Life! It’s a funny thing really!
It’s been a while since my last blog post and I can’t believe we’re in the month of June already. I’d really have loved to be more consistent with my posts, but alas, life wont just let me be great. But I soldier on! 😊
My perspective on life and the way I choose to live mine moving forward has been so radically changed particularly in the last 3 months it’s jarring.
By the end of this month, I’ll be turning 45 (still can’t believe it) and when I think about the fact that I almost didn’t make it, it’s not surprising that I’m forced to reevaluate my life, and relationships with people and the world around me. Truly there’s nothing like facing/coming to terms with one’s own mortality to cause one to rethink so many things about one’s life.
Let me explain…
So for a while now I’d sensed there was something ‘not quite right with me’, had no idea what it was so I just chucked it up to the unbelievable amount of stress and frustrations I had had to endure in the past couple of years thanks to the whole pandemic chapter. still yet to recover from that.
An old acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen in about 9yrs, saw me and said “Kingsley, your not the same as I remember, I mean last time I saw you your eyes were like that of a dreamer and almost childishly naïve/hopeful about everything. But now, they look so troubled and in so much pain1 etc…” I couldn’t argue with him on any of it, but I put it down to stress.
One day, I woke up on the last Saturday of February this year, all seemed ‘normal’ and I had just finished having a phone conversation with my best friend. As we finished the conversation, I got up to go prepare for a meeting with someone to discuss a potential project.
As I stood up, suddenly the muscles on my legs went numb, the room spun and I fell back on my couch. To say I was taking by surprise would be an understatement of the highest degree!
I tried to get up again, my legs felt like jelly and I fell back down. The third time I channeled my will power to stand and tried to walk to the bathroom. By the 5th step, it felt like my heart and lungs were in a vice, I could barely breath and was gasping for air. I made it back to the couch and sat back down. Funny thing was each time I sat down everything felt ok again! I was alarmed but thought maybe I should just rest and it would go away. I cancelled the meeting I was going to attend and decided to stay home. The whole of that day, it was a herculean task just to get to the fridge or bathroom without feeling I had run a marathon each time.
The next day, I woke up feeling like its passed. I didn’t move about much so as not to jinx it. Then towards the evening I tried to get to the bathroom again and this time it hit me like a bolt of lightning! I couldn’t even stand! Halfway to the bathroom, I couldn’t breath, I felt this sharp burst of pain around my heart area and I involuntarily let out a scream! I kid you not when I say I felt the presence of death hanging around me. As I tried to crawl back to my couch, I cried to God saying “Please Father, My mother cannot bury another one of us! Please help!”
When I got back to my couch everything seemed to normalize, but by this time I knew I was in trouble.
It was an ‘Oh shit’ moment like none I’d ever had in my life! I kept muttering to myself ’What do I do? What do I do lord!’ and just then, like a divine answer to my prayers, the face of one of my former kids flashed before my eyes.
Now before this, I had been chatting with one of my highschool siblings who is a medical doctor and he’d suggested I go get myself checked up in a hospital, but at this point I knew there was no way I’d be able to get myself there safely. So I reached out to this daughter/friend of mine who’s also a medical student and was basically like “Hi sweeties, something is wrong with me and I need help!”
She shows up with her bf(now fiancé) and gives me a once over, she couldn’t understand at first as I looked pretty ok while seated, my blood sugar according to her instrument was around 360 or so, and my heart rate and blood pressure weren’t so worrying.
After a bit I was just glad she was around and as per how I always am with my kids, I said, thanks for coming and btw, I have a new tshirt design I would like to give you guys. When I got up to go get the tshirts, the transformation jarred the poor girl as she helped me back to the couch while I was gasping for air and it was then she called the ambulance.
When the SMURD people arrived, the guys looked at me and said to her that I looked fine. He checked my blood sugar again and with their equipment it registered just shy of 500 (That's diabetic coma territory!) The medic was alarmed but calm. It was decided I should got to the ER and I thought I could walk to the door and take the elevator….i was wrong! It was as if the depreciation of my body was accelerating. They brought up the wheelchair and and bundled me into the ambulance and took me to Floreasca.
When I arrived, the medics there spent the first hour testing and retesting me for covid and I kept telling them I didn’t have covid (that was so annoying). They had me stand in front of a machine to do a chest x-ray that was the longest 25seconds I can remember in my life(plus that was the last time I saw my fav winter jacket which mysteriously disappeared!). I couldn’t hold myself up.
When they were convinced I didn’t have covid, they began with the blood sample collection. It was like every 15 minutes they’d ask the nurse to draw some more blood from me, at a point the nurse was like ‘Again? What’s going on?’ Another doctor came and kept poking at my torso asking me if I felt any pain or discomfort, I said no, and the look of confusion on his face let me know something was more off than I thought. When he performed an echograph and said something was irregular with my heartbeats but wouldn’t clarify, I got more alarmed, but not as alarmed as I was when he put on his glove and poured a lot of jelly like substances on it. I was, “Oh for f**ks sakes! At least buy me dinner first!” :))))))))
Shortly after, my bed was surrounded by four doctors and I was told they have to put me under and perform an endoscopy. Before this they had shoved this tube thingy through my nostrils and down into my lungs. It was the most vile/torturous/unpleasant procedure I’ve ever had to endure ever! (and I’ve had elephant sized needles jammed into my spine to prepare me for my leg surgeries).
Any ways, they administered the anesthesia and I was out like a drunk walrus!
When I came to, I looked up and saw blood being transfused in one hand, insulin and regular drip in the other, I looked like a science experiment! It was only then that they revealed to me what had been wrong with me.
Basically I’d had a deep bleeding ulcer (duodenum) which resulted in an alarming loss of blood internally, my haemoglobin levels were beyond dangerously low, hence my body couldn‘t transport oxygen to my cells resulting in my gasping for air and my massively impaired vison and the weird way my heart was behaving.
I remember the doctor saying, “Your situation was really bad! How is it that you felt no symptoms of pain and could still joke around and act so ‘cool’ about it?’ and in my mind I answered, “Because I am THE BLACK THUNDER!!!” :))))))
Long story short, they kept me in hospital for 4 days, and when I was discharged, the discharge paper listed a laundry list of things I must avoid consuming, plus my meds. I looked at the list and asked if it wouldn’t be easier if they just came to my apartment and sealed off my kitchen completely for good measure! I was willing to comply with all, but my ciggs and coffee was where I drew the line! (Bite me!)
When my ‘kid' came to pick me up from the hospital, I gave her the discharge paper and she read all was in there, she was slightly shocked and basically all but hinted at something I’d already guessed, which was, if I hadn't gone to the hospital and had decided to tough it out, I, in all likelihood, would be with my dad and two brothers right now discussing politics with Jesus face to face!
Took about two and a half weeks for my vision to come back to manageable levels, in between which I managed to paint the last of my selfie series paintings half blind!(more on this series in another blog post) Even I was impressed! Lol!
Also while in hospital, the Ukrainian refugee crisis was in full effect, and as the currently recognized interim chair/head of the Nigerian community in Romania I was still involved in helping to coordinate efforts to aid Nigerian refugees fleeing the Ukraine. And once an official from the Nigerian government put my phone/contact on twitter, my phone did not stop ringing for an entire week until things stabilized at bit. It was insane!
So yeah, to end this story, I escaped death, for I know if this had happened back home, its almost a given I wouldn’t have made it, and I remain grateful to the Romanian medical system, a parent of one of my former kids who happened to know the chief of the section of the hospital I was in, who looked in on me, and of course my ‘doctor-kid’ (it’s funny, a few years ago, she said I helped turn her life around, who knew she’d turn around and save mine! Life is funny like that!)
While in hospital, I kept thinking, if I hadn’t made it, what would have happened to all my paintings? What’s the point of remaining so attached to all of them? I soon came to the realization that all my works were not meant to remain with me, they should be let go to do what they were intended for, which is to bring joy, beauty and colour to all who choose to possess them.
In light of this I've resolved not to be attached to any of them too much anymore.
About 3 weeks ago, together with the Nigeria minister of foreign affairs, the Nigeria ambassador to Romania and the diplomatic staff of the Nigeria embassy, on behalf of the Nigeria community in Romania, I presented/donated 3 of my most prized pieces to the Romania state through the Romania ministry of culture.(To me personally, i could think of no better way to show my appreciation to this country that has given me so much.) It was tough letting them go, but I hope they would be placed/displayed where everyone would be able to enjoy them. The thought of those pieces spirited away in someone’s private collection never sat well with me anyways.
I’d hoped to have an exhibition this summer to coincide with my 45th birthday and have all my works on display for everyone to see and for those who they speak to to have an opportunity to take them home(even offering what the could afford to) regardless of whatever my displayed asking price for each would be. I intend to clear my studio of all the works I have and start afresh.
Haven’t been able to find a space for the exhibition yet, so it may not happen this summer (and it still may. Who knows!) but sooner or later I will have it. Plus I do need to reveal the 'selfie series' and the message behind it to the world.
I think I’ll end this post here at this point, as it’s gotten rather long.
But yeah life is funny! Many of us spend so much time worrying about one thing or another and all it takes is one ‘serious’ event in our lives to put things in true perspective with regards to what really matters.
Personally, I’ve since resolved not to allow myself stress over anything or anyone anymore.
Whatever will be will be. And I strongly recommend you my reader do the same. For your own good.
And till the next blog post…stay positive and stay healthy! Your health and wellness trumps everything!