My seven Day incarceration ordeal  

I just came out of a seven-day incarceration ordeal and this is the story of that encounter. A few people would have noticed that I had been out of social media for about ten days, but may not have known why.

We move!

One Saturday in April 2021, I woke up and noticed I could not see clearly after I put on my glasses. I thought the lens was a bit dusty, so I wiped them, but the vision did not improve. I sprinkled the liquid and wiped some more but it was still the same,

I managed it that weekend, even though I knew it was difficult for me. i had called my Optometrist friend at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, and he advised me on what to do, then booked an appointment for Tuesday the next week.

By Tuesday when it had become unbearable. My Optometrist had earlier called to reschedule for Thursday, but it became really difficult for me. I couldn’t look up at the light in my office, so even looking at the sunlight was not even an option. I had to wear dark shades in the office, yet it was still painful. I do not even know how to describe it. It seemed as though there were sharp needles piercing into my eye. I had to call the Optometrist to insist I see him that Tuesday. In my words, “I am not sure I can survive until the end of today if I do not get help.”

He, knowing my high threshold for pain, knew it was important and asked me to come immediately.

I saw him try not to panic. Doctors are trained not to panic, but he could not hide it, even though he tried hard.

He ran tests, then called in consultant after consultant to look at my eye.

After seeing three consultants, I was told my right eye had the problem, and not the lens.

The pressure was extremely high and I would need eye drops to crash it.

The pressure in my right eye was 46 mm HG… Way too high. I was told that the pressure in the eye should naturally be between 10 to 25. One of the consultants told me I could have been permanently blind in two days if the tension in my eye was not checked.

I got a cocktail of eyedrops and I was warned to start using them immediately after I got back to the office.

After one week of intensive use of those drops, I was back at the eye hospital and the pressure had crashed to 13 mm HG. Good news, yeah? Not really. The pressure only crashed because of the eye drops. It was going to rise again as soon as I stop, so I would be needing a Laser PI (Peripheral Iridotomy) done on the eye to enable the passage of waste fluid, since the other tunnel was blocked. Yes, I explained that in the best way possible so a layman can understand.

Laser PI being done on my right eye

I booked the Laser PI at a private clinic as UPTH could not do it. I had it done on the second weekend of May 2021. After 2 weeks, I went back to the Teaching Hospital where they confirmed it was a good job. All was well, right? Maybe!

Enter Phase 2 of the wahala

Life was good. My eyes were not bad and I hadn’t needed my glasses in weeks. The Laser PI had done well for me.

I could use my phone without them, I could use my computer without them, and I could read without them. I still had to use my eye drops regularly, though.

However, on July 11, 2021, England lost the Euros final to Italy. I had taunted the world that the trophy would come home so I shut my phone immediately after the final and went to sleep. I knew there would be a lot of folks waiting up for me on WhatsApp groups and other Social Media platforms.

I’d answer their trolling in the morning.

I woke up on the morning of July12, picked up my phone, and responded to a few messages. Went in, had a bath, and couldn’t see clearly anymore. I covered my right eye with my hand and my vision was top-notch. I did the same with my left eye and all I could see was a whitish mass. The right eye was not working.

I called my optometrist and he summoned me to the UPTH once again where I met 3 different consultants. They all ran tests, looked inside the eye, and asked the same question, “Did anything hit your eye?”

My response was the same. I did not get slapped or punched, I didn’t walk into a door or wall, and I don’t play football anymore so I didn’t get elbowed or take a shot in my face.

I was asked to go back to where I did the laser PI, just in case that could be a factor, so I went back to the Private Clinic in GRA and they checked the eye, and confirmed the PI was still a good job and then told me the current condition had nothing to do with the Laser PI.

I was pushed in for an eye scan and the consultant looked at the results and asked… “Did anything hit your eye?”

This was beginning to get boring, but I patiently gave the same answer.

The consultant told me in clear terms that there were no lens in my right eye. It fell off or fell out of its in situ location. Displaced lens.

I asked her, “Who took the lens?”

She smiled, even laughed, and went, “I should be asking you. It is in your eye.”

She must have been amazed at how easily I was making jokes out of a very serious situation, but that was me. I never took anything to heart. And like my father always told me, “Never worry too much about a situation you have no direct control over.”

So, what could I do at this point, apart from asking about the solution to my problem?

The consultant explained to me that what happened to me can only occur most of the time after forced trauma on the eye.  I insisted nothing like that happened.

Then I asked her another question, “Do you believe in village people?”

She laughed again and went, “Yes I do, but it is not what happened in this case.”

Next up was the solution. I asked what the solution would be since we now knew the problem and she said, a vitrectomy was a permanent solution. You don’t know what that is? Okay, it’s a vitreous retina surgery! You still don’t know what it is? Oya, they’ll cut the eye open, locate the lens that fell off, remove it, then in another surgery, they’ll fix an artificial lens to replace the displaced one. And it would cost close to a million naira.

“So, poor people will go blind in Nigeria?” I asked her.

“My brother, they go blind every day,” was her response.

At this time I had completely lost vision in my right eye. In other words, it did not exist. I asked how much time I had and was told I could use a contact lens on my right eye for as much as 8 months. It was no emergency, the consultant said.

I went for the option of the contact lens while I started the process of prepping for the surgery.


Then a few days later, I got a call from my optometrist letting me know that the surgery will either be done in Kaduna, at the National eye hospital, or by a surgeon from Kaduna.

He then added that the surgeon was in town, at another clinic. He wanted me to go there for an assessment. Since, in his words, that’s the man who may do the surgery eventually.

I dashed down to see him and after assessment, he insisted I did it immediately.

While looking into my eye, his words were, “Your eye is very good. Look at the retina, still pink. You have a good eye, just for this displaced lens.

“I like what I see here,” He continued

“I see you are wearing a contact lens in your eye. You do not want to do the surgery yet?” He chuckled as he said this.

I told him it was a stop-gap measure, but now I was with him I was waiting for his assessment.

“My thought is that you should do the surgery even tomorrow. You have one good eye now. Stop managing the other one. If anything happens to your left eye you will begin to panic. Just get it done now so you know you have two good eyes,”

When he asked if I should be scheduled for the next day I laughed. Na so the money easy to bring out?

I booked myself for the next session he’ll be in Port Harcourt. Sometime in September.


I had gone in a day earlier on Friday, October 1, 2021, for assessment and I was booked to be the first in the queue. I had actually lobbied to be the first.

I asked questions like, how long the procedure would last, how many days I would need to recuperate etc. I just asked loads of questions. I wanted to know what I was going in to do. When I told the MD of the clinic I wanted to be the first in line out of almost twelve people, he seemed to be getting agitated.

“China you have to calm down,” He said. If you continue like this your blood pressure will rise and we will not be able to do this.”

I explained to him that I will never have high blood pressure because I have never had it before. But I assured him that one thing that will make my blood pressure rise would be sitting in the waiting room as someone else’s eyes were being cut open. I begged again that he should make me the first in line.

He told me to be at the hospital before 6 am. I was there at 5.30 am and they began to prep me for surgery.

They asked me to take off my clothes and dress in a gown given to me. Now it was time to dilate the eye. I worried about a lot of things. Were they going to rely on power from the national grid? I don’t trust that. What if there is an outage when my eyes have been cut open? Did they have their own power-generating plant? Have their maintenance team checked it out? The plugs, the oil, the fuel? I had heard stories of phone flashlights being used to complete surgical procedures in Nigeria. That will not be me.

All of a sudden, the lights went off in the hospital and I heard the soft purring sound of a power-generating set. We will be starting soon.

Suddenly, Doctor Atama Pepple, the MD of the clinic came in with a younger doctor. He asked me to sit up. He had a syringe with an injection in his hand. He told me it was time for anaesthesia. He explained that will be local, and not general.

He began to use his thumb to feel around my right eye. Then it seemed like he raised my lower eyelid, I am not too sure about this, then stabbed the needle in. A few seconds later, it seemed as though my eye was swollen. I know that feeling as I had experienced it at the dentist before.

They left and came in after 5 minutes. He asked me to look left, right, up, and down. I did that and in his words, “No! you are not ready yet.”

I asked him what he was looking for, and he said my eyeballs should not be moving while I do that.

He came in two my times and it was at the third attempt that my eyeballs did not move. They took me into the theatre and asked that a lay face up on the bed. It was a bright room with a huge white light overlooking the bed.

Incarceration Day 1

Me, after the three-hour procedure

When the surgeon asked for the blade, I knew it was time. It was local Anastasia, so I was quite conscious and knew everything around me. I asked what the time was and the surgeon said, “Matron, he wants to know the time.”

She told me it was 9.25 am and then probably handed over the blade he had asked for. I noticed his finger feeling my right eye, then I felt the cut and blood splatter. This guy just cut my eye open. Jesus! Then the surgeon’s voice went, “Cotton Wool.”

It was handed to him and the next thing I felt was him mopping up blood from around my eye. He asked for saline, and then I felt the liquid pour into my eye.

As he continued to peruse my eye I could hear the conversations going on in the theatre. Everything was said, I heard because I was wide awake as they played with my right eye.

When he gasped and went, “I’ve found the displaced lens,” (Of course, not in those exact words) Doctor Pepple encouraged him to take it off because it was time to insert the new Iris Claw lens to enhance my right eye’s vision.

The surgeon from Kaduna now went, “So, I will leave you to insert the lens. I have done the first part.”

He now said something about creating an opening to insert the lens. “Or do you want to create one for yourself?” he asked Doctor Pepple.

Now, believe it or not, they spent the next minute or two discussing whether to create a new opening for the lens or use the one already created. I just lay down there listening to both men.

When Pepple finally decided to fix the new lens on the already created opening, he asked the matron to adjust the height of the bed I was lying. At this point, I felt myself moving upwards.

Doctor Pepple began to speak as though there were doctors in training amongst those in the theatre. He began to explain the special skill involved in inserting the lens into the eye. I was just down there as they chatted away while my eye was open, and maybe bleeding.

When he was done, he told to the other surgeon to go ahead and seal up the eye.

He asked for the needle and sutures fiber and then I could feel the movement right inside my eye. He was stitching and he was really taking his time. This needed so much patience and composure because, with one mistake, my eye will be gone.

The next time the needle went in I actually felt the pain and flinched.

The surgeon was shocked and asked me, “Did you feel pain?” and I told him I did.

He explained that the effects of the anaesthesia were wearing off but that they could not administer another. He urged me to endure until the end.

Two nurses had to hold me down so as not to move for the remaining minutes of the procedure.

After a while, I heard him heave a sigh of relief and then he said, “It is done. That was a perfect surgery.”

I asked what the time was and the matron said it was 12:15 pm.

The day after

Day 2: I can’t see a thing

I was back at the hospital as early as 7 am the next day where the cast was taken off. My right eye was still closed though I tried to force it open. The nurse put an eye drop in it and then took me to another room to try to read with the right eye. I could not see a thing. She said it was normal, but I did not believe it. I panicked. Why would she tell me to read if I was not expected to read in the first place? I complained to the surgeon that I could not see a thing with the right eye. He smiled and told me not to worry that it was normal. He tried to explain something about air being pumped into the eye and it would take about two days before my vision gradually returns.

He looked at the eye through the x-ray thing and told me all was well. He said the Iris claw lens used to replace the displaced one was in place and I had nothing to worry about. That was reassuring, but allow me to worry.

I was handed a piece of paper with rules and regulations to follow for the next 7 days.  I told the nurse that I could not read and she began to read them out for me. It was basic things I should not do to ruin the good job done on the eye. Not to lift heavy objects, not to let smoke into the eye, not to allow water or soap into the eye, and stuff like that. Number 4 was not to engage in any rigorous activity, especially sex. “Blood of Jesus!” I screamed out, and the nurse just chuckled. She would have been wondering what kind of character I was, thinking about sex with just one eye.

Life was a bore fest without the eyes. My job was news gathering and talking. Without the eye and mouth, I am completely useless at my job. In fact, there would be no jobs. I just lay in bed listening to my radio. That was all I could do. Pressing my phone was out of bounds. Mary Warmann came to visit. Nathan Brodrick called. Dr Tunde Akkininu called too. I could not watch the Liverpool vs Manchester City game because I had just one eye. It was not even an option

So, I just backed the TV in the parlour and listened to the commentators.  My eye drops were every hour for 24 hours and the other one every 2 hours for 48 hours so that was my routine.

Day 3:  I see the light

In my quest for vision, I would always close my left eye to check if I could see anything with the right eye. I did that every morning. By Monday, I could see light bulbs on, but nothing else. I will just see the brightness of the bulbs but there was no other vision in the right eye. I don dey fear o.

Day 4: Now I have panicked

Tuesday morning and vision in my right eye had not improved so, I panicked, naturally. I called Doctor Chikezie and screamed, “My eye is not healing o. there is a problem!”

After he calmed me down, I calmed down and continued to listen to the radio, since that was all I could do. At about 3 pm, I closed my left eye, then put my hand in front of my face and I could see it. I could also see what looked like my fingers, though the vision was blurred, I saw my hand with my right eye. My vision was returning.

 Day 5: I see men like trees

By day 5 I was going crazy. The vision in my right eye was improving but the wait was frustrating. I began to see what looked like rust. It was greenish brown and it seemed like it was floating at the top of my right eye. But at least I could see something. Then I started to see black dots like water droplets hovering around my eye. Floaters, they called them. Those, I learned are known as floaters and are quite normal. My optometrist later explained that during the surgery, my vitreous was touched and I will continue to see floaters until it is fully healed. Hmm! But the vision was improving. I could see the images of people in front of me. I still could not make out the features on their faces, but I will know if a person is in front of me

 Day 6: I can see clearly now

I woke up to bright eyes. The right eye was almost fully open and I could see clearly. The Super Eagles had a game against the Central African Republic but I was not going to waste my new eyesight watching whatever mess Gernot Rohr was going to serve. I’d rather search for moths and watch them mate. So, I did not watch the game. I heard they lost. I had no emotions, whatsoever. In the evening, I took a walk around the neighbourhood. I was tired of sitting at home.

Day 7: I think I am ready

My 7-day incarceration is over, but I will just stay indoors for another two days since I return to work on Monday morning, after a visit to the Eye Hospital for assessment. I noticed the floaters were much though and I was beginning to get worried. They were all over the place

Life returns to normal


I visited the hospital on Monday morning and the excited surgeon told me it was a massive recovery one-week post-op. I could read with the eye and almost see clearly with it. He advised that I could go back to work, but cautiously, since the healing process is about six weeks to six months.

Moral of this story: Nigerians should be health conscious. Our bodies are very important and we must do occasional checks. I did not want to share too much information here, but I was this close to losing my right eye. Health is wealth. Protect your health.


I believe I explained some medical terms like a completely illiterate person. I am not a doctor, but I am sure you got the message.






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