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Published On: Tue, Aug 26th, 2014

Struck with paralysis, the pathetic story of Zahardeen

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Zahardeen YakubuThe prayer of every parent is to see their children aim high in life; the prayer of every young man is to be great, to have a lovely home and to affect the society positively. However, some unforeseen circumstances may either slow the pace of progress and if not checked, it may forever block the chances of success; causing pain and frustration in the heart of those involved, like Zahardeen YakubuAdedoyin Ojosipe writes.

Zahardeen, a 30 year old man, an indigene of Nasarawa state who resides in Angwan Hausawa in Mararaba, may be living in such situation as it seemed a hopeless future with grave health conditions.

The young man who was once determined to study and become a graduate like his elder brother has since discarded the hope as his only prayer now is to be back on his feet again.

“I was initially ill, it put a stop to school activities, until I recovered and decided to do some handwork so I could sponsor myself to school later, I worked as a mason first until the site work came to a halt. I put my savings together and started selling perfume, until this fateful day when I fell from a height, and unknowingly broke my back. It was a horrific day for me” he recounted.

Although, when Peoples Daily visited about two weeks ago, he expressed some level of enthusiasm, now being aware that someone at least cares about his unhappiness.

Barely two years ago, luck ran out on him as the unforeseen and pitiable fate became his friend; Zahardeen, who had been a mason alongside his father, fell from a height, breaking his back, which further more affected his bladder.

Coming from a very humble background, his parents were still full of hope that their lovely son would once again get well and resume his normal life, if only they could push a bit.

His parents quickly gathered all they could and headed with him to a Chinese Hospital at Keffi, where he was admitted just for a day, and was afterwards referred to Gwagwalada General Hospital, with no sign of improvement recorded.

At Gwagwalada Hospital, Zahardeen met a brick wall as he was not only denied treatment, but was turned back after being told that there was no bed space for him to be admitted. A common saying associated with most of our public hospital.

Again his positive thinking parents decided to try the National Hospital but got more than they bargained for, as he was only examined after which he waited for an hour, only to be disappointed about the absence of a specialist to attend to him.

Zahardeen was therefore, returned home with his parents, who thought of visiting some more specialised hospitals, where they won’t have to face such delay as in the public hospitals within Abuja.

After spending 20 more days at home, he heeded an advice to be taken to Federal Medical Centre, Zaria as he was told there were bone doctors, who could really be of help.

Zahardeen spent two months, with no consultant  attention as they kept moving his file from one table to the other, until he was referred to Dalla hospital, Kano, where he spent  another 14 days, before he was again referred to Aminu Kano Hospital for  reworking of his bladder which got damaged during the horrible incident.

The young man spent seven more days and was still not attended to as they kept telling him there was no bed space for him to be admitted; at this point, his parents were almost running out of funds.

Though disappointed, they returned home to see how much they could gather to continue the quest to heal their son.

Sarkin Hausawa of Angwan Hausawa also narrated, how Zahardeen’s parent had sold their only piece of land, some other valuables; and their continuous solidarity calls to donate to the cause of his treatment.

The Sarkin Hausawa said, “His parents really tried, they sold their only piece of land, their properties.  We also did not relent, we called for donations at virtually all the small Mosques around us, the people around are just trying to survive; some will give N20, some N50, but they gave their widows might. We gave the money to his parents and now we still expect, God’s miracle.”

Zahardeen, now noticeably moved to tears narrated how some of his father’s friends have showed indifference towards his well being, while some people he worked for have refused to pay him.

“Some close friends turned their back on me thereby adding salt to injury. They told my father, some very provoking words; my father was bitter. He said they were words he never heard before. In his bitterness, he just dumped me in this room and said he’ll rather wait for God to help than keep seeking the help of men which seems not to be coming.

Zahardeen apparently resigning to fate said, “Whether they are happy with my present condition, I don’t know, so my case was like closed, I have been in this room, sleeping and waking and awaiting my death for the past two years.”

Continuing in an emotion laden voice, “My father was a Mason, he built many houses around here, he does plastering, and tiling of houses; I do the same” he said.

After several months, his parents heard of Primus International Super Specialist Hospital and took him to know whether his condition will improve. They were charged N10, 000 for consultation. The consultant recommended X-ray and Scan which he said will enable accurate treatment. But the condition remained the same after this process.

 Unfortunately, there were no more funds to continue his healing process, hence he returned home, trusting God for a miraculous healing and survival.

The damage to his spinal cord was not the overwhelming monster that wants to rule out all possibilities of survival, but the fact that he lacked funds to seek appropriate health services, even makes his chance to a normal life very slim.

Being in a particular position for almost two years has also brought untold hardship to the young man, as his siblings tried to cope with the frustration of cleaning his bed, as he passes urine without control, while the adverse implication of not using his legs for such a period of time has caused his once strong legs to dry up, as it has been cut off from blood circulation.

To compound the whole issue, speaking with Zahardeen’s mother, Malama Habiba  Yakubu,  she lamented how difficult it has been to cater for the family alone as her husband has since developed chronic hypertension and is not really fit to resume the full hustling life of a husband and a father.

“He just developed hypertension because he thinks a lot. His work stopped at a time, no help from anywhere and his son cannot help either. So, he thinks a lot. Some women in the compound and I decided that, it won’t be good for him to become redundant, so we contributed a small amount of money and bought him some things he could sell in the market. That way, he goes out in the morning and returns in the evening” she said.

She added that they tried not to ask him for anything, because he no longer has the capacity to contribute to the home front.

She said, “We just allow him, so he could keep meeting people, it will refresh his heart, I am a food vendor, I cook and feed them before taking the rest to the market to sell, it has not been really easy.”

Mallam Yakubu Ibrahim, Zahardeen’s father is also facing a deteriorating health condition as he complained that the drugs prescribed by the doctor has not been working, and has not gone back to the hospital due to lack of  money.

With visibly shaky hands and legs, he obviously cannot stand for long without looking for support, when asked about steps taken to help his son out of the dilemma, he said, “I gave all I have, I also met a few friends, but they don’t have money, the highest donation I had then was N1000 and his bill was too heavy to settle alone.”

Dr. Emodi, the Medical Superintendent at Primus hospital explained that Zahardeen will need rehabilitation and treatment to resuscitate his upper spine to enable him move on a wheel chair, as the possibility that he could once again use his legs is very slim.

He explained that, “nerves do not like either being cut off or pressured, and when you’ve kept them in that unacceptable position for even a month is a problem. Then you get beyond two to six months, and one year, no way; just like polio, it has to do with the spine, it’s all nervous, really and it extends to the muscles and you find them with limbs that are stiff as the muscles are now atrophic and may not be used for anything again.”

The doctor expressed sadness that his ill health condition has taken too long and encouraged that Zahardeen be properly rehabilitated as regards moves for adaptation.

He said the treatment would have been a lot easier if it was a fresh case, as so much could be done to save the health condition from further deterioration.

He also advised that the young man be put on a line of business that would help him exercise his upper spine, so he could be useful to himself as well.

However, all this will not be possible without funds to sponsor his treatments.

All Zahardeen needs now is about N500, 000 to get some specialized medical attention and get fixed in a business as part of the adaptation processes.

His parents are pleadingly calling on well meaning Nigerians to help through donations that could enable their son get a life.

A lonely life is unpalatable, let alone, when left in a position for over two years with no improvement in health or wellbeing. It only leads to frustration and finally to death.

We are also appealing to Nigerians to help save Zahardeen from being a waste, while alive, to help him find hope in the face of despair.

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