Deadman, Alive!

Suddenly I lost control of myself and was being manhandled by a strong force that took me high up regardless of my body position and crushed me down with great force on the surface. I finally lost my reasoning. Everything became dark and all I could see was nothing. I tried getting on my feet, only to realise there was nothing beneath, then the thoughts came running, where am I?

My hands touched nothing and my feet felt loose, my eyes could not see and my nose could not breathe.

At this point my mind was blank and helpless, rendering my entire being clueless. Then slowly, I began to lose hold of the grasp of air in my lungs and as well the firm grab of my nose and mouth. Water started gushing in slowly until I could hold no more. It gradually filled my throat and nostrils, and I was struggling vigorously to catch some breath or get above the surface.

During the struggle all I could see were images of those I hate and think hate me, ones that always brought me pain and suffering. Ones that never support even when I grief for help, and ones all my life have brought pain and hatred, the bad times and the terrible moments. As I continued struggling my limbs got fatigued and I struggled less with my lungs being filled halfway with water, I realized my strength was gone and I could fight no more.

I did not give up but my strength was gone…

Immediately I was sober and sodden in regret and sorrow. I could not hold on any longer. My senses were all dead and I could do nothing for myself. I was so exhausted and couldn’t even afford to blink if I had the chance. Then I decided to give up. But just before I was gone, in a split second, all the memories of great moments I had with loved ones and friends came embracing before I departed.

I saw the face of my mum and dad when I was a kid, I recalled wonderful moments I never would have if I was normal. I saw the faces of each person I love, my family laughing and sharing experiences, my friends misbehaving and quarreling, classmates teasing and sharing ideas; the children on the field, then joy in church. All these beautiful things were bidding farewell right in my face and I was ready to go a happy man, everything went dark and I knew it was time, suddenly I saw her face, clearer than all the other memories and faces I had seen…she was the love of my life. She said nothing and did nothing but just kept smiling.

I really missed her.

But suddenly she had a sad look and I knew it was because I was leaving.

I wanted to right my wrongs,

I wanted to apologise,

I wanted to say goodbye,

Just what I needed, an Iorta of Hope,

The beneath my feet never felt and the pillar that was missing in the vacuum my swinging arms didn’t grab…

I breathed heavily with my last strength and I pushed hard only to feel a warm arm holding me and dragging me towards a very bright light, the light was brighter than day and warmer. All the water in my lungs came running out and my chest was loose,

My first breath was cooler

My limbs felt free and I was alive

I opened my eyes and I saw the skies. It was more beautiful than I ever saw it…

I saw the people around me and they were much more fascinating than I thought they were…

I felt myself again and I appreciated it…

I was a dead man and I’m now alive!

The feeling of a just delivered child we never remember or know.

I was saved by the beautiful people and times I had,

I was saved by love.

 

Life is beautiful, it’s where you belong!

Words by Nana Kofi Tego

Breakdown of Your Full Blood Count Test Result

You may not be a medical practitioner, but you’ve realized most of the time doctors request Full Blood Count (FBC) to be done on patients’ blood samples (By A Medical Laboratory Scientist -MLS). You keep wondering what it is. Out of curiosity, you may have peeped at your FBC report, and all you could make out of it were lots of three letter words, figures and graphs that make no sense to you. Have a seat and enjoy this eye opener.

To understand full blood count, you have to know what is in your own blood. Blood comprises of

  • Cells, known as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
  • Plasma, which is the liquid part of your blood. Plasma enables blood flow.

Red blood cells contain haemoglobin. Haemoglobin makes your blood have the characteristic red colour. Ever heard the saying “when the last tree falls, the last man dies?”. Or heard that man needs oxygen to survive?. The oxygen binds to haemoglobin in the red blood cells and since blood circulates around the body, oxygen is delivered to all your body parts for various life processes.

White blood cells are the fighting agents in your body. Just like the security service that have different groups of people for various tasks, like soldiers, police, etc., there are different white cells which fight against different disease-causing organisms. Neutrophils fight against bacteria, Eosinophils-parasites, Lymphocytes-viruses, etc.

Platelets allow blood to cease flow to the outside of the body when you get a cut so that you don’t lose a lot of blood.

Plasma contains food nutrients, dissolved gases, hormones, proteins, waste products, etc. and distributes them as they circulate in the body.

Now that we’ve had a picture of our blood components, it will be quite easy to understand the full blood count report. The parameters are abbreviated as:

RBC = Red blood cell

HGB/HB = Haemoglobin

WBC = White blood cells

NEU = Neutrophils

BAS = Basophils

MON = Monocytes

EOS = Eosinophils

LYM = Lymphocytes

PLT = Platelets

There are reference ranges to which the figures/results are compared to, to know whether they’re high or low. The parameter which is high or low will determine what’s wrong with the patient.

HB:     High: Polycythemia (abnormal increase in haemoglobin concentration, which may be caused by dehydration, living at high altitudes where there’s low oxygen, smoking, etc.)

Low: Anaemia (abnormal decrease in haemoglobin concentration, which may be caused by lack of folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, or loss of blood through bleeding, etc.)

 

NEU:   High: Bacterial infection, stress, burns, inflammation (response to an injury/damage to living tissue)       

Low: Exposure to radiation, effect of the intake of toxic drugs. lack of vitamin B12.

 

LYM:  High: Viral infection, leukaemia (cancerous disease affecting the WBCs)

Low: Prolonged illness, weakened immune system.

 

MON:  High: Viral or fungal infection, tuberculosis, leukaemia.

Low: Bone marrow (it produces blood cells) dysfunction, treatment with cortisol (hormonal drug)

 

EOS:   High: Allergic reactions, parasitic infection, autoimmune diseases (a disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues)

Low: Stress, drug toxicity.

 

BAS:   High: Allergic reactions, leukaemia, cancers.

Low: Pregnancy, ovulation, stress.

 

PLT:    Clotting disorders.

 

There are other parameters such as red cell indices, which are technical.

Next time when you receive your FBC result, at least you’ll have a fair idea about what it entails. We shall bring you a second part of this article which details other aspects.

PS: This article was written by Joseph Ofori, a graduate of University of Ghana, and a practising Medical Laboratory Scientist. It was proofread by MLS Arnold Agyapong and MLS Alexander Kwakye, who are both professional MLS’s also.

Welcome to the World of the Medical Laboratory Scientist

You wake up one day and just can’t fathom why you couldn’t have a sound sleep. You can’t really focus or think straight. Why? Because all you have on your mind is getting rid of the headache, your nose won’t stop running, you wish you could cease coughing. Although you’re weak, you decide to utilize the drop of strength you have in you to go to the hospital. Then another thought comes to mind, ‘You can simply let someone get you some antimalarials from the pharmacy’. But then, you boycott the second idea because you’ve heard several times that self-medication is deadly. “How am I even sure it’s malaria? It could be typhoid or any other pathogenic infection.”

Photo credit: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

Being a resolute person, you make it to the hospital, struggle your way through all queues to finally see the doctor for consultation. He writes a couple of laboratory (lab) tests for you to go do which will enable him have evidence of your ill state. Your blood sample is taken, and you’re asked to collect your urine into a container. After about half an hour, you’re presented with a report to send back to the doctor.

Now, let’s zoom in into the lab portion. What did the Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) really do with the blood and urine samples? The truth is, the doctor wasn’t certain of what actually was the cause of your ill-health. After briefing him on your symptoms, he was left with about three or more possible causes. Therefore, to make an evidence-based diagnosis in order to treat you right, he requested those tests. The MLS run a full blood count, using your blood sample. He also prepared a spherical blood film on a glass slide, and went through processes to see if there were malaria parasites present in your blood. He again did an in-depth analysis on your urine sample. All these were carried out to give a general picture of your health condition.

Photo credit: Blood Tests London

The report he gave you is the actual reason you walked to the hospital and pushed your buttocks up the hospital benches. It is the pink sheet of your health condition.

In our subsquent articles, we will break down the work of the Medical Laboratory Scientist. It’ll be a nice ride. Stay with us.