HI Readers! It was when I asked of my mum and was told that she was in hospital alongside my dad that the gravity of the situation hit me. I must have fainted because when I came to, I was soaked in iced water and Tayo was sitting on the same couch with me, fanning me, even though the air-conditioner was on. There was no one else in the room. I began to shiver from cold and she went to switch off the air-conditioner. I’ve never seen her looking so sober and distraught.
“Where’s everyone? What happened? Why am I soaked in water? Gosh! I feel so cold. I hope I won’t catch pneumonia from this.” “You won’t, Treena dear. God won’t allow that.”
“Amen. Er, where’s mum, auntie and my cousins? Or, am I dreaming? Or even dead?” “Hush. Don’t talk of death, Treena. You’re not dead. No-one is dead.” “Okay, where’s my mum? Dad’s in the hospital. I know that. But where’s mum?” “She’s keeping papa company in the hospital. You know how it is between them. They’re so close. You can’t keep them apart. I learnt when she accompanied papa to the hospital, she insisted they give her a bed in the same room as he. So, they’re together there.”
“Oh my God! That means they’re both dead. I can’t bear this. That’s why Joe, Benny, and Dicta are not here too. My parents are both gone! That’s why you said one can’t keep them apart. Oh God! Why have You taken both of them Lord, and at the same time? Why? What am I supposed to do now? Orphaned without any notice! What have I done? Oh Oh………….” I began to wail aloud. Then I felt a sharp slap on the face.
I had no recollection of the above conversation. Tayo supplied the details much later on, when I had become conscious of what was going on around me and I complained that my face hurt. She explained why.
The slap brought me back to my senses, apparently. My wails must have been heard all over the premises because suddenly the room became full with people. My aunt Adeline and two of her children; Joe, Benny and Dicta had heard it as their vehicle was being parked and the rushed inside.
They were all speaking at once; asking what had happened. Tayo explained briefly, and then they all crowded around me, patting my shoulder, giving me hugs, etc., and assuring me that all was well with my parents.
Ever the practical person, Joe decided to get our mum on the phone so that I could speak with her. “Why didn’t I think of that?” Tayo wondered aloud. “Treena’s distress was so much that I lost all sense of reasoning.” “Auntie Tayo,” said Dicta, going to give her an affectionate hug.
“Please don’t blame yourself. It was a good thing that you came with sister and was with her when she fainted. We were actually rushing back from the hospital to be with her as soon as we learnt of the condition of uncle.” “Condition of uncle? What uncle are you talking about, Dicta?” I asked. Before I could get an answer to my question, Joe had got mum on the phone.
“Hello, mum. Are you okay? How’s he right now? Any improvement since we left half an hour ago? I see. Well, we thank God for that. God’s faithful. Things will be fine. Here, mum, please speak to Treena to reassure her that you’re both alive and well. Seb too. No, I haven’t rung up his lady. I’ll do so after you’ve finished speaking with Treena. He’s in God’s care too. Here, Treena. Mum for you.”
I took the cell phone from Joe, but my thoughts were scattered all over the place. Seb? Belinda? Why was that part of Joe’s conversation with mum? I pushed those thoughts aside as my mum’s voice came on. Hey! I’ve never felt such a rush of happiness in my life. Yes, and of relief too.
“Mum, mum,” I wailed like a baby. “Are you alright? Are you sure? How’s my dad?”
“Our collective prayers are working, Treena dear. As soon as your siblings left us here, his eyelids flickered. Oh my God! I almost swooned with joy! I thought I was in a dream. Do you know that I yelled for the nurse to come quickly to witness it. It was the first time that he was showing a sign of being alive in three days. Two nurses and a doctor rushed in. One of the nurses began to cry with relief and soon, I joined.”
“Oh, well done, mum. What a relief. I’’ll see if I can get someone to drive me down tonight. I must see my dad and reassure myself that he’s still alive. No! No, mum. I’m not saying that you won’t tell me the truth about his condition. I’m just anxious; that’s all.” “I know, dear. But relax tonight and come with the others tomorrow morning. I’m here, and by the grace of God, he’’ll get better.
None of us both is ready to quit yet. We still have dreams in our hearts that God will allow us to fulfill.” “Amen, mum. Thank you for all the sacrifice you’re making to see that my dad is not alone there. The hospital bed and atmosphere can’t be comfortable, especially at your age. Besides, mum, you hate being in a hospital for anything. So, this a huge sacrifice you’re making for dad.”
“Well dear, he’ll do the same for me. There’s no way I can allow him to stay in a hospital all by himself. God forbid. Er, by the way, Treena dear, don’t worry about Seb’s condition. He’ll pull through. As we all get older, it’s either one thing or the other. He’ll be alright. Okay, dear, I must ring off now. The nurse has come to turn dad over. Oh, he shivered a little. He’s coming to. Oh! Oh!”
The line went dead and I collapsed into the nearest chair. Benny and Dicta came over to sit on either side of me. “What happened to Seb?” I asked faintly, when I could talk. My heart was racing fast. I began to take deep breaths in order to normalize the beats.
My siblings looked at one another and then at Tayo, who shrugged her shoulders. “I did as Simon suggested. When I told her, she collapsed in a faint. I don’t think she had grasped what I said before she did,” she explained. “What are you talking about, Tayo? We didn’t discuss Seb today.” I told her.
“I told you that he was detained at the hospital when he went there to confirm his appointment which should have taken place tomorrow.” she explained. “It was a lucky thing that he did. He had been trying to get his doctor on telephone, but he couldn’t. So, he and Belinda went there to ensure that the appointment was in order. It was while waiting to be attended to by the receptionist that he began to tremble uncontrollably.
He was rushed to Emergency dept. and a doctor diagnosed pneumonia. He was then detained for observation. Don’t worry, Treena dear. He’ll be alright.” I just sat there feeling numb and dazed, wondering why things were collapsing around me at this particular time in life.
I beckoned to Joe and he came over.
“What should I do? When can I decently leave here and return to go be with Seb? I can’t just leave him in hospital like that.”
Joe scratched his head and cleared his throat. “Er, sis, let’s take this easy and carefully. When I spoke with Seb when the news got to us yesterday, he sounded weak, but was more concerned about our dad, and also how you are taking the whole scene here.
He said I should remind you to have your blood pressure checked when you pay dad a visit at the hospital. He said that even though you don’t have any problem with it, but with the stress of these events, you need to have it checked and be sure. That’s good advice.
In fact, we all – Benny, Dicta and myself – did that at the hospital yesterday evening. You’ll do yours in the morning. Tayo too. I’ve already told her. Now, as for your dashing to London to be with Seb in the hospital, er, I wouldn’t advise that you do that.
The fact is, even though you’re both as close as ever, even closer to some couples who are still married to each other, Seb is engaged to be married to Belinda. We must always remember that. She’s the one who should be at his side in the hospital, helping to make the relevant decisions, and to help care for him. You and the gals have gone to help out in the past, but that wasn’t really right, was it?” I shook my head, to indicate that I agreed with his view.
“But more importantly, sis,” added Benny who had come to join us, “Seb’s children are right there with him in London. They’re very close to him, and are his joy and pride. Not to mention Robert, who’s a great son-in-law. He would appreciate your presence there, no doubt, but it’s best to keep away, at least until a later date. Sis, Seb’s okay.”
“Thanks Benny, but my question is, would Seb keep away if I were hospitalized?” “Sis, God hasn’t allowed you to hospitalized yet, so, let us continue to trust Him to grant you excellent health. You can keep in touch with Seb on a daily basis, via the telephone.”
“Sorry o, everyone,” said Tayo, “pardon my joining in the great debate that Treena is starting. A short cut to the problem is for Treena here to ring up Seb and ask if she should come over to London right now. We all know that he would want her to remain here with the family because of papa’s condition, but he would appreciate the fact that she wanted to be with him over there. How about that?”
“That’s a very sound way out of the problem, Tayo dear.” applauded Joe. Just then the houisekeeper came to announce dinner and we trooped down to the dining room. Given the occasion, I hadn’t thought that I would be able to eat, but I did so ravenously that Tayo came to pat me at the back and tell me to take it easy so that I don’t have indigestion.
“We were digesting the food with wine when mum rang to tell us that dad’s eyes were now open and he recognized her. You should hear the great shout that went up. Later, before I went to bed, I called Seb’s line. I had told myself that if Belinda was up to any of her filthy games and was preventing me from speaking with him, I would throw caution to the wind and thoroughly rain abuses on her. The thought even made anger begin to well up in me.
Luckily, it was Seb who took the call himself. “Treena darling, I was just thinking of you,” he said softly. “How are you coping? I’m sorry Belinda and I couldn’t accompany you and Tayo down to Accra at such short notice because of my appointment with the doctor.
“However, every disappointment is a blessing as I could have fallen ill down there. Can you imagine the embarrassment? I’ve been having this funny feeling in my sides for some time, but I had put it down to lack of exercise. Now, pneumonia has been diagnosed. I’m being treated and I’m feeling better already. But I have to stay here for some time. How are you?”
“I’m fine, Seb. I was so frightened when I learnt that you had been hospitalized. Try to take things easy. Can I come right away? Mum has just told us that dad’s opened his eyes. That’s a great relief. Maybe I can go book a flight and come to you in two days’’ time? I feel better, being on the scene and knowing what’s going on.”
“Oh, that’s sweet of you, Treena dear, but you mustn’t budge from where you are. You must stay until papa is back in the house. I’’m in good hands over here. The children come round, and Belinda is here. Your friend Edmund thinks is his problem that made me ill, so, he’s been staying at reception since I was admitted here. Now, I don’t discourage him from feeling guilty, although he’s not the cause. But that should keep him out of mischief until the problem is fully solved and he can return to Angola. Do you want to speak with him?”
“Seb, do you want me to speak with him? I will, if you give the order.” “I was only joking. I’ll give him your regards, though. He says you’re his sister. That is, a sister he wouldn’t mind kissing.” We had a good laugh over that, and we rang off and I went to bed feeling much happier. God was making things rosier, I expect. Tara.