When I was still single, I had this patient who was middle-aged; a politician with a lot of cash to throw around. The reason he got my number(which I usually withheld) was that I referred him to an ENT specialist and he requested to be able to call me to speak to him if need be. Subsequently, he kept in touch, calling occasionally just to say hello and so on. The staff of course loved him cause he was a big tipper. Whenever his posh car with the government license plate rolled in, even those who should have closed for the day would hang on, hoping for a “blessing”.
One day, he called me in the afternoon.
“Good evening, sir”, I greeted. (Note he had a leadership position in church that came with a title).
“My doctor! How na?”
“I am eating **** in **** restaurant. Would you like to join me? Let me send my car for you.”
Now picture me, fantasizing about myself being chauffeured in that posh car with good air conditioning, insulated from the harsh Niger Delta sun, arriving said restaurant like a ‘queen’, being served all sorts of delicacies, where I proceed to eat myself to stupor. The smell of hospital antiseptic jars me back to my senses.
“No, thank you sir. I have had lunch.” (Aunty long-throat whispers in my head ‘Liar! You have not!” but I ignore her voice.)
“Are you sure? They have**** and ***. Have you tasted****?”
(By this time I am shaking my head like MFM prayer warriors muttering in tongues to bind the devil)
“No, thanks again. Have a good meal. I have to see a patient. (Another lie!). Bye now.”
He never asked again even though he called me for many other reasons through the years. A few years back, I was married and living in Lagos at this time, he called me out of the blues. I greeted him heartily.
“Doc, I don’t know how to tell you this. I need a favour.”
“Well…it’s just that…I wish you were in town I would have come to see you to ask for advice.”
I wonder why he is stuttering. What could be making him so nervous?
“Why not tell me what the problem is; I could be able to help even though I am far away.”
“Is it not all these small small girls? They don’t know how to do the right thing.”
“Small girl? Is your daughter ill?
“No, not my daughter. It’s one small friend I have…(Big shot actually sounds sheepish). She said she did not see her period.”
I am tempted to sound obtuse and ask him to go to her house, take permission from her mother and help her find it but “Not today Satan! Stay professional Dr. N!)
“How old is she?”
“Haba! That is too young. An older girl might have known to use protection. Why didn’t you use protection?”
I can feel him squirming over the phone…even MTN can feel it. His money, cars, connections cannot protect him from the wrath of an Igbo woman.
“I used condom. She said…I don’t even know what she said…”
“Are you sure she is pregnant? Have you done a test?”
“She showed me the pregnancy test she did. It was positive. Doc, how do we flush it out? Is there any friend you have who can do it for me?”
“You know I don’t do such things!” I scolded.
He winced. “I know but maybe your friends?”
“I don’t have friends who do abortions. You know it is illegal. Why not keep the baby?”
“Ha! You know my status. I am an *** in church and she is a small girl.”
I thought for a while. There were 2 possibilities.
- She was pretending to be pregnant to con him out of money
- She was actually pregnant and if I didn’t intervene he would take her to a quack and she would end up with a septic abortion or even worse die.
“Go to the hospital, call one of the doctors aside and tell him you need to ask him something privately. If he is willing to get involved, tell him your predicament and he will make sure it is done right. But first, he should do another test to confirm she is actually pregnant. If you insist on going ahead, ensure it is done under the strictest of sanitary conditions, and keep an eye on her afterwards to prevent any complications.”
“Okay, doc. Thank you.”
“Sir…you need to choose your girlfriends carefully. 19 years is too young!”
He mumbles something unintelligible.
“And you need to use protection. Carry a condom around. You will protect yourself from scandal and protect Madam from catching something. These girls are not loyal.” I was speaking fast because I knew he had had an earful and would soon end the call.
I never heard from him again.
Now the moral of the story… Esau was so hungry that he sold his birthright for Jacob’s pottage. If I had gone out with this man, even if I didn’t have sex with him, I would not have the temerity to call him out.
We are in this world as a light to expose the deeds of darkness. Make your standards evident once people meet you and they will leave you alone.
There are men who cannot call out their friends who are beating their wives just because they are indebted to them. Stop borrowing money you cannot repay to impress people who do not care about you.
There are ladies who paid people to write their exams, now they can’t raise their heads when people who know you were an arts student wonder how you ended up an Engineer.
Stop laughing at crude jokes in order to be politically correct. Even if you are not bold enough to speak against things, stand up and walk out. Psalm 1 talks about how blessed is the one who does not sit in the seat of scorners and mockers. You believe…who knows?
Making your stand known also protects you from undue pressure. I remember my husband telling me how a colleague at work was about to invite him to hang out with him in a club when another colleague interrupted and said “Leave him O! He doesn’t drink or hang out.” One day when the ribbing got too much, I told him to accept their invitation if he felt like it. He was such a bore at their outing cause while they were getting wasted he was worrying about the work he brought home and wishing he had his laptop. Suffice it to say they never invited him out again.
You have the power.
If you would like to chat send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on twitter @nenabekee
I have often spoken of my experience working in a very busy hospital in the Niger Delta, where I was the only female doctor. My MD was a very intellectual man. He would drill us on every patient we were managing, during the morning rounds. If he felt you were giving less than your best, he would give you a tongue-lashing in the presence of patients, nurses, and all.
Now, as medical students, we were trained to accept such criticism humbly, and even thankfully. The belief is that the privilege of holding human life in your hands, does not come lightly. You should be thick-skinned enough to handle verbal abuse. Even when we qualify as doctors, our superiors still have the right to come down hard on us. I’m not sure how many other professions encourage this.
One day, I was in the consulting room, when a young lady of 20-22 years was shown in. She was really pretty and shapely. Her complaints were, Mucoid and bloody dischage and vaginal bleeding. I later found out that she had post-coital and inter- mentrual bleeding. That means that she bled after intercourse, and in between her periods. I concluded that she had either cervicitis or early stage cervical cancer. Without alarming her, I asked her to go for some tests. Particularly, she was to do a pap’s smear. I also told her to abstain for a while and bring in her partners for tests.
The next day, I was summoned to the MD’s office. I was surprised to see her sitting there, looking worried.
“Come in, Dr. N”, he called when I opened the door. “Are you the one who sent this young lady for these tests?”
I took the sheet of paper he was extending to me.
“Yes sir” I replied.
“You sent her to the government-run laboratory? “, he smirked. “They are laughing at you!”
“How can you send such a young girl for this test? Your diagnosis is wrong! See how you made a fool of yourself! “, he ranted.
“I don’t understand…..” I stammered.
“How can you not get your facts right? Leave my office! I just called you to tell you how you messed up”
Crest-fallen, I left. I was fuming inside all day. Why was I not allowed to defend myself? For whose benefit was this show? I had not given her any medication. How harmless could a non-invasive test be? I went home mad in my spirit. There was no way I was going to let him get away with it. I prayed and decided to confront him.
Though I didn’t want to be fired, I couldn’t take it any longer. I had worked with him for a year and proven myself. Letting him talk to me that way, would open the door for far worse. I didn’t want to blow up in front of his staff.The next morning, I was very calm as I knocked on his door. I had downloaded on my laptop, current information about her symptoms. That way, he wouldn’t say I relied on old textbooks. He let me in and smiled.
“Sir, I have something I want you to read”, I began.
“What is that?”, he asked.
“Just something I downloaded”
“Tell me what it is”
“It’s all about Cervical cancer, HPV, Cervicitis and more”
“Is it because of yesterday? Forget about it, now”,he cajoled.
“Sir, you traumatized me. I didn’t sleep or eat yesterday because I was so embarrassed”, I joked.
“O! Pity about that”, he evaded.
“You have to make it up to me. The only way I will be pacified is if you buy my lunch today”
He laughed. “Lunch? Is that all?”
He rang for his personal assistant and ordered her to buy me whatever I wanted for lunch. I left with a smirk. That was the only apology I was going to get but, he would think twice before calling me out again.
“Wetin you do wey oga dey buy food for you?”, his assistant asked.
I mean, it was unheard of that he would release a penny. I winked at her and held my tongue. Now, it has always been my ambition to have a great reputation where I work. I work hard, complain as little as possible, give extra, and try to be humble and courteous. This is particularly because, females tend to have a bad rap in the work place, as being obnoxious and lazy.
However, there comes a time, when you have to speak up for your rights. You can’t be a footmat. If you have established that you have a good work ethic and get along with others, you don’t have to be ashamed to say, “No, I won’t take that!”. Some people are just waiting for you to lose your temper. As a Christian, I advise that you delay responding till you are calm and have mapped out a strategy that is win-win for all involved.
For instance, I could have engaged him before the patient, told him off, and quit. He would lose face, I would lose my job, and the patient would lose confidence in both of us. By going back later to correct him in private, I gave him the chance to call her back and do the right thing, without feeling ashamed. Yes, she may doubt my capability in future but, that is a small price to pay, I think.
So, dear muses, you may be well within your rights but, choose your fights wisely. Till date, I am one of the few who have worked for him, that he speaks well off. Many bosses have the power to destroy your credibility when someone calls them for your referral.
On another note, if you are sexually active, you want to protect yourself from STDs. Particularly prone, are those with multiple partners. You might want to try abstinence or being faithful to your spouse. It may save your life.
Cheers, Dr. N.
Hi muses. I had to be away to attend to personal matters. Forgive me for not informing you earlier. Hope this makes up for it. Cheers.
After her lunch with Aunty Nwando, Ekene went to visit Miriam. She had taken a week off work on discharge from the hospital. Ekene and Regina ensured they visited her daily to cheer her up. She had slowly come to accept that her baby was no more.
“Kene”, Miriam greeted her as she let herself in. She was sitting on her couch, gouging herself on some pasteries and pop corn.
“Mimi, how are you?”
“I’m okay. How’s business?”
“Really good. God is faithful. How do you feel? ”
“I’m fine. The pains have gone, though I vomitted yesterday. I called my doctor and he said it is a side effect of some of the anti biotics”
“Okay. Have you eaten real food?” Ekene had pulled off her shoes and settled in a couch.
“This one I am eating, what is it called?” She raised the pastry in her hand.
“Junk, it’s called junk”
“I hear” she scoffed. Ekene reached for the remote to change channels.
“Why are you changing the channel?”
“What kind of movie is this? So morose !”
Miriam reached across and snatched it back. “My house, my rules”
Ekene laughed. “When last did Regina call you?”she asked.
“She called a while ago. It seems She and Magnus are having dinner”
“Eh?” Ekene exclaimed.
Miriam ignored her, taking a sip of her drink.
“And what have you told her about her new found ‘man'” Ekene asked.
“Do I need to preach? Am I not a walking sermon? Compromised my values for a blue-eyed snake! Wanted to raise a child on my own since God was wasting time. Lost the child because I wanted to prove that pregnancy could not slow me down at work”, She hissed.
“Don’t blame yourself. Fred said you can’t always tell why a pregnancy doesn’t thrive”
“How is he by the way?”
“Fine. His aunt came by, shopped and took me to lunch”
“I hope she didn’t buy on credit”
“She paid full price”
“Ezi okwu! That is the kind of in-law I need!”
“Not those who even bring their friends to collect freebies”
“As if you picked the stuff along the street”, Miriam snorted.
“She’s really nice”
“I can tell”
“I really need you to talk to Reggie. This her thing with Magnus worries me. Please, she won’t listen to me” Ekene suddenly changed the topic, turning in her seat to face her.
“Neither will she listen to me, then”
“So, you won’t try”
“We are all adults. Our duty is to be there for when it crashes, because, crash it must. Except, his wife is not a praying woman”
“I wonder if she knows what they are up to”
“I’ve met her. A pretty lady, with 2 kids”, Miriam stated.
“I don’t know her. What is her husband doing if she is so pretty? ”
“I really wonder, my dear. I wonder”
Regina was part of the team delivering some furniture to a client. He was a high profile client who had ordered some very exotic pieces and she decided to personally supervise the delivery. At his house, she parked her car outside while the truck was driven in. She alighted, straightening her jeans and red T shirt. The interior decor was to be handled by a new employee of another firm they often contracted. She would be meeting him for the first time.
“I hope he is punctual”, She thought. While the furniture was moved in, she made a call to him. “Hello, Is that Osas? Where are you?
“I am just outside. I had to go out to buy some things I forgot. Have you arrived?”
“Yes. Please make it snappy”, She replied.
Regina was busy with work when a voice behind her made her turn.
“Good morning. You must be Regina?”, Osas asked.
“Nice to meet you. Do take custody of the furniture” She shook his hand and turned away.
He smiled at her back, thinking to himself that she was very pretty. Whipping out his Ipad, he marched into the house to get to work. Regina stayed till he signed that all the goods complete and in good condition. Then she turned to leave.
“Already leaving?”, he asked.
“Yes”, she was busy replying a text from Magnus.
“You work really hard for a lady” he complimented.
“Mmmmm?” She was typing away furiously on her phone.
“How about I finish early and we meet for lunch?”, He was trying to make her look up.
“I’m busy”, She didn’t even look at him.
“Hmmmm?”she was still typing away.
“Sorry, if I’m being pushy”
“I have to go. Take care” She started towards her car, typing and smiling at the message Magnus had sent.
“Yeah, take care”, he watched her go, wistfully.
“Nice girl” he thought. “Wonder if she’ll be offended if I call her?”
Magnus was meeting with a client when his phone beeped. It was a message from Regina. He read it and chuckled, then replied.
“Are you newly married, Barrister?”, his client, Don teased.
“No, why do you ask?”
“Only couples in honeymoon phase, text each other and laugh the way you are doing”
“Sorry, it’s just a friend”
“O” he raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah. She’s fond of sending jokes to me to distract me from work. Thinks I work too hard”
“Don’t mind me. I’ll just turn it off. I’ll get her later”, he laughed.
“Hmmm” Don cleared his throat.
“What? ” Magnus asked.
“This friend is female?”
“And your wife approves?”
“We are sort of going through a divorce”
“So you are in court already?”
“No but, soon”
“Barrister, can you stand to hear the truth?” Don leaned forward.
“Stolen waters are sweet but they turn to gravel in the stomach”
“I beg your pardon” Magnus was offended.
“You are on a blind alley. This path leads nowhere. Trust me. I have been down this path” Don smiled sadly.
“I don’t understand”
“O, I think you do. Your wife seems to be lacking certain qualities. Rather than prayerfully work with her to improve, you cop out. The first lady who smiles at you, suddenly has everything your wife doesn’t. Best of all, she places no demand on you. ‘Just friends’, you tell yourself. From hugs, you kiss, from kissing, you grope, from there, it’s baby making, guy”
Magnus turned away. He felt naked, like Jesus had come into the room and put on the light. Scratching his head, he searched for words.
“Don’t say anything. Just go and reconcile with your wife. No matter how far you have gone, you can turn back. I’ll be praying for you” Don went on.
“You don’t understand. We have drifted apart”
“Get rid of the strange woman and your love for your wife will be restored. You have my number. Call me when you need an ear”, Don rose and picked up his keys and phone that were on the table. “I have to pick my son up from school”
“Yeah, today is the beginning of mid term break. He is in JSS1”
They shook hands as they parted.
Magnus sank into his seat. “What have I done?”, he wondered.
Fred was doing some volunteer work for his church. They were conducting a 1 week free medical treatment program in a fishing settlement in one of Lagos’ slums. He was the team leader.
“Hello”, Ekene had called him during his break.
“When will this ‘Hi, Fred’ change to ‘Hi love, or Hi baby’?” he asked.
“Hapu go di”
“No, seriously. Have I not told you severally, that I love you?”
“How’s the project going?”
“Is that supposed to be a way of dodging? ”
“Okay” he laughed. “We are doing great. The turn out has been overwhelming. I saw 109 patients yesterday alone. Then imagine how many the others saw and how many we turned away”
“The fish pepper soup is something else though”
“Are you there to eat or work?”
“Nne, the kind of mosquitoes they have here, if you don’t replace what they suck, you could die of anaemia!” he joked.
“Seriously. The bugs have teeth. They even wear hats”he joked.
Ekene laughed again. “You are so funny”
“Say you love me”, he pleaded suddenly.
“Say you love me” he repeated.
“I’ll think about it”
“It’s almost a year”
“Yeah, right. 8 months you mean”, she snorted.
“Marry me, Ekene”
“What? I didn’t hear that! Is that how your mates propose?”
“I’m too chicken to do it right”
“I have no plans of marrying a chicken!”
“You treat me so badly” he complained.
“Yet, I’m calling you” she laughed.
“I’ll let you get back to work. Keep your legs covered. We don’t want the mosquitoes to suck you dry”
“I love you, Ekene”
“Thank you. Have a great day”
“See ya” she laughed and ended the call.
Miriam was sipping a drink while Ekene made the call. She had dropped in to visit her. Usually, she and Regina went to Ekene’s house to inspect her new merchandise when it arrived. That way,they got 1st pickings before it went to the store.
“Was that Fred?”
“Yeah” Ekene replied, folding the blouses she had strewn over the couch.
“Why the cold treatment? Are you having doubts”
“My sister, it is a huge commitment. I can’t enter lightly. Besides, I didn’t ask God for a widower”
“What do you mean?”
She sat down to enlighten her.
“Last year, a young pastor came to preach at Elyon. He told us how he wrote his CV to God when he was looking for a wife”
“Uh huh. He was the good guy ladies kept dumping for bad guys. About 3 ladies broke his heart, before he decided to change his approach”
“He said getting married is a commitment to partner with someone to bring God’s kingdom purposes to pass here on earth. For that reason, he decided to give God the job of placing the right woman by him. Then he wasn’t even a pastor. He just became a youth pastor 2 years ago”
“I see” Miriam was intrigued.
“He gave us a sort of template for the CV. You submit it to God, then he begins to search for the man or woman who deserves you. According to him, many people are busy telling God what they want in a partner,without telling him what they are bringing to the table” Ekene stopped for breath.
“So we shouldn’t tell God what we want in a husband?”
“You do, after you write your own CV. First, God has to work on you to modify you for his use. Writing it down exposes your flaws and makes you humble yourself for him to change you. Then you can demand the best of his sons”
“Many people scoffed at the idea. I mentioned it then, but you and Regina laughed. So, I kept it to myself. For 6 months, I prayed using the scriptures he gave us. After that, I met Fred”
“Wow! That means it works? ”
“Yeah. I mean he has been awesome: Godly, handsome, caring, generous, great family values.My only worry is being a 2nd wife. I never told God I wanted to be a 2nd wife” Ekene agreed
“Well, you didn’t say you would be unwilling to marry a man who had been married before, either?” Miriam reminded her.
“True that” Ekene paused thoughtfully.
“Better watch it. Don’t lose a good thing”
The doorbell rang and Regina let herself in.
“Hello, girls!” She greeted, going round to hug and kiss each of them.
“Late comer! I have selected the best things” Miriam teased.
“Sorry, dear. Magnus and I had to thrash out some stuff with my MD”, she dropped her bag and began to sort through the boxes of clothes.
Ekene and Miriam exchanged glances.
“This is the 1st time I am hearing you talk about work and Magnus in one breath” Miriam commented.
“Meaning? “Regina asked.
“You know” Miriam motioned with her head.
“You guys were carrying on like lovers”
“No, we were not”
“Can you honestly say, you would be proud to show a videotape of all the times you spent together?” Ekene asked.
“For what? It’s nobody’s business”
“The day you gave your life to Christ, you made it His business” Ekene asserted.
“Hian!” Regina turned her back on them. She was trying on some shoes. “Some people are always forming holy”
“Not me”,said Miriam.
“I refused to intervene all this time because I was so wrapped up in guilt about my pregnancy. Today, I am telling you, break it off or I will walk up to his wife and report you”
“What! ” Regina turned furiously. “Why”
“Just because” Miriam threatened.
“Anyway, it doesn’t matter. They are getting a divorce” she shrugged.
“Good, because, I plan to tell Pastor Shedrack too”, added Miriam.
“You wouldn’t! ” Regina gasped.
“You know I would” she narrowed her eyes.
“Ekene, did you put her up to this?”, she hurled at her.
“Yes, I did, as a matter of fact. We have let this go on for too long. I would not want to be labelled as the friend of a home wrecker”, she faced her squarely.
Regina looked from one friend to another, realizing that they were quite serious. “I am disappointed. This is the price of confiding in false friends”, she muttered.
TO BE CONTINUED.
* Eziokwu: For real
*Hapu godi : Leave it alone.
*Chai: Exclamation trying to evoke sympathy
*Hian: Exclamation of surprise or wonder
*CV : Curriculum vitae
*You are always forming holy: You pretend to be holy
One day, I was at work when I heard a commotion outside. I was single at the time and living alone. The head janitor was my trusted informant. I relied on her to tell me about every patient before they came in. She positioned herself where she could see them as they parked or walked in, then she rushed to assist them register. This way, she brought me information that often prepared me for trouble.
Trouble? you ask. I was working in a volatile state in the Niger Delta. My guard was always up. No way was I going to get kidnapped or harmed. While they are a peace loving people, there is so much frustration brought on by the deprivation they suffered in the course of oil exploration. They seem aggressive, agitated, impatient, and quick to exchange blows. This is not to say that I didn’t have many wonderful friends there.
My informant (who I will call B), rushed in to tell me the man coming in was a chief and a political big wig. An easy way to make money there is to stir up political dissent for the incumbent governor. In order to keep you happy and end the opposition, he will put you on his pay roll. The number of people being paid millions monthly, will amaze you. What is their job? To keep their supporters from fermenting trouble for the governor or local government chairman. He may be given inflated contracts or paid to provide protection. For his loyalty, he is rewarded handsomely, and has direct access to the ears of the man in charge.
This patient was one of such. A strikingly handsome, fair and tall man in his early 50s. He had the arrogance that money breeds. His car was unmarked and very expensive. He stepped in, demanding attention in a loud voice. Before you knew it, he had the receptionist and other staff cowering in their boots. I am not easily intimidated. I happen to be very petite, so I feel no one will want to engage me in a fight. Who will applaud you when your opponent was not very likely to win, anyway? Hahaha!
So, Mr. High and Mighty, strides into my office with a sneer on his face. He had already planned to put the unfortunate doctor in his place. When he laid eyes on me, he was sober. He sat meekly in his chair, watching me like a hawk. I courteously checked his blood pressure. He kept watching me.
“Do you mean you are a doctor? At your age?”, he wondered.
I got that a lot, so I smiled. People usually subtracted 5 years from my age.
“Why didn’t I know someone like you works here?”
I ignored him. Hospitals should advertise newly employed female staff so the predators can troop in! Ha! When the visit was over, he lingered. It takes courage to ask out a prim and proper professional,I tell you. Some will try though.
“Do you do house calls? I have been looking for a doctor to attend to me at home. I think you have the demeanour and experience”, he offered, fixing his gaze on me.
“Thank you, sir”, I smiled. “My work here keeps me much too busy. I can’t afford to do house calls”
“O, come on. I will pay. Name your price”
At this point, suffice it to say, we were not negotiating the bills for house calls (if you get my drift). I shook my head, firmly.
“I would really love to, but, No”
“Have you seen the town? You seem cooped up here. I have a big house by the river. I’ll take you fishing. You need to learn about us”
See, very tempting. After all, it’s an intellectual exercise. I am too wrapped up in patient affairs. Don’t I need a social life? He eventually left but not after leaving my informant a tip that had her giggling like a school girl. Probably, she had told him she would buy me over, who knows?
I shared this story, because, we underestimate the power of flattery. And this is not to young girls, men can be victims also. Someone can lure you into fraud by praising your IT skills. People advise you to end your marriage because, you are too good for your partner. You need an extra marital affair to prove you are the man!
Those words that make your head swell, your breathing ragged, and your rational thoughts disappear, beware! At the end, you will wish you said NO. How powerful that word is. Just try it where you are. NO. When I am tempted to envy someone who seems to have it together, I mouth NO. When I am tempted to hold on to a grudge, I whisper, NO! When people flatter me for their own gain, I smile, and say “Thanks, but, No. You flatter me”. So should you.
This is the conclusion of my previous post.
I eagerly awaited the day the lady would arrive. My friend had ironed his shirt, waxed his shoes, and got a new hair cut. He filled my car with fuel, and set off to have dinner at their house. Said lady was not the stunner he hoped she would be. Oh well, he thought. At least, she was rich. Again, she didn’t seem as excited about him as her mother was.
1. Did she suspect her mother’s motives?
2. Did she have a boyfriend in USA?
3. Was she just making him work for it?
4. Or was she just genuinely uninterested?
Whatever was the case, he didn’t get a very warm welcome. They went out on their first date. Of course, I ensured my car had minimal gasoline (fuel). I wasn’t funding any joy ride. Much as I liked hearing the feedback, I was not that generous.
They went to a restaurant. It was not posh but, it was good enough for Dr. D. The babe kept complaining. The food was substandard, the service was poor, the decor was uninspiring. You know the drill. Dr. D bore it with a smile. She was going to be his. He would get a visa to America. Together they would start a new life. He would be able to send dollars to Dr. N (his buddy). (I hear you laughing).
During the drive home, they stopped at the gas station. You see, there was a shortage so,the queues were long and moved at snail speed. The wise thing to do would be to put off the airconditioner and wind down the windows.
“What!”, screamed Oyibo (not real name). “Do you want me to roast in this hot sun? Please keep the AC on”
He bristled but wisely kept quiet. Watching his fuel guage as they waited, his heart sank with dread. He actually came home almost in tears.
“Dr. N, Oyibo egbugo m!”, he mourned. (Oyibo has killed me) “See how I wasted fuel! In this time of scarcity!”
“That is a small price to pay”, I consoled, tongue in cheek. “I hope you charmed her?”
“Don’t mind her. She was pretending. I know she was feeling me”, he boasted.
I laughed. You see, he had a gorgeous Igbo accent and the typical mannerisms of my brothers. Many girls who grew up here may not mind (seeing as he is a doctor and all). I just felt Oyibo would want more. Not that those born abroad are better than those who were not. It’s just that, they may not compromise as readily.
I felt that she would not be in any hurry to be married. His stuttering, while cute, might come across as an inadequacy. So many things were just working against my friend but, he knew better.
After weeks of courting and a fleeting kiss (details gleefully shared), Dr. D gave up. See, you need to know when to count your losses. He came into my room one day and I could tell a story was in the offing.
“How far? Has Oyibo started processing your visa?”, I teased.
“Take your time, Dr. N”, he warned playfully. “I just withdrew because the whole thing was getting too expensive for me. I had that girl eating out of my hands”
I laughed. “Dr. D!”
“Eh! Imakwa na m bu nnukwu mmanwu? (Do you not know I am a great man?) You should be referring to me as Igwe (King)”
I laughed again. We had battled for long on me addressing him so “casually”. I was winning (he needed my car, remember?).
“So, what is going to happen? “! I asked.
“I’m not going there again. I told her mother that I can’t continue. She will not empty my account. Nne, I makwa na mmadu na-akari ife akari!(don’t you know I’ve outgrown such childishness).
I refrained from reminding him I had warned him. Dear male muses, learn from my story. Read ladies right. If she’s a romantic at heart, you will learn to love flowers and chocolates. No one is your ticket to prosperity. I am glad to say he is married to a nice colleague of his who complements him. No, she wasn’t one of those cooking for us. (Yeah, I ate part of the food the wannabes cooked). She was the one who waited to be chased.
Ladies, let him come to you. You may be cooking for his female neighbours! And every cougar out there, leave our young men alone.God will reward the hearer and the doer. Dr. N
It’s mothers’ day, so I will be generous with my posts today.
The story I’m about to narrate is a true one, which took place during my internship. I did my internship in a Federal Medical Centre. It is a tertiary health institution, which was located in the centre of a busy south eastern state capital in Nigeria. Due to the highly skilled personnel and moderate costs, the patient load was staggering. We the interns had our hands full, trying to understudy the consultants, while convincing the patients we were already good enough for them to entrust their lives to.
Dr. D was my neighbour (we lived on the hospital grounds). Our surnames were such that alphabetically, we often ended up doing postings together. This made us become very good friends. He was a tall, fair, handsome, young man. Confident to the point of seeming cocky, and a stammerer. This did not in any way deter him, as he was very friendly and social. His loud voice could be heard exchanging banters with friends (even if it took him long to get his point across).
Our surnames were close to each other in alphabetical order so we ended up doing postings together. We became very good friends. Of course, that he is a very good cook was a strong factor. I still remember his stews, yummy! Dr. D had the habit, as did many others, of soliciting private patients. He would put on his white coat, hang his stethoscope around his neck, don his spectacles, and parade the streets of the hospital. Patients, coming in for the first time, would spot him and rush to ask him for directions. They ended up in his room, receiving medication. He and the others made a modest sum from this practice, nicknamed “Odu”. Some would joke that money made from odu was for drinks and fun, not for sending home to mama.
One day, he was strolling about the streets asusual, when he was stopped by a middle aged lady in a nice car. She asked him if he was a doctor and he said yes.
“Please, could you get in? I want to ask you a favor”, she asked.
Thinking to himself that she could not harm him, he got in. She told him that she had a daughter who had lived in the United States all her life. For years, she had begged her to relocate to Nigeria. The girl agreed to visit but planned to stay only 2 weeks or so. Her mother came up with the plan that Dr. D should woo her daughter. A relationship with such a TDH, promising, young doctor, was sure to make her forget about returning to America. Dr. D agreed. He forgot to ask about the financial renumeration for his services.
When he told me the story, I laughed.
“Who is going to pay for the outings, Dr. D?”, I asked.”She will expect to be taken to the best restaurants, taken shopping, to see the sights, and so on. Is it the little money you made from odu that will suffice?”
“Dr. N, why do you sound so negative? I could not embarass myself by asking her mom for money. Let me just woo the girl. Before I spend much, she would have fallen for me. I went to their house, her mom is rich! I have made it O!”
“Dr. D! It’s not so easy! Do you write poetry? Can you compose a moving love letter?” I asked. “This will not be one of those girls who is excited by a plate of rice and chicken. She will be difficult to impress. You need to buy flowers, cards, chocolates, e.t.c. I don’t think you know what you are in for”
Dr. D dismissed me as a joker. “Didn’t you even see how her mom was besotted? If she could, she would have asked me out!”, he boasted.
I laughed and decided to let it rest. Meanwhile he borrowed my car to make an impression on her. You see, he was still saving up for his own. Dr. D was already in America, as far as he was concerned. He did not believe any woman could resist his charms. Not with the nurses, nursing students, patients, patients’ relatives, and more who were after him.
To be continued.
A number of people have wondered what my name is and why I don’t use it. I hope this answers the question. Apart from friends and family who are my biggest support base, I may keep my name secret for a while longer.
Years ago, a young man came in for a check up. He complained of burning sensation when urinating and other symptoms I can’t remember. I sent him for some tests and they confirmed that he had a sexually transmitted infection. I can’t remember exactly which one. He was wearing a wedding ring, so I slyly asked if he was married.
“Yes, I’m married”
“Does she have similar complaints as you do?”, I asked.
He said he had not told her of his symptoms, and believed her to be in perfect health.
“Is there a nice young lady on the side, who takes care of you?” I was looking away, as though theanswer did not matter.
“The reason I am asking, is not to embarrass you. I have to trace your sexual contacts, so they can get treated. Not only is there the danger of them spreading this disease, you will be re-infected if you go back to them” After a long hesitation, he volunteered that he had a girlfriend.
Ethicallyy, I could have just asked him to go and advice his contacts to come for treatment but,the Spirit of God constrains me. I struggle to let such opportunities slip by me. Though I am nervous sometimes, I grit my teeth and say my mind.
“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think your wife is unfaithful? ”
He replied that he doubted she was.
“That nice girl you are keeping outside, isn’t she more likely the source of this infection? ” By now, he was squirming. I knew he wished he could shut me up. Alas, he could not. “You probably believed her too ‘neat’ and ‘classy’ to require you using protection. Now, it is likely your innocent wife is infected. Who knows for how long or with what consequences”
“Doc, is it incurable, or what? Why are you talking like this?”
“It is curable, but you should know better. What do you need a mistress for?”
“You’re a woman. You won’t understand. Bodi no be firewood. Sometimes you need variety”
“Variety of diseases???”
I did not let him go till I had made my point. No woman (or man for that matter), owes you loyalty till you marry them. Men who expect mistresses to be faithful, are deluded. They will tell you you are a stud, great in the sack, handsomer than Denzel Washington! When you leave, they will yawn and shake their head at your flabby stomach, and puny biceps. Handsome, my foot!
The bible says that a man who commits adultery is foolish, like a man who pours gasoline on himself! Let me stop there. Are you wondering if he came back with his wife? Maybe in my absence, for I never saw him again. That dear muse, is why I keep my name secret for now. In these days of social media, I know it is easy to dig up information. Hopefully, people will not start avoiding me. Lol. By the time I have to use my name, I hope I would have inspired a crop of soldiers. They will go on to tell the truth even when it hurts.
The market place is populated by Christians who are hiding their light. The children of this world are flaunting their debauchery. What would Jesus do? Dear reader, in school, at work, wherever you find yourself, be ready to give a godly opinion. Cheers
Most, if not all hospitals in Nigeria, have in their employment, people I call “principalities”. Usually a middle aged woman, chatty, often wearing glasses, and over-bearing. They have no or minimal medical qualification, and often, are responsible for dispensing drugs. Pharmacists don’t come cheap and the drug companies pay better, so few hospitals employ them. Even when they do, they can’t work 24 hours, so Mrs. Know-it-all, comes to the rescue.
They are the ones who spread old wives tales and confuse people. You may have heard someone say “A doctor told me this case is beyond medicine, I should seek a herbalist”. Usually, the recommendation was made by Mrs. Know-it-all. Nigerian movies fall into the trap of promoting theories propagated by such people, and viewers swallow it hook, line, and sinker. They are incredibly persuasive, motherly, caring,insistent, inquisitive, I could go on and on. Next time you meet her, please, give her a tip and walk away. Why tip? That is often what they are after, underneath the veneer of caring. Consider this part 1 of my Mrs. Know-it-all series. Thank me later.
I was walking past the labour ward one day, (this happened a few years ago), when I sensed commotion. 2 ladies were in various stages of labour and a capable nurse was stationed to monitor them. I checked in every hour or so. At that time, I had just finished carrying out an ECG (electrocardiogram), on a patient and was returning to my office. I entered the ward to find a very interesting scenario. The visiting gynaecologist had come in and ruptured the membranes of 1 of the women in labour. This is a process in which the sac that protects the foetus in the womb is broken so as to speed things up. The rule is that it is done in the theatre, and a doctor should be on ground to monitor from that time, as things usually happen very fast. I will never know why no one called me to inform me such a procedure was being carried out, or why she was returned to her room afterwards. Things just went south.
The baby’s head started popping out when the trained nurse had just gone to assist the 2nd woman in labour to ease herself. Guess who she left to monitor things? You guessed right; Mrs Know-it-all! She started attempting to take the delivery herself (afterall she had like 20 years experience), not knowing that it was a macrosomic baby. On the average babies weigh 2.5 to 3.5 kg at birth. Any baby above 4.5 kg is macrosomic.
When I entered the ward, she was struggling to drag out the baby (wearing no gloves), with the mother screaming fearfully. Her sister was standing by the bed, pleading “Blood of Jesus”. Infact, she had to be forced out of the room because, her “blood of Jesus” chants were more important than giving room for me to work. The midwife had rushed to the bed, but was intimidated by (you know who), and just stood there also pleading the blood! I took 1 look, and asked for gloves, then politely nudged Mrs KIA aside. She had almost botched things, so I pushed the baby’s head back and turned it the way I wanted. Because she was very big, it took some tugging, and a generous episiotomy (a cut made to widen the exit) to get her out. Guess what Mrs. KIA was saying, “Doctor, you’ll break her collar bone!”. So that if anything happened, she would be the hero.
I take my faith to work, I don’t leave it in church on sundays. That you don’t hear me plead “The blood of Jesus”, does not mean I’m not praying. I had already decreed “There shall be no loss”, it was time to get to work. In emergencies, doctors go into a strange mode. You will have to forgive us if we shut down emotionally. It’s okay for you to roll on the floor and cry, but imagine if the doctor joined you? No need to say more. That is the 1st and only time I have delivered a baby in the ward(I have delivered a baby in the hallway but that is a story for another day). She ended up weighing 5.2kg, and was hale and hearty last I heard.
Dear muse, please, don’t let Mrs. KIA confuse you. We cannot do without her because, our health care system is immature and underfunded. Her pay is usually very miserable, and she is the only one who will work so hard and cheerfully I might add, for peanuts. Now you know why you should leave her a tip, and discard most of her advice. She actually means well, just doesn’t know any better. Hope you had a great weekend? Stay healthy. Cheers
This story is a sort of sequel to “A good name”, and it’s about a good friend I will call Dr. H. He was the most senior medical officer in a hospital I worked in years ago. Though not much older than the rest of us, he had been there the longest and was the most experienced. He was in charge of the doctors, barring the MD of course. I remember the day I was interviewed and offered the job on the spot, he doubted me. He had to go and confirm from our boss, as everyone else was asked to go home and await confirmation.
Being in charge did not mean that he was obnoxious. On the contrary, he was pleasant, punctual to a fault, dilligent, and very disciplined. That also meant he expected the same of others. You could count on him to lend a helping hand with difficult cases. He was the only one who would refuse to leave after his shift till the patient was stable. Others would say “Dr. N, you’recapable”, and scurry off. Dr. H would roll up his sleeves and get to work. We actually believed he was excited about complicated cases, because, he would never complain. Also, he knew how to keep other staff in tow, as he would write a query at the slightest provocation.
On the day in question, he was on call with 2 nurses on duty. The senior nurse was a trained midwife, the type we all hustled to work with. Not only was she very experienced, you could go to sleep with her on duty. She would only call you when absolutely necessary, and would have everything you needed prepared. We all had a crush on her, sort of. Lol. The other nurse was an auxiliary nurse. In our defence, she was 1 of only 2 such nurses, and was always on duty with a more qualified nurse.
Dr. H got to work and was told a lady in labour was in her room.
“”Why is she not in the delivery room? Please bring her down so I can examine her”, he said. With that he did a round on all the other patients and went to the call room. After a while (I don’t know how long), he picked the phone to ask why he had not been called. No reasonable explanation was given. He repeated his instructions, and waited again. Much later, he got angry at the delay, and stormed out to ask what was happening. The sight that greeted him was members of staff running helter skelter. He traced the commotion to the ward of the lady in labour and this is what had happened.
The auxiliary nurse was left to monitor the lady, while the senior nurse rallied the security men to get a stretcher to carry her from the room upstairs, to the delivery room. During this time, she had the bearing down urge and told the nurse in the room. That one looked, saw the head of the baby, and took off. According to her, she went to call the midwife.By the time they both got back, the baby had slipped out, and was dead. The senior nurse tried in vain to resuscitate that baby, to no avail. Dr. H got there and took over. That child did not make it.
The father of the child was furious. He swore revenge. The auxiliary nurse packed her bags and left town that night. My MD reviewed the case the next day. The bereaved family had already sent a lawyer to collect their pound of flesh. The mood in the hospital was sombre. It was the first time we lost a child in that manner, and for it to be traceable to Dr. H of all people. The hospital was able to negotiate an out of court settlement running into millions. Neither Dr. H nor the nurse was sacked. Also, they did not pay the compensation. Dr. H had visited the family and apologised for everything that went wrong. The mother of the child really wished to get it all out of her mind, but her husband insisted on legalredress, not that I blame him.
Lessons I learned. No other doctor could have got away with such a costly error. If I build a record of always doing above and beyond, it will speak for me in the day of reckoning. Secondly, I must not ignore warning signals. People need close supervision. He ignored the warning bells that went off in his head when his order was not obeyed the 1st time. Perhaps, he wanted to assert his authority, forgetting that people are fickle. Thirdly, even if you are inexperienced, there must be something you know how to do. The auxiliary nurse could have asked the child’s father to help her call the midwife (why did she not use the phone?), rather than leave the room. My presence can save the day. If she had just caught that baby, the story would have been different.
So, I shared this story, for I find it unforgettable. Of course we are imperfect. No one is above mistakes. Our only prayer is that our mistakes do not cost lives. Dear muses, remember integrity protects. You can decide today to build a track record that will deliver you in the day of trouble. It consists of daily decisions that become a pattern.
I will do a post soon on emergency procedures. Many Nigerians are helpless when there is an emergency. While it is good to pray, a knowledge of CPR, and other simple procedures, can save a life where there is no doctor. Have a great week.