Now, is all we have!

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.” ~Tagore~

Here and now, is all – not tomorrow, not next year or 10 years on! This moment, not a second more or less, is all we’re guaranteed.

Last Thursday, I got a stark reminder that what happens now, will have a lasting impact on the rest of my life.

You see, I survived cerebral malaria over 30 years ago! How? I don’t know – the neurologist I visited on Thursday wanted to know too. It was my 2nd visit to him – to see whether the white matter spots in my brain (showing up on MRI scans) had changed or grown.

Before telling him about my cerebral malaria episode – he explained that the white spots had not changed from what he saw 6 months earlier. We asked him, had they changed – what that would mean, and he explained, “it would be a concern because it tells me you have had a stroke. So the ones we see now, may have been brought on by little strokes previously which have gone unnoticed”.

It was then I told him my story, “Dr, when I was in high school, I was diagnosed with cerebral malaria. I was in a coma for 5 days…”. The doctor’s face changed, and he goes, “wow, you had cerebral malaria and you’re sitting here in my office? How long ago was this? And where did you say you are from?”.

I explained, it happened while I was in yr 10, so that would be 1986. And that we are from Papua New Guinea. I can still picture the look on Dr’s face as he said, “my dear, you do realise that cerebral malaria is a very serious illness”. And then continued on explaining that, it is the answer to the big question of, where those white spots in my brain came from. He went onto check online what scans of other people with cerebral malaria would show and it turned out, those were very similar to what my scans were showing.

The neurologist told me how lucky I was to have survived & sent me home saying I didn’t need to see him again. And to take good care of myself – monitor my hypertension, keep cholesterol low, not to stress too much and so on. And to get checked annually to make sure nothing has changed.

My family and ’86 classmates from Marianville will know what I’m talking about 🙏❤

I was in Marianville High School, it was a Sunday evening – everyone had just got back from home weekend so catching up on stories. Apparently, I collapsed in fits, they even had to put a spoon in my mouth to stop me from biting myself. I was taken to ER by the nuns. And only the nuns and the girls who were there, know the full story of that fateful evening and how I ended up in hospital.

I was in a coma for 5 days @ ICU in POM General Hospital. Just before I woke up, I remember, this vision I had: the one that everyone talks about, I was in a tunnel, there was a very bright light at the end of it. Two puppies were ahead of me, and they kept looking back at me as if they wanted me to follow them.

It was then when I woke up, I’m not sure how or if someone was calling my name. But I woke up and the 1st person I see was my dad, with his white hair. I didn’t recognise him at first, so I’m thinking, this is it! I’m with the angels.

Then I heard dad call my name, again, because I’m just starting at him, “Ida, do you know who I am?”
I nodded in acknowledgement, “Dad”.
He hugged me and asked, “Do you know where we are?”
I shook my head, “No”. Dad continued, “We’re in POM General Hospital, ICU ward… do you know why you are here?” Again I shook my head, and he explained briefly what had happened.

By then the Drs and nurses, had arrived and were checking me and asking all sorts of questions. I can’t recall all – everything else afterwards happened in a flurry of events. I remember my family crying, I didn’t understand at first. But later on I realised they were tears of joy.

I must also mention the significance of the two puppies in my vision. A year or two earlier, in the space of 2 weeks, two family members passed away – my nephew and his little sister – they were just babies 😢 God bless their souls, they were my guardian angels, literally! May their beautiful souls rest in God’s eternal peace forever ❤

I was in hospital for a while, moved from ICU to a normal ward and in my dad’s own words, that ward was like another Marianville High school classroom or so, with the number of nuns and young girls in orange and white visiting everyday.

I was discharged before the end of 3rd term, and was keen to get back to school because of Grade 10 exams. But the Drs did not allow it. I got back to school, in term 4, just 3 weeks before the national Grade 10 exams were to start.

I believe, God held me in the palm of His hands through the cerebral malaria ordeal and grade 10 exams in 1986 and through to this day, as I type this. Through the prayers of my parents and rest of my family, both immediate and extended, and also of the nuns and girls from Marianville. I am forever grateful to God for my life and blessing me with these prayer warriors who stood by me, cried with me and prayed for me throughout a dark point in my life.

Today, I see people all around, panicking about the corona virus, I read the news online, hear of and joke about people fighting over toilet roll and I’m thinking, why panic? Why fear? I could’ve died in 1986 from cerebral malaria but I’m still here. And there are so many other ways, we will all go, we just don’t know – only God knows.

Even if we knew and tried everything we possibly could to prevent death from catching up with us, what’s the point of living then – we might as well be dead! We will all walk that path, we can’t live out our lives trying to avoid death – it’s inevitable.

We should, however, live life to its fullest, knowing & believing that God has us in the palm of His hands. We must pray for God’s healing, for peace to prevail amidst fear and confusion that is escalating. God bless us all ❤🙏

Psalms 139: 13 – 18
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalms 139: 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.