Before I decided to study in the US, I was aware that I was going to a new environment, without most of my family with me. Granted, I was here with my brother, but he was going to be two hours away from me. I knew I was going into a completely different environment and needed to adjust and take care of myself. Back in Ghana, my family who would drop everything to take care of me, but here in the US, it was just me. I needed to be very conscious of my health, especially with the change in seasons.
My first year was great, no wahala! I adjusted to the different changes and experiences and I was and still am, having a great time, by the grace of God. I made sure I ate well, took my medication (sometimes) and ensured that I was well covered during the cold season. It was in my third year that I had a major crisis. Major, because this was one that required hospitalization, because I had experienced minor ones over the last three years, but I had been able to take care of them at home.
On this particular fine, bright sunny Sunday, I was at home, minding my own business and trying to get some homework done. My roommate and my good self were busy working on our school work in our rooms. Then I felt it. Pain in my leg. It was mild so I thought I could deal with it, so I lay down quietly. Normally, when I feel this kind of pain, I just stop everything I am doing and just lie down. I was in bed for about 30 minutes, praying and hoping that it would go away, all I kept saying was, “God, I beg, not today.”
An hour later, it was still there, in fact, it had become worse so I was limping just a bit. I went to get some pain killers from our medicine cabinet and that was when my roommate saw me and asked if I was okay, I said “yes, just a minor crisis, but i will be okay.” Well, so I thought. As I was in my room, the pain just kept getting worse, even after all the pain killers I had taken. I called my parents and told them what was happening, and they gave some suggestions, which I followed. However, a few hours later, the pain was still there and now I knew for sure that this was a full blown crisis. I knew what to do, but I didn’t want to do it. Go to the hospital? In this America? Chai…no oo, I won’t go. I was so scared of the bill that they would hit me with, that i decided that I would not go. My parents kept insisting that I ask my roommate to take me, I said okay to them, but I would not ask. All this time my roommate was in her room, unaware of what was happening next door.
I knew I had to go, but I didn’t want to. Let me tell you, I am scared of bills, I hate bills so if there is anything I can do to avoid bills, I will do it. America is a land of bills, they hit you left, right and center, so I was not ready for any new bill. Ah…no oo. I know you will say, but Vanessa, your life is much more precious than money, and I know that, and I would never put cost over my health but for this particular crisis, I felt I could do something myself. I felt that God would heal me soon if I just held on a little longer.
At this point, my parents were calling frequently and now my brother was also calling. I insisted that I could get better at home, I didn’t know how, but I had to find a way. Suddenly, my roommate opened my door and said, “Vanessa, let’s go to the hospital.” I was confused, how did she know? Did I go, did I stay? Well, you will find out next week.