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Don't let me die....
By McPHILLIP S NWACHUKWU
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston, CLASSmagazine
USAfricaonline.comand TheBlack Business Journal
The beauty of dirge or funeral poetry came tomy consciousness in my last year at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, when I had to do my Bachelor of Arts thesis on the content and formof Igbo elegiac poetry for a degree in English. Since that researchattempt, I have come to the conclusion that the elegiac form,otherwiseknown as dirge, offers the mind the most illuminating canvassfor the expression of deep feelings.
It is not easy for me to embark on this self appraisal discourse butmy understanding of the large canvass provided by the elegiac form isalways there, and therefore make feel at home to singing my own dirgehaving begun this dance of the dead in the last couple of months.
In what started like a child's play, the physiological change whichmanifested in my body by the month of April , 2004, in the form ofstomach disorder was to assume with passing months a higherproportion of a life threatening ailment.
Early in the month of April, I had noticed anabnormal development in my toilet habit. I had come to observe thatfor upward of three to four days , I would stay without going totoilet and I became worried knowing that under normal situation thatsuch development was symptomatic of some internal disorder. Based onthis conviction, I immediately went to consult the services ofdoctors at the Vanguard's clinic; the Golden Cross InternationalHospital located at 22 Road in the Festac Area of Lagos. But as badas it were, nothing curious was found out.
However, the health situation continued to worsen by the day.Within weeks , I had lost so much weight that I could no longer wearmy cloths. I became tensed. I thought the worst, the dreaded killerdisease AIDS had come to revenge on the rascality of my youth. Forthe first time I felt sorry for my self, for the unprotected sexualhabit and adventure I embarked upon in the days of yore, I felt formy young and beautiful wife, Tina, a well brought up catholicconservative, an ex-nun. I thought I had given her the worst shock ofher life: the stigma, the disgrace. But to God be the glory, HIV testconducted on me revealed nothing of that. I thanked God for saving meand for not disgracing her handmaid, Tina. But the journey was tostart in earnest in November, 2004, when on further medical propping,scan examination revealed that my two kidneys are bad: According todoctor's finding, one of the kidneys was outrightly not functioning,while the other one has stone impediment. It was also found out thatmy PVC or blood level was usually very low fluctuating between 15 and16 %. Based on this disturbing revelation, a medical suggestion wasmade that I go for an urological operation, preferably overseas,where the blood building hormone around the kidney would be restoredthrough operation. In the interim , I was placed undererotroprotein injection, an injection capable of creating theblood building hormone.
But that too is not the end of this sad story: how about thecomplications? I was also diagnosed to be hypertensive and diabeticas well. The crucial question became , which one led to the other? Itwas this situations that led to my being made a guinea pig: movingfrom the hand of a physician to a nephrologist.
The crises point came when I began to swell: Oedema they callit in medical terms. This time around , my very little frame hadbecome so bloated that I could even feel the heaviness and expansionon my head. A more disturbing one became an oedemal growth in myscrotum, which its disturbing pain and discomfort affected my walkmovement. But to God be the glory that as I write this personal dirgethat I have come to a certain state of stability through God'sinfinite mercy and through the medical help of the doctors at GoldenCross , especially the Ghanian born, Dr Earnest, Dr Udoye, DrOkonkwo, Dr Isiaku and their amiable M.D., Dr Okwuosa. Mostimportantly too is the services of Dialyser Special Medical Center ,Oshodi , where I was going for dialysis. Here I was specially handledby the brilliant young doctor, Mapayi and his MD , Dr Awoyisubi,a man, who was later to become on my referral to Lagos TeachingHospital LASUTH, my Consultant Nephrologist. These people were inall, wonderful people.
What is the situation today, you may want to ask ? Yes, Mcphilips isstable. Coming to office to help produce his passionate art pages.But his hope still hangs in the balance. His doctors has estimatedthat a sum of 5 million naira is needed to fly him overseas, where anoperation will be performed on him at the Brigham and Women Hospital,Boston Massachusetts. This is a whopping sum of money and too muchfor a poor journalist to provide. In singing this dirge, I therefore implore the help of fellow Nigerians to come to my aid. Pleasedon't let me die; and from here I draw you all to my song ofsorrow:
Don't let me die;
a cockerel at mid life.
Don't let me die, the first of the sun god
burning with dreams of yester- years ...
Don't let me die; the burden bearer of fate,
who stands at the threshold
clearing yesterdays mess of ash.
Meanwhile the following gentlemen and organization have journeyedwith me all long. They are members of my chorus, who sing therefrain:
We shall not let you die,
you shall leave to tell the story...
I mean, the Committee of Relevant Arts (CORA) under the leadership ofmy friends, Jahman Anikulapo and Toyin Akiosho. These gentlementhrough their group have mounted intense campaigns that haveattracted unquantifiable help to my plight. The Krazitivity Group inthe diaspora, an internet discussion group, which through theinformation provided by Godwin Ede, Maik Nwosu , Obi Nwakanma and myfriend, Ogechukwu Patrick Okigbo raised beyond the ordinary the callfor saving of life.
Back home here, I appreciate the help so far rendered by Dr Dike,Executive director of the National Gallery of Art, who has made apersonal contribution to tune of 120,000. So also, is Dr Duro Oni,the executive director of CBBAC, who contributed 50,000. I must alsothank , Tayo Aderinokun for giving me 50,000, Dr Wale Okediranof the Federal House of Representative for also 50,000. I also thankthe Quintessence Gallery , Ikoyi for a 75,000 and the highest thankyou goes to Elf oil, which actually sets the ball rolling by donatingwhooping 500,000.
Finally, I want to appreciate the efforts of the various internetmedia outfits that donated their pages to create awareness on mycase. I am equally appreciative of the efforts of my colleagues inthe media, persons like Daily Independent columnist ,Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye and the Vanguard family for providing thespace and platform for this campaign. To you all I say:
Don't let me Die...
For the death of every man diminishes me:
Don't let me die,
For bell tolls for thee.
Nwachukwu is Art Editor of the Vanguard newspaper in Lagos,Nigeria. A support account has since been established at Diamond Bank(Adeola Hopewell Branch, Victoria Island, Lagos), with the number:2000002685. Houston-based USAfricaonline.comand CLASSmagazine encourage our readers to support the medical effortsbenefitting the prolific and creative writer.
CLASSis the social events, heritage excellence and style magazine forAfricans in north America, described by The New York Times as themagazine for affluent Africansin America. It is published byprofessional journalists and leading mulitmedia leaders andpioneers.
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Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
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