E3: I’M HER SUGAR-DADDY
I was part of a Christian group of young people in Abuja called FECA. On a certain day, I presented a seminar at the meeting and when I took my seat after I was done, there was this radiant smile and bright eyes of a fair young lady who meandered to the seat closest to me and whispered, “that was very awesome, I was so motivated and loved every moment you were up there.” That was all the ignition to the friendship that has lasted till date.
“Thank you, I’m glad you made sense of it,” I humbly replied. My name is Blessing was the next thing I heard from her and with courtesy, I gave her my name. She moved closer again and her next word blew my mind.
“I want to be your friend, will you let me?” She said plain and clear but with that gentle and innocent smile still on her face.
I was a little bit surprised and intrigued together, not at her question but her boldness for a young lady in my view but from further introductions, she was in Year 2 at the time, studying Economics at the University of Abuja. “We sure can be friends,” I responded and wouldn’t dispense her boldness.
She didn’t leave my side till the end of the meeting that day and while everyone was coming around to say how much my presentation blessed them, she stood there close enough by my side. Being a weekly meeting, we see often enough and she started paying visits at my house. I returned the gesture and even meet her parents. It was her long break at school and when she had to resume the following session, we’d gotten so close to each other although well guided because I had a very stable relationship which she was aware of. Nevertheless, I was always given the reception of a son-in-law in the house.
The weekend she was to return to school was when she popped a question to me during a visit, “what’s your genotype?” She asked from the blues. I told her I’m AC and she said, “Woo! God just saved you. I’d have given it a fight to win you.” I probed why she said that and that was when she told me her status as a sickle cell lady- she ordinarily looked nothing like it with her moderate height, light skin and pretty face. She was pained that no matter how hard she could try, we can never have more than friendship for the status reason. That was the point she opened up that she had a boyfriend too in school and from her story, I quickly advised her to dump the guy.
The guy Sola, although cunningly caring was using her as sex doll, blackmailing her that she can never find any other guy that would marry and care for her like he did considering her condition. Blessing gave in to the intimidation and fear of who else would date a girl like her so, she stuck with Sola despite all his other escapades she was aware of but she knew better after we met, that there are still great guys out there who can love, care and support her despite her condition. She was happy I qualified for such guy but sad I wasn’t that guy. Understanding her emotion, I couldn’t let her fall prey of Sola and similar sort of guys anymore so, I told her I will be a big brother her mom didn’t have. She is the first of four children in the house and she is comfortable to call me her sugar-daddy to everyone.
My first experience of her suffering was after two months she left for school and I saw her call, “I’m at the hospital.” She managed to whisper. The next voice I heard was her mom’s and she told me they were at Maitama General Hospital. I took cab immediately and the sight of her with oxygen tube plastered to her nose and drip on her left hand scared me to my bones. She became pale and her eyes could barely open. Her mom tapped her that I had arrived and she managed a smile. “I want banana,” she said softly.
“Praise God,” her mom shouted. “She hadn’t eaten anything in two days and she’s been in serious pain. I have been asking what she’d like to eat since she was resuscitated last night because she was brought in unconscious.” The mother said to me.
I immediately ran outside and luckily, I found a seller at the gate of the hospital. I picked one healthy bunch and dropped one thousand naira without asking the price or waiting for balance. I got my balance though when I was leaving about three hours later but lesser amount to what it would have been if I’d priced it. Blessing ate almost half the bunch at that moment, insisting that I sit by her bedside.
That one experience and many more are the reason I have stepped hospital in my entire life more than any other reason. I hate when she is in pain but got used to the sudden calls and I always go with either banana or chips- nothing else can get through her mouth when she’s in that state. Once she wrote a semester exam on hospital bed and many times she missed exams. In spite of her brilliance, she had extra year at the University but managed to graduate with 2.2. My sugar-girl was tied down with her condition because her parents wouldn’t let her out there alone while her siblings are traveling to and fro Europe, studying. The father’s death dealt another big blow to her health and on some of such situation at the hospital, I would wonder what she’s done wrong to have to go through so much suffering and pain. “Can’t I ever have a normal and sick-bed-free life,” she’ll always say.
Perhaps the sickness truly abate as they age because my daughter- as I got to call her, at 32years now has a baby boy although the pregnancy and the delivery period was like we visited hell and returned- thank God for the caring and understanding husband God sent her way and I felt like bride’s father on their wedding day inside Funtaj School Hall.
I strongly advice that more education be done on the risk factor that leads to sickle cell children, who will be born into suffering and pain they didn’t cause for themselves. But nevertheless, sickle cell anemia is not a death sentence as I’ll always tell my baby who’s living although very carefully but very happily till date and she’s ready to conceive for the second baby after doctor’s word that she’s good to go if we do not deviate from instructions.