Eight years ago when I was joining campus, I was required to fill a medical form. While I don’t remember all the exact details in that medical form, I remember there was a part where I was required to fill if I had undergone any surgeries. I remember that part because I answered ‘no’: a lie. I had had a surgery about a year before but because my father, felt like I would be discriminated against if I said the truth, I had to lie. Thank God it wasn’t some kind of chronic illness that required long term monitoring I had lied about because the result may have been fatal.
Form ones all over the country are reporting to high school. For most, this is the first time they will be away from their homes hence the need to fill that form and list down any chronic ailments that the school should be aware about. Being a doctor, I have had to fill a lot of forms this past week and I have noticed that; apart from most of them being poorly constructed, most parents and their children tend to lie or deliberately omit necessary information.
We are talking about parents who won’t mention anything about their sons or daughters being asthmatics, or epileptic, being HIV positive etc. And this, this actually is a matter of life or death. Then there are those who lie about allergies against popular high school meals like githeri, beans and sukuma wiki..
Lying about being allergic to the most commonly eaten meals in high school isn’t as bad as lying about having a chronic illness. But why would someone who is asthmatic wanna lie that she is not? Here are some of the reasons;
1.Fear of being bullied or discriminated against
2.Fear of being excluded from their favorite sports
I saw a young girl today, who has been asthmatic for about four years now deny the asthma and the inhalers she has been using, except she had conjunctivitis and as I questioned her about her red eyes, she eventually told me the truth. Patients lie to us every time. I mean I have had a twenty something year olds swear to me that she is a virgin even after a positive pregnancy test and an ultrasound confirming a pregnancy. Or a chain-smoker swear that he stopped smoking several years ago even though his breath is reeking tobacco smoke. This young girl lied to me because she loves foot ball and she thinks that she will never make it to the school team if she said the truth.
But is it true that if you are asthmatic you can never be an athlete? Everyone knows David Beckham; the great footballer. But did you also know that he has sufferered from asthma since his childhood? He was even photographed using his inhaler during LA Galaxy’s 5-4 defeat on penalties by Real Salt lake in Major League soccer’s championship game in Seattle in 2009.
Having asthma doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue your dreams about playing football or being any kind of athletes because there are others who have done it despite the asthma. People like Jackie- Joyner Kersee and Paula Radcliffe.
Then there is epilepsy, another chronic illness that a lot of people are ashamed to be diagnosed with. Most people who are diagnosed with epilepsy tend to keep their diagnosis a secret and will even skip their medication just so that other people don’t discover that they are epileptic. But you can live a totally normal life as long as you take your medicine right. Take for example Prince. Remember Prince of Purple Rain? If you haven’t listened to Purple rain then you need to go to you tube right after you are done reading this and watch that piece of beautiful music. Prince was epileptic since his childhood. But that didn’t stop him from being a great musician. The 26th president of the United States of America: Theodre Roosevelt was also epileptic same to very many other people who have achieved so much in life. People like the singer Susan Boyle; we know her from Britain’s Got Talent. Harriet Tubman the famous activist suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. There are so many great people, people we try to emulate, people whose lives inspire us that suffer from epilepsy but they have been able to live their best lives and offer the world their best.