Death usually don’t just happen; it’s mostly a long time coming


This reflection was inspired by a friend who had lost a friend. When I inquired of him what was responsible for his friend’s death, he told me that the guy suddenly started gasping for air in the night, and passed on shortly afterwards. I felt sorry for his lose, I silently commended his late friend’s soul to God the Most High, but I had a serious problem with ‘suddenly‘. Yes, inasmuch as suddenly is not impossible; it is not usually applicable when it comes to bodily breakdown.

I come from a country, Nigeria, where people give testimonies in church for not having visited a medical facility in a decade; where all ailments must be malaria, headache or typhoid fever; where one walks up to a pharmacist and demands for this or that drug that one thinks holds the cure to an ailment; where one goes to a doctor, if one decides to, to more of tell the doctor what is wrong with him/her, instead of letting the doctor have his/her way at what he/she does best. Interestingly, the one giving the testimony in church doesn’t know that his/her pastor’s wellness secret is not solely the anointing of the Holy Ghost, but has got to do with both a fully equipped medical facility in the presbytery and visits to India, London or the United States every so often for ‘full’ medical checkups. Ask the Oyedepos, the T.B. Joshuas, the Mbakas, the Edehs, the Adeboyes, the Ogbuelis, the Sulemans, etc., and if they care to say the truth, which I believe they would, they will agree with Homer who wrote in The Odyssey that the gods are not in the habit of doing for man what man must do for himself.

I live in a country, Nigeria, where witches and wizards have their field day menacing the health and safety of the citizenry. Of course, experience has shown that these witches and wizards exist more in our minds than in reality, and that their purported mayhem come more from our fear of them than their actual activity – that is, if they’re even capable of any activity. And when these witches and wizards strike, our first port of call is usually the herbalist homes. With all due respect to the potency of herbs and being in the know that most orthodox medicines are more of herbal extracts than synthetic formula, I wish to categorically state that most of those herbalist homes are not worth stopping by for any reason. They woefully fail as simple as basic hygiene test; their concoctions are more poisonous than medicinal.

Truth be told, the various healing centers do more harm than good. Worse than the herbal healing center is some of the prayer healing centers, where outrageous sums are charged with little or no betterment to show for it. Inasmuch as God’s not dead and reigns supreme over every situation, some of the ministers of those centers are the very ones that would be told I know you not on the last day. At some of these centers, flogging is the recipe for exorcism; ‘holy sex‘ is the cure for barrenness, during which HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases could be translated, etc. To say it lightly, the concoctions administered in both prayer and herbal healing centers can really get people killed. Of course, they only get to show up in hospitals when the deed is done: failing kidneys, bad liver, infected lungs, poisoned blood, terrible eyesight, and what have you.

Furthermore, we must realize that any condition that got one broken down has been a long time coming. This is because the human system is a fortified barracks, with a formidable arsenal to show for it. The immune system is so great that it settles many health challenges without our ever knowing it. In fact, it is so potent that it can expel a baby on the grounds of Rhesus factor; can reject a transplant on the grounds of compatibility; can eat up malaria parasite like yam is eaten with palm oil. The liver on its part does the amazing function of detoxification; the kidney is perfect at what it does; the lungs too. It’s so interesting that each of all paired organs can function to full capacity for as long as we have to live. Pope Francis, for instance, has lived with one lung since he was a boy; that didn’t even stop him from being Pope since the Vatican knew it shouldn’t.

My point is simple:

Death is as unpredictable as it can be sudden, but it’s most times a long time coming.

And so, if we cultivate the habit of keeping track of our medical records, we could avert this story that touches the heart. With facts from these records, and follow up expert medical advice, we can nip some ailments in the bud or manage those ones that have gone offline.

To-do list

1. Visit your doctor if you have one, or get one if you don’t

2. Visit a medical laboratory and get up to date facts on your blood and vital organs

3. Eat healthy, exercise regularly
Develop an obsession for personal and environmental hygiene

4. Ensure you live out all your years; don’t carelessly cut it short