Chronic diseases are the most annoying, I think. To be given a diagnosis, and told you have to live with the symptoms for life, can be unnerving. I don’t know of anyone who would not try some other method to get a solution. Diseases like Hypertension, Asthma, Sickle cell disease, Diabetes and the like have become very common in Nigeria. People blame it on our changing culture, dietary changes, and even on pollution. I am of the opinion that they always existed. It’s just that when people died, there was no diagnosis. Evil spirits took the blame.
During my NYSC, (please read my post Eat that Frog), I had a friend who l will call kk. She was probably 19 to 21 years old, slender, and very pretty. She was diabetic and was dependent on Insulin shots.Let me give a little background. Diabetes is a condition in which there is excess sugar (glucose), in the blood because for some reason, the tissues are unable to utilize it for their energy needs. The glucose in the blood constitutes a huge problem, apart from the fact that the tissues are starving.
Most times, the tendency is hereditary. This means that having a diabetic parent can put you at risk. At other times, no one knows the cause. Remember that all our food is converted to glucose in the body for use by our tissues. The blood is just a transport medium and should not contain more than a certain amount of glucose at any time.
Kk did not accept her diagnosis. She tried herbal cures, and all manner of interventions, I care not to mention. When there was a crisis, they would rush her to the health centre and I would resuscitate her. Buying her insulin was a huge challenge. I wish I had an endowment fund for such youngpeople. You see, her parents were not interested in coughing out money. They felt she should go and hustle.
She was in a relationship with a much older man (probably married). It was he who occasionally gave her money for Insulin. She did not restrict herself to the recommended diet, or check her blood glucose regularly. In fact, she was fond of disappearing without notice. At a time, she developed a nasty sore on her foot. It produced a foul-smelling exudate which drove her to the clinic. I had warned her not to come if she would not obey my instructions.
In that condition, I had to treat her. She would smile when I scolded her about resorting to herbs.
“Doc, the herbs are working. How can I be taking injections for the rest of my life?”, she would ask.
“Try to be consistent first”, I advised. “You don’t even eat the right food”
“Hmm. I should not eat garri? How can I eat beans everyday?”
“I gave you a menu. You don’t need to eat beans daily. See how skinny you are, and dehydrated. You don’t drink enough water”
I could only scold her half-heartedly for I really liked her. She was very pretty and ambitious. Her affair with the older man was to fund her education and she had good grades. Though not the best of ideas, at least she had a plan.
One day, I heard that she had died. She had stayed away for long with the foot ulcer and depended on her herbs. Who knows how she died. I cried for my friend. Perhaps I could have saved her, perhaps not. Chronic diseases are frustrating. I feel helpless telling patients I know of no cure for them. Who am I, then, to stop them from trying alternative medicine?
If someone boasts that he can cure AIDS, Hypertension, and Diabetes, and I can’t, should I stop my patients from checking him out? What proof do I have that his herbs are harmful? Where is God in all this? Here is my take on all this.
God is superior to medicine. He can cure anything, even replace limbs. One thing, though, is you have to accept the diagnosis. Not as final, but as a test you have to pass. What I mean is, if a diagnosis is made, just go through the motions to fulfill all righteousness. It is like refusing to write an exam because you believe you passed from the foundation of the earth!
You can and should petition God for the cure science cannot give. I cannot tell you how many have been taken off medication when they showed up healed. I have no problem with herbs, God will use anything. Only be sure you are being told the truth. I will trust the mechanic who admits he doesn’t know the solution, over the one who knows everything but never gets anything done. Somehow the blame always comes back to you.
“It is because you took the drugs with cold water!”
It’s because you were menstruating! ”
“You ate okro soup on the same day!”
Somehow these rules are not given beforehand and they are modified as you go. We all have to be a support for those passing through such challenges. Be there for them. Encourage them. Tell them they are not alone and they don’t have to die in it. Demystify the disease so they do not feel alone. I pray we all enjoy the best of health . Cheers