Hi!My name is Sandlady and am a drug junkie. Admitting my predicament publicly like this makes me feel so contaminated, like Nairobi river or the local sewage. Just like the other junkies I insist I have not done it intentionally and I am not sure I can quit.
A few years ago, after fourth form, I stayed with my uncle for quite some time before joining college. This is what used to happen those days, you either went upcountry to stay with your grandparents, visited an aunt or uncle as you figured out what to do after high school. Now while staying with my uncle I would see him taking pills almost every single day, I think five days in a week. I felt sorry for him, having to take medicine every day didnt sound like something anyone enjoyed. But I could see he had no choice, it was either that or he would not sleep.
I joined college, on your way out of Nairobi heading to Ruiru, Kenyatta University to be precise. If you have read my other pieces youll realise that I dont like disclosong my higher learning information. Compared to Mombasa where i grew up, Nairobi is pretty cold most of the time but KU(Kenyatta University-Main Campus) proved to be even colder. It is while pursuing higher learning that I found myself into drugs. I started light, taking a mild tablet say once a month or once a week.
During what we called Summer classes, which is really ironic since its the coldest period of the year, the situation would worsen even as I kept warm through out. I increased my dosage and changed drugs. But because money was scarce as solely on pocket money sent to me by my parents my intake was in check.
Fast forward to the present and I can not say it has gotten any better. I have a good job and am able to afford the best drugs for oral and inhaling. This is what allergies has turned me into, an anti-histamine junkie. I know most anti-histamine drugs in Kenya, from piriton, cezine, aerius, montana, zyncet, cetrizine and celastamine amongst many others. Some are the real deal while others are generic, in fact I get loyalty discounts whenever I go to buy in most chemists.
You are probably wondering why I can’t do without medication while the simple solution is to keep off the triggers. Believe me I really try but first to tell what exactly are my triggers, dust, smoke, perfumes, paraffin and most fuels. My reaction is a sneeze-a-thon out of this world, I can out-sneeze most people I know. My sneeze is so loud you would think my skinny self was going to crack in the next minute. To avoid smoke and paraffin I use gas, and it was the first thing I ever did for my parents, buying a gas cooker.
My main challenge lies in where I work and where I stay, a total dilemma, as both seem to be almost permanent, at least in the near future. I am a cashier, which means in the course of duty I receive cash from customers from all walks of life. From the office executives to mama mboga, from the petrol stations to the hardware dealers, from the Somali livestock trader to the Giriama charcoal dealers without discrimination. All these come bundled with dust and different scents that trigger my allergens. Most often I will be fine till the end of day when I arrive home and the sneeze kicks in while at times it’s instant. At home another challenge awaits, dust from the dusty road just next to my house. When I bought into the idea of getting the ideal corner house I had not taken into account how dry Mombasa is and that it gets dusty. To make matters worse construction of the estate is ongoing which means lorries carrying construction materials are always on the move throwing in dust at me and mine. So you see either way am doomed.
I have been in a complicated relationship with my doctor,an ENT specialist, whom I see when things get awry like yesterday. In fact after always being prescribed anti-histamines and anti-biotics i decided to seek professional help and I do not regret it. It is at this point that I learnt that all this time i had been treating the symptoms instead of dealing with the cause, I realised I had allergy issues. She,the ENT specialist, advised me to try to keep off the triggers and where a mask at work, she also prescribes some medication plus a nasal spray which I must say is a life saver. A puff and am as good as new, though I suppose this is how smokers feel at their first puff. About the mask, hmm I have been rather reluctant to put it on throughout because of stares and questions from clients. I always feel they’ll be offended, that I find their hard earned money smelly and not worth me touching it while others having asked me if am allergic to money.
So now I have resorted to accepting my smelly druggy self since even the mildest of perfumes doesn’t augur well with my nostrils it seems and wearing masks like I work in some factory and not a bank. I also never miss a tablet of celastamine and a nasal spray as I travel since I cannot control what other people do. My friends having experienced firsthand what i go through will double check and will endure the heat for fear that using the fan will cause me harm, which is the risk they run. I have learnt to love citrus fruits and you will see me buying oranges and ‘chenza’ whenever they are in season. I don’t take milk in my tea as am told dairy products increase…., instead I love black tea. I prefer lemon tea but am afraid of its slimming effect as am already skinny and slimming will reduce me to a walking stick. Honey, ginger and lemon concoction are my go-to home remedy.
Now I appreciate my uncle’s life better and I know it’s genetical, something I hope not to pass on to Sandbaby. In the meantime, Sandbaby keeps praying for me to get well and stop getting sick every now and again.