When was the last time you had a headache? I had one yesterday and it was quite the nuisance, I tell you.
It’s been years since I had to rely on anyone to get me any drug to take though so I decided to wait it out, unlike the real pounder I had last 2 weeks. Nothing I tried worked – I drank some water, slept, and woke up with it still pulsating. I ended up taking a painkiller to end it and after an hour or so, it actually dissipated and I could get back to season 3 of ‘The Last Ship’ again. 😀
What occurred to me later was actually the utility of an ‘old’ painkiller – Paracetamol. I hated it with a passion when I was much younger because I hadn’t fully managed to wrap my head around how to swallow a bitter pill without actually tasting it – and boy was that taste Vile!
Years later, before medical school, like the typical Ghanaian, I’d developed a subconscious ‘disrespect‘ that bordered on scorn for that pill! Whenever I’d contract malaria or some other illness with associated pain, I’d mentally shake my head at the lack of smarts of the prescribing doctor in adding Paracetamol to my drugs.
Didn’t he know that it was so common that I didn’t even need a prescription to get it at any drugstore just around the corner? Of all the drugs a medical school education had exposed him to in all those years, couldn’t he select one with an impressive-sounding name and pedigree?
I disrespected Paracetamol with all my heart and mind until I started my rotation as a doctor in Child Health after school. Now, an elevated temperature in a child is far more serious than if it were to occur in an adult and so just a ‘simple‘ fever in a toddler can cause a seizure, potentially resulting in brain damage! (Yeah, serious stuff) The best way to manage the condition is to treat what is causing the child to get ill – malaria, pneumonia, whatever infection it may be – in order for the child to get better. In theory, that should be all you need but because it takes some time for the effect of the antibiotic to kick in, the danger is still present and real. But, guess which drug is certified to not just ease pain but also reduce a fever? Yep, you guessed right – Paracetamol!
The same scorned and disrespected drug is certified to swoop in and save the day, especially when there is a gross scarcity of other drugs to do the same thing in our setting. My respect for Paracetamol was rekindled even brighter than ever from that first day when we administered it and in minutes to a few hours, this toddler’s temperature was under control again and she’d started responding to her mother calling her, etc.
I was actually reminded of this phenomenon some weeks ago in church when the pastor was preaching about how we get too comfortable with certain things and then, as a result, we lose the ability to take them seriously, possibly leading to the loss of something else essential down the line.
It struck me as ironic the manner in which we take so many things for granted in life just because they are given freely; air, sunlight, family, friends, health, salvation…just like ‘simple’ Paracetamol.
We might have once acknowledged the essential nature of these things but it becomes only too easy to forget the cost they at times come at and after a while, the natural human response is to start taking whatever it is for granted.
Remember how you felt when you first started going out with your wife? It probably was the best thing to happen to you since freshly baked meatpie and your heart skipped several beats whenever you saw her number – saved ‘Sweetheart!’ – on your phone calling you. You never showed up at her door without a small gift behind your back. You could never be too busy for her. She was your Priority #1, 24/7.
The question you should be asking yourself honestly now is what has changed so much that her melodious voice of old grates on your nerves now?? You take her for granted just 3 years into marriage because you’ve seen her makeup-less so many times – and in a hairnet too – that you’ve convinced yourself that that nyati nyati girl whose WhatsApp messages you take in the bathroom after 11pm, who only asks you for credit (for now) and whose risqué jokes titillate you is somehow of a more superior breed than your divinely-sanctioned wife now, right?
Or maybe when you cast your mind back to the handsome young man who used to whisk you around town at your beck and call, who used to make sure the roommates also never lacked, who used to call your mom once or twice monthly to say hi, you start to wonder how he’s disappeared into this man who’s perpetually tired from work and the MBA course at GIMPA…
You seem to have forgotten how he’s having to support another sibling now his father has passed away and he may be facing retrenchment due to downsizing at his brokerage firm if he doesn’t make himself a greater asset with better qualifications. He comes home late and your only concern is that he didn’t call you early so you are fuming in silence as he tiptoes in at 10pm, sending up silent prayers to his God to calm the wildebeest in you tonight.
My point is that it’s oh so easy to forget that Time, Chance and Life occurs to everyone, at every time. In light of this, however, there’s a Twi proverb I love that goes like: nea yenim no awia no, yɛnnsɔ kanea nhwɛ n’anim anadwo – to wit, ‘one does not have to light a lantern in the night to recognise the face of he who one already knew in the afternoon’. Don’t Lose Faith In Your Person.
When the going gets tough – as it inevitably gets in all relationships – it becomes even more critical that you hold fast to the original Conviction you had concerning your Significant Other; that they were – and therefore are – the very best that you could have chosen for yourself, any day. People do change, true, but the beautiful thing about having your steps Ordered by Someone who knows the end from the beginning is that He packages what you don’t as yet know that you will need Tomorrow into who or what He leads you to Today!
It will be difficult, uncomfortable, and even painful at times, but you should rest assured that what was good for you Yesterday, will be good for you Tomorrow.