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.
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