Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ward Rounds And The Rest Of Us

I was at a Conference out of town for most of the week. At first I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew something was wrong. Every time I ate anything from the hotel where I stayed, my stomach would act up. Considering I was somewhat involved in planning, this was quite an inconvenience.

Then a day before I was due to leave, I understood the meaning of the word diarrhea...

Oh boy, it was bad. I tried to you know, be a big girl and deal with it, but after my 15th visit to the loo, nobody told me to pick up my phone. I wasn’t ready to lose me just yet (I mean, there’s still the world to save, money to be made and places to see etc etc.)

Some drugs and half a bottle of ORT later, I’m lying down feeling extremely week and sorry for myself when I get the message from a friend of mine:

‘Madam. Na wa o. You didn’t even ask of me…’

I was livid and amused at the same time. I mean, seriously. Here I was hanging unto my life by a thread and he was going on about non life-threatening stuff. If he was present I’m sure I would’ve conked him before showing him all the empty tissue holders in the toilet. (In fairness to him, he was apologetic once he knew I was ill and checked up on me several times after that)

A lady told the story of how she had lost so much she decided, in her wisdom, that 6 feet under the ground was better. While writing her suicide note, she got a call from a close friend she hadn’t heard from in two years. He just wanted to know if she was okay. She broke down and told him what she was about to do. He spent over 3 hours talking her out of it. Today she has an inspirational show on a local TV station. Praise God somebody! Yes, I mean that. I mean, what if for some twisted reason like bad network or NEPA, the call didn’t go through?

Ok, what I’m trying to say is, in your haste through life, remember to check up on those who mean something, anything to you. Do your ward rounds without grumbling. No excuses like ‘I’ve called her 3 times, it’s her turn, no be my papa get MTN’

Stay in touch as long as it depends on you. Do it when the thought occurs to you. Put it on your to-do list or make a mental note and you’ll forget and probably remember 3 months later. If you ask me, I’d say do it in person when you can.

I know the world is more connected than it ever was before. It’s easy these days to say ‘I spoke with X yesterday’ or ‘I chatted with Y just last week’. It’s good. But there’s something about physical connection that technology can never replace. I’m not sure we can really say for sure how people are doing from chats and posts and their pictures on Instagram.

Where it’s easy for a depressed friend to give a clinical ‘I’m fine ‘via Whatsapp or BBM, a physical meeting would give him/her away. You can’t fake body language. You can see sadness through a person’s eyes; Sometimes just holding a friend’s hand is all that is needed to tear the walls down.

Physical interaction can be cumbersome in a city like Lagos where traffic is all the discouragement you need to stay indoors and mind your business. There’s also the need to work smart and save time by doing as much as we can with the 24 hours we all have in a day. So instead of seeing one friend, we can chat with 20, right? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s not the point I’m making so I won’t push. Anything is better than not staying in touch at all.

...And it's Christmas, the perfect time to check up on everyone :)

©Naomi Lucas 

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