All Smiles and in Pain; the Everyday Superhumans!


Beautiful demeanor, cheerful composure, excellent intonation and the air of education and civility all around her.
She was either in her late sixties or early seventies and had that silky silver hair that old ladies are known for, it was neatly woven into corn rows and it formed a beautiful mesh of black, grey and silver!
She was a beautiful old woman, you could tell that she might have turned lots of heads in her hay days.

The first day I met her, she came in demanding for pain killers, a lot of them and in various brands. This caught my attention and I politely approached her and enquired why she needed that much painkillers and went ahead to explain to her that she could easily develop ulcers from taking that much painkillers. By the time I was done, she let out a hearty laugh, you could see her perfect dentition and then she replied “I already have holes in my intestines my dear, it doesn’t get any worse than this. I have MS (multiple sclerosis) and I am at the end stage. I live with pain in every conscious moment. I am used to pain.”
I was speechless. I have never heard anyone say they were used to pain. Pain isn’t something to be used to.
Yet, she was all smiles, she made jokes and she carried her age with so much grace and beauty.
It was heartbreaking, I was heartbroken.
And I dropped the lecture and started listening.
The woman in front me looked like a perfect grandma. But behind her smile was a story of battles fought in each moment of consciousness.

We became friends and she comes in once every while.
Crisp intonation, excellent grammar and the squeaky cleanliness of the 1960s! The generation of “quite alrights and wherewithals”😁
It was always an honour to have her around. I imagined queen Elizabeth would have the same mannerisms.😁
And more importantly, she reminded me of my own grandma!…God rest her soul!

I live with pain in every conscious moment. I am used to pain.”

When she walked in today, I was very happy. I had to quickly round up with the patient who had my attention and rush off to stand before her for what I knew was going to be an hour of learning and glory!
Today, we talked about a lot of things. About how there is very little research on MS because not a lot of people suffer it, about how stem cells are having very little success rates in the treatment, about how people won’t believe that you’re dying because you are not crying about it.
Hence when people ask “how are you”, she promptly replies that she’s fine…. because what else can you say?

About how people would go ahead to say “you look beautiful” and she’d reply “oh, thanks” because…..”what else is there to say?”.
So, I told her that it’d be nice if she wrote a book or made a podcast or to even save her the stress, she could record what she wants to write and we could transcribe it and make a book out of it. I brought her a book from the shelf, the title was “living with scleroderma”. I offered to buy it for her so that she could have some inspirational juice from it.
She replied in her comely humour “I have surplus juice”.
We both had a good laugh and she flipped through the pages, read a few lines and said “yes….yes…oh, she’s just like me”.
And then heaved a sigh and said she could get depressed if she goes home with that book.

I pushed further and said, “but you have to let people know that someone has gone through this and with a cheerful spirit”.
She replied “well, I’d give it a thought…but I doubt people would believe me if they hear me talking”.

So, I said “direct them to me, I’d convince them on your behalf….one way or another”. She laughed. And then she complained of the cost of the supplements. And I reminded her that if she had written the book, we’d have paid for all her supplements with the royalties from the book. But no, she has decided not to write.
She laughed again and replied “foolish boy, why don’t I get the medications first then when we eventually publish a book, you can come and get the money”. Again, we laughed and then, she paid, promised to think about writing a book and left.

But it has not left my head that a person can get used to pain and still manage to squeeze out some hearty laughter, a beautiful sense of humour and a welcoming demeanor.
Not biting anybody, not dishing out invites for a well deserved pity party, not brandishing a much merited scowl, and quite surprisingly, still carrying herself with a queenly grace.


If there are grades to being human then, she is a superhuman!!!


11 responses to “All Smiles and in Pain; the Everyday Superhumans!”

  1. It’s beautiful to observe how strong we are as humans in the face of adversity. Well written bro. I hope she takes you up on the book suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece, honestly I opened it from your status on WhatsApp with the intent of scanning through it but couldn’t drop it till I was done. Well-done keep writing

    Liked by 1 person

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