By Ovundah Nyeche.
Mama was very sound and went to the village for the usual “August meeting”, she was apparently as fit as a fiddle when she left. She was speaking at the village meeting when she slumped and started having seizures.
Mama was not a known epileptic, mama had high blood pressure but was not regular with her drugs in fact she argued with anyone who ever told her she was hypertensive, mama believed she was healed, mama also had diabetes.
Mama was immediately taken to a “Prayer house” as her relatives believed she was attacked by diabolical means. They had to send this strange “Evil sickness” back to sender, they also had to cast it away. While she was in the “Prayer house” they then sent a message to her children in the city who were educated but who believed deep in their heart this was not normal and in fact this “Strange sickness” was projected via voodoo.
After three days in the “Prayer house” it was obvious mama was not making any improvement and so she was sent back to the city and brought to the hospital, after examination by the doctor, it was found out that mama had a stroke.
Aunty had a very terrible headache, throbbing and banging, she had a packet of paracetamol and other analgesics she procured from the chemist close to her house, she had been taking them all to no avail.
Aunty stood up to go and do her chores and as she was ironing she feel down to the ground and called for help, she was helped on her feet but it was noticed she could no longer stand or make use of one side of her body, her relatives simply left her at home.
Hours later she was noticed to be having frequent seizures, the screams from her daughter attracted her neighbours, who poured all manner of things on her, beat her repeatedly so the seizures would stop and put garri turner, spoon and a metal in her mouth, to stop her from clenching her teeth and biting her tongue.
They would inflict so much injury on her mouth, knock off some teeth and dislocate her jaw. Moments later, Aunty slipped into unconscious and boom they remembered that there was something called the hospital, she was brought in unconscious and she was still having seizures; with her relatives hoping she wakes up immediately.
In these two scenarios, the risk factors were obvious.
They were blacks: being black connotes a higher risk of having a stroke ( I hear a God forbid).
They were hypertensives: Hypertension is one of the major reasons people have strokes, it is not something to toy with. These days many young people have high blood pressure. Hey, when last did you check your blood pressure? What is your number? It may shock you.
Mama was diabetic : Diabetes increases the risk of having strokes. Diabetes affect small and large blood vessels, affects nerves and can cause deposition of fats on the blood vessels.
Both were postmenopausal: Before menopause, the hormone mix in ladies protect them to a large extent against stroke, but after that the risk increases.
Sedentary lifestyle: Both Mama and Aunty stay mostly indoors. These days people hardly exercise, and many regular jobs make you seat for a long time without exercise.
Poor drug adherence: In Nigeria almost everyone is a doctor so many times patients determine what they want to take and how they want to take their drugs. I have heard my patients tell me they take their anti hypertensive drugs only when they feel somehow, in fact one opened up to me that he takes his drugs only when he wants to come to the hospital so his blood pressure would be close to normal, so the doctor will not admit him. Also many do not take their anti-diabetic medications. Another group cannot afford their medications, they therefore have to damn the consequences.
Listed above are some of the risk factors for a stroke, which as you can see are highly unspiritual. One cannot help being black or being a woman and a post menopausal one at that, but you can modify your lifestyle by being deliberate in exercising, eating healthy and complying with anti-hypertensive or anti-diabetic medications which on the overall reduce your risks of a stroke. Also young people need to deliberately cut down on the quantity of alcohol they consume and stop smoking either actively or by always staying where people smoke.
I would love to get a feedback from you, or questions if you have any.
Stay safe, stay healthy.
Any similarity with persons in the above story and any other person living, dead or in between is surely a coincidence.