Sickness was something we rarely talked about. I remember being admitted to a hospital once. Whenever one of us was sick, my mum made sure everyone was protected from falling sick by making us drink boiled herbs for at least two weeks. We all hated drinking the herbs but had no option other than taking it in her presence. Looking back, the herbs really helped us in keeping our health in check.
We took long before getting ill so we faked sickness to be given special treatment- like being bought for chapati and soda (fanta orange) and exempted from school and doing house chores.
On rare occasions when we fell sick, taking medicine was a hustle. There was this medicine with yellow tablets and an awful smell called Malaria quinn (you remember it?) that my mum used to give us whenever we had malaria. I hated Malaria quinn- the smell and color(yellow). I used to disappear behind the house to throw the tablets then come back and lie that I took them.
At times Mum made me take medicine in her presence with a cane next to her incase I vomited. It was hell! When I made a mistake of vomiting I had to pick the tablet from my vomit and swallow it huh! Mum was strict. But It really helped us heal fast and as well avoid recurrence of Malaria after a short period.
My sister was the worst. She could throw the tablets under the bed, under the chair, under the wall unit hahaha. I doubt if she ever went through a second day of a dose unless my mum watched her closely while taking medicine.
Those days whenever you felt you are now well you stopped your dose right there and then. You hoped you got well faster. Because real sickness meant the nice treats were a waste being that you lacked appetite.
I still struggle with taking medicine. The only difference between now and then is that now I am on my own. I got to understand the need to complete a dose and to follow a doctor’s instructions to the latter.
Besides, my mum handed over my health to me. It is me to make sure I stay healthy. It has reached a point where my health is on my bill so I have to take more caution to keep myself healthy.
Yesterday I was requested to give my uncle who is sick medicine. I took him tablets and water and stood beside him. I hate taking medicine and what I always do is observe how people take medicine to see if he/she hates it like I do. I was shocked to see him take them like someone eating roasted groundnuts with strong tea. And that’s exactly what my younger sister does when taking her medicine. Apparently what she is suffering from requires her to take medicine every day of her life (not interesting).
“Taking medicine everyday of your life must be the hardest thing, ” I thought to myself. “ If making something a habit is such a pain in my neck then taking medicine must be Graced. ”
My prayer is that God grant them and (anyone else sick) a chance to live healthy for at least a minute to do what normal people do, to live as normal people live, to taste a day without medicine in their lives- before taking away their lives. Amen.