resembled a phone and some other materials I can’t remember now. No needle, no syringe in sight, I was grateful (needless to say, I have a phobia for needles), my joy was however short-lived as the lady doctor broke off a plastic case revealing a small pin.
She inserted a small strip into the phone-like machine and pricked my index finger, donating my blood to the strip. She wrote down the result and asked calmly,
“Have you had breakfast today ma?”
‘No, I never chop o, I say make I arrange market first.’ ‘I suppose chop before I come?’ I asked.
“No ma, it’s very good you haven’t eaten, it makes the result even better.”
She handed me the result and explained the figures written.
110/75mmHg-‘ Your blood pressure is very ok.’
I smiled, I knew I was fit. “oya where I go collect the net?” I asked.
‘Just a minute please’ the doctor said.
She asked if I was on any medication or if I had any condition she should know about. I replied her in an almost angry tone that I hardly visit the hospital because I was never sick. She went on to ask if I had noticed an increase in my fluid intake and my eating habit. I did not respond.
“Please ma, you need to go to the hospital for further verification but your blood sugar level is 165mg/dl and you have not eaten, it’s too high. There is a possibility that you have diabetes ma.”
I stood up, tore the slip she had given me into pieces and stomped out of the tent.
‘Na your father get diabetes’ I hissed.
Iya Bisi was surprised I hadn’t returned with any goodies and inquired but I ignored her. That doctor girl had polluted my mood.
Several weeks after that incident, I noticed a small wound between the toes of my left foot. I did not know how I had acquired the injury so I disinfected it and treated it with iodine.
Two weeks later, the wound had not healed. A friend advised me to use the red and yellow capsules and apply penicillin powder to the wound. I did but there was no improvement. The wound had spread to my other toes and there was no other option but to go to the hospital.
Several tests were carried out and he doctor said I had to be admitted immediately. I was not sick, save this toe wahala and I wasn’t going to allow anyone tie me down, I had a shop to run.
I rose to go, apparently, these private hospital people just want to admit me so that they can extort me, ordinary leg injury, they want to admit me, they must be joking.
“Hello ma, you have DIABETES”
I sank into the chair.
The doctor went on to explain how the high sugar level had graduated to what he called neuropathy, which was why I didn’t know when the injury got there. He also said if I did not stay to ensure proper treatment and monitoring, I could lose my toes.
I didn’t have a choice.
Learn from me, go for routine checkups to discover any hidden ailment, biko health is wealth. Don’t wait till you are sick, don’t disregard community service, it could save your life. If I had listened to that lady doctor, maybe my situation wouldn’t have been this bad.
Quick Facts about Diabetes
1. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have any symptoms
2. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-adults
3. Children can develop type 1 diabetes
4. If you are overweight, you are at risk.