Apollonia

I’ve been pretty run down this week; fever, headaches, cold and cough. I thought that after yesterday morning when I had the last bout of fever that we’d simply parted ways. I was on the mend. The fight was over. I rarely get sick anyway, so, you win this one viruses! We were done.

Not so, friends.

I woke up this morning with a left eye that refused to open and when it finally did, would only budge in the middle – the ends of the eye still held fast with yellow gunk. Through this ghastly, spiky curtain, my blackened eye peeped out at the world, like a demon in search of a soul to devour.

It only took all thirty-ahem! years of my life, but finally, finally friends, I have experienced the dreaded Apollo. (That’s conjunctivitis to you non-Nigerians). Dreaded because kids that dared contact Apollo when we were growing up were shunned and heckled by other kids in school. Home would have not been much fun to be in either, my parents were very strict on what we were and were not allowed to catch. I only had chicken pox at twenty-two, living in London, far away from their disapproval.

It’s hard growing up with two doctors in the house; I never had the sweetness of wearing a filthy, itchy cast because I was not allowed to break any bones, never had lice until I was in boarding school and quickly got rid of that myself (ground camphor in the hair, combed through and washed out. Someone taught me) or boils that required that special inky-blue liquid dressing that never seemed to repel flies. There were plenty of scrapes and bruises but they never allowed us to have plasters, just wash it in stinging soap and water (ow!) and leave it open because the air made it heal.

“But I want plaster!” we’d wail, when our mother was out of earshot.

“Com’ on, mechie onu gi ebe ahu osiso! You want plaster, that’s why you wounded yourself,” she’d say from upstairs, listening in with her bat hearing.

I never ever got out of doing homework.

Having such knowledgeable parents was a bother. We never got to stay home from school even if we had malaria – they’d inject you with chloroquine and send you on your merry way. I can only remember being home from school once and by the end of the day I wanted to live in school, I was so bored. No TV, no getting up to go to the toilet (you had to shout for one of the maids to come and bear witness that you were not really playing), just a lot of sleeping and hallucinating and sweating as the chloroquine kicked the shege out of the malaria and out of you.

.Being ill was never as fun for us as it was for other children, so we simply stopped. I simply stopped falling ill until I could find someone to pet me. Except, I found out how much I loved being well. As a ‘habit’, it stuck. It doesn’t mater what The Hubster and Tot catch, I never seem to get it, mainly because I avoid them, starving them of hugs and kisses until whatever they have is gone.

Easier to do with the Hubster than the Tot. Which is why I’ve had this cold and cough kicking the shit out of me for the past week. But I cannot help kissing the little petri dish. It’s those damn cheeks!

Anyway, turned out to be good training my mother was giving me because life is really about about taking your chloroquine like a good girl, and just getting on with it, if you can.

And I might have the flaming eye of Sauron, but I also get a rather lovely drawing of myself from Tot, which is not bad going at all.

This is how Tot sees me. He always says I am orange.
This is how Tot sees me. He always says I am orange. Notice the big red eye!

6 thoughts on “Apollonia

  1. Ha I remember when APOLLO was ‘on’. I refused to look anybody that has the red eye on the face cos I believed that I will ‘catch’ it. Anyway ndo woo (Neni way).

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    From:”How to love Igbo things (or what you will).” Date:Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:46 Subject:[New post] Apollonia

    Nwunye posted: “I’ve been pretty run down this week; fever, headaches, cold and cough. I thought that after yesterday morning when I had the last bout of fever that we’d simply parted ways. I was on the mend. The fight was over. I rarely get sick anyway, so, you win this”

  2. I bet that the child knows truly what his mother is like – a black leg, orange body and eye like the much dreaded ‘odogwu anya mme masquerade in the village where I grew up during the Nigerian civil war!

  3. Apollo……chai…..ndo oo…we call it pink eye here in the states….Anam awu Ben Johnson whenever i see it, which is constantly cos of close contact working with children

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