When lonely Zimbos fall ill in the UK


DURING 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, many Zimbabweans who live alone in the UK have been picked by medical staff, having fallen seriously ill.
This trend, however, has been going on for the past years and Zimbabweans abroad are not taking heed of the dangers of staying alone.
Omega Matimba from Leicester narrated her ordeal: “I began feeling distinctly green one Saturday afternoon.
By Sunday evening, I was writhing in agony.
I was to spend a week slumped on the couch with no one to help me.
I was covered in vomit and my own waste.
I could not speak and did not eat for the whole week and in just seven days, I had lost 15kg.
I could not reach my mobile phone and for some reason, none of my friends checked on me.
My God remembered me and sent a postman who forced the door open.
He said he heard groans and he called the police while he was breaking the door.
I later spent two weeks in hospital.
I could have died on my own with no one to help.”
Abide Chihwa, also from Leicester, recounted his ordeal of falling sick alone:
“Come Monday morning, I could not take food or water.
I had developed a profound pain in my right side and movement was becoming increasingly difficult.
I scrolled feverishly through my phone wondering who I could burden.
‘Can you buy me painkillers and rehydration drinks?’, I begged a friend with courier access, but alas, corporate policy dictated not.
By late morning, barely able to e-mail, I managed to convey a message to a couple of my friends.
‘Do you need anything?’ one kindly inquired.
‘Could you possibly post some painkillers through the letterbox?’ I replied – a plea she found so outlandish as to imagine it must be a joke.
I cannot account for the remainder of Monday, suffice to say I could not, and did not, move.
On Tuesday morning, increasingly incoherent, I crawled to the landline to ask if my doctor could come to see me.
‘Home visits for the elderly only’, the (new, inexperienced) receptionist informed me.
Summoned by texts, local allies pushed fluids and painkillers through the door.
I crawled into the hall and self-medicated, then lay there for another eight hours.
I have a legion of glorious friends, but in that bleared moment, never had I felt so isolated.”
Being sick while you are alone is so traumatic.
The life of being alone was never meant for a person because humans are meant to be closely related social beings.
In the UK, getting sick means you will be mentally torpid, meaning a month without income.
Most Zimbabweans, therefore, sacrifice their health by continuously working, even when they are unwell.
Not working means not eating.
One is paid per hour and the hour spent sick means an unpaid hour.
The need to minimise costs also makes some Zimbabweans live in squalid conditions, in the process avoiding visits from fellow Zimbabweans.
However, such a life presents a horrible scenario when one falls ill, alone, in the privacy of his/her house.
There are many Zimbos who have failed to be sociable and they are the ones who always suffer unnoticed.
The number of Zimbabweans of all ages living solo has risen by more than a third over the past 16 years.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of such sole occupants has risen by 833 000 in the past two decades.
This statistic is across the board in the UK.
Zimbabweans must learn to come together and be a solid community abroad.
For views and comments, email: vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk


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