Editor’s Note: Media personality Emma Ugolee has been battling kidney related illnesses for a while now and had finally been scheduled for a transplant only for his donor to pull out at the last minute. He still needs funds for treatment and the surgery in the United States. Please send your donations to his bank account or through Gofundme.
Thirteen hour flight to Atlanta and all I could see was her face. Pain and anger in my stomach had my eyes blood red. I forgot for a second there, it was her choice to make. But I couldn’t get why two days to my departure, the donor who had offered and began carrying out tests unsolicited suddenly pulled out. She lived in America. Forgive me but it just smacked of evil premeditation.
So began my American surgery waka with no donor and bone breaking confusion. By the next day I had risen above the ignorant bitterness and sent word out. Two days later three of my female friends had formed a queue to test. One in London, another Dallas and a third in Naija. My God was not asleep. In Efe’s words ‘Who really I be?’
My grateful privileged heart slid sharply into party mode and the short lived boogie was greeted by some heart heavy news. Unlike my Indian experience with the first surgery, the transplant cost which was now much higher because donor surgeries in this hospital is billed separately, didn’t cover my dialysis while awaiting surgery.
Costly oversight. Nobody told me. OK so how much do I pay for it. $1,000 I was told per session and ‘you go to a dialysis centre we refer you to’.
The first eight centres we were sent to turned us down. Why? ‘We don’t accept out of pocket payments. Strictly insurance’ they say. Insurance reserved strictly for those with the social security number.
By the sixth turn-down I was slowly running mad because it was my fourth day without dialysis. Slow motion movement, nausea, stomach cramps, shortness of breath, palpitation, the whole works had set in.
My sister slowly walking by me holds me and says ‘Be strong big bro‘. ‘Don’t tell me that nonsense!’ I charged at her. Mad again at the world. The poor girl understood and kept calm. I was not sure I had what it took to finish this race. When would this thing stop…
I managed to reach for my earphones and let my Buju Banton lyrics in through my ears: ‘🎵Said I had a close one yesterday, Jah put an angel over me, be strong, hold firm meditation, one day it must get better, don’t you go down put head above the water🎵…’ I wanted to apologise immediately but I knew I was going to cry if I tried it.
Like I said, I wanted to apologise immediately to Shirley my sis, but I knew I was going to cry if I tried to speak so I bone o. Long story shortened, we ended up at the emergency ward and days later got a place for $700 that insists that we stay three payments ahead because they had had bad encounters with Nigerians.
So while I am battling with the health complications that I had arrived with, I cannot afford $700 thrice a week. That’s N777,000 a week. How na? Lol. Ol boy I settle for once a week o!
That in addition to what I am already dealing with has had a very not-so-nice toll on my health.
I had now to engage in the ultimate mental battle to stay psychologically afloat because it seemed dark every where. Where was I to begin from?! My last hope for a lump sum was my state Governor who had sent me a text that he had my back and would see me in a week. A day to that day. The IPOB wahala gas for our beloved Abia and I didn’t have the insensitivity to bother the man.
Just when I was about to look up on the sky to make the mistake of asking why, I got a call from Bemigho Ikomi my dialysis partner and sister who had just moved to Yankee too. She says she has sad news o. I said. ‘Lay it on me, can’t get worse’ . She told me five people who dialysed with us in Nigeria had all died in the last four weeks since we left home.
The deep breath I let out could be heard at the hall way. I now still did look up and said to God. ‘Thank you. I am still here. My chances are even brighter now. Why is this small hurdle frustrating me. Did you bring me half way across the world to leave me here? I know better. So I rise again and I would try again. I will search one last time for the funds to this and you shall use men with great hearts to respond like you have done in the past.’
And so my people..
I have humbly come one more time to appeal to you to kindly contribute what you can to the completion of my treatment and surgery. The target is $40,000 or N19 million. You can donate to:
Emmanuel Ugolee; Account number: 1002786554, Zenith Bank or through
May God bless your kind heart as it shows mercy.