“The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people” – Ghanaian Proverb
Medicine has ravaged many things in my life. Mention can be made of my sleep, my social life and my video game sessions. Hell, even my ability to be repulsed by all orifices of the human body plus the fluids that inhabit these places. Digital rectal examination is now a pastime. However, there’s one thing I thought medicine could never ruin, something so sacred to my upbringing and heart that it has gone with me unscathed for over 20 years.
Seated on the hospital bed is a young woman who had with her a beautiful preterm baby whose lungs, weight and micronutrients that needed correction. This woman had no regard for her baby and would beat her any time she cried. A young girl who was severely anemic was rushed in unconscious. This girl had been suffering from malaria and needed blood and antimalarials to get her back to life. A religious belief on the part of the mother took the life of this innocent 3 year old who could have been a doctor, a lecturer or a lawyer in future. Many of these stories I recall. I do, because they happened on a Sunday. Sundays during my formative years with my parents were sacred, special and spiritual. It started with a morning devotion and pressing of shirts for church service. My mom would cook before we left for church since we would be hungry by the time church closed. I was born into a Christian home and Sundays were really important.
I then became a medical doctor and Sundays weren’t the same again. On a Sunday, I am to save lives. I am to abandon church and be in the hospital to take care of the sick. I recall a day that I wanted to leave the hospital for church but a relative of a patient who was admitted on the ward implored, “Doc, what you are doing over here is also God’s work. Please don’t leave the sick behind. It is God’s ministry.” I never thought medicine could ruin my Sundays. I do not even find time to eat that Sunday Omotuo special. I have sadly made an observation and that is, some people do not care about their children. I have most often met parents especially on Sundays who have mismanaged and underfed their babies to the extent that remedy, healing, treatment becomes a grave issue. “Why should I be in the hospital on a Sunday instead of being in church to save the child of someone who doesn’t even care about their child? – This question tends to be a virus in my upper respiratory tract. I catch it often. There is an Akan saying, “Where error gets to, correction cannot reach.” Many errors are committed by parents on their wards and many others do not even take good care of their parents/relatives when they fall sick. People just literally dump their relatives in the hospitals and leave. We live in a world where love and fear of God are hard to come by. We live in a world where people would choose money over the health of their children or relatives.
He who doesn’t clean his mouth before breakfast always complains that the food is sour. Oh yes, the food will be sour for us if we do not go to the basics of life. We need to love each other. We need to look out for each other. I don’t understand the idea behind bringing a child to this world and not giving that child the best of healthcare. Again, it beats my mind when people deliver off their babies and abscond. Was carrying that baby for nine months in your womb that easy? And yes, there are those who would not buy medications for their sick children or relatives but would have money for social events such as weddings and funerals. If you damage the character of another, you damage your own. If you do not take care of your children or friends, nobody will take care of you when it is your time to need their care.
It is not the cook’s fault when the cassava turns out to be hard and tasteless. ~ Ewe Proverb
I will be there for you this Sunday when you bring your father, mother, child or friend. Your duty is to prevent the disease or come at the early stages of the disease. So, thank you, Medicine, for ruining yet another part of my life. This Ministry is however sweet!
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