I need to go to the village fast and I am hoping for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions as soon as possible because I need to see my mother. A few weeks ago, I received a call from our neighbour that my mother had collapsed at home. They rushed her to the local dispensary and a few days later I got an all-clear from the doctor that she was now home. A few days later, I called her but I noticed that she was slurring on the phone and some of her phrases were not making sense. I was feeling quite stressed about it because no one seemed to have an accurate analysis of the situation and of what needs to be done.
I called my younger brother Paul ( the one with a drinking problem) and asked him, “ Please advise me on mum’s health, I am worried.” He sounded drunk and said, “ Right now I am in the market and have no bus fare. If you send me bus fare, I can head home and check on her.”
I had my misgivings about this approach but I did not have many options since my father lost his phone and has been unable to replace it. I asked him, “ how much do you need?” He said, “ Five hundred bob should be fine.” I felt that figure was high and told him, “ But surely a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) cannot be that expensive.” He laughed and said, “ Don’t you know that boda bodas have raised prices post Covid?” I realised that arguing with him was not going to be beneficial since I needed his help. So I told him, “ I will send you the money and call you back in the next two hours.”
The next two hours were hard for me as I spent time on Google looking for possible explanations for slurred speech.
The possible explanations even added to my anxiety- might my mother have suffered from a stroke, what if she suffered permanent damage? Exactly two hours later, I called Paul hoping to get an update from him . His phone went unanswered and I started fearing the worst- maybe he had used the money I sent him for booze. I kept calling him every five minutes but his phone went unanswered. Two hours later, I got a message off his phone that “mteja hapatikani.”
I was seething inside, but realised that focusing on my brother’s actions would not do me any good. The only other way to sort this out was to find a way of getting an accurate assessment of my mother’s health. After a while, I figured out that perhaps the parish priest might be able to help me. I realised that I had saved his contacts from the last time I attended a church harambee in the village. Thankfully, he answered my phone on the second ring and did not seem to have trouble recognising both me and my mother. I explained to him by predicament and he said, ” Of course I understand, give me an hour and I will get back to you.”
While waiting for the priest to call back, I kept calling my brother just in case he had seen the folly of his ways to no avail.
The priest called me back in less than an hour and said, “ Young man you need to come home.” I was in shock as he continued, “ I think your mother is way worse than you think and she needs specialised medical care. You need to get here as fast as possible.” He then gave me an overview of my mother’s condition.
“She is having trouble speaking and it seems she has not eaten in a while.” This hit me hard as I asked, “ But surely, isn’t there someone at home with her?” The priest said, “ I saw no signs of anyone including your father.” I thanked the priest most profusely and hang up. Now I need to find a way to go the village as soon as possible.
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