Monday, December 29, 2014


On my death bed in the MacMaster University Hospital, I saw it with my own eyes. Martha, you have a 95% to die or spend your life in a wheel chair.  A team of 6 doctors were working furiously with an army of nurses to save me.  I am told that every time I got out of the comma, I would pull all the wires off.  So the medically induced comma was crucial.

Work for a great company and you will know.  I lost my shoes on the ambulance from Toronto East to Hamilton.  I miss those shoes.  But for some reason, I always had my phone and laptop.  As soon as I was able to go into a private room, I communicated with some of my friends at work to say I was cool.

That year was a very hard year.  However, people from work and our parish visited me daily.  Our priest had contacted another priest in Hamilton Ontario.  This wonderful priest was visiting me daily. I had nearly given up on God.  She used to pray with me daily.  My friends from work used to come and see me and bring me books too.  I have no way to thank them but they know.

So finally when Dr. Dolan accepted to receive me in Saint John Regional, the company had ground ambulance and Air ambulance to fly me home.  The kids were in New Brunswick, about 1.5hrs away from that hospital and they had been watching over me in ICU.  I had to sign some documents that I could die in the air ambulance but for crying out loud, I die hard.

The doctors in Hamilton and the nurses were wonderful.  For my treatments, well I was too sick to even comprehend.  I remember Gail asking me why I was coughing.  I told her I was having a hard time to breathe.  Then she did something and I became very sleepy.  Afterwards she explained to me  that the doctors at Toronto East General Hospital had found out that I am allergic to human protein.  The condition I have is very rare.  It affects only about 3 people in a million.  Very little research has been done about it.  There is no treatment except one to kinda help.  I get angry when I see people complain about the most researched diseases in the world which even have treatment.

When I got to Saint John, my platelets were 9.  Normal is 150 or more.  Dr. Dolan did something that still stuns me to this day.  He is a specialist in blood disorders and cancer.  His nurses Vicky and Brenda had to do a plasma exchange twice daily.  That is very hard on someone who cannot tolerate human protein.  He had me on some 12-15 units of plasma twice a day with steroids (the wonder drug as steroids suppress the immune system so that you do not reject foreign products).  One time Vicky looked at me and told me that I was all swollen up.  I had gained too much weight too quickly (retain and steroids).  Then she did something I even forget to help me lose all the liquid I was retaining.  She is an angel.  And so is Brenda.  During the treatments, I would break out in hives and shivers and they always knew what to do.  It is funny now the doctors and nurses in Moncton know.2007, 2008, 2009 - those years were hard.  But here I am today.

For all those trips to Saint John, the company had people to drive me there each time (we had an office there) and drive me home.  My priest, now retired also did a lot of driving.  The entire Parish was on stand by to drive me to.  My older sister Sharon from our church and Tracy (the music teacher) would usually get the girls from school.  Help with homework and feed them and then have a meal ready for me when I would return half asleep from the treatments.  I remember sometimes when Sharon could not get Mini and her daughter Laura who was in Gr 6 would have to skip out of school and take the small people bus home to care for Tasha.  Tracy has been teaching the girls piano since the ages of 7 and 4. She would dash to the school and pick up Tasha.  Then go do her errands.  Then dash back and pick up Becky.  Then give them their lessons, feed them and help them with their home work.  YES LOVE HEALED ME.  Now, it is shocking, Tracy has moved close to our home and many times the girls just walk there for the lessons.  Sharon and Charlie still live up the street and they help me with my garden business.  Our priest retired and is now in Istanbul.  My employers have set a standard for blood donations - roll up the sleeves.  One friend from work (Claudette) had read an email I sent (hey, I always have phone and latpop even in death) and asked the company to help.  On this particular occasion, the province of New Brunswick had ran out of my blood type.  I do not tolerate compatibles at all.  Vicky (my nurse) was very worried about going 6hrs without my blood products.  The government of New Brunswick with the hospital of Saint John Regional had to coordinate to fly in products from the province of Quebec.  It was a bit scary.  When I told Claudette about it, she asked the company for permission to ask for blood donations.  Some people tried to ask what my blood type was.  It is B-.  But the thing is you cannot just donate for a specific group.  Just give because one day, one time, your time is saving a life.  So my managers rolled up the sleeves and then paid all their employers to go and give.  Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO on NYSE) and Exxonmobil (XOM on NYSE) are the biggest blood donors in Canada. They do more than that too (I will talk about Juniour Achievement soon).

My life was saved by LOVE.  From Family, Friends, Employers, Church Community, Neighbours and a great team of Medical Professionals.  LOVE HEALS, THIS IS REAL.

By Martha Leah Zesaguli (Nangalama)
Moncton, Canada
Born and Raised in Uganda

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