By Chioma Obinna
When Barnabas and Chioma Mbonu got married few years ago, their hope was to start a family as soon as possible and as fate would have it, Chioma took in almost immediately, and barely nine months later gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.
The joy of the new parents knew bounds, as far as they were concerned God deemed it necessary in His own wisdom to bless them with the fruit of the womb so soon after they got married even when there were countless others searching for this divine gift. In view of that they thought it best to name the baby – Wisdom.
The first few weeks passed blissfully until one fateful day when Chioma noticed Wisdom breathing abnormally. She hoped the problem would pass but it persisted, and she had no option other than seek help. Wisdom was taken to the hospital, but was advised to wait until he was at least three months before diagnosis. Little did the young couple realise it was the beginning of their woes. The months passed until it was discovered Wisdom had a hole in the heart. Worse still, a N2.5 million surgery is required to save the child who is now a year and two months old.
A medical report issued from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), described Wisdomâ€™s condition as Tetralogy of Fallot. The report signed by Dr. T. A. Olatunji of the Department of Paediatrics, said he requires urgent open heart surgery for improved health and better his chances of survival. Unfortunately, the petty trader parents cannot raise money for the procedure.
Based on the doctorâ€™s recommendation for the surgery to be done in Narayana Hrudayalaa Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Bangalore, India, an estimate of the cost is put at around N3 million excluding flight tickets, feeding and other miscellaneous expenses. Wisdom continues languishing in pains, hunger, weakness of the body, sleeplessness and much anguish.
He cannot eat anything exceptÂ watery pap which he most times throws up.Â He cannot sleep whenever there is a power cut â€“ forcing the helpless parents to become habitual night vigil faithfuls. For them, every night is vigil night if only to ensure Wisdom catches a few minutes of sleep.
Even at 14 months, he can neither crawl nor stand on his own, cries all through the day, begging for assistance from anybody that cares to listen. Narrating her ordeal, Chioma, the mother said the situation has become her worst nightmare. â€œI no longer sleep. Wisdom must be in my arms. He cannot sleep on the bed. You must carry him. The worst is when we donâ€™t have light.
Most times, we sleep outside because the boy. He cannot stay inside the house without the fan on.â€ With tears in her eyes, she said it has been tears all through the months. â€œI never expected this. Wisdom is my first child but look at me today. I never wished that day should come again.â€
Explaining that the problem has swallowed all that they have worked and planned for, she called on the Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, his Lagos State counterpart, Babatunde Fashola and all well-meaning Nigerians for help. â€œI will ever remain grateful for anybody that contributes to this cause.â€
The father, Barnabas,Â narrated how they have been taking child around the teaching hospitals in the Lagos and the eastern part of the country.
â€œSince we discovered this problem, sleep our disappeared from our eyes. I call on corporate organisations, individuals and government to help save my sonâ€™s life. Wisdom must not die, I plead.â€