“One day in 2013, after returning from an outing my father fell. I was in Ibadan but the rest of the family was in Gombe. He was taken to the hospital but no conclusive diagnosis came through. He kept going to teaching hospital in Gombe but no much changed. In 2017 I was posted to Kano for my NYSC; then he was brought to UCH for better health care.
One morning in December 2017, one of my brothers called me to inform me that the doctors had finally diagnosed what was wrong with my dad – leukemia and that it was in the last stage.
At that point, the only thing the doctors could do was to ease his pain as much as they could. I informed the appropriate authorities of the news and in the second week of January 2018, I was allowed to come to Ibadan to be with my dad.
Seeing my dad in pain was something difficult for me to bear and even though we knew he was in the late stages of the leukemia, we all still held on to faith that a miracle would happen.
In UCH, visitors can’t stay with the patients all night. One night, after everyone had gone, my dad was put on saline solution after everyone had been dispersed for the night. He said he woke up at midnight and found out that his bed was wet. He touched the wet parts and found out that it was sticky. It was not urine, it was blood. His blood. The entry point of the solution being passed to him and fallen out of his veins and his blood was spilling over the bed. No one came to check on him all night long, not one.
I remember when he was going to have a blood transfusion, I wanted it to be my blood they’d transfuse into him. I went to the lab and did all the tests but unfortunately, our blood wasn’t compatible. Eventually, he was discharged that same January. Despite been discharged, he continued to go for outpatient appointments. There were days even after he was discharged that blood still had to be transfused into him. I returned to my PPA after 2weeks with him, he wouldn’t let me stay longer.
Dad was in so much pain and it troubled my mom so much. My mom is a strong person who holds her own, so whenever she called and she was in despair, I always knew that, things had got unbearably serious. I really wished I could bear the pain for him but I couldn’t. No one could. Anytime my mom called to tell me the state of things, I’d just cry and cry. At some point, the pain was so much that I just began to pray that God should ease his affairs.
My father’s favourite food was tea and bread and if he didn’t take anything, he’d take that. For things to get to the point where he couldn’t take tea anymore, I knew that was huge. I asked if he wanted me to come from Kano to see him, he said no. I asked if he had anything he wanted to tell me, he said no.
On the March 4, 2018, a Sunday, I spoke with him. I asked if he was fine, he said he was. A part of me felt that was not true. In my spirit, I was unsettled.
Monday, March 5, my mom called me, she was almost in tears. Mom said my dad was not eating. When she gave him the phone to speak to me, he could barely speak and his words were jumbled. My dad was taking back to the hospital and he was referred to an Afe Babalola Centre still inside UCH but he refused to be taken there.
You see, my dad had always talked about not wanting to die in a hospital – about wanting to die in our hometown in Ondo. In January when he was admitted, he spent a roughly over two weeks and in his ward, in those weeks, about 7 people died. So that always made him self-aware the stress and financial implications of the next of kin processing and collecting the body of the deceased. He was already feeling bad that we were all going through the physical, emotional and financial stress for his sake and so he never wanted to go back to the hospital.
So, instead of going to the Afe Babalola Cancer Centre, he was taken home. I was being told everything that was happening as they happened. In my heart I became jittery that he wouldn’t make it.
At midnight, 12:04am of March 6, 2018, my brother who was with my dad called me and told me that my dad had passed.
He never made it home.