Yes, I am getting old…

I have been struggling to admit this publicly but sadly I am getting old. While I like to say that I am in my “thirties” the reality is, I am closer being in my forties. My body doesn’t heal the way it used to. I have been to the hospital three times in Nigeria and two of those times were because I overextended myself either at the gym or playing tennis (the first time was because of malaria). The most recent “health scare” was after a strenuous game of tennis on Sunday evening. Since Sheila has been out of town, I thought it would be good to spend a few nights playing tennis. My tennis coach and I were having a very exciting game when we were rudely interrupted by the rain. We decided to reschedule our game for the next night (Monday). I went home, talked to my wife, finished up a few work related items and eventually went to bed around 1:30am.

The next day I was up at 7:00am and in a work event at 8:00am. Later that morning I made a presentation at a workshop on strengthening political party communication. By noon that day, I was having trouble breathing. As a typical southern, my first though was I had gas trapped near my lungs. I started searching the web for my symptoms so I could diagnosis myself. By 2:00pm, I was unable to walk more than a few steps without struggling to breathe. I had to have my staff help me to the car. I told my driver to take me directly to the hospital. I don’t enjoy going to the hospital in Nigeria. Mostly because it chaotic and confusing. There are numerous buildings with little to no signage about where to go. Surprisingly, my time at the hospital was very short and I was able to see a consultant very quickly. I told her I was having trouble breathing and could only walk a few steps before taking a break to catch my breath. She conducted a few checks and asked me a few questions.

Consultant: “Is there pain when you breathe?”
Me: “No”
Consultant: “How would you describe it?”
Me: “It’s more like a discomfort. I thought I was having a heart attack”
Consultant: “Well you are not having a heart attack. It sounds like the muscles between your ribs are enflamed and you are experiencing muscle spasms. That is why if feels like you can’t breathe. Did you do anything recently to enflame your muscles?”
Me: “Well, I played tennis for the first time in a month. But you know, I play tennis a few times a month usually.”
Consultant: “That was probably what contribute to your condition. You just need rest. And you probably want to warm up before playing tennis. However, I will give you some muscle relaxers to help you rest.”

It was in that moment that I realized that I was no longer a young man. Yes, mentally, I still think of myself as a youth but the body reflects the current age. The singer, Aaliyah once said in one of her songs that “Age ain’t nothing but a number…” while that might be true, sadly my body knows what that age is…

And Sheila and I haven’t even started to have children…

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