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The Adult Child struggles with a genetic blood disorder

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I only started openly discussing being born with Sickle Cell Disorder a few years ago.  Before then, it was just on a need to know basis. If you weren't family or if you hadn't helped me through a painful crisis,  you didn't need to know. I'm not ashamed of it and I was never taught not to talk about it. In fact, my parents never really taught me how to speak to others about it. They were just busy trying to keep me alive and paying outrageous medical bills.

I am also not sure that I know how to discuss the topic without avoiding pity. There's that moment when people discover and they give you "eiyaaaa eyes". Then you now start feeling like an egg,  a breakable sometin shaaa.

 

Pity is not the same as empathy so I do appreciate the people who are empathetic and still treat me like a normal fully functioning human being.

It's also not easy explaining to some people why your leg hurts but you didn't fall down or hit it against anything or how you could be fine now and in the next minute, you're rolling on the floor/bed screaming in pain. 
H'aunty! H'uncle! Das jus the way it is mehn

It's strange behavior to some people. You could just be seeking attention, or maybe you're a weakling, you're soft. You need to man up! Eheeeeen!  To that Ghanaian nurse who was yelling at me to stop crying and behave myself years ago at North Ridge clinic in Accra; "no that is not how Nigerians are! How dare you Madam!!! I don't know how you became a nurse if you do not know how to handle a patient in pain and... your wig was ugly"

It's World Sickle Cell day and so I thought I would give it a shot and share a little bit about my experience being Hb SS. The whole science of it, dumbed down, is that the disorder is genetic and it affects your red blood cells in such a way that they take on a different shape when they're produced. That's the sickle shape. You know what a sickle is if you're a farmer or if you remember your Agricultural science. 
This is the farm tool
This is an illustration of what the red blood cell looks like

 Because the red blood cells are so oddly shaped, they have difficulty passing through blood vessels and such and that's what causes painful episodes.

Fun fact: I have had a painful crisis nearly everywhere I have been to: church, school, my office, sleep overs, your house(i might have not told you), the airport, every country I have visited.  I have sha never been in an ambulance yet so...score!!!!

There are different kinds of painful crises and they generally affect the limbs, joints and such. SCD also makes you susceptible to infections and there are complications from it and that's what kills most people living with the disorder. I have had only one complication: Acute Chest Syndrome and recently, a chest infection that affected my aortic valve, I was told (I was out of it a lot so pardon me if i was not listening).

Ironically, stress is a trigger for a crisis which is really messed up because living with the disorder is a very stressful condition in itself. You will just be avoiding stressful situations like you were in a minefield. You can't be too hot,  you can't be too cold, you can't exert yourself emotionally or physically(alas, my dreams of body building have been dashed), you have to drink a tank of water every day(a constant struggle of mine), you have to take drugs everyday for the rest of your life(Codeine is nice, i like codeine but it has killer side effects). To crown it all,  I'm NIGERIAN! That's stressful on it's own mehn.  We have had rubbish power supply in my area since May! Fashola, what's happening??? Eko is starting to baje oooo!

With all the depression, pain and fear that's  attached to having this disorder, I am still grateful that my parents had me. I see a lot of people comment on blogs or posts about SCD and advise non AS and AS pairings so that there will be no more children born with SCD. That's fantastic. Someone even suggested terminating a pregnancy once it was discovered that the baby would be born with the disorder. 

Alrightyyyyyy then! I have not fully come to terms with how I feel about people trying all these things just to avoid having a child like me, but I do understand the fear. However, as cautionary as people should be, they should also be better informed. There's this thing called probability which means that it's not certain that whenever couples with the AS genotype get together, they will birth a "sickler", it's a chance. In fact,  it's a 25% chance. There is still a one in four chance that your child will not have the disorder.  Still I respect that you may not be willing to take the odds. Just have all your facts first. Visit a counselling center (National Sickle Cell Center, Idi-Araba) and make an informed decision.

NO this does not mean your fourth child will have SC or that one of your children will. It means there is a one in four chance that you might have a child with it and a one in four chance that your children might be affected. Also means there is a one in two chance that your children end up being AS. Chance chance chance chances!

We have come a long way with information on the disorder from when we used to call children with SC "abiku" and "ogbanje". There's even a cure now, a bone marrow transplant so that you will be producing fresh, juicy, sparkly, well shaped red blood cells. Sexy red blood cells. It's a very manageable disorder. You can still live life to the max, just...at your own pace.

One thing people living with SC need is a strong support system, so check up on that person you know who has this disorder once in a while. Don't go and be giving them "eiyaaa eyes " oooo. I know  that there's a special place in my heart for everyone who's ever helped me through a crisis.  I'm naming all my children after you.

They call people living with SCD "warriors" now. That's apt because it is a battle. It's been 27 years(19! I mean 19 years!!!),  no stroke, no leg ulcers and amputations, pulmonary hypertension, eye damage...etc (just a few complications from SCD) aaaaaaand i walk out of every hospital! It's clear that I'm definitely winning this battle.

A Nigerian film maker and family friend of mine(i must famz!) did a series of interviews with people living with SCD and released it today to mark World Sickle Cell day. Check out the first interview.



Thursdays are for throwbacks

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Today's throwback will feature those popular songs of the 2000's that you sang with all your heart but didn't understand the meaning. Maybe you didn't know the lyrics o, maybe the song was in a different language but when the song came on everyone was like:


and we sha didn't know what we were saying

So in no particular order, let's start with this popular number:

1) "Oye Mi Canto" N.O.R.E. ft Nina Sky, Gem Star, Daddy Yankee and Big Mato

You might be already yelling "Boriqua! Morena (I used to say "Borera") Dominicano! Colombiano! For some reason "Reggaeton" became popular in this part of the World for a bit in the 2000's and this was one of the popular songs from that genre. We would be belting out the lyrics as if we knew what "Boriqua" was. It means "Puerto Rican" by the way (yay Google!). At that time, I didn't care. This was my jam and i would mumble through all the Spanish bits and yell out that "Woah ooo" part.

Side note: Whatever happened to Nina Sky? They were so cute.



2.)  "Who let the dogs out?" Baha Men

This Grammy award winning number(Best Dance Recording) was very popular during the early 2000's. Even our parents knew the words to the chorus. At least my parents did. Now the song was recorded in English so we could understand the lyrics. However, did we know that the original writer of the song intended it to be a male bashing song? Here's how he explained it:

 It’s a man-bashing song.  I’ll tell you why.  The lyric of the song says, “The party was nice, the party was pumpin.’” When I said the word “party” I was being metaphorical.  It really means things were going great.
The “Yippie-Yi-Yo,” that’s everybody’s happy, right? “And everybody was having a ball.” Life was going great.

“Until the men start the name-callin’ / And then the girls respond to the call.”  So the men started calling the women “skank” and “skettel,” every dirty word you can think of.  The men started the name-calling and then the girls respond to the call.  And then a woman shouts out, “Who let the dogs out?” And we start calling men dogs.  It was really a man-bashing song.

There is another theory that the Baha Men were referring to ugly women in the party and that's who they were calling "dogs" sha. I know for sure that I had no idea about the real song meaning. I was just happy chanting "All doggie hold ya bone, all doggie hold it!"

You know, I read somewhere that the real lyrics are "Who let the dogs out? Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!"(you know? like dogs barking) but it will always be "Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?" to me.




3.) "Gasolina" Daddy Yankee

Reggaeton is baaaack! So Daddy Yankee was to Reggaeton as Sean Paul was to Dance hall music. When you heard "A ella le gusta la gasolina!"(real lyrics)/"hey la le hutala gasolina!" (my version), you responded "Dame mas gasolina" (real lyrics)/ "Damy man gasolina!"(my version). I was not interested in the meaning of this song, I just wanted to turn up to that fast tempo part that was in my opinion the best part of the song.

Damy man gasolina!



4.)  "Like glue" Sean Paul

I miss the Sean Paul era so much. He gave us so many incomprehensible hits, had us in a dance hall frenzy. That Dutty Rock album was fire and he was sooooooo fine.

*love sigh*

 I'm picking "Like glue" for this list because it was the one I didn't understand the most. I didn't understand Jamaican patois and Sean Paul used a lot of it in this song. I mean what is the meaning of this? "just gimme di gal dem, now dem all a pressure mi cellular; seh a mi a di dappa dem waan fi be dem big poppa". It was just so catchy, you didn't care what he was saying, you just wanted to dutty whine. He always had some hot steppers in his videos too.

This was a jam and a half.




5)  "Premier Gaou" Magic System

This is arguably one of my favourite songs ever! The first time I ever danced at a party was to this song. Everyone was so surprised and impressed, they started spraying me o. I took home N5,000 that day. That amount of money was a big deal to a small child in those days. I will never forget. The song is sung in French. I took a few French lessons and learned the  meaning of the lyrics to the song. So the song is basically about this babe named "Antou" who was basically a "ho". She left him when the money left and resurfaced when he had a hot single on the airwaves. Typical "runs girl/thot/whatever they're called these days". My favourite part of the song is:

"J'ai dit chéri koko qu'est ce que tu veux manger"  He's asking her "my darling, wetin you wan chop?"
"Sans même hésiter Elle me dit poulet braisé"  She sharply said she would eat barbecued chicken. See her mouth
"J'ai dit chéri koko c'est poulet tu veux manger"  he's like ehen, na chicken you wan chop
"Poulet est trop petit ca peut pas te rassasier"  he's like chicken too small. dat wan no go reach you
"C'est caïman braisé, je vais te donne"  na barbecue caiman(some sort of reptile) naim i go give you
"Kedjenou d'éléphant o, tu vas manger"  is Kedjenou with Elephant that you will eat! Nonsense!! *Kedjenou is an Ivorian dish made with chicken and vegetables*

Antou was like:





Which songs did you make up your own lyrics to? Let me know in the comment box.
Sings in gibberish

The Adult Child struggles to sleep

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It's late at night and I cannot sleep. My mind is doing that thing were it comes up with numerous ideas. Ideas for a vlog, ideas for a movie/TV show, ideas for a children's book/comic. My mind is also doing that thing where it knocks down every idea it comes up with. Kind of like bowling. The ideas are the bowling pins and self doubt is on a roll. Taking down as many pins as possible. Ugh! I hate bowling. I'm nowhere close to good at it. I'm nowhere close to good at any sport or game and it is for lack of trying. I do it, I suck, I go "it's not for you jo, let's get some food". 

I remember one day, I was at church, the teens church. They were going around getting people to say what they were talented at. As it started getting to my turn, I started to have a mini anxiety attack. What was I going to say? I'm not talented at anything!! Wait, but I can sing now. Ehn, but I'm no WhitneyBeyonceMariah so I can't claim that as a talent, that's lying. Dance? Please, I get out of breath after 10 minutes! Next!!!
I'm so unfit
 Draw/sketch/paint? I was not the best in art class. Talk? Come on, what kind of a weak ass talent is that? Toddlers can talk. Can't play a musical instrument, I'm not a science whiz(is it still cool to use this word? Haven't seen it around in a long time).

Depressing something
So there I was, the teenage adult child with no real skill or talent.
I've had that sort of conversation with myself each time I've had an idea. There was the time I wanted to do a video series about my life as a Nigerian student in Ghana. Tell people about the wonders of Waakye and how Azonto sort of made us(Nigerians and Ghanaians) more friends than frenemies. Discuss the root cause of the love -hate relationship between the two countries. Then there was another time when I thought about doing a podcast called "What's up with that? " where I'd talk about things that beckon the question "What's up with that? " e.g "Applauding in non applause required situations" Air planes, movie theaters, what's up with that? ". I thought I'd be an okay TV presenter one time. I host shows with myself and my mirror all the time. Then I thought I'd be an awesome radio presenter. I love listening to music and talking about music and pop culture and what not. Had some movie ideas too. By the way, I'd like the film studios to know that it's  high time someone did a biographical movie about Queen Amina or any other important figure from our history books. Also, can we get a movie about Fela please? Before Hollywood beats us to it

Voice in my head is like: "Nobody cares about that." "That's not going to work." "You can't pull that off. " "That's a stupid idea. " "What makes you think people will see that? " "See your small bum bum" "Someone is probably doing that already and doing it better than you ever would" "A blog? Leave that for the writers, the articulate ones, the ones that have talents...or gist " "You're going to run out of content" "You know you're sensitive, you can't handle the mean critics" "You don't want people to know you think that" "It'll just end up as another abandoned project, why bother?" "You have no skill and no talents."

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt" - (William Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure")


The Adult Child struggled with an embarrassing situation

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My latest fun thing to do is to roam around the internet, looking for fun or interesting videos to watch. One of my favorite places to roam is Buzzfeed. I roamed one day and found myself watching a video they did on Microblading. Watch the video to understand what it is.
 Apparently Microblading is the latest beauty fad.  I personally do not like make up. I was an adult when i finally let my Mum shave off...err "shapen" my eyebrows or the sparsely hair filled area that should be my eyebrows. She did it once and I let several people keep doing it because i cannot stand my eyebrows during the eyebrow regrowth period. I wear makeup now because that's what adult women do. That's what my Mum told me sha. Although I'm still very worried that it makes me look like a child would if she was wearing makeup. 
Image result for child with makeup
like this
 I've always loved the natural look, clear skin, a nice full set of eyebrows and eyelashes. No more pencils and filling in! Microblading seemed like it could help with that. 

I was roaming the other day,  Instagram this time. I happened upon a beauty salon where they do Microblading *squeal* I had already pictured myself assessing the results like the girl in Buzzfeed. I decided to give them a call to book an appointment.  They are located very close to my estate. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hello?
Microbladers: Hello!  You just called our line so I called back.
Me: oh yes! I saw you guys on IG. Wanted to find out how much Microblading costs
Microbladers: sorry???
*i get this all the time, it's why i would rather send emails /texts but noooo Nigerian businesses (some) will never reply so I'm forced to endure the torture of phone calls*
Me: Microblading? How much is it???
Microbladers: 6k
Me: 6k?
Microbladers: no. 50k
Me: 50k??? As in 5...0???
Microbladers: Six! Six!  SIXTY K!
Me:
Me: oooh okay. How long does it stay on for?
Microbladers: well, it's supposed to last for 3 years but you will come for a refill... *i zoned out here. I went to my happy place. I'm very rich in my happy place*
Microbladers: hello? Are you there?
Me: yes. Okay. I just wanted to find out. Thank you.
Microbladers: so when are we expecting you?
Me:
Me: errr not now. I live very close so i can just walk in. Shey i can walk in or do i need to book an appointment?
Microbladers: well you can but you'll need to come early because... *zoning out* *1 million, nine hundred and seventy six thousand... 1 million,  nine hundred and seventy seven thousand... I'm counting millions in my happy place *
Me: yeah I'll come early. Thank you. Good bye
Microbladers: please what is your name?
I hung up and blocked their number.

The Adult Child struggles with living with her parents

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I was just a small "geh" the first time I tried to run away from home. My Mum had upset me again, for the umpteenth time. She went off on me for taking MY money out of MY piggy bank and spending it on McVitie's All Butter Shortbread biscuit. I was livid. Was it her own? What is her business if  i decided to use my money to buy myself  biscuit? After all I was balling. I could splurge that N150 naira on the buttery goodness that is McVitie's All Butter Shortbread biscuit.
yummy buttery goodness
 This was it! I was out of there! I saw my brother pull that stunt when I was much younger and I always thought...bad-ass. I had since been dying to re-enact the scene. I am twenty *coughs* years old and I am still planning that escape mehn. Every time I am asked to "fix the Dstv, it is not working" and I take the remote and press the power button, or when it's Saturday and I am trying to catch up on some much needed sleep and someone comes and commands me out of my dream to go and set the table or drive to the Super market to buy "special" whole wheat crackers.
I am driver, errand girl, judge and referee. The many jobs of the typical Nigerian child. If only I had known that I would still be in this predicament all those days when I could afford to eat McVitie's Shortbread often. The dream was to be somewhere other than my parent's house at this point in my life but the other day after thoroughly searching on tolet.ng, privateproperty.com, jumia house and even typing "cheap flat with roommate to rent" into Google search, I discovered that I cannot afford to live in a BQ in Lagos...yet. I earn a salary o but I like take-out and Uber rides and and...etc. Maybe if i moved to Ibadan? Accommodation must be much cheaper there. I heard they still sell meat for N20.00 in their "bukas" and their Amala with Ewedu is fantastic. Until then, I guess I have to remain where I am and keep forcing myself to enjoy the free electricity, car, Dstv, food, WiFi(Smile and Swift). What a struggle!!!!!
I go where the Amala goes

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