WORDS almost fail me, for if this column goes according to plan, by the time you read it today I should be back home and peering over your shoulder.
WORDS almost fail me, for if this column goes according to plan, by the time you read it today I should be back home and peering over your shoulder. Over three weeks ago I set off for Johannesburg to have a cancer operation performed. My PSA reading had read a mind blowing 18.2, nearly six times the limit, and waiting around to see what would happen if nothing was done, and done right away, was not an option. Obviously you donâ€™t rush forward to meet your foe of this magnitude with a song on your lips, but otherwise I felt deep within that we had a realistic chance for the fight, and anyway what was the alternative? I have to add that the trauma I faced almost as soon as I arrived at the hospital in Sandton, a wealthy suburb of Johannesburg, has left me with some gaps in my short memory (including names) and that what now follows might not read as a smooth script, but I have checked it for accuracy. The morning of 7April was not straightforward, because to start with it appeared I would not be first under the cut, as I was very keen to be, but perhaps only number three of three from our little group. But all this changed dramatically when the Theatre staff said I should go in. Whether this had any result on what followed will probably never be known, at least by me. But what the urologist surgeon told me later was, â€œThe only thing we can be sure of is that we can not be sure of anything.â€ I go along with this. I am equally sure of something else. The high standard of doctoring, and nursing, in South Africa will take most peopleâ€™s breath away; it certainly did mine. I was at the Sandton Clinic and later at its neighbour, the Morningside Clinic. I had scant knowledge of my condition in the week that followed the operation. At one time it was even thought that I had probably swallowed my own vomit, thus putting my very life in danger. So for about four days I was put on a ventilator, to help to use that rather than my lungs for me to breathe. Then one of the doctors had the idea that my heart had stopped. Use of the angiogram showed that that trusty old organ was being maligned for nothing; it brings a smile to the face. April 13, though, was a very poor day for me. I was later told that I seemed to be floundering badly. Those times when I more or less came to that day, my strongest feeling was that I was part of a forgotten plot far away. But, donâ€™t ask me how, from this lowest of depths I somehow started striking for the surface on the very day. The result was as exhilarating as the earlier down-trend one had been diabolical. Two things I can state without any equivocation. Firstly, the prayers and messages of goodwill from all over the place were unbelievable and must have played a part in my miracle. Second, I always knew I had friends, but how many and how deep, is new knowledge which I am still chewing over. Then a third; looking to the future, where South Africa has led in what we could call the Medical industry, we in Uganda must follow; indeed Africa as a whole must follow. I believe very strongly our continent can soon become Number One in this doctoring and nursing field.
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While all the above was taking place April 25 arrived, meaning I was now 66! You could say I fluked it! Besides, it gave me the chance also to see my host country enjoy its tenth year of independence. You talk to me you are talking to a Nelson Mandela nut. I can equally believe that some exist who want a new approach, away from the sainthood of Madiba. Did he give away too much to the ex-terrorists who had put him away for going on for a third of a century? All this went through my head, as the Great Man came up, â€œheld upâ€ as his people pushed him up, with his Graca slightly behind, who had been First Lady of two important African countries, one of them this very South Africa. I waited for two things to happen, perhaps for the very last times of all. Let someone, big as they come, shout out Madibaâ€™s name, reminding the listeners of whom they were thinking. It never happened. Then what about the sadness of another African reality, the South African figures of one out of three people sick with Aids? Could there be a better time to air this? It did not happen. But Mandela will transcend all this. So we turned round and set off for home. Very nice
to be home.