To my friend………..Edmund Oteh

It was a just a normal day at work. It was raining outside and EVERYONE was complaining about how cold it was in the office.  I mean really – it’s cold outside so why do we need to have the central cooling system on full blast. Me? I was totally fine. Not only did I always have my trusty cardigan I also had my blanket.  Yes you read right, my blanket.  My wonderful mum, based on my previous complaints had taken it upon herself to purchase a 100% lamb wool blanket from the abroad to protect her daughter from the cold.

Anyone who knows me knows I have no shame.  In my corporate environment you will see me with my trust blanket wrapped around me like a ‘wrapper’ as and when needed.  J 

Then I got the phone call… it was from O.

 

O: Hello?
Me: How nawh? How’s u?
O ignores my question and goes… Are you sitting down?
Now O and I have a history to taking the piss out of each other on the regular, so I reply ‘Yes’ – I was lying.
O: He’s gone your son has gone….
Me: Huh?
At this point I was confused for two reasons:
  1. I was waiting for the punch line, O never started a phone conversation in such a serious tone and
  2. Given that I have never been preggers I was wondering where the hell I got a son from
O: Eddy he’s gone….
As the penny dropped I wish I hadn’t lied because my legs gave way and I fell into my chair. 
Me: What the hell happened?!
O: He had a very bad crisis… I have to go, will call u back
Trust O to drop a bombshell and leave!!
My emotions flew from confused, to sad, to that of white-hot anger!!  I’ll explain why.  Eddy was a colleague from my last job.  Eddy was a Sickler.  He was a quirky, intelligent, funny, larger than life character who was drifting through life.  Dude had potential that would take him far, but due to his condition (and social constraints) he did take the easy route with a lot of things.
We became fast friends and yes I did end up ‘Mummying’ the lad.  We could relate on things that so many non-Sicklers can only fathom.  I always knew when he was ill and pretending (EVERY Sickler has done this).   With him he usually did it for 2 reasons:
  1. He didn’t want to go home (the commute did take it out of him cos he lived in the sticks)
  2. He had forgotten his painkillers
I can’t count the number of times I would give him pain meds (being a female who caries a handbag helps a sister be prepared).  I also found myself acting like my mum, checking to see if he had had drunk enough water.
I would always ensure that he was empowered at work, and he was happier for it, taking on more responsibility and making changes in his life.  I remember having a heart to heart with him where I told him that his mum (bless her) would not be there to take care of him forever.
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Eddy died on the 2nd of April 2014 from complications from a badly managed crisis.  I won’t go into the details but I will say this… it was totally unnecessary!!  Today, the 19thof June 2014 is Global Sickle Cell Awareness day.  If you have read my previous post you will know that I feel that there is too much emphasis on prevention and not enough attention on living with the disease.
Awareness should also extend to Sicklers.  Sicklers are experts in their condition – every Sickler is different and every crisis is different.  While Doctors are trained in the medical field, their jobs are easier when you the Sickler can put in your own input.  Know your pain levels, take care of yourself and NEVER be afraid to question their treatment.  The moment a doctor doesn’t listen to you, insist on getting another physician. 
It’s taken me almost 3 months to summon up the courage to write this post because;
  1. I knew I would have to write about Eddy in the past tense,
  2. Writing about this will also make me think about the reality of my own mortality and how I would hate to pass away due to Sickle cell

On that sobering note, I’m out…..

Toodles!!