You Have a Viral Infection and You Need is an Antihistamine.

It is Monday, the hype is on. I mean everyone is talking about #Wakanda, mwana Black Panther, others “Buraka Pansa”. Where is Joy in all this? But of course that is the plot. We are all going to watch THE MOVIE. Missional Community (my extended church family) members alerted. Check, Usual Monday-movie gang informed. Correct. Announcement made to colleagues at work. Perfect. All set, ready to hit the cinema at Victoria Mall. What’s the plan: Get there by 6pm, book my ticket, read my Harvest Institute book as the clock moves to reading 8pm and the movie starts. I did not want to take any chances lest the seats be fully booked and I miss.

Exactly what happened. I missed the movie. Why? Ordinary tickets were done. No way, I could not pay 30,000UGX yet Monday would find its way back a week later and the same movie will still be 10,000UGX.

Alright, plot postponed.

By the time I got home, I was actually feeling sick. Muscle pain, high temperature, it’s suddenly abnormally cold, I as if have lost my balance, and an unsettling headache has kicked in. And in less than 3hrs I have switched from hype to pain. I hold on. Till the morning comes.

Enter, a certain hospital (that I won’t mention). I can assure you it’s one of those top ones. Insurance billing processed, out patient registered and I’m finally seeing the Doctor (Consultant)

Hello Joy, a calm voice from tall-ish medium bodied gentle man welcomed me into the room, directing me to the seat opposite him.

Hi, thank you, as I made myself comfortable

So, how are you feeling today? He asked.

I narrate the whole story to him (not the Black Panther plot). Lol. Headache, fever etc.

So he sends me to the laboratories. These guys hire one of the best diagnostics laboratories in the country. I was impressed. I was very excited. I should say the technician there is a good person. That’s a story for another day.

Anyway, laboratory results are out in a few, a full blood count has been done.

All the cell types in my blood are counted and referenced against a normal range.

It turns out that my lymphocytes (part of the crutial cells that fight infections) were abnormally low.

For such a result, the assumption is that I have a viral infection. And this is where my puzzle and questioning about this doctor and/or hospital begins.

Joy you see, your lymphocyte count is very low, you have a viral infection, and what you need is an Antihistamine. The “expert delivers his verdict”

Now, may be I missed it or I got it twisted or my other friends (medical doctors) were taught differently but honestly are antihistamines for treating viral infections. Google please help.

I look at him with this face of what did you say? Then I ask “so this viral infection, won’t you be more specific as to what exactly it is”.

No. He replies.

I had promised myself not to even write about it. But I can’t let it just pass. It’s discomforting to know that these are the hospitals that many of us go to. We trust that we will get proper diagnosis and treatment but it’s not what I found. I was not satisfied “mazima”.

1. We’re these people just lazy to do all the necessary tests and find out exactly what viral infection I had?

2. We’re the laboratories not well equipped to do it? Money was not the problem, I had an insurance card that has a big load on it.

3. Ok let it be a viral infection, let’s get a general viral treatment, why is it an Antihistamine? How do you treat a viral infection with a drug for allergies? Are viruses the new allergens?

4. Is this how it is and I only just noticed?

5. Is there a piece of information I need to know as a scientist that I have missed?

If you are a doctor, or medic and you are reading this please share what your analysis of this is.

If you are not a medic, you’ve been to hospital, what’s your experience?

I would really like to hear from you all. Let’s talk.

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Your Child’s Name

Ha. I see the curiosity as you open this blog post. How did I get myself thinking about children’s names? When I have none yet.

Here’s how.!

Today during our garage time aka service at church, we were learning about how we are fully forgiven, how we are no longer condemned and God has not “beef” with us.

So this preacher tells us a story about certain man called Rwakasiisi who was sentenced to death in Luzira prison. It was an interesting moment because I learned about the procedures of appeal that one goes through if he is to be pardoned from death sentence. They are several stages of appeal but when all fails, there’s this last hope; the presidential appeal.

Before the condemned person is killed, the president can pardon him. I don’t know what the basis of pardoning is but once the president pardons him, the prisoner is set free.

In this case this guy Rwakasiisi was released because the president pardoned him. Perfect picture of our redemption through Christ.

Of course that’s when my mind drifts from the sermon. I said wait a minute, some parents also need to put thought to the names they give to their us… Jesus Christ!!!! Why would you name your child Rwakasiisi. If you are from the western part of Uganda you know what the word means.

That may not be the most accurate translation but those two sentences represent it fairly well.

This is not the first time I am wondering about people’s names.

In our village, there’s this boy who the parents decided to call Sauce-Tin. What is this supposed to mean? For heaven’s sake, why would that be your child’s name? How do we neglect such crucial stuff?

I know that culturally we may have names that run down a clan or family but we need to think about the power that lies in naming our children. Let’s not just call them anything that comes to our minds.

Remember every time you call this child, you are establishing their identity. What kind of things will be declared over your children almost every hour of their lives whenever they are being called or addressed.

As for me, I shall call “my gifts from God” life giving names. Prophetic names.

It’s a bit sad hearing some names but some of them are funny too. My mom’s funny name is “NIGHT” thank God she dropped it earlier in her life. We still tease her about it. She had been named that simply because she was born at night. Imagine that.

Anyway the night is here, I shall now retire to bed.

A letter to Self

Dear Joy,

Re: I see your big dreams and big heart.

I’m sitting here reading “Hosting the Presence”, I can’t help but think about you. You truly inspire me.

It is this particular line that got me thinking about you: “God planted us here for a purpose. And we can’t accomplish it without Him”

I know how far God has brought us and I am extremely excited about our journey. Joy, I remember how for the most part of your first years you lived life unaware of your surroundings; only aware of God and you. And just a few years ago you discovered that you are here for a purpose. You have big dreams and at times they scare you. You feel like letting go of some but your heart won’t let you.

I know you worry sometimes thinking about whether you are really walking in the purpose God put you here for, and fear gets a grip on you. Last year you got paralyzed and frozen and stopped moving for a big while. You wanted to get it right.

“Lord please guide me” you whispered under your breath. “Daddy please show me” you cried silently.

You do not want to miss why you are here. Each and every day you long to know God more, to have Him present wherever you are. You lean in to hear his voice guiding you as you move. Your heart longs for Him.

Awakened to your surroundings, you looked around you and saw things that could be better; children that could be raised more responsibly, families that could be happier, talented musicians that would release more life giving than corrupted music, the sick, the lame, the captives that would be free, the brilliant minds that have settled. They have given up thinking and exchanged their purpose to just the ability of have food for today. It is costing lives. Your heart has been broken.

God has showed you a glimpse of your assignment.

Yes you have a lot to do, numerous things to learn, a great deal of adjustments and mastery to make. You will sleep less, let go of some people. It will hurt but it is worth it. It’s true you will work harder than your peers but also You will learn to rest. You will grow your leadership ability, Yes you must learn to connect with new people.

Investing in all terms is inevitable, surely from sacrifice you won’t escape. You will grow people. And like plants, some will bear more fruit than others. Some will require a bit more watering and manuring. I know the weight may be overwhelming for a while. But you will be glad you did.

Ooh my dear girl, do not give up your dreams. Hold onto God’s word. Hid to what He says. Has He not said that He himself will guide you?

Has he promised and shall not bring it to pass?

Shall He speak His word and it be not established?

Remember all His promises to you.

Surely storms shall come but has He not said that He shall be with you always?

Let’s walk with Daddy. See you at the Top.

The Gold-hearted Teacher

I shall overcome some day. This hesitation that comes with sharing my life!!!!.

Anyway, on my graduation day, I quite don’t remember well what transpired really. This is a normal phenomena this side of my world. When I get too excited, my brain goes into freeze mode and I remember little details of events. It’s also the same as when I am very upset. But what I remember is that my two mothers (no they are not co-wives: Sisters) were too happy, one had no words to say, the other just kept crying the whole time.

But that’s beside the point. There was this teacher of mine that was referred to as my Daddy at school, Mr. Yiga. He was one of the peculiar people at school. He looked a bit “All over the place”. My best friend and I always laughed at him because he seemed not to understand the difference between walking and running. He, for some reason, was always running. And to us it was a little odd. Why would a “whole” teacher run around all the time??!!!.

We loved sitting near the windows, so every time we moved to the next class, we always booked our strategic seats. Every once in a while during a boring lesson, or a break between lessons, we (I and I..) would look through the window and enjoy the scenery of all people’s secret habits.

Mr Yiga always drove into the school just a few minutes to his lesson. He would run out of the car, with his shirt half tucked in, hands full of books and papers, some flying off as he runs, picks them up in a flash and keeps running, briefly into the staff room and then class. And almost immediately after teaching, he dashed into his car and drove swiftly out to do what?, I also didn’t know.

He taught with great passion. He explained the complex biology in the simplest of ways. I think I attribute my love for genes to him. He has a big brain. It’s after school that I got to know he juggled teaching between schools and worked with the ministry of gender. He was a very busy man. He still is.

You must be wondering how he came to be called my Daddy.!! We had a program at school, where students chose parent teachers. The idea was to have students taken care of away from home. These parent teachers were ideally meant to develop a relationship with these students, guide them, take care of them in a basic way. But Yiga was exceptional. This guy took me in as his own.

He literally did anything for me. I had access to his desk any time he was in school. Mr Yiga did not complicate life in any way. He cared about my academics so much that he did anything for me to stay focused. He let talk to mum just to hear her voice (kyejo just….) because he knew I would concentrate better after a call to mum. Neither did my mum nor I ever pay for that airtime. Whether I needed money or transport home or anything at all, he was there for me. He answered any questions I had, he created time to go through my personal trial papers (I attempted past papers and let him mark them).

When he promised anything to me, He fulfilled. While I was a campus this daddy of mine kept in touch, sometimes he passed by and checked on me. He guided me, he called me just to say HI. He kept with me on my academic journey. As my graduation day came near, I remember telling him about it on the phone. I hoped he would make it, but, if he had said he was busy and couldn’t make it, I would totally understand. He left every engagement and showed up. I remember while he talked about my journey, he dropped a tear. Yes!!! He is a very passionate human being.

I think he remembered all the hard and fun times at school, I need to ask him about that…!

This teacher gave me beyond just class room knowledge. He was church to me (like we like to say at Worship Harvest)

If there’s a teacher to celebrate in this world, it is my Daddy, YIGA JOSEPH Flavian. Thank you for being a parent but above all, a friend to me.

My mother was right

When I was younger, ok, when I was younger than I am, I loved to sleep. May be I still do. Not may be. I still do. I can easily sleep the whole day and whole night.

On a cold Saturday like this one, I wake up at 7am, look through the window, it’s dark-ish and chilly, pick my bedcover, slide it over my head and close my eyes. Before I know it, it’s 1am. Am I hungry??, I try to feel my tummy. Ah.ah..No, I’m not. Back to sleep I go. After all eating is not my first love. It is 7pm, dark again, time to for the general population to have a good night. I pick my food and have dinner, make a few rounds through the corridors, shower and catch some more sleep till the morning comes.

I know that eye you are giving me right now. It’s not that bad…At least that’s what I thought.

My mom and I were great friends until she talked about my love for sleep. She tried, poor girl, to help me get it but failed. If there was a way to magically get sleep out of my head, I think she would have.

I remember in primary school, I went to school past 8am almost for the whole term. Because I couldn’t stand the beating for late coming, I hid in the bathroom until break time, and joined the rest of the students.

Unfortunately, this meant that I missed the roll call every single day I came late.

“Joy is a bright student, if she could only stop being absent” was the class teacher’s comment on my end of year report card. This report to mom, is a story for another day.

As I grew older, got employed and could no longer afford to sleep until 9am, I had to adjust to at least wake up at 7am, work starts at 8:30am, so I was good to go. After all I left work at 8pm or later.

But deep within me I wished I could wake up earlier than I did to spend time with God, read a new thing, do something that develops me. So I set many alarms from 5-6am to try and be up after the last alarm went off. Every morning felt like there was always a bargain between me and my bed and sadly the bed always won.

Each morning we had a “wake-up fight” mom would say that I will one day wish I had learned to be an early bird but as all young teenagers be, I thought I was wise and just having fun with my life. But it caught up with me.

Now that I am older I have learnt and accepted that habit is stronger than desire. Mom tried to help me form a beautiful habit and instead I chose to create one that now I have to unlearn quickly and painfully.

This year, I enrolled into a leadership Institute-the most practical and nicely challenging Institute. Just a week into the course I totally knew that if I was to make the most of this training, still be efficient at work, develop my career, have time to rest or be with family, and have time with my Daddy(read: God) plus still breath, in this fast-paced world, I have to manage my 24hrs.

I have to drop some unhelpful old habits and develop new ones.

One of the top and most urgent is to learn to wake-up a long while before the sun rises.

May be it could also be the age where we start to realize that our moms were right.

**Covers face. **Praying that mom DOES NOT see this. **She will make a song out of it.

Fear

What I am doing now is counteracting fear, responding and not reacting to fear.

Early this year, I was challenged to start writing. For long I had wished and wished and wished on and on, to share the things I have learnt and are learning in life.

I have a very critical mind, I think through a lot of things, I almost learn a thing or two from everything, a situation, conversation, article, song, anything, I find that I learn many interesting things.

So when an opportunity to share life through writing presented itself, I took it on with all the joy and zeal there is to have.

But, very quickly, it dawned on me that sharing about things I have learnt involves sharing my life.

No, I was not ready to do this.

Deep within me I feared to open my life up to others. Every time I would start to write, a detail about me would come up. And then I would delete it. But whenever I did that, the article felt empty and incomplete so it didn’t make sense. What did I do next?, delete the whole article.

One day, two, weeks, and now 4 months. I had completely let writing go. Convinced myself it’s not for me and I won’t do it.

But my spirit won’t rest, I long to share life with others.

Last week I started to read a book that helped me discover a lot of things but here I will just share one of them

How do I respond to fear?

Wait, do I even respond or react. Anyway, whenever fear shows up for me, the response has always been FREEZE or FLIGHT. Literally stop what I am doing or abandon it completely.

This cuts across all spheres of my life, be it a relationship with friends, family, anything, when I smell “hurt” even from a far, because I don’t like (read:fear) being hurt, I will let it go. If I had a disagreement with anyone at work, the first thought is “I think I need to find another job. Lol. Seriously, I do. I’m only laughing because it now sounds foolish that I do that.

Over the past fifteen days, I have caught myself responding to fear with flight or freeze almost every time I face it.

Now I am  learning to respond.

Fear will build many walls in front of me on every journey that I embark on and it won’t give up. BUT, I know better now to fight instead. To just walk through the wall of fear.

One step for me is writing this. I have conquered him today.

Will you do the same, respond? What is your one step? Do not flee nor freeze.

LIFE: What’s The Point?

Sometimes we get caught up in our own agendas and miss the point. We get our minds all around the bills to pay, what we want, what is safe to do. It’s all about us, us, we, we (read: me, me, me, me, me and me) if you are a bit inclusive, “my nuclear family and I”. Anyway let us first agree on some things.

  1. THERE IS A CREATOR that made you.

Believe it or not, someone made you and put you together here. Ok you think you evolved from some animal? Then who made that animal? Oh it came from an ocean or some rare matter. Who made those things? Anyway let me leave that there.

Answer this one…

Who controls your breath? Like, do you determine whether you live or die? Think about it. Why wouldn’t you save your loved one from dying then? So you get it right? There’s someone in charge of LIFE. He gave you and me life. He made you and He has numbered your days. There is someone more than us. And you are not HIM. A friend of mine likes to say that “There’s a God and I am not the one”.

  1. This creator-God DOES NOT MAKE JUNK.

Like he did not just carelessly put organs together into a fake useless being. Send it down here to just move around gallivant around the earth and be no more. God did not just want to increase the number of human beings existing on the earth. He thoughtfully put you together with each detail to make you special. There is definitely a reason you are right here, right now. Like you were not born in the 1800s or later than now. He put thought to you.

  1. THERE’S A REASON FOR YOUR EXISTENCE. It is UNIQUE and Do Not Say No

There is a reason you can never find someone that is 100% like you. Even if you were twins. You like particular things, people, dressing, talking, weaknesses, strengths, as in there’s no way God made us different for no reason. So you are here for something custom-made for you. Only you can do it the way you do it.

  1. UNLESS HE SHOWS YOU what you are here for, YOU DON’T KNOW IT.

We always miss this.  We cannot just stumble into fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. It has intention to it. It is critical that we live out our “reason for being here”. Living without fulfilling this is as good as being dead or never having existed at all.

SO…There’s a God and it’s not me. He put me uniquely together for an EXCITING THING TO DO here. What is the reason I am here? FINDING THIS OUT is WISE to do.

When my days on earth are done, Will I say “IT IS FINISHED?” Will I DIE EMPTY or will I go to the grave with all the treasure God put in me?

WHEN THE ANGER RAGES

The other day I was lost in thought pondering about how hard must I hold back my words when I feel upset to the limit and would like the person the other end to know that they have crossed the line?

“My head is spinning”

That is my expression for “I’m so irritated right now”. Yes Yes I know, it makes no sense right? Many of my friends too do not quite get the drift when I say that. Plus my facial expression is not so helpful in getting the massage home. So this is when I go dumb and just stare at the person.

But honestly in such moments my head spins for real- ok it’s a feeling of nausea. Like my head is about to burst and my vision is blurred. Of I can’t even get hold of my breath.  Now at this moment all I need is silence in the room or walk out because a lot is happening in my head.

I am processing what the person is saying, feeling angry, controlling the feelings, analyzing the cause of the fight, deleting the annoying words and statements being made, forming my “after fight talk”, editing it, deleting it, wondering whether you don’t see/feel/suspect/smell the anger raging, do you even care about me or our relationship (this is open by the way, friend, family, colleague name it).

As in my head is too busy, I guess that’s why the spinning happens.

Now all of us experience annoyance and react differently, some throw stuff around, others cry, I know someone who will say all the hurtful stuff they do not mean to and forget they said them after the fight, and another who will just beat you- hahaha you know like slap you real swiftly with no hesitation!!!

Anyway, the scene in real time. I am becoming more and more irritated, my head is about to burst.

Person: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (that’s what my head was registering- It was spinning remember). *giggle*

Me: Just SHUT UP, I do not want to hear from you, not ever again, You are so insensitive, mean, pretender, I HATE YOU- what? may be I don’t. You know what? Let us just part ways.

Ooops…That was all said in my mind. Nothing was verbalized so the other person heard nothing. There was too much mental processing to manage speech.

Fast forward. 8hrs later.

It felt like an illusion, No trace of either anger, resentment or bitterness, all happy, humming around taking a shower.

Thought process activated.

Are still angry?

No

Does the cause of the fight make sense at this time?

Hmm… No

Do you hate that person?

Of course not!

Do you remember that saying “DON’T SAY ANYTHING OR MAKE A PERMANENT DISSION WHEN ANGRY”? Do you understand it now?

Because, you still like that person and value your relationship. BUT the words you would have said would be right now lingering in the other person’s head, causing a vast flow of all kinds of emotions and imaginations and yet, YET, yet you can’t take them back.

Your reasons for getting upset cannot be refuted, your feelings of betrayal, anger, irritation, etc are valid. Yes you are right in getting upset. Yes it’s not fair. Yes they need to know they are out of their place with you. BUT.

Isn’t your relationship with them worth much more than a feeling of “I have won, I was Right, now you have a piece of my mind, yes, and they have learnt their lesson.” Sometimes we have to lose so that we gain. Hours, days, weeks, months or even years later, the fight won’t matter anymore. You will either have an ex-friend, ex-wife/ husband, ex-partner, ex-children or parents (with little or no relationship) or learnt lessons, stronger relationships and great memories.

No one wakes up in the morning and part of their TO-DO-LIST has things like

  1. Annoy Joy,
  2. Fight with Linda,
  3. Abuse so and so.

Well, if there are such people with an agenda to annoy, then they need to be loved. Please love them out of bitterness. But if the person is not in that category, forgive them and do not hurt them with words that you actually don’t mean.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 NKJV

You have enough love to give. Keep giving.

END OF THOUGHT PROCESS

Thought on Decision Making

Like I said earlier on, I am excited about sharing what I am learning this year. So today I will talk about Making Choices!!

I have been too hesitant when it come to telling stories about my life but anyway… Let’s just say one of the choices I am making is to let go of my fears and reservations. It won’t kill me after all.

Ok back to choices.

Whether we are conscious about it or not we are constantly making decisions. Some decisions are easy to make because they are straight forward, they require little thought and most times have subtle or not bad consequences. On the other hand, there are those tough choices that are so hard to make. For example in situations when I am not sure what comes after that decision, who will be affected and to what extent the effects will go.

Seriously, have you ever had to make a choice between two things and you wished you would rather not make a choice at all? But you see even failing to make a choice is a decision in itself and it comes with its own consequences too. But then again, even if I know all that, there are times when I have chosen not to choose. I often times find myself caught up in that space.

Do I always make the right decisions? NO, have I figured out may be a HOW TO… formula to make only the right decisions? OF-COURSE NOT

BUT. I can share some of the things I am learning to try out as I make decisions and are helping.

  1. Take time to think through it
  2. Pray and ask God for guidance
  3. Have the end in mind- How many people will be affected by your choice and in which ways

And Finally,

4. Share with someone your thoughts. I tell you, this goes a long way.

You see,

However wise you may be, you will need to use another set of eyes, mind and heart to look. There are quite a number of major “foolish” decisions I have made because I didn’t consider this point. Get a second opinion, what are wise family,  friends and mentors for anyway. They are willing to help.

But one thing I know for sure, I ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE TO MAKE and MY CHOICES SHAPE MY LIFE.

Hands On Please!!!

I’m starting to realize that I can’t learn anything theoretically. With no practical lesson, I can’t say I know something.

Like you can’t say “I know how to be a mother, doctor when you have not been one or I know how to do business or music when you have not done it”

You could be friends with let’s say a pilot or even be married to one, read all the piloting manuals, watch videos about it but trust me you won’t say you can fly that thing until you actually do.

Now also, we can’t expect to learn things like trusting God, learn to be patient, to love, forgive, give, be at peace, theoretically.
We have to learn practically.

May be life is tough right now…..It’s time to learn to trust your father. stand on his word and promises. Trust that He is faithful even when we have not been.

May be your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend, or business partner, or friend, or parent, or brother is being fake… this is the time to learn and master patience, forgiveness, unconditional love.

May be all around you is chaos. You are as if in a storm, tossed around, waves are tight, may be you feel like you are drowning, this is the time to learn to hold your peace.

You have read the manuals (bible, peoples stories), you have seen others overcome (pilots). You have gathered enough theory.

IT’S TIME FOR THE PRACTICAL CLASS. GET YOUR HANDS ON. YOU WILL FLY THAT THING.