My days as a youth corp doctor in a remote village were some of my more adventurous days. Please read my post “Eat that frog” to know more about the NYSC if you are not Nigerian. Not only was I one year out of school, I was the only doctor in the local government area. (The other one didn’t count as he was an abortion specialist).
I was summoned to the clinic one fine evening by 1 of the wealthier members of the society. He had lost 3 sons to Sickle cell disease, and desperately needed a son. Since his wife was past childbearing, he married a young girl who lived in the village. She had 2 daughters first, so he gave up hope of having a son. When she got pregnant a 3rd time, he asked her to abort it. One of the community health workers advised her to hide the pregnancy, and lie that she had aborted it till the 5th month. Then she could claim that all her attempts failed and it was too late.
They delivered the baby in my absence (I was visiting with some corp members in the community) and only called me to suture the massive tear she had. Fortunately, she had a son. I said fortunately because, I took advantage of the father’s excitement to demand so many things we needed in the health centre. Of course the calibre of guests who came to celebrate with them, also promoted us.
This visit was about 3 months later. I just assumed they came for a check up. He often called to ask about anything the son needed, so coming in person was a surprise.
“Good evening sir” I greeted. Actually, we called him “Contractor” for he had the contract to re innovative the clinic and was doing a very poor job).
“Doc, I brought my wife. Go and open the place you sutured!”
I was frightened. Without being graphic, somewomen sustain tears of their vaginal wall during childbirth. A possible complication of suturing it, is that you close up the anus, or less commonly, the vagina. That would make defecation or sex impossible. I tell you, I was shaking in my boots. The thoughts running through my mind were, losing my licence, being disgraced out of the village, being mocked, having to deal with the complication, and worse. Add to that, the fact that this was the favored wife of a community leader. How was I going to explain my ineptitude?
“Let me examine her first”
By then I was shouting prayers mentally. It did not occur to me to wonder why they did not complain earlier. How had she survived 3 months? The 3 minutes it took for her to undress may be the the longest I have ever waited. Holding my breath, I bent to examine her. The wound was so perfectly healed, I had to ask her to show me the scar. It was actually difficult to find.
“Nothing is wrong here. Why is your husband complaining?” I asked.
The lady smiled. “I did not tell him the wound broke down, I told him it pains me occasionally”
I went out, proud as a peacock to tell the man that nothing was wrong with his wife. I was so happy with myself. When they left, the matron confided in me that the woman lied to her husband so that he would not demand sex from her. I wondered why, but she said as a woman I should understand. Of course, people tend to believe you have been sexually active since you attained puberty. Convincing them otherwise is a waste of time. I know how many times when I was single, women would say to me ” You know how it is now?”. I would nod my head wisely, and go and ask my male colleagues later what they meant.
What I learned from the experience is that fear cripples. My fear of being found wanting prevented me from digging further to actually solve that couple’s problem. As far as I am concerned, I didn’t solve the problem. I was too busy worrying. Perharps, if I had interviewed her, I would have given them better advice. He would have to listen to her, allay her fears, and work with her. Perhaps contraception would make her less nervous, or she just needed time and patience. Most women’s libido goes down with childbirth, and it takes some pampering to get them back in the zone.
Dear reader, if you find yourself paralyzed by fear, try these steps. Write down the worst possible outcome and plan what to do in that eventuality. Then straighten your spine and decide that whatever happens, you will probably come out victorious.
“No temptation has taken you but such as is common to man. And God will with it, provide a way of escape, that you may be able to stand up under it”. I interpret it as, Satan cannot manufacture a problem just for me (I’m not that special). Someone else has gone through it successfully. I will not die before I get a chance to solve it.
Many of us are crippled by fear. Fear of driving, fear of losing a job, fear of failure, and more. Allow God set you free, so you don’t bring upon yourself what you fear. My best wishes this February. Make it a February full of faith.