The High Blood Pressure Story
Story by Olugbenga Adekunte Akapo
On the 17th of October 2019, I decided to quit my paid employment for Life threatening reasons. I eventually left without a penny on the 19th of October, 2019.
I left my job just 23 days after we had our son, Seyitan.
Nothing to fall back on
By then, I was owed 4 months of unpaid salary and 25 months of unpaid pension… this has NOT been paid till date!
Unfortunately for the situation, I’ve been away for too long and I had to start all over for a fresh life in Lagos. In the construction industry, if you are gone for a year, you may lose your clients. In my own situation, I was away for almost 3 years so, it is almost like joining from the queue again.
By the following month, I converted my car for e-hailing purpose just to meet up with some bills and not be idle… aponle ni e-hailing, I was driving Uber and “Taxify” (Bolt) jare. Upgraded Cab Driver.
Sometimes, I will leave my house 7am and won’t return till 1am in the midnight. I might be stuck in Ajah or Sangotedo till 2am at times and all prospective rides will be within that axis.
I live somewhere around Ikosi which is over 50km from my house. Who will drive about 50km down home in the traffic withoutmaking money? Not me sha, I’ll work till I’m tired or the road is free. I had little or no rest, nothing.
The car was mine but i was working like I was on “hired purchase”. I work 7 days a week. I am only off when I have a family engagement that I can not avoid.
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It was so crazy I left my wife on the 1st of January 2020 to hit the road. I was on the bed when I checked my app. I saw there was “surge” everywhere. Surge means there are more passengers than the vehicles and fares are almost doubled. Sometimes, it is trippled on Uber. I needed to make money so, I left the house about 2pm.
Indeed, it was a “good day”. I worked for about 7 hours and I made N23,000 gross. Net of that was about N15,000 when commission and running costs were deducted.
Few days to the start of 2020, I started feeling weak and I told Wifey. She knew and I also knew I was tired. She asked if I had savings from the hustle. I could not open up that I had saved nothing tangible. I just found a way to cover up.
She told me we needed to go for a “vacation” even if it was “local”. At all, at all, nah him bad. We decided to go to Badagry as a family to “enjoy” ourselves even if it was for 3 days. We convinced ourselves that we are going back to where our love life started.
We actually started our relationship in Badagry so, we went there with the kids this time.
We spent 3 days at Badagry and on our way back from Badagry, Wifey asked “Adeoba, what are your plans are for the year 2020”?
She is Chartered Human Resource Manager, you can imagine how they reason and ask their “wicked questions” that will make you look stupid. I responded, nothing.
Till date, it is still one of the toughest questions I’ve been asked
We got home and I summoned the courage to tell her I will continue with the Uber work.
This was the 2nd week of January 2020 and kids resumed school.
I was really trying my best to make ends meet but didn’t monitor my health for a second.
Sometimes in February 2020, she asked that we go for vacation in Dubai as her friend was celebrating her birthday, I turned her down. Somehow the “family” could afford it but I asked myself if I will still be driving Uber when I return to Nigeria… I just told her “Uber is Bae”.
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She went there with our son and I stayed back for almost a week. I thought to myself “from Dubai vacation back to Uber? Olorunmaje”.
February 2020, COVID happened and the signs started showing. On God noni gbogbo e jare. I didn’t stop driving even though I was feeling weak already.
At the end of March 2020, there was lock down in Lagos and some other parts of Nigeria due to the spread of COVID, I was badly affected.
Nothing much on me, nothing much on Wifey as we had little savings or nothing left on us.
As for me, I was ZERO.
Thankfully, President Buhari “opened us” in May after the lockdown only for me to discover I was owing Bolt some money. As a result, I was not getting rides for 2 days. I pulled it through but we had limited time to work.
June 2020, I was driving with a customer in my car and I started feeling dizzy. I had this habit of having pain killers in the car always and I always use it with energy drinks. This is to give me “double recovery”. Don’t crucify me yet, like I wrote, I “had”.
It felt like I was weak so, I took the pills with a bottle of energy drink and dropped my customer that day. I continued working till I returned home in the evening.
The next day, I could not move but I still hit the road to make money. When the situation got worse, I decided to drive to the hospital but my health failed me big time. I had to call my mechanic to meet up with me midway and he drove me to the Hospital that day.
I was diagnosed and they started asking questions related to High Blood Pressure. I told them casually, “it is in the Family history”.
I remember the Physician telling me “we can’t confirm yet but it seems you have normal blood pressure, we will observe you for now”
As a result, I spent 3 days (2 nights) at the Hospital. I was discharged afterwards.
The consultant wrote in my file that I should check back in a week’s time BUT the doctor on duty who discharged me didn’t tell me I was to check back at the Hospital. The hospital wanted to confirm my status and subsequently commence treatment on High Blood Pressure.
Immediately I got home, I went back to my Uber work and continued my hustle.
My favourite hubby till date is driving so, it was not an issue for me at all.
I was not taking precaution in any form and was driving at least 16 to 18 hours a day. I am not exaggerating here. I leave the house around 7am and I don’t return till midnight.
No Saturday, no Sunday. Always on the road.
On the 9th of September 2020, I was driving on 3rd Mainland Bridge and my right leg felt so heavy. I could not lift it to apply brakes. I also noticed my right arm was somehow numb and I could not move it.
Luckily for me, the road was free and my passenger didn’t notice it. It was an attack and I didn’t know. Some minutes after, I was back to myself. I dropped the passenger and I made my way home.
I got home shivering, having headache, body temperature was so high, I had no appetite whatsoever, I was just there. The next morning, 10th September 2020, I could not move from the bed. I forced myself to bathe and I walked to my car to drive to the Hospital.
Nah lie, dem no born me make I try am. I was by my car for a long time and could not do anything. I ended up requesting for a ride on Bolt. Uber driver hailing a ride on Bolt 😂
The bolt driver asked me to get down from his car as he was scared. He didn’t want me to die in his car but I assured him that I was fine.
He sped to the Hospital and I made my way in. With the last strength in me, I walked into the Hospital.
With the fear of COVID, Nurses were careful as I had the symptoms so, I was attended tonwith caution.
A doctor came around to check me and that was when they discovered I was having STROKE!!! Stroke bawo? I am in my 30s o.
At this point, I could not move any part on the right side of my body. I could barely talk or move anymore. I was told to smile, raise my hands, legs etc but I couldn’t do that on my right side of the body. Even my phone was not responding to my right hand fingerprint AT ALL
I told the Nurse attending to me to call my wife but she could not open my phone. I told her to get a pen to record my password so as to have access to my phone just in case.
That was how my few days journey to the use of a wheel chair started
I was administered drips, took injections and the right side of my body was continuously massaged just to give it a kind of Life. I knew I was in trouble when I could not hold my penis to urinate. A nurse actually held it for me for over 3 minutes before I could do that.
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At this point, my strength was GONE!
A senior consultant came around and went through my file. He asked why I didn’t report for check up as advised since there was suspicion of High Blood Pressure.
That was when I knew the doctor who discharged me 3 months earlier didn’t tell me to come back for routine check up and subsequent treatment. Human error
Throughout the night, I could not sleep, I could not be sedated as they were so careful with my Blood Pressure Symptoms.
I had “crossed over” already and the prayer was for me not to die… hopes were getting lost already.
Wifey came in the evening and she could not even recognise me. I was so weak.
2 days after, I recovered “miraculously” and asked to go home. Hospital was “boring” to me. I was discharged but was told to return within a few days since I insisted.
The recovery was miraculous, I didn’t know my blood pressure was “whining” me.
Less that 3 hours into getting home, it felt like I was burning alive, body was hot, head was banging and could not move.
First thing I did was to skin my hair. I shaved hair on every part of my body.
The picture I posted as my PP where I had a skin cut some weeks back was actually last year. It was in the middle of my health challenge. That night, I cried all through as I was writhing pains
The next morning (about 12 hours after I was discharged), I was driven driven the Hospital again. I could not even walk again. It was a nurse who was resuming duty who saw that I was collapsing as I stepped out of the car.
That was the last thing I remembered on that day.
I learnt I was taken in on a stretcher with emergency needs and attention.
My blood pressure chart reading was at its peak and I could not do anything at this point. It was confirmed that I had High Blood Pressure.
Many thanks to God and Health Insurance, I would have been gone. Few days after, I recovered slightly and I requested to see my Wife and kids. In my mind, I was dead and gone so, I wanted to spend the last moments of my Life with my Kids and wife. I was on wheelchair and could not walk at all.
I asked that my kids be brought but they must not meet me on wheelchair. I didn’t want them to know what I was going through.
They came around, I hugged them, played with them and immediately they left, I “passed out”.
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Need I say I was not moving anymore? I was aided to do everything by the Nurse.
All of these, I didn’t let them tell my parents as my Dad is old, my mom was not feeling fine too.
I was on admission for 8 days.
The beauty of a praying wife. While being weak and not so conscious, I heard my wife crying and praying that nothing must happen to her husband. She was telling God that she didn’t ask to be a widow and that I must not die.
Earlier when my kids came around, I had taken pictures with my daughter, Kanyinsola (in my mind, last picture) but I was not allowed to take with others. The Nurse knew what I was doing.
She stopped me from taking more pictures and told me point blank “Mr. Adekunte-Akapo, you are going no where, you will raise this kids with your wife.”
When I heard Wifey’s prayers, I genuinely prayed for the first time in my Life that God should forgive me so as to make heaven. In my mind, I was not going to make it. I had lost hope entirely
When things got worse, I was booked for a MRI or whatever it is called. I didn’t know how I got into the ambulance till I was brought out at the Diagnostic centre. Sickness is terrible o.
I was on the stretcher throughout the journey and procedure…
Alas, NOTHING WAS SEEN.
It was the high HBP that knocked me off
Long story short, my Health Insurance Company was contacted that I needed to go through some tests and take certain treatments, I was informed my package does not cover it.
Another phase of wahala. At this point, all Wifey wanted was for Adeoba her husband to survive.
When it was not getting any better, I was left alone in the entire room and I asked to see everyone close to me. I asked to see my Dad, my sisters, my wife, my kids and a host of friends…
I wanted to take memories of then as the last. I didn’t want to see my Mom. If she heard I was admitted or she saw me, she will most likely not survive it.
My Dad came around and he could not hold back his tears. I heard him say “God, I have lost 2 kids, I am not losing any again. If what you want is Adekunte’s Life, please take mine instead amd let him live”.
All these, I heard faintly and I told my Dad, pray for me in the “Traditional way”. Don’t ask me what it means o, omo Oba saa ni wa ni ile wa. I am from a Royal Family. He did this and he left.
After my Dad left, another physician came and he told the team of doctors (yes, I was attended to by a team) that they could see traces of malaria in me, maybe they should treat it.
After much deliberation, they agreed to treat the Malaria
That was the beginning of my healness… very funny. I was treated for malaria after my High Blood Pressure status was confirmed and that was how I was a bit okay. That was when I gained some of my strength but the BP has not come down ever since.
Today, I am hypertensive, I can barely walk 500 metres without breathing heavily. I am so lazy in all aspects that I so much thread with caution.
I am placed on medications “permanently” as I need to use them regularly to survive and live a good life.
I remember I signed off a cumulative bill of about N400,000 when I was leaving the Hospital after 10 days. The figure is not inclusive of the money we had to pay for the ambulance, the diagnosis I ran outside the Hospital and other things.
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I walked back into my house with less than N10,000 in my account when I was discharged from the Hospital.
Wifey spent 7 days with me at the Hospital, she almost missed one of her professional exams which she failed as a result.
I came back broke, jobless and idle at the end of the day. 10 months to show for “nothing”. Till date, I have a “crazy diet” as there are things I am not supposed to eat anymore in my Life. I am now very very “expensive” to maintain when it comes to my health and lifestyle
Are you asking about Uber and Bolt? That was the end of Uber and Bolt in my Life.
As I left the Hospital to come home, Wifey told me clearly “ADEOBA, YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK TO THAT YOUR UBER”.
That was the beginning of my health and financial recovery as most of the clients I had lost touch with started calling me after I had decided to leave Uber/Bolt. How it happened, I do not know till date.
I say a big thank you to God Almighty that I am alive to tell my story on the day that should have been the 1st year anniversary of my death.
Yesterday, I filled the forms for my 2 year old son’s admission to start his academic Life and I remember this story. I can’t even explain how I’ve been in the past few days with all the thoughts running through my mind.
It can only be God as I had the rare privilege of having that “undeserved” second chance.
As I do say, “My Wife, My Life”
Thank you for everything Oluwatoyin Elizabeth Adekunte-Akapo…
You are the definition of a Virtuous Woman.
I love you so much Baby Girl
To everyone who was there, I say a big thank you.
To those who read till this point, My God be with you.
This is NOT fiction, this is my true Life Story.
My name is Oluwagbemiga Adekuniteoba Akapo. Indeed, I am The Definition of Grace.
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