Vendor vows to sell until she dies
As Jean Houston stirred her pot of soup at the Manley Horne Park cricket ground in Ballards Valley, St Elizabeth, last Sunday, she was also hoping that she would remain pain-free in order to sell off the entire pot.
Houston, a vendor from New Market in the parish, told THE STAR that she has been diagnosed with number of illnesses since 2009.
"Dem did diagnose me with heart problem, then dem say mi have [high] cholesterol, then dem them say mi have thyroid [problems] and yuh can see mi eye dem, dem pulp out," she explained.
At times, she said that she also has trouble breathing properly.
Although Houston does not remember the medical term for her heart condition, she explained that doctors have told her that strings that lead to two of the valves in her heart have stopped working.
"Sometimes di sickness stop mi from go sell, but once mi can move, mi move. All in last week, short a breath tek mi. Fi bout one week straight mi nuh get no ease up, but mi can't siddung enuh. Mi just haffi go look it," stressed the 63-year-old vendor.
And, in order to prevent her sickness from getting even more severe, she has to take a lot of medication.
"A whole heap a medication mi tek a daytime enuh. Some a dem a fi di heart and some a dem a fi other things," she said.
"If mi show yuh inna mi bag wid medication, yuh laugh. A one handful a pill mi tek a day," she said, as she searched her handbag to show a number of different tablets that she takes daily.
The mother of two noted that through selling she was able to send her children to school, and now she relies on it to pay her medical bills.
"A it mi use tek care a mi pickney dem, and a it mek mi deh yah although the medication expensive like a wah. Sometime mi can't even buy some a dem," Houston said, lamenting that the medical bills can be burdensome.
Despite her health issues, Houston continues to travel across the island to sell at various events.
"Mi go all bout go do mi thing. Mi go round like dead yard and all bout. Mi go Westmoreland, mi go Clarendon, Mandeville, Hanover, anyweh go look it," said Houston, who has been selling for 25 years.
"Yuh know weh mi tell people say? If mi can go, mi a go guh till di last minute. As long as mi can move, mi a move."