A brief heads up before I begin, I work in a diagnostic company, not a hospital. So what I do basically is diagnosis, Ultrasound scan mainly. I could order investigations for you to do but that where the bulk stops, you have to go to a hospital to get treatment. Except of course its something minor and your persuasion/begging power is out of this world, then I may prescribe drugs for you to get at a pharmacy, though I’m not obliged to.
So in the course of the job, I see all sorts. Because the people here believe hospitals are money sucking institutions, they would rather go for investigations on their own and go to a pharmacy for drugs. So I see weirdos like the patient who wanted an abdominal ultrasound scan because he had a terrible headache and the aged man whose children brought him in for an abdominal scan because he had tremors… smh. I digress though.
Now my story……..
I had just settled at work when this woman walked in pushing her young daughter in front her. The girl was on her school uniform, a pink sleeveless top on a blue plaid skirt, very pretty although her pensive look tried to hide the beauty. I was going to act all friendly and ask her the name of the school and all that nonsense chitchat doctors do to seem interested, but the look on their faces told me it was a grave situation. “She must be very ill I thought to myself”
“Doctor help me check wetin they do am, she dey sick since” the mother announced unceremoniously, letting me know my chitchat would have been greatly unappreciated
“Crap” I thought to myself, another one of those patients who just didn’t like hospitals. Why didn’t she go to a hospital, if she dey sick she should be at a hospital. Now she’s going to waste money on a needless scan or so I thought. I couldn’t complain anyway, more money for the company, I get to earn my bread.
So I proceeded to do what I thought was going to be a routine normal scan and (((BOOM))) There it was, it hit me! I’m usually prepared for sights like this but the size of my patient more than the age had clouded my sense of judgement. inside this baby lying down tense on my examination couch, another baby grew. I instantly fell sad, thinking of how I was going to break it to the mother.
See, with older patients, its easier, I even catch trips with them.
I ask “are u married?”
She answers ‘NO’ and my brain does this little laugh. Then I ask for the date of last menses, now the girl feels smart and gives me a date, say 3wks ago.
I just go “Are u sure?”
She invariably says “Yes”.
That’s when I say something in the line of “that’s odd, the baby in your uterus is way older than 3 weeks, what I’m seeing is about 12 weeks.” I, of course say that last part with a chuckle because the reaction when I say baby is priceless. (That’s how I get my small fun at work, it’s generally boring, don’t judge me).
So here I am looking at this 16 year old uterus and knowing any attempt at humour would be cruel and at best, ill-advised. I just ask her directly for her last menstrual period and that’s when it must have dawned on her mother for the first time that her baby might not be a baby any more She gave me a date, it didn’t fit. The mother didn’t seem convinced, I wasn’t either, and she looked at me waiting for the inevitable pronouncement. For the first time in my not so young career, announcing the beginning of life was just as hard as announcing the end of one.
“Madam” I looked up with a straight face “Your daughter is about 11weeks pregnant”
“That na 3 months” the mother did a quick (albeit inaccurate) math and announced
“Yes, almost 3 months” I reinforced.
And then the girl spoke for the first time, it wasn’t to apologise to her mother, neither was it a plea for mercy, it was an accusation directed straight at me. I believe her words were “Mba oh! Doctor you’re a liar” spoken with so much conviction, I would have doubted myself if the frozen image of the baby wasn’t staring back at me, daring me to change my mind.
I get mad when people call me a liar, especially as I’ve tried in recent years to curb my lying to a significant minimum and most especially when I’m telling the truth. But I wasn’t mad at this 16 year old, I just couldn’t bring myself to be. Maybe it was because I have a 12 year old sister and I shudder to think of her in that position 4 years from now, or maybe it was because I knew she would be adequately punished for both ‘crimes’ by her mother, either way, what I felt was sadness.
The mother sought my advice. Her hands I noticed, had not left her head since I made the pronouncement. Maybe it was the thought of the extra mouth to feed, maybe it was that of her daughter going through labour, or maybe, just maybe she wasn’t psychologically ready to be a grandmother, Joey would never know. Either ways, I gave none, it was not my place to give. It was her decision to make. And as they left my consulting room, the mother close to tears and the daughter still defiant, I could only help but wonder who the father was… a fellow juvenile student, one muscular trader neighbour who wouldn’t be prosecuted for statutory rape because the law states that the legal age of consent is 13 or even her father. I shudder.
This post could discuss the ills of our society, the bestiality of men or the ineptness of parents when it came to sex education, but I didn’t come here for that, I just came to tell a story. make of it what you will.