BEFORE I DIE: 9 (The Doctor’s Appointment 2)

BEFORE I DIE: 9 (The Doctor’s Appointment 2)

It is my second doctor’s appointment. I had woken up early, but am just too lazy to leave the bed. Maybe, it’s because I know the hospitals are still on strike, and there is a 50/50 chance my time is just going to be wasted again.

Besides, I’ll be leaving Benue State soon. I have just completed my National Youth service year. I don’t want to go through the process of enrolling for treatment here, and then repeating the whole thing when I return home in Asaba.

I grab my phone to say hello to my twitter followers, and – yes, to observe my dick-pic-watching routine. If you’re lucky, you could even get to see short videos, amateur videos to be precise. I start watching my dick pics, when NEPA brings their yeye light back. That is when I know I am not going anywhere today.

Then, I think about calling Batman, to let her know that I won’t be going to the hospital, before she starts bombarding me with questions. I call over three times, and she doesn’t pick up. Then I call my sister.

Sister: Hello

Me: Hello. Good morning. What of mummy?

Sister: She went out.

Me: I have been calling her and she’s not picking up. Where did she go to?

Sister: She went to the hospital.

Me: Hospital for what?

Sister: Something about lumps in her breast… We don’t know what it is yet.

Me: Ah-ah! Since when nah?

Sister: For like a week now, but she has been complaining of pains. When are you coming back?

Me: I’m on my way.

Sister: Buy me grapes o.

Me: Okay.

I quickly take my bath and put some clothes on. My bags are already packed. I take a drop to the park and join a bus to Asaba. It is time for me to go home.

The whole time on my way home, I am thinking. Lumps in the breast could mean cancer, right? So what is really going on with my family? Why us? Me first, now my mum? I find myself oscillating between sadness, anger and fear. My anger is mostly directed at God. I wonder why He just sits there, watching, playing big broad.

If anything should happen to my mum, I’ll…I’ll… That thought is in my head, but somehow I can’t bring myself to finish the sentence.

Several hours later, I am home. My sister gives me a warm welcome I am not expecting. Mum is already home when I arrive. She asks about my heath and all, but I am more concerned about her. She has lost some weight and looks pale. She tells me of her predicament and how she’s been going from one hospital to another, and thanks to our healthcare system where thousands of people die from treatable diseases every year, she hasn’t been able to get meaningful help.

She tells me of her most recent hospital visit, of them scheduling her to meet a doctor. And when she realised the doctor is a student, she walked away. One of the nurses then whispered to her to come the next day, as the real doctor would be around then. I don’t want to show pity, because Mum loves it, and I don’t think she needs to be pitied right now. I make a jest of the whole issue, causing her to laugh instead. This is the only way I can hide how I really feel inside. We spend the evening gossiping and laughing. Yes! I gossip with my mother.

Later that evening, my dad calls me to the sitting room. He asks me how I am doing and all, then suggests I go to the hospital with my mum the following day to sort myself out. I have my reservations about this, because I schooled here, and most of my friends are student doctors; I could run into any of them. But I don’t want to argue with Dad. I simply agree.

We leave early in the morning. When we get to the hospital, Mum and I go our separate ways. I get to the Family Medicine department, to the point where I am supposed to get a card, and I give the lady my reference letter from the previous hospital.

Lady: What is your problem?

Me: Please, read this.

I hand her the letter.

Lady: I’m not reading anything. Just tell me your problem so I know where to send you to.

I am shocked by her response. I wonder if she hasn’t heard of the word “confidentiality” before. I am already pissed, but I manage to remain polite.

Me: Madam, my problem is personal. Could you just read the letter?

Lady: Next!

The next person on the line tries to get around me, to talk to the lady through the small window, and I block her path.

Me: Madam, are you okay? I’m telling you I have a personal problem and you’re telling me to say my problem in the presence of everybody. Are you even qualified to ask me that? Because I’m sure you were employed with WAEC, and you’re opening your mouth to ask me to discuss my medical problem with you? Who are you? Geraldine Carson?

Lady: Oya, come and collect card, let me see you.

She turns to her colleague and starts speaking sneeringly in a language I don’t understand, pointing at me as she talks. Feeling further inflamed, I storm at her in English.

Me: Thunder fire you too, you and that your colleague. In fact, all of you in this department, starting from the HOD, for employing you. Your grandchildren will all be imbeciles too. Anything you talk there, back to sender in a thousand folds.

The other people on the line begin to murmur, that I am holding up the line. I whirl around to face them, my glare still intact, and rave for anyone with liver to come and push me out, adding that I am not going anywhere until I get my card, one way or the other.

Chaos starts building in the air.

Just then, a nurse walks up to me, and asks me to come with her. I refuse. She pleads with me and is polite about it. I follow her to a private spot in the room. She asks what the problem is. I explain to her. She apologizes and tells me the treatment I just got is the norm with those women, and that I wasn’t supposed to go there in the first place. Then, she directs me to where I should go. I thank her generously and leave.

But before I walk out of the room, I return to the lady’s window.

Me: God don save you today, fool at forty!

And I storm off to the clinic where I am supposed to go to. I meet some friends I know there. Then I meet another nurse who does a confirmatory test, to be sure I am positive. Thereafter, she refers me to the Special Clinic. I do my necessary registration, and my blood sample is taken for the purpose of other tests.

I am shocked when I see the people who have come to collect their drugs. They all look so able, not at all sickly. There isn’t a cute guy among them sha. The doctor I speak with asks me to come back on Tuesday for my test results and counseling.

I call Mum and ask her where she is. Then, I go over to meet her. As I approach the entrance of the ward, I overhear Mum’s voice berating someone.

Mum: So why didn’t you tell me the doctor wasn’t around, and I have been waiting here since morning, only for you to send me to a student doctor. Where is the form I filled and gave to you? So you didn’t even read it, eh? Because I indicated there that I don’t want a student doctor present during my examination, and you still sent me to the student doctor gon-gon. What is wrong with you?

Nurse: I’m sorry, ma. The doctor didn’t come today.

Mum: And you couldn’t tell me that because I don’t understand English?

Nurse: I’m sorry, ma.

Mum: Can I have the doctors’ number?

Nurse: Sorry ma, we are not allowed to give out his contact.

Mum: Sorry this, Sorry that… Everything with you is just Sorry!

Me: Mummy nah wetin?

Mum: Abeg let us leave this place.

I find myself laughing as we leave. At least now I know where I got my impatience and quick temper from.

We get home and I discuss my day with my sister. We all laugh and have fun over it, like every normal family.

It is morning, and I am still in bed. It is one of those mornings were you’re too lazy to leave the bed. I just lie there with my eyes closed, imagining my boyfriend is by my side. It is my sister’s tap on my leg that breaks my contact with wonderland.

Sister: Wake up! Mummy is calling you.

I ask where she is, and she tells me she is in the kitchen, as she has just come back from the market. I walk to the kitchen to meet her.

Me: Welcome.

Mum: Ehen! You don wake?

Me: Na Sister wake me o.

Mum: Ok. Oya, take.

I look at Mum’s hand, at what she is holding out, and I freeze. Shock is etched on my face. It turns out that my perfect family isn’t so perfect after all.

Written by Bobby

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29 Comments

  1. Dennis Macaulay
    March 24, 04:33 Reply

    Civil servants? I hate dealing with them and my job makes me interphase with them at the ministry of health. I am sorry if there is any here, but they are often the laziest, rudest bunch of people ever!

    • Sinnex
      March 24, 06:31 Reply

      Generalizing are we?

      I hope you know civil servant get grade…you cannot compare a Foreign Service Officer that works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an Administrative Officer in Ministry of Education…

      You are right sha…

      • Lothario
        March 25, 21:17 Reply

        I take a major exception to that comment. Personal orientation goes a long way in how you handle your work. I’m a civil servant and I believe I do my work diligently, kindly refrain from these generalizations.

  2. KingBey
    March 24, 04:59 Reply

    Ahem ! Your mum is handing you a bottle of herbal mixture?

  3. simba
    March 24, 05:23 Reply

    Abi Mum deh hand her condoms and lubes..

  4. A-non
    March 24, 05:40 Reply

    Hmmm…I know must of us may want to hurl the ‘civil servant’ stone at this one but truth is as a nation, we all have placed very little value on the life of others!

    I haven’t been to many countries but have read about a hood number of them and I’d safely assume that we are one of the most self centred nations of the world, it’s always all about us.

    It shows on the way we drive on our roads, it shows in our lack of simple customer service etiquette, it shows in the way bosses verbally mutilate their associates, it shows in the unrealistic targets banks give to their employees, it shows in the way we are so religious yet so hypocritical, it shows in the way Nigerians have successfully run down previously prosperous multinationals, it shows how we keep quiet when a kith or kin is physically or sexually abused all in the name of avoiding shame, it shows in the way we communicate here on KD, it shows in too many places that this page can contain!

    • Dennis Macaulay
      March 24, 05:49 Reply

      A-non is on a roll today!

      Ride on sir

      Wait that came out wrong, ride on as in keep talking and not ride on as in……Oh dear!

      ***flees***

      • A-non
        March 24, 06:01 Reply

        Dennis nwa Macaulay…disi ike!

        Ejim ofu anya na ele gi…kontinu!

    • Sinnex
      March 24, 06:34 Reply

      Thank you…

      People are quick to blame the civil servants and their leaders for any problem, they forget that they themselves also contribute to the problems of the Nigerian state….

    • Max
      March 24, 08:29 Reply

      A-non, million likes…

  5. A-non
    March 24, 05:56 Reply

    @Bobby, good one as always. Your writing style continues to impress me as does your consistency. I know that making sure we have your posts to read every Tuesday must come at no small expense.

    Today’s post also brings to the fore one of many challenges we have as a country – our health care system and while it will be easier to point fingers at our government leaders and civil servants, I ask that we turn it around.

    In our office, how do we carry ourself? How many corrupt activities are we fostering? How do we deal with our clients and vendors? If we were to be subjected to a corporate governance audit, what would be the result?

    I am no saint but I believe that change begins with me!

  6. trystham
    March 24, 06:14 Reply

    Thunder faya you too this morning Bobby. Imagine!!! I av never been bothered about ur dramatics n cliff hangers but today’s own was too much na.

    • bobby
      March 24, 07:04 Reply

      Yes trystham..thunder is still firing her till today. Am speaking to her in English and she’s talking about me with her colleagues in her dialect..thunder keep firing her for eternity

      • trystham
        March 24, 14:16 Reply

        *snorts* I wonder how many lightning bolts she can endure. I am/was talking about YOU, bobby. Oniranu. You want to weave it abi? Its impossible. The thunder is custom made. Specially crafted for u. Has ur name and current address. Try this shit again next week o

  7. Mitch
    March 24, 06:24 Reply

    Civil servants can be rude for Africa! I really don’t know what their problem is. And they have this unbecoming way of getting on your nerves when you least need, expect or are able to deal with it.

    And Bobby, learning the art of suspense from Aunty Pinky, are we? That ending had my heart in my throat. Now its gonna hang there till next week! My god is watching you shaa

  8. Sinnex
    March 24, 06:38 Reply

    This is beautifully written. I think I need a Bobby in my life…I am too gentle for my liking.

      • Max
        March 24, 08:33 Reply

        I think I need to check my dictionary again..for the meaning of gentle.

  9. bobby
    March 24, 06:57 Reply

    Thanks guys…one kiss for all of y’all, three for Dennis!

  10. . Pete
    March 24, 07:33 Reply

    Pray you don’t need to go to any government hospital for anything. The bureaucracy & workers’ attitudes are irritating

  11. KyrxxX
    March 24, 07:36 Reply

    If civil servants r rude, how about bankers abi tellers abi clerk abi ndi behind counter? Lemme not even start with my experiences on them. But those women @ d card collecting point can hit raw nerves shaa…

    Reading ur outburst got me to cringe a lil! U get power nd mind! I don’t see doing that in a thousand years. Too gentle nd shy for my own good.

    And as for diagnosing wrongly in Naija, lemme not say what I have in mind b4 doctors in d house tear me to shreds. Lost someone to that.

  12. Ruby
    March 24, 08:24 Reply

    Civil servants and their drama
    Tsk tsk tsk

  13. Max
    March 24, 08:27 Reply

    Cliff hanger ending.
    You have anger management issues… Cursing out people in public isn’t the best.
    Breast cancer is a scary thing.. I hope your mum’s lump is nothing serious…

  14. Lemuel
    March 24, 10:37 Reply

    lwkmhd @ herbal mixture. .I am in a meeting nd my laugh has raised dust around me.

  15. Gad
    March 24, 11:05 Reply

    Some public officials in Nigeria and other developing nations often displays lack of benevolence, etiquette, empatthy and public spirit in the discharge of their duties. They carry like slaves who are grudgingly doing tasks forced on them by some slave-masters. However, a people deserve the public service they get. Everybody behaves as if all is well. No one wants to waste his time to demand that the right things are done. No one wants to be seen as that agent of change who caused an erring official to be punished. Bobby, next time just ask to see the HOD or the next senior person and table your complains. It will save you a lot of stress and earn you some respect. Good outing as usual. Well done.

  16. Teflondon
    March 24, 11:32 Reply

    Nicely written bobby… Like I always said.. This series actually got me glued to PP.. Always looking forward to it every Tuesday. The episode above gave me an insight into your feelings and how you deal with issues day to day.. To think because I forgot my cell phone at home, or I batched my car or there was not enough milk in my tea are issues I face daily.. And regard them as problems.. Your article actually brings me down to earth that there are people out there facing real blessings (problems, without being negative) and dealing with REAL issues. It’s reminds me of a whole new perpective to liFE.

    That said…
    I remember your last episode on this series. I complained about not staying oncourse on the whole essence of the series. Discussing a whole lot on issues not relating to the essence of this series. (Some about Nepa bill or so) but in today’s episode you were so on point and I like the way you tell us about your outburst.. Let whoever is not satisfied with this aspect of you go F**k themselves. This is the real you, this you frustrated about people not doing the simple things, this is you not being perfect. No one is perfect!

    I love the whole story today. I am really sorry about your mum (deep down I wish, just wish this part of your story is not real) how can only one person go through all this.. Sometimes we might be tempted to blame God.. But he loves us.. He seas as we go through all this things.. But he is trying to teach us something.. He never said we won’t go through tribulations.. But he said we would triumph Over them.

    I hope this series has a happy ending (tho I don’t really like happy endings, yea! I am evil like that)

    thanks for this today, thanks for reminding me about the things that matters and what doesn’t.. Thanks for bringing me down to earth today… Thanks for continuing to encourage thousands of people out there going through what you going through. God bless you and I know you will end up triumphing!!

    ‘Trying not to sound too emotional and spiritual’

    **wipes tires**

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