A Terrible Sickness
A True Story
on May 12, 2023
On the night of last Saturday, I felt some soreness in my throat. The soreness alarmed me that a disease could have been developing in my body. So I prayed that my sore throat would not snowball into a paralyzing disease. And I made a mental note to thank God if I didn't fall sick in the next few days.
But alas! Come Sunday, I became weak and feverish in the afternoon. I had to force myself to bask in the sun for an hour, hoping the sun rays would work magic on my body and restore my energy. The sun rays however didn't help me since I got weaker on Sunday evening after coming from my jogging and walking exercises. To make matters worse, I vomited some of the food I had eaten at lunch time.
I retired to bed on Sunday night feeling as frail as the leaf in autumn's yellow bower. And even though I was thinking clearly as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, I had a minor discomfort in my head that bordered on headache. But I didn't inform my Mum about my sickness because she had enough on her plate with Dad in hospital.
When my phone alarm rang on Monday morning at 5.30am, I was again feeling frail. I lacked the energy to jump out of bed with my usual enthusiasm. After dilly-dallying on whether to wake up or not, I thought it wise to rest my ailing body. And that marked the first time in the past four months when I have failed to get up at 5.30am.
I did wake up at around 8.00am on Monday to have my breakfast. Unfortunately though, I didn't have an appetite for tea and sweet potatoes, one of my favorite dish for breakfast. I just took three or four bites of a sweet potato and then hopped back into bed for more rest.
There seems to be something amiss with me. Since December 2021, I have been catching an illness every few months. And it's an illness with the same symptoms: fever, headache, vomiting, coughing, loss of appetite, and general body weakness. I am wondering if the illness is the dreaded COVID-19 disease. Thankfully, my illness has never landed me in hospital. I have just been recovering after a few days.
Last Monday when I felt most sick due to my usual illness, I stayed in bed the whole day. And I eventually disclosed my sickness to Mum who offered me some Panadol tablets. But I declined to swallow the tablets since I don't like taking medicine. I wanted my body to fight off the sickness naturally. And with a proper diet, I believed it could.
When it reached 4.52pm on Monday evening, I was still feeling weak. I also felt lazy perhaps due to staying in bed the whole day. But I defied the weakness and went jogging to my hometown of Kiserian as it is my habit.
Guess what! As I was jogging while lost in thought, I suddenly lost balance, tumbled on the ground and grazed my left knee. Some passersby were quick enough to say "sorry" to me. I acknowledged their sympathies as I stood up and then continued jogging.
After I stopped jogging and continued with the rest of my trip to Kiserian by walking, I was crestfallen to see blood oozing out on the spot where my falling had grazed my left knee. Damn! My body now had the double whammy of curing my sickness and healing the grazes on my left knee.
I don't know what caused me to suddenly lose balance and fall on the ground while jogging on Monday evening. But I tend to think it was as a result of the body weakness that had made me stay in bed the whole day.
Anyway, I began getting better on Tuesday. My appetite for food returned. And even though I dozed on my desk for a few hours on Tuesday, at least I didn't stay in bed the whole day like I did on Monday.
By Wednesday afternoon, I was my usual happy self again. Upon getting my mojo back, I took a shower and did a general clean-up that included washing my bed-sheets. You see, my Dad once advised me that it's hygienic to wash bed-sheets after recovering from an illness as that helps kill the germs that could have caused the illness.
The sickness I felt for three days was terrible, especially on Monday. Not only did it make me lose balance and fall on the ground, it also interrupted my daily habits. Now that I have recovered from the sickness as I pen this story on Friday morning, I can't thank God enough for my health. Truly, health is the greatest blessing.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about a terrible sickness I had earlier this week, you might also enjoy another one titled "What a Recent Illness Taught Me" that I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Refraining From Exaggerating
A True Story
on May 7, 2023
About five years ago, I came across in our home library an old Newsweek magazine written for teenagers and young adults. The magazine offered advice on how to find mentors and what college applicants should do and not do while applying to American colleges. Unfortunately, I have forgotten much of what I read in the magazine. The little I remember is the magazine advising college applicants not to exaggerate their achievements.
That piece of advice had me reflecting on the applications I made to several top American colleges in the years 2006, 2007 and 2009. For today, I will focus on the applications I submitted in 2007 because that was the year I was properly prepared and motivated to apply to American colleges.
The colleges I applied for admission in 2007 were MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. Applying to those colleges was a rigorous process that entailed filling out forms, writing several essays, sitting for the SAT exams, and getting recommendation letters from three of my high school teachers.
While I avoided plagiarizing other people's writings when I was applying to those American colleges in 2007, I must confess that I did a lot of lying and exaggerating in the materials I submitted for review. Okay, let me tell you more.
In the application forms, I lied that I won a Physics award in senior high school. I told that lie to impress the admission officers that I was excellent in Physics, the subject I wanted to pursue at one of the colleges. And to create the impression that I had potential for leadership, I lied that I had been the chairman of Music and Wildlife clubs in high school.
In the recommendation letters I got from three of my high school teachers, I had one of them mention that I was among the few outstanding students she had ever taught in her long teaching career. If today you asked that teacher who Thuita was, she would most likely not remember me at all. And that goes to tell how her recommendation information was an exaggeration.
Perhaps the parts of my application materials that I told the most lies and exaggerations were the essays I wrote to the colleges. In one long essay, I narrated how I grew up in a remote village in Kenya called Ole Murkuku where I grazed my father's cattle, how I constructed small huts from wild grass while grazing the cattle, and how such creative ventures improved my aptitude for Physics.
The truth is, there is no village in Kenya called Ole Murkuku. Ole Murkuku is just the name of a Maasai man who owns huge tracts of land next to a primary school I attended. And while it is true that I did graze my father's cattle when I was a boy, I never constructed huts from wild grass; it was my immediate elder brother Paddy who did the construction. I just lied and exaggerated the details in the essay.
In another optional long essay, I narrated how, as a small boy in primary school, I would overhear older schoolmates discuss about MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford while on our way home from school, and that from the way they spoke highly of those colleges, they made it sound to me like the colleges were havens for geniuses. Then I added in the essay that "little did I know I would one day apply to those colleges for undergraduate admission".
The truth is, yes, I used to overhear older schoolmates discuss interesting stuff while on our way home from school. But never at any one time did I hear them speak of MIT, Yale, Harvard and Stanford. In fact, with the exception of Harvard, I never got to know of those American colleges till I was in high school at Starehe Boys' Centre.
Come to think of it, I don't know why I had to embellish my application materials to American colleges with lies and exaggerations while I had a number of high school achievements under my belt. Achievements such as giving speeches, playing volleyball, going for hikes, accompanying the whole school on the piano, tutoring hymns to my house choir, participating in the Kenya Music Festival and volunteering to work at the Attorney General's Chambers in Nairobi.
Those high school achievements would have been impressive enough to land me at MIT, Yale, Harvard or Stanford if only I had the eloquence of diction and poetry of imagination to express them in a captivating manner. Surely, there was no need for me to lie and exaggerate in my applications to those elite colleges.
If you are a teenager applying to top-flight colleges in America, I encourage you not to exaggerate your accomplishments because most of the admission officers of the colleges don't suffer fools gladly. They can sense a phony after reviewing several of a student's application materials.
Stanford in particular advises its applicants to resist the urge to sound like a Stanford student since no two Stanford students are the same. They are all different in their abilities and backgrounds. Basically, what Stanford tries to inform its applicants is not to exaggerate anything, a lesson we can all apply in our lives regardless of our age or profession. Adieu!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update two days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "Not Ashamed". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn and listen to it.