LETTER TO MY SON AT 10

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Dear Master Olutayo Tayo-Orisadare II,

I write today with such deep emotions of pain and gratitude.

Just like yesterday, I remember your very many struggles with life and death. I remember how the very normal things of life became such uphill struggles for you. I remember the pains you endured as a kid and even today. Through it all, you still manage the most beautiful smiles. I remember your very many trips to the hospital. Your name became known to every nurse as a live in patient in St. Nicholas.

Do you know that Sisi had to quite her good job to care for you since then?

How can I forget the moments you lost the use of every other part but your eyes. You spoke to me in languages unknown and unheard, yet very distinct. The brightness that flashes through your eyes as I walk into your ward during one of my many trips from Abuja. Aha! I remember your unmistakable “dance steps” when PSquare’s Ifunnanya comes rolling on your ward’s TV albeit with those eyes. I remember how much you loath the “rude” interruption of your inner peace by the constantly needle poking and white cladding nurses who endlessly experiment with your fragile anatomy.

I remember those two harrowing long hours of waiting as you underwent your very first surgery. Not even the reassuring words of Dr. Olaopa would soothe the unnerving that comes with it. I remember how you clutched to life and the sheer courage you exhibited. We watched every movement of your bowel just to be sure oxygen goes in and C02 comes out. Boy! What a fighter you are?!

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Your life made us learn things unknown. I never heard of congenital anomalies until we met you. Sisi became the best nurse ever. She would even school the nurses and doctors on posterior urethral valve and hydronephrosis. Barium swallow became an every other day procedure. She knew every ward of LASUTH. Sisi died many times to make sure you live. But for God and her….!

I remember how I scampered back to Okitipupa from yonder lands because of the unthinkable. Neither food nor water would pass through your system for days as thrush and the unknown wrack through your fragile build. Breathing became pain than life. At some point, you breathed your last; then the giver thought otherwise. You lived again!

I wish grandpa was here to see that his hard work and dedication has paid off. Dad, we did and are still doing our best. Your grandson is here and happy.

Tayo,  it’s been 10 years with you, I cannot imagine those years without you. Son, you have Mimi to thank too. Through it all, she allowed you take the shine and gave her tiny support all the way. That’s the stuff good sisters are made of. Sure you can attest to her support even today *wink wink*.

Alas! Our medical system only had “hazy” view of how special you are. We sought the best we could afford. Do you remember how you jumped from the couch to the glass table at Uncle Wale’s apartment in Abuja? You made Sisi find his way to the National Hospital in yet another scary close shave even when Primus Hospital was the destination.The paramilitary person in Uncle Wale almost gave way. Thanks to Aunty Faith and husband including Mrs. Adeniyi.  Who knows…?! Boy, you were restless too…phew!

Dr. Lakshmanan was your medic in then far away Detroit Medical Centre. Your peculiar nature was so special that only a handful medics the world over are specialists in “your” area. He knew Dr. Olaopa at the first mention. Laughable though, I grew to like the patient charter in DMC (go check it out). Such is the strength of your special nature. Barium swallow, scans, xray, CT scan, endoscopy, catetherisation and the cycle begins again. At least this time, things became painfully clear. I remember breaking down like a toddler in Canton, MI at the sudden realisation of who you are and what is to come. TY! I was a mess for days. Sisi’s strength became the difference between life and living for you. Egbon Debo Adewunmi, if only you knew your “hand” meant the world. I can’t thank enough the dedication of Pastor Abraham Adeniji and our host family – The Abraham Orisadares.

…then the blues continued. If he would ever eat, only $60,000 is required…lol. Then money ran out. Then God steps in. The windy city beckoned. The Osigbemes were phenomenon. We had a home and the needed warmth. I remember it was the thanksgiving of that year. Brother Ade would wake up and drive you and Sisi to the train station religiously for over 1 year. Mummy P’s professional support was great too. John Stroger Hospital (Cook County) became a second home. We learned even more new things. Aha! Nissen fondoplation became a new lingo. That’s after several other procedures both major and minor. Although I was miles away, I died and rose with you. I felt every of your pain and struggles. Your 7 days without water and food killed me. Your faintly voice sliced through my heart like hot knife on butter. I cried me a lagoon but work I must to pay the bills. Imagine what Sisi and Mimi would have felt? UNIMAGINABLE!

Like a veteran of many wars, you rode the waves and came out relatively unscathed notwithstanding the scars. Only a few adults have endured what you have. Maybe, even fewer others will endure what you do. Yet a fewer percentage of the few would understand what is to come.

It’s amazing you tasted solid food for the first time 7 solid years after your birth. You possibly do not know how much you pierce my heart with pain and joy each time you tell me, “I didn’t know this is how fries tasted”. You charged me to bring you gala and coconut because you saw people eat it back home and you’ll love to know what it tastes like. Even now that you’re still learning the different tastes and how to eat, you never cease to amaze me with how you’ve accepted who you are.

More amazing is how Sisi managed to feed and keep you relatively nourished for the several years prior. How she wakes up very early blending noodles, pasting beans, making soups, seaving cereals just to ensure a little something goes through your rather narrow and strictured oesophagus. Even the doctors in DMC couldn’t help asking her of how she managed to keep you alive so long. Such is the tenacity of the woman you’re privileged to call mother. Isn’t it amazing how we take for granted the supposed “normal” things of life?

Alas! I see in you my gallant soldier and tireless fighter. The depth you go when expressing yourself in those few words never cease to amaze me. Looking back to those harrowing years, having you is still our utmost pleasure. You made Mimi grow to maturity really fast. You ensured there’s love aplenty as there was no other way to survive without it. You gave a different meaning to life and living. Your 10 years has been a journey. I wish you several multiple of 10s in crystal health and total wellness.

In all, you deserve the special love and care you have. Not many people come special but also, special people don’t come many. We are honoured to have you and pray God that you fulfill your destiny. Trusting God, through you there will spring forth Olutayo Orisadare III.

…but before then, I look forward to the day when you would be cladded in your uniform (I prefer the blue ones please *whispering*), armed with a stethoscope, backed by your experience and powered by knowledge looking after kids especially the special ones like you. That’s always been your promise to me. God helping us, I’ll keep my part; please do yours.

Lots of love,

Olutayo Orisadare I