Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Jide's SHS Story

Jide is working for a leading consultancy in Lagos with great prospects for career progression. Infact, Mr. B, his boss has taken him under his wings and is determined to help him become the best he can be. Jide is happy to work for such a seasoned professional and looks back at the days when after NYSC, job hunting took him to the nooks & corners of the city seeking the golden fleece. He is thankful for the opportunity and knows it is a dream come true. That is why he will not allow anything including ill health stop him from giving his best as he cannot afford to disappoint his benefactor. He would have to literally be unable to move before he misses one day of work as he not only loves his job and has without fail showed up daily for the past five years.

Now, Jide is getting married to his lady, Edidong who he met two years back in the course of one of their work at a client site. Content he has made the right choice, he is looking forward to their wedding scheduled for March 2014. On a bright & sunny day, Jide wakes up and cannot get out of bed. He wonders what's happening since he was perfectly fine though come to think of it, has been experiencing some intermittent chest pains for a while now. Since his office also provided good health cover, he decided to do a quick check thinking it will be just a visit only to hear Dr. Emeka say he is to be admitted for close monitoring.

Two days after, Dr. Emeka comes into Jide's private room paid for by the office and he wears a sad look. Jide assumes it must be some other case of his that is bogging him since he is expecting the good doctor to say 'you have been discharged'. Edidong is by his bedside too and they both looking expectantly, wait for the Dr. Emeka to speak. Clearing his throat, he begins to ask a series of routine questions like do you smoke?, do you drink alcohol?, when was your last HIV test? Jide is getting upset with the line of questions and snaps 'Doc, you've got my medical history so why all these questions?.' Dr Emeka gazes at him and after an uncomfortable silence says 'I don't want to shock you but you have got cancer of the lungs'.

What! Jide exclaims. That is impossible. Turning to Edidong, he seeks clarification. How can this be? Dr. Emeka speaks further the further tests I ordered two days ago just can in and this is the prognosis. Now, we have to decide on a course of action. Jide not willing to let matters slide states to the good doctor, there must be an error with the result. Dr. Emeka with a sober countenance says he had the lab doing the test thrice.
Edidong speaks for the first time to Dr. Emeka 'Are you sure, doctor?' What is the cause of this? Smoking came the reply. Now, Jide is baffled. I have never smoked once in the my life so, there must be a mistake here. Surely, there is a mix-up somewhere.

Speaking further, Dr. Emeka replies if you don't smoke, do you have people around you either now or in the past who do regularly? Jide is quick to answer NO! then he pauses deep in thought. For you see, his beloved mentor, Mr. B is a die-hard smoker and cannot be separated from his cigarettes. What about his dad who while he loved dearly till he died but was also addicted to smoking. Surely, they were the ones smoking & not him so what is the connection? SHS came the doctor's reply.

Quite a number of us are aware of the dangers of smoking on our body but few of us know of the extended impact smoking carries through SHS on people who are not smokers but are exposed to cigarette smoke and thus, inhale it as other folks around them puff away either in the workplace, at home, in school or elsewhere.

So, you see, while smoking is a lifestyle choice. One person's choice has been proven to no longer affect just him/her as when it comes to smoking, the field of influence is anybody & everybody around the smoking zone.

Therefore, it is critical that you & I support the Tobacco Control cause that has implications for all of us. Lets take a big step towards preserving the lives of Nigerian citizens TODAY  as we urge the National assembly to follow suit by assenting to the pending National Tobacco (Control) Bill passed since 2011.

Join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to pass this bill, follow us on twitter, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Together we can make the change that we all desire.

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Jide's SHS story is a fictitous human angle story. All characters are creation's of the author entirely and bear no semblance to known persons.

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