Ageing or getting older is something that I have totally and completely embraced. Perhaps because I have struggled literally all my life with my age; people never believe my age. I remember when I was five years old, and my mother took my to Nursery school for my first day at school. I still remember (and my mum tells this story all the time) the teachers exclaiming when they heard I was five, because I was quite big. They put me in the final class of Nursery, and at 6, I went to primary 1. I was at home playing with Lego and extended family until I was 5. I guess I was lucky because although my mum went back to work when I turned three months, there was no need to put me in a creche or playgroup because we had people around the house.
Anyway, fast forward a few years later, my hair developed sprinkles of grey by 8 years old, so much so that when I see old classmates now, they all still ask what became of the “white hair”. They disappeared by the time I hit 20. very odd; not that I am complaining though. I guess what I am saying is that my age was always in question and I grew up hearing people mumble “that’s not her age”, etc. I am writing this post because I read a piece about a successful Nollywood actress, and as usual, I scrolled down to the comments section. If you ever want to feel the pulse of the people, how mean, how prejudiced, how kind or free spirited, read the comments section of newspapers or blogs. The venom, mostly! Anyway, a lot of people argued that she couldn’t be that age, how she was a liar, how they had watched her films for over 20 years. Did it occur to anyone that she was discovered in her teenage years?
Someone in my family hates birthdays because it means getting older, but as I always say every year to their annoyance, what’s life if we do not age? Ageing means we have another chance to be happier, to get it right, to be more fulfilled and to accomplish that for which we are journeying through life. Age is nothing but a number, we are lucky to be living at a time when lifestyle changes and advancement in science mean prolonged life expectancy and a chance to look well. Consider how amazing people like Michelle Obama, Funmi Iyanda, and Maxine Johnson look; all redefining ageing. I am thoroughly enjoying my 30s, and already imagining how accomplished and exciting my 40s will be, the fact that it won’t be until a good number of years, notwithstanding.
Invariably, I do not think it is only about the physical, but also about one’s mental and spiritual well being. I choose to embrace ageing, it’s much ado about nothing.
The man who trekked from trekked from Lagos to Abuja in honour of Buhari’s victory at the 2015 presidential election, Suleiman Hashimu, finally met with Buhari on April 24th. He e night there.I spent 18 days from Lagos to Abuja.
He said he made this promise and decided to keep it. He trekked from 6am to 6pm daily and spent the night in the nearest village he could find. Apparently, people were very kind and welcoming. He said from Kwara state, he had company for almost every five kilometres that he trekked.
Let us see how this unfolds, hopefully the Lucozade and other energy drinks endorsements work out. This is quite heartwarming. He will make a great poster for energy and fitness.
An update on the Ondo killer disease which has claimed 18 lives since April 15, 2014, has now been attributed to pesticides. According to a tweet by WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, the “current hypothesis is cause of the event is herbicides”.
Herbicides are used to kill unwanted plants or weeds and may have been used in some parts of Irele.
He also added that tests which had been done in the last few days were negative for viral and bacterial infection. The tests were carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the WHO said. The disease attacks the central nervous system with symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, loss of sight, loss of consciousness and kills the patient within 24 hours.
The Ondo State Commissioner of Health Dr. Dayo Adeyanju confirmed that those affected began to show symptoms between 13-15 April. There are 20 recorded cases, 18 have died.
Yesterday this post went up detailing the vague information known about the unknown rapid killer disease in Irele Ondo State Nigeria. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson Gregory Hartl who spoke to the AFP, the disease attacks the central nervous system with symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, loss of sight, loss of consciousness and kills the patient within 24 hrs.
The Ondo State Commissioner of Health Dr. Dayo Adeyanju confirmed that those affected began to show symptoms between 13-15 April. There are 20 recorded cases, 17 have died and the 3 living have been contacted and detailed history taken, but they have not been quarantined. Local health officials and the WHO are now in Irele to try to identify this disease. There have been no reported cases in the last 17 hours. According to a press release by the the state ministry of health, the following steps have been taken:
1. Contact Tracing Committee – the committee is already tracing and establishing contacts with those already exposed to patients or dead bodies and monitoring them for possible manifestation of any of the symptoms.
2. Case Management Committee – this is made up of health personnel and volunteers already trained to attend to medical emergencies of this nature, they are to ensure safe and proper management of new and existing cases of the illness. They are required to also train health workers in Irele.
3. Laboratory/Forensic Committee – to establish the etiological/causative agent for the strange illness and ensure safe disposal of corpses.
4. Community Education & Mobilization Committee – intensify mass education and sensitization of the community and the state in a way that will not constitute public health hazard.
5. Print, Electronic & Social Media Sensitization Committee – to make progress report of unfolding developments available in a timely manner to the world to dispel rumours that may lead to widespread panic and fear.
These and other measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of lives of our dear people of Irele. Let us continue to exercise calm and caution and eschew fear mongering as there is manifest evidence that the situation is being contained.
In case of any suspected case, please contact: WHO 08033720966, LGA DSNO – 08112524793 and the Ondo State Epidemiologist – 08062078384
When the Ebola outbreak began in March 2014, the response of individual countries was slow. The World Health Organisation was criticised for its slow response in championing the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD). Over one year later, ebola no longer makes headlines, Nigeria did a brilliant job at dealing with the spread of the virus within Nigeria, with 12 survivors out of the 20 seen in the country. We no longer see ebola inspired fear videos such as the one below.
However, there seems to be a new outbreak, and it is not cholera (although we have seen cholera outbreaks in Ebonyi state and the state seems to be doing its best to control it). The scary new disease is one which has no name and has seen conflicting reports in the media. A new disease has been noticed in Irele in Ondo state of Nigeria and is said to have stunned the doctors who have no clue what it is. All affected patients have presented with symptoms that include breaking out in hives and rashes, very elevated blood pressure, momentary blindness and swelling of body parts (Sahara Reporters, 2015).
17 have now died as new cases continue to emerge. Tests at LUTH have not revealed what has caused these symptoms and the subsequent deaths. The pervading story is that the symptoms are linked to a seed which was consumed by the patients. Others have said that they are linked to a corpse which is said to have been exhumed.
The Governor of Ondo State has released a statement as follows:
The statement reads: “My dear good people of Ondo State, We have witnessed in the last few days a major health challenge.
“A yet to be named ailment whose causative agents, diagnosis and cure are also yet to be determined struck in locations in Irele Local Government Area of our State, killing 17 people and stoking panic and fear.
“I am, like you, saddened by this losses and the attendant fear of what looks like an epidemic.
“I can only bring words of consolation to the families of the deceased and words of comfort and assurances to the good people of our dear state.
“Our prayer at this hour is that God grants rest to the dead and fortitude to the living.
“Fellow citizens, we have, as a government, taken all necessary and available actions to respond to this health crisis.
“Amidst conflicting and confusing information, the investigating team of experts sent by government to the area gathered that all the casualties died within hours of affliction. In all, 17 deaths have been confirmed in Ayadi Community and Ode Irele township and all the deaths were preceded by symptoms of sudden blurred vision, headache and loss of consciousness.
“It must be said that the team was despatched to the communities affected and the General Hospital as well as other health facilities, to gather needed information about the nature, scope and circumstances of the outbreak. Key informants interview, hospital record search and patient interview were used to obtain information.
“I must state that the symptoms in this situation are not peculiar to any known epidemic and so have remained largely confounding.
“Specifically, it must be stressed, the symptoms observed in the two communities of Ayadi and Ode Irele bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).”
Gov Olusegun Mimiko has issued a statement attempting to allay the fears of the people, but it does not say too much about what is being done. He goes on to state that this is not Ebola. Should this make people less worried or more worried? Atleast with Ebola, Nigeria now has experience in dealing with it. This new disease is very disturbing, especially since the people of the affected communities are said to believe that the disease is a punishment from the gods for desecrating the shrine.
All women have now been mandated to fetch buckets of water and pour at the site for cleansing. Will the men not join in fetching the water too?
The Federal Ministry of Health and perhaps the WHO need to move in to deal with what is clearly an epidemic, we can’t be having this kind of silliness in this day and age in a country as populous (imagine the potential for swelling numbers of new infections) and wealthy (we can afford the cost of protocols to control and check this) as Nigeria. The statement from Gov Mimiko says there is investigation ongoing, but what are we doing with the infections and the people they have come in contact with and all that protocol?
This has cost more lives in Nigeria already than Ebola. Hopefully it is dealt with swiftly.
So this is the third month in the year. I woke up this morning and finally decided to check my weight on the scale in the bathroom which has taunted me since all that Christmas chocolate and pudding. I am sure that I am not alone in this. Over the holdiays, I ate a shocking amount of chocolate, none of which I bought myself. You see, people think that the best way to share their joy and holiday spirit is by gifting the office or the house share with chocolates. To be fair to them, nobody asked me to indulge, but there’s something about a pack of ferrero Rocher.
There is no such thing as self control when I see a packet of celebrations containing pure goodness, otherwise known as snickers. Anyway, I ate a whole lot of those, as well as many many Nutella pancakes and crepes at the Christmas bazaars in London and Bristol. Life was good! Then my birthday and valentine’s day arrived in January and February respectively; and I indulged some more. All thanks to the wonderful friends, house mates and classmates who insist on spreading the chocolatey love. Fast forward two weeks later, I climbed on the scale and I was sorry!
To be honest, I was not too surprised because my butt had taken on a slightly fuller appearance in the mirror and in my jeans. In addition, my midriff was also showing signs of the old muffin-ness. Thus I embarked upon my quest to lose 1kg or 2.2 pounds and to tone up as well. This morning, I got on that scale and I had lost 2kg (4.4 pounds) in one month. I am so excited, and I really did not do too much, except be regimented and disciplined, but I wasn’t starving myself. Below is what I did for anyone’s who is interested in trying:
1. I banished all the bad stuff from my kitchen. stocked up on small sized apples, small banana fingers, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, bell peppers, okro, spinach, onions, frozen peas, frozen mushrooms, fish, chicken breasts, eggs, beans, beans flour, unripe plantain, sweet potatoes, oats, unsweetened almond milk, ginger and lemon tea, peppermint tea (all caffeine free).
2. I made a weekly menu which I shall share below.
3. I found my favourite series and had them ready to play daily for my exercise sessions, 30 minutes per episode.
4. I began to jog on the spot in front of the TV every single morning or evening (depending on what was going on in my day) for 30 minutes while watching my beloved series. No exercise, no series, it was my reward for looking after my body and myself.
5. I made my meals a few days in advance and put them in the fridge inside portion control plastic containers. In addition, everyday before going out, I sliced about 3 or 4 carrots and put in a zip log bag, this constituted my snacking. I also took my teabags with me as I cut out all that milky tea drinking and just stuck with my yummy flavoured tea.
6. I did not go out to parties or with friends as much during this time.
7. I tried to eat dinner before 7pm daily and went to bed early if I was feeling peckish.
8. I made a diary of what I ate so that I could review in the event that I ate too much on a particular day.
9. I had music in the background if I did not feel like watching the series while I exercised.
10. I stayed away from the scale for a month. I drank lots of water and caffeine free flavoured tea. I at mostly lean protein, legumes, egg whites. I cut out eba, pounded yam, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, sweets, cookies,etc
Oats with some almond milk, a small banana
Chicken salad drizzled with olive oil and black pepper
Roasted, boiled or grilled chicken breast on a bed of tomatoes and lettuce
1 boiled egg with cooked mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
Homemade stir fry (with only half a teaspoon of oil oil) of mostly diced chicken breast, onions, mushrooms and peas and 1 serving spoon of beans
A fish fillet grilled with garlic served on a bed of rockets or any veggies you have
Oats, unsweetened almond milk and banana
½ sweet potato used to make a salad. No dressing, just olive oil, vinegar and black pepper
A small bowl of Okro soup made with skinless chicken and half a teaspoon of palm oil
1 grilled sausage with tomatoes and mushrooms
A small tin of moi-moi made with olive oil
½ a grapefruit
Stir fry made with a serving spoon of chickpeas and a lot of peas, tomatoes, mushrooms
Tuna salad with lettuce and healthy dressing
Oats, banana and unsweetened almond
Mushrooms and ham soup
Grilled Chicken breast marinated in garlic with veggies
Mashed sweet potatoes and grilled fish with a side of peas and carrots
½ unripe Plantain roasted in the oven and eaten with spinach tomatoes stew or spinach curry
I varied my menu every now and then for the four weeks. I also controlled my portions to 3/4 of my fist. I snacked twice in the day; mid morning, and mid-evening. My snacks were usually 1 apple, or 1 pear, or 1 carrot, or 10 raw almonds. I had a few treat days where I saw a movie with a small pack of popcorn, or had pancakes for breakfast. But for the most part, I stuck to what you see above. I am so psyched and plan to continue. I never felt tired or hungry because the meals are quite balanced; proteins, veggies, fruits, carbs (from potatoes, plaintain, veggies and fruits). I will carry on for another month and see how it goes. Fingers crossed I can persevere for another month, and then change a few things and make it a lifestyle. Have you had the same dilemma as me over the holidays?
Last week, I made another trip to the hospital! A visit in a series of visits that have come to torment me. Another friend, another diagnosis, another wave of helplessness crashing into already existing feelings of restlessness. My 30s have come with a certain awareness, where I am now comfortable in my own skin, yet I have a yearning for a certain “Je ne sais quoi”. Those feelings aside, I walked up the stairs to the ward where he lay; a strong wave of antiseptic and fried plantains hit me. I do not know if I can eat fried plantains anytime soon. His eyes were closed, his stomach swollen, his skin sallow. Another victim of kidney wahala; three dialysis sessions have now been done with a fourth being planned and donations made by “friends” as health insurance does not cover renal problems. How clever! We smiled and chatted a bit of this, a bit of that. We prayed, I wished him well from the bottom of my being. Hardly enough.
As I drove home, I saw T in my mind’s eye, laughing at me and my worrying. I called him, dreading it, knowing that we would fight, the cold type where no one said any angry words. Knowing I could never tell him the depth of my worry, knowing i could not share all that I was feeling.
“How far? I just visited someone in hospital…just go and have that cough checked out…cut down on red meat and alcohol. Try to lose some weight…blood pressure and kidney functions.” I muttered, embarrassed, but also sad at my embarrassment and fears and inability to say it all.