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Chapter Snippets

Chapter 4

Day 4 - Saturday, January 31, 2009 - Normal Healing?

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Something isn’t right. My mother came to visit me at home, and I was not feeling well. I had the most massive stomach pain, it felt like a stomach virus—one of the worst viruses that anyone could have. The pain was excruciating as I moaned and groaned in the worst agony imaginable and wished the pain would stop. It was more painful than labor and delivery when I delivered my children. What is happening to me? Oh God, please help me! Why am I in so much agony? I cannot imagine what Christ went through. My mom held my hand and moaned with me. Her moan matched my moan. It was like she connected with my pain on the same level and was suffering as much as I was. She once told me that when a child is in pain, the parent is in pain too.


At the suggestion of my mom, I called Dr. Bean. Mom had been telling me that I should contact Dr. Bean since she arrived at my house. Of course, I tried to tough it out, thinking it was all “normal” and related to the healing process after the surgery. I thought pain was supposed to occur in healing. However, after suffering for most of the day, I finally broke down and contacted Dr. Bean and told her my symptoms. I had a vomiting (dry heaves) episode and was so desperate to use the bathroom at that point that I tried to use a suppository, which did not work. After that, I decided to try a Fleet enema. Neither the suppository nor the enema worked, and I was continuously nauseous. Even though Dr. Bean prescribed a medication for nausea, that still did not work. In between dealing with the pain, I talked to my sister, Sharise, and she said that she was flying to New Jersey. 


I told her that I did not want her to put her job in jeopardy by coming up here. She basically told me she was coming and that was that. “You are my sister, and I’m coming up there,” she said in an empathetic tone. My children were home at that time. My daughter noticed I was not feeling well. In an effort to not make her worry, I let her go to a sleepover for my friend Sabrina’s daughter, and my son was playing a game, so he was unaware of what I was experiencing. I did not want my children to feel the stress that I was feeling.


As I lay in excruciating pain, God spoke to me. I felt his presence, telling me to get back to the hospital. “Go now!” I heard God tell me I needed to get back to the hospital ASAP. I finally said to my husband that I needed him to take me to the emergency room. At that point, the pain was out of control. My mom stayed at my house with my son while we went to the hospital. “Call me when you hear something,” she said. When we arrived, we were taken in immediately, as there was no wait time. I can’t believe it. I don’t have to wait.


What a relief. I was taken into the ER at 6:53 p.m., and I was only there for a short time before being admitted to the main hospital. It is rare that there is no wait time in the ER, especially on a Saturday night. I was asked to change into the beautifully fashionable hospital gown, was given a bed, and became one with my friend the IV once again. This time I was administered morphine through the IV, which helped to alleviate my pain a lot. The OB/GYN doctor on staff that night wanted to prepare me for a CT scan, and I had to drink an awful-tasting drink which tasted bitter, the way Tylenol tablets taste. After I managed to get that down and keep it down, I was wheeled over to the CT scan room and the x-ray room.


After those results came in, I was told by the OB/GYN doctor that she was going to admit me, because they could not determine why I was in so much pain based on the CT scan results. Oh no, I have to be admitted again. I felt anguish and relief at the same time. I would not be going back home for a while. I was taken up to the 6th floor to Room 6 North 21, which was the surgical ICU floor. Even though I was so sick, my husband brought the kids up to see me, which helped to make my day a lot brighter. I needed to see them today because I did not know what was to come—I just needed to see them. They brought flowers and get-well balloons as well as a beautiful necklace.


During the night I met Sharon, my guardian angel nurse. She took excellent care of me for the next few days. I was so sick, and she helped to ease my pain. As my husband and I sat in the room waiting around for doctors, Nurse Sharon was there. She talked to us about the possibility of the nasogastric (NG) tube being inserted into my nose and down my throat to my stomach, to pull out bile that was building up in my stomach. I was terrified of having this placed in my nose, down my throat, and down to my stomach, and I hoped I would not have to get the NG tube. In a caring way, she told us about a man who refused to have the NG tube inserted. Unfortunately, they found him the next day, drowned in his own vomit. She was not telling me that to scare me, it was just to inform me. I asked her if a person had to be awake in order to get that done and she said, in general, yes. I was still hoping beyond hope that I did not have to have that. Will tomorrow be another day? Will I have another chance at life? Only God knows. God be with me…

No More Hair Drama - Chapter 2 Dedicated to my "Sistas" and Sisters

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Why do African Americans have so many hair struggles?

It starts from the beginning…your childhood.  Why do little girls today feel that they NEED their hair relaxed?  Peer pressure can be very devastating particularly to one’s self-image.  What you feel about yourself is quite important.  You must have a positive mental attitude to overcome these negative situations.  Try not to allow any negativity penetrate your spirit.  Your self-image/worth is crucial to your health and well-being.  If you maintain a good positive self-image then it will shine through physically and that includes your hair.

Much of this self-hatred began back during the times of slavery.  Those slaves that had a more European look (skin tone and hair) received the preferential treatment, were able to make residence indoors and were treated better than those who had very distinct African features.  In addition, those who were able to “pass” for white were preferred over others.

African American women need to be more positive and uplifting toward one another.  I remember someone referring to a woman’s locked hair as “feeling like a rug” and this reference was made in front of a lot of people.  People should not put others down and should think before they speak.  Everyone should feel free to wear the style that he or she feels most comfortable.  We have a long way to go because we are still tearing each other down.  We should be more complimentary toward one another instead of negative.  If a woman wants to lock, braid, relax or whatever, she needs the support of other women in whatever choice she decides to make.  Many people make negative comments about another person’s natural hair because they have been convinced that natural hair is not acceptable.  They have been convinced that natural hair is not beautiful because it is coarse and not bone straight.  We all should feel beautiful about ourselves regardless of what we choose to do with our hair. 

One evening, I watched the television show America’s Next Top Model.  One of the models had her hair braided.  She was told that she had to remove her braids because they are not “marketable.”  After that comment, I thought to myself, “What was meant by the term marketable, and who determines the market?” I believe consumers determine the market and keep the economy going.  It makes absolutely no sense that a market is a determining factor in the hairstyle that someone chooses.  Why does it seem that afro-textured hair or styles of an African origin are so threatening or problematic?  She may have had a sentimental attachment to her braids because they were an extension of her self-worth and pride for being of African descent.  It is tragic that African Americans feel that they are expected to continually compromise and define themselves through someone else’s idea of what is beautiful.  The ironic part of this whole expectation of compromise is that I have been seeing young Caucasian girls wearing historically Afrocentric styles like cornrows, braids, flat twists, etc.  Is there an expectation for African Americans to compromise, still?

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