I want to see my children in America before I die â€“Deported Nigerian
Dialysis or a kidney transplant enables people with kidney diseases and failure to manage and enjoy life longer. But for Michael Maduka, this may not be the case; he is suffering from kidney failure, partial stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. His chronic disease is steadily advancing to what doctors conclude is stage five â€“ the end stage where toxins build up in the body due to lack of proper and consistent dialysis.
â€œToday, my kidney is slowly shutting down. I canâ€™t digest food. I have stomach upset and arthritis, all at the same time. There is no adequate blood in my system. My legs are weak and swollen. I canâ€™t wear shoes, except flip-flops. I am getting visually-impaired. I have too many health complications. My body organs are shutting down. My heart is failing. Inconsistent dialysis has affected my vision so badly,â€ he said.
At 59, he shares his walker with his aging 80-year-old mother in their small apartment located in a narrow path in Enugu, the ancient coal mine city east of the River Niger.
Madukaâ€™s mother has osteoarthritis. She barely walks unassisted.
After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in women. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the end of the bones within the joints, breaks down and wears away. In some cases, all of the cartilage may wear away, leaving bones that rub up against each other.
Symptoms range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes to severe joint pain. Osteoarthritis affects hands, low back, neck, and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, and feet. Osteoarthritis affects just joints, not internal organs.
Few weeks ago, the aging mother and her sick son shared a room inside a local clinic in the city because their health conditions deteriorated.
Maduka arrived in the United States toward the end of 1988 and quickly got into menial jobs to survive.
â€œJebose, I didnâ€™t have enough money to send myself to school when I arrived the US. I began to work at various restaurants as a cook and sometimes, prep boy. I was the head of my family back in Nigeria and my trip to the US created a vacuum for my siblings and also my parents, especially my mother. I had to find employment so that I could continue to care for the family by sending money back home. I didnâ€™t come from a wealthy family. I needed to take care of my family first, then further my education later.â€
Along his travel and travails, the young ambitious traveller met a beautiful lady and decided to marry her. Two years after he arrived, Maduka married a charming American girl.
Gasping, Maduka attempted to remember times that were loving and romantic with his first wife: â€œShe was a very decent girl. She showered me with love and affection and made my new life in the US pleasant. I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes, but her presence in my life then was Graceland, Jebose. Sadly, she died from brain cancer six years after we married.â€
He mourned his first American love for two years and remarried in 1996.
â€œMy second marriage was in 1996. I began normal life after recovering from losing a dear wife. We had three children and I began to formally process my immigration status. But in 2004, the US Immigration detained me for illegally living in the country. The sad event of September 9, 2001, when America was attacked by terrorists, changed their immigration policy. I was detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a body under the Homeland Security. Diabetes was affecting me badly and I had been diagnosed with prostate enlargement. Seven months after I was detained, ICE deported me to Nigeria in 2004. I returned to Nigeria and established a cosmetics business. By this time, my diabetes had become serious. I became ill. I had heart failures, partial stroke.
â€œOne year after I was deported, my ex-wife brought my children to live with me in Nigeria. She returned to her country and filed for divorce. My children enrolled in school in Lagos in the next three years until 2008 when their mother asked them to visit on vacation with her. Itâ€™s been almost seven years since my children left. I have no contact with them. My ex-wife refused to return them to me. I am slowly dying and my only wish is to see my three children before I die.
â€œI lived in Lagos until my illness degenerated. I lost my business and my home. I could not take care of myself in the city. My mother was also seriously sick. I decided to return home and live with my mother. I have siblings and they are assisting, doing their best to care for two ailing family members. There is so much a family could take. I had to return to Enugu because when my illness got worse in Lagos, there was no place for me to stay to get care. I attended the Lagos University Teaching Hospital for treatment, but the hospital could not help me. LUTH gave me two pints of blood during my initial visit and asked me to sit down for a while. Several hours later, the hospital discharged me. Imagine that! I had to go to my hometown, Enugu. I had several dialyses in Enugu. It is expensive. It costs about N70,000 per session. I do it once a week. Blood is injected into my system twice every week, giving the bone marrow blood. I am anaemic.
â€œMy mother is very sick and I live with her. She gave birth to five boys and three girls. I was the sole provider of the family. But now, everything has fallen apart since my illness. My mother is very weak. We share the same walker. My mother and I share the same hospital bed sometimes. We live on pittance. My mother also has high blood pressure.
She barely walks. She does everything on her bed: she poops, wets her bed and I have to struggle to help clean her whenever I am not too weak.
â€œJebose, itâ€™s very painful and sad to see my 80-year-old mother reduced to vegetable. My children are in the US: my oldest son is 17. It would be wonderful to see them before the end of my time. My ex-wife filed for divorce while I was ill in Nigeria. She said she needed to move on. Soon after my deportation, she brought my children to Nigeria and went back.
The children spent two years in school in Nigeria, and then went on vacation there. Since then, she never brought them back. I am dying slowly. My organs are ailing and I need help with my dialyses. I am a beggar in the street, begging people for money to buy garri, pure water and food. I have been seriously ill the past 17 years. I am 59 years old now and I do not know how much longer I would live.â€
A â€˜gofundmeâ€™ crowd-funding page was recently created online for Maduka by friends to help him and his mother with their medical and daily living bills.
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