He has had a strange ailment for 15 years and almost survived the sickness. But the ailment relapsed and he had a fire accident that burnt his legs. 24 year-old Arinze Onele, a native of Ezzagu in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State is being held in the hospital for a N345,000 bill with infection already ravaging his legs. UCHENNA INYA, in Abakaliki, writes
Arinze is the 4th child in his family. His mother gave birth to five children. He lost his father at a very tender age. Immediately after his father died, he started having a strange ailment. The sickness would drag him down and make him unconscious.
It would first make him to shout and be in shock before dragging him down. It continued till he became adult. His mother took him to Psychiatric hospital, Enugu and doctors recommended drugs he should be taking. Arinze continued taking the drugs and the sickness subsided.
His mother, Onele Josephine, started making efforts to put him in a skill acquisition centre, where he would learn some handiwork since the sickness couldn’t allow him to go to school. As she was planning to raise money to do that, the sickness returned and the worst happened.
It was in March this year. Arinze was cooking and went to put down the food on the fire when he fell down and into the fire. The fire burnt his two legs and nobody was around to help him out. He remained in the fire till he regained consciousness. It was some passers-by who saw him crawling like a baby in front of their house with burns he sustained from the fire that raised the alarm and asked him where his mother went to. He told them that his mother was in the church and they quickly rushed to the church to inform her of what happened to Arinze. The woman was in prayer mood and didn’t go home immediately she was told what happened to Arinze. After the prayer and the gospel that followed the prayer, she went home and saw things for herself.
Narrating the incident to our correspondent in the hospital last week, the devastated widow said: “I was not around when my son fell into fire. I was in the church that time. But there is something that always drag him and whenever it occurs to him, he would fall down.
After some time, he will regain strength. He decided to cook food and was pulling it down from the fire when that thing that drags him occurred and he fell into the fire. “After regaining consciousness, he crawled to the road and some women of our community, who were passing, saw him and became shocked.
They immediately collected my phone number and called me and I rushed home immediately and saw him. “That thing that always drags him has been happening to him since but it stopped three years ago. It came back and we started giving him treatment.
We took him to Psychiatric Hospital, Enugu, where some drugs were prescribed for him. He started taking it and the thing reduced to a great extent. “The thing started disturbing him from childhood. That time, he would shout very loud and become shocked.
It started after his father died and I wouldn’t say it was as result of the shock from his father’s death because he was very small when he died. My husband died 15 years ago and Arinze is 24 years old. “In this Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki(AE-FUTHA), there is a drug we buy for him every day at N2,500 which was recommended by Doctor.
I started buying that drug in March, when we came to this hospital but there is no money to continue buying the drug for him. Because I stopped buying the drugs, infection has entered the legs and the hospital has discharged us, giving us a bill of N345,000 to pay before we are allowed to go home. That thing that made Arinze to fall into fire is still disturbing him.
It is still dragging him and has not stopped till now. “I am helpless, I don’t have money and I don’t have anybody to run to for assistance. I need assistance from all quarters. I need help seriously. To feed is very difficult let alone buying the drug I buy for him and paying the hospital bill we were asked to pay. My husband is no more alive and nobody asks us how we are doing, nobody visits us in the hospital except some persons from our place who gave us N3,000 when they visited us.
They told us they don’t have much and dropped that amount. Since then, nobody has visited us and my late husband had no brother or sister. He was the only child of his parents”. She described the boy as a very dedicated Christian, who likes the things of God and expressed the hope that he will get better. She said money was all that is needed now to save his son.
“Arinze is a very dedicated Christian, who likes evangelism. He doesn’t joke with evangelism and he prays fervently. Because of his dedication in the things of God, that thing that always drag him stopped and I was very happy that it has stopped. I started planning on how to train him in skill work but the thing suddenly came back and rendered him like this.
The fire dealt with him badly and Doctors had to cut flesh of his laps to fill the big holes on the legs that were burnt by fire. I strongly believe that he will get better; only money is what it will cost which I don’t have any now. I have five children and all of them are alive. Arinze is my 4th child”, she stated. On his part, Arinze said: “This thing happened to me in March.
My head was turning and I fell into fire. I was very shocked before I fell into fire. I wanted to put down food on the fire when my head started turning and I fell into the fire with my legs and nobody was around when it happened to me. I felt very dizzy before it happened to me. I was trying to pull down the food I was cooking from fire when it happened to me. “I was shouting but nobody came to my rescue.
I later regained strength and came out of the fire and by that time, it has already burnt my legs.” Arinze’s younger brother, Onele Izuchukwu, said he was devastated in Onitsha, Anambra State where he was when he heard what happened to Arinze. He called for assistance from government at all levels, Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs), coporate bodies and public spirited individuals to come to their aid. Izuchukwu said the family is financially handicapped and need assistance to save the life of his brother.
He said: “I was in Onitsha, Anambra State when I was called on the telephone that my brother had home accident. I returned home and before I returned, he was already in the hospital. Only my mum and I are in this hospital taking care of him. I am preparing to write my WAEC this year. I was learning hair dressing and I finished learning it this year, waiting for money to start a hair barbing saloon to be helping my mother because she is everything; carrying all our problems alone. I was devastated when I returned home and saw Arinze in the hospital lying critically.”