Dad's Heart Surgery
A True Story
on Feb 26, 2023
On Tuesday this week, my Dad went for a medical check-up at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. I wasn't worried in the slightest about anything malignant being found in his aging body. But when he came back home at night, I was a bit apprehensive about the results of his medical check-up. So, before asking him about his doctor's report, I uttered a short prayer while hoping Dad wouldn't say anything terrifying.
Well, all Dad told me was that his doctor had found just a small problem in his heart. He told me so in Kikuyu, our native language that we use to communicate here at home.
Having lived with Dad for some years and known his choice of words, I was worried when he described his heart problem as small. You see, Dad has a habit of describing everything as small even when it is big. When, for instance, I ask him if he has brought a pineapple for us, he usually says "just a small pineapple" even when the pineapple is large.
Therefore, after Dad informed me that his doctor had discovered a small problem in his heart, I had a premonition that he could be talking of a serious heart ailment. And that's what worried me as I retired to bed on Tuesday night. I had to meditate on some of the Bible verses I have memorized. The verses relaxed me to a point of making me sleep soundly and wake up the following morning full of the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Sure enough, my premonition turned out to be right because on Thursday morning, I came across in Dad's room a note written by his doctor who goes by the frightening name of Dr. Murage. The note said that Dad had a severe cerazycardia (whatever that is) which required urgent surgery. (I have said Dr. Murage's name is frightening because in Kikuyu, "Murage" means "kill him!")
Dad was hospitalized at Kenyatta National Hospital on Thursday. I greatly missed him on the night of that day. Home didn't feel like home without him. Fortunately, my spirits were lifted when I phoned him and we had a short cozy chat. He informed me in the course of the chat that he would undergo a heart surgery the following day.
Since the heart is a vital organ (no one can live without it), I was concerned about Dad's impending heart surgery. As I always do these days, I cast my cares to God, asking Him to let everything go well with Dad.
God answered my prayer, for Dad's heart surgery, during which a pace-maker was inserted in his heart, went swimmingly. He was discharged on that same day he had the surgery, something that surprised me. And it was my brother Bob Njinju who drove him back home.
Soon after Dad arrived home, I was full of sympathy for him when I saw his left hand was bandaged. Then when I went back to my desk, I stared at the picture of him above while thinking of all the times I have wronged him, such as when I went astray at the university in JKUAT in 2008. Dad later on told me that all that time I went astray at JKUAT by neither attending classes nor communicating with my family, he was so worried sick about me that he couldn't work.
My Dad is the most humble, mature and responsible man that I know. He always rises before dawn everyday, never carries grudges, always strives to live at peace with everyone and never erupts in anger like me. (Okay, I turned over a new leaf; I haven't had a short fuse in the past three years and I have repented the many times I have wronged Dad.)
What I appreciate most about Dad is the way he has made great sacrifices so that my siblings and I could have a decent education. When I was admitted to a certain nursing home in 2008 after going astray at JKUAT, my eldest brother Joe Kagigite informed me that Dad used to borrow money to pay our school fees.
Dad still plays a large role in my life. He always ensures I have my daily bread and the "Nation" newspaper. And he is such a skilled chef; he cooks the tastiest omelettes and meat stew that I have ever feasted on. (I kid you not). He is also the one who photographs the pictures of me that I share on this blog.
Now that Dad is safely back at home with us, I will honor him in any way I can as the Catholic Bible exhorts me in the book of Sirach. And since we all die in the end, I have asked God not to take him away before I am able to stand on my own two feet through the work I do on this lovely blog of mine. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Dad's heart surgery, you might also enjoy another one on "Part 1: Appreciating Fathers" that I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Inspired By My Fellow Citizens
A True Story
on Feb 21, 2023
Ever since November 2008 after I was discharged from a certain hospital where I had been diagnosed with a mental illness, I have struggled with the emotion of sleep - something I have confessed before on this blog. I have had days when I have slept till as late as 1.00pm. On other days, I have retired to bed as early as 7.00pm and still found it difficult to get out of bed the following morning.
My struggle with sleep made me avoid work that required me to rise early in the morning. In July 2012 for instance, I chose to report in the evening when I was offered a job to teach piano to the family of Mr. Seni Adetu, the then CEO of East African Breweries Limited (EABL). I am sure Mr. Adetu's family thought I reported to their palatial home at 4.00pm because I was busy during the day, but I was actually just too bone-lazy to be available in the morning.
At the beginning of 2015, I challenged myself by seeking employment at a music school in Nairobi called Wynton House of Music. And lo! When I was offered a job as a piano tutor in the school, I found myself struggling with sleep. On some mornings, I would fall into a slumber in the bus while commuting to Wynton. The sweetness of slumber would make me wish the bus ride would go on and on so that I could doze some more.
And I will never forget the morning when I went to teach piano to Wynton clients. That morning, all I felt like doing was nodding off. Unable to keep my eyes open any longer, I texted a message to an acquaintance of mine named Rachel Wacera, asking her what I could do to ward off sleep. Rachel advised me to go for a walk, which I never did.
Even on some days when I didn't have a lesson to teach in the morning, I would still find it hard to get out of bed. Believe me when I tell you that I would roll in bed till noon, dreading the time when I would have to dash to Wynton for an evening lesson. How indolent!
Despite my struggle with sleep, I am proud to say that in the whole one year I taught piano at Wynton, I missed only one lesson. And that was on a morning when I couldn't resist the temptation to stay in between the sheets. When the Wynton receptionist phoned me to inform me that my student was waiting for me, I lied to her that I was feeling out of sorts. I am not sure if she believed my lie but I am glad nobody reproached me for skiving work that morning.
As it happened, I left Wynton House of Music at the beginning of 2016 to venture into blogging, a hobby I have been determined to convert into a job. My work as a blogger has involved travelling to Nairobi to record the videos I post on this blog. While travelling to Nairobi, I have observed that even though most of my fellow citizens don't read as much as I do, they are more hard-working than me. They rise early in the morning to go do such boring jobs as vending newspapers and polishing shoes.
Just last year as I was heading to Nairobi to produce a hymn I had worked on, I spotted an attractive woman named Nancy pushing a wheelbarrow. It was still early in the morning and Nancy was already at work building a waterway next to the road I was treading on. We both exchanged glances but we didn't exchange greetings even though we have known each other for years.
Maybe Nancy thought I was pityng her for doing menial work reserved for uneducated men. But how wrong she was if she was thinking that way! I was actually full of admiration for her because of her willingness to wake up, dress up and show up for work. At least she wasn't stealing from anyone or selling her body in order to get her daily bread.
It is Nancy and other fellow citizens I have seen at work early in the morning who have inspired me to also be waking up early in the morning to labour. For the past four weeks, I have been getting out of bed before dawn to read and meditate. And I have been staying mentally active throughout the day. I intend to keep up with that regimen for the rest of my life, come hell or high water. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on how I have been inspired by my fellow citizens, you might also enjoy another one on "Developing Good Sleeping Habits" that I wrote about four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.