Dying, let me die; but my dear Lord, not in a Ugandan hospital

Author, Gawaya Tegulle. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • How will I show my face before the citizens of heaven, when I made my entry into glory via a route as inglorious as a health centre, yet some of them died in London, Houston and Toronto? 

I know I’ll die someday and appear before you, O Lord Most High; but when that happens, please don’t let me die like a nobody, like a wretched of the earth, a mnyonge wa dunia! 

Let me make the news headlines; let me go viral on the social media networks and let the proclamations of my death shake up cyberspace quite a bit – that I died in London, Toronto, Melbourne or even Seattle, which, I hear is now somewhere in the United Kingdom! If you really care about me Lord, please don’t let me die here in Uganda, like the typical akina yahe – commoners  do! Take me to Seattle, O Lord; take me to London or at the very worst, afadhali to Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi.

Elevate my status, O Lord Most High, You with whom all things are possible; lest I die the way I am and my body be shamed. Elevate me Lord, so that when my time comes to leave the earth, I may depart in style. Let me be evacuated at least by helicopter from my village in Kamonkoli, rushed to Entebbe and loaded onto to some waiting plane. A real plane, Lord; not some ka Bombardier! Naaah! An Airbus will do; or a Boeing 767 or 747! 

Don’t let me die in Mulago Hospital O Lord, as though I have never mattered to this country! And please, dear Lord, certainly not in a Health Centre – II, III or IV or even V if there be such a thing, as though I am a mere taxpayer and nothing more! Lord forbid! How will it be said that I died in a health centre? Hapana!

Let me die in a proper hospital, O Lord, surrounded by the finest doctors in the world and plugged into the latest medical technology – not in a health centre, with just Panadol tablets on a side tray and a prickly, dirty cannula stuck in my wrist.

And give me a decent medical bill, O Lord Most High. Something that will go down well with the readers, a bill counted by the billion! After all, it won’t be you paying the bill anyway, O Lord; that is something for the taxpayer to handle – absolutely none of Your business!

Let me not die for free in Mulago, Kiruddu or Kawempe; or worse, these sijui Mbale, Jinja, Gulu referral hospitals, or even much worse, a health centre! I don’t want to enter heaven angry, embarrassed, egg on my face. 

When St Peter gives me admission forms to fill in at the Pearly Gates, I want to retain some pride as I fill in the blank for “place where death occurred”, “mode of evacuation” and “cost of treatment”.

Let me not have everyone in heaven laughing hard at me till their ribs crack; that I died like a complete idiot in some ka health centre upcountry. How will I show my face before the citizens of heaven, when I made my entry into glory via a route as inglorious as a health centre, yet some of them died in London, Houston and Toronto? 

How will I tell them that I was ushered into the health centre on the President’s very intelligent initiative of a bicycle ambulance and died a few days after admission – yet they were evacuated from Uganda on chartered flights? It won’t help matters, I am sure, even if I tell them that I was actually still alive at the time the guard at the health centre explained they had no medicine in stock and no medical officer on duty, and locals had put together a few coins to get fuel for the old ambulance bought at last election by my Member of Parliament, and I only died as they rushed me to Mbale or Mulago! 

Don’t let my coffin come from the carpentry workshops of Kalerwe and Bwaise, or even worse, Budaka or Mbale! No, Lord; that will be too much for me: Afadhali, wakiriko, give me some respect – I’m sure you can find me a bit of that if you look around hard enough. A coffin from Seattle, London or Toronto sounds just about right, Lord! 

I really want to make the finish line with aplomb and acclaim, Lord; so take me to Seattle, London or Toronto and let me die there! 

Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda     

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