If you have an African mother, you know how much power a glance carries. As children, when we visited a friend of the family or a relative, we knew better than to jump at every offer of food or drinks. You had to check with mom. Sometimes she would not say anything. It was left to you to recall her “earlier expressed sentiments” about that individual. Silence can be so loud, I tell you.
In my line of work, confidentiality is absolute. Or is it? So many things happen in the hospital that make you want to scream. Unfortunately, you have to plaster on a smile and carry on. I want to use an incident that a matron told me she was personally involved in, to remind us all to learn to take a hint.
This lady had been the matron in charge of that particular hospital for years. She knew every patient, their kids, their addresses, their dogs, and even their cats. She’s the kind of lady who could reel off a patient’s medical history if his file got lost. That’s how good she was.
One day, a spritely young nurse was employed in the hospital. She was very pretty and eager. Before long, there was a rumor that she was being courted by one of the hospital’s richest patients. This man had the kind of money that makes people answer “Yes, Sir!”, when no one called them. (That was meant to be a joke in case you didn’t get it). He was in his mid forties, either divorced or widowed, and had been a patient for a long time. The matron called the young nurse aside.
“Is it true Mr. Moneybag asked you out?”,she enquired.
Young nurse rolls her eyes, and makes a face.
“I’m just asking”, Matron reassures.
“Yeah, he asked me out”, Nurse replies, looking away rudely.
“Are you interested in him? I thought you had someone before you came? ”
“Eh…He is not really serious…”
“I just want to advise you, as my daughter, investigate well before you have anything to do with anyone. Some of these men are not straightforward”
Young nurse made some non commital sound and walked away. Shortly after, another member of staff walked up to the Matron to ask her if she had any problem with young nurse. It turns out that she had told a number of people that the matron was jealous of her. The wise lady realised she was being labelled a “hater”, “enemy of progress”, and worse. She went back to the nurse and apologized for being nosy, assuring her that she had no evil intentions.
You may have figured it out. Mr. Moneybag had AIDS and his status was a closely guarded secret. He and the nurse had a lavish society wedding. The who is who of the town attended. She had everything she could ever dream of. The Matron shook her head while the lady danced and he sprayed her with Naira bills.
AIDS is most certainly not a death sentence. You can live a very normal life and even get married. However, I am sure, any sane person will prefer to go into such a marriage, fully informed and prepared. There lies the crux of my message. You know better than every one else. The property you want to acquire, someone tells you that area is prone to floods but, you won’t listen. The job you are taking, they have been owing their staff for months, yet you plunge right in. I don’t even want to speak of relationships.
Will every situation be perfect? No! Sometimes, we need to take risks. However, according to Ben Carson, risks should be evaluated carefully. This year, keep your sensitivity acute, your ears sharp and your intuition active. You will need it.