A doctor friend of mine had told me during a conversation that part of a doctor’s training was calming a patient during a consult. Doctor Jude must have missed classes on that particular topic.
The manner he broke the news of my infection with Gonorrhea was as cold as ice. Whilst I can’t blame him for breaking the news of my infection, my anxiety, fed by his initial announcement that he had bad news for me had spin my adrenaline to hypertensive levels. After a shock induced shriek, I went quiet.
‘Is there a cure? ‘I asked quietly.
‘Of course! I am going to give you ceftriaxone and some other tablets. You do just fine after you complete your dosage’.
I felt relieved. I was so eager to put the whole episode behind me. I could only muster a wry smile to all attempts at jokes by Doctor Emeka. Even his request for my phone number was politely declined. For all I cared, he was no better than the animals I encountered yesterday (please spare me that ‘he-can-be-different’ story). I had started seeing all men like carnivorous sex starved animals awaiting the perfect opportunity to strike.
One more night at Alex’s place and I set out to see Mumsie’s at the hospital. I stopped by my room in school briefly, picked up a few of my clothing and went home. I had decided to take time off to cool my head and think things through. I couldn’t be bothered with the many telling stares I got from my roommates; every stare was equally met with my stone cold look of ‘ask-me-if-you-dare’
Only Linda summoned enough courage to ask in her most polite tone; ‘Jenny, we‘ve been worried about you o. hope nothing? Where have you been na?’
I muttered something about going to my uncle’s place to attend to some urgent family matters which would also see me return and stay there for another two weeks. I went back to packing my things. I couldn’t wait to see the only person that mattered to me now; my mum.
Within an hour, I was in the cab racing down to the hospital with the sole intention of getting some words of motherly comfort. Tried her number a few times but she didn’t pick. I didn’t bother trying further since the poor woman might just be taking a nap. Then my mind wandered and I unconsciously started planning my next moves.
With Alex’s tatafoism and the unconscious guilt feeling I had about every face I see having the knowledge of what I had encountered that fateful night, there was no way I would continue living in Port Harcourt. My aunt, Aunty Vivian, who was a step sister to my mum, lived in Lagos with her husband and had been urging my mum to allow me come stay with her. Mumsie had always insisted that I finished my University education before I travelled to Lagos and even then, it would be for visiting. My mum will not survive 3 months without seeing me, that’s a fact.
Whilst still lost in deep thought, Dr. Assein called. I just hate it when I see his call. Let me put it this way, Dr. Assein is one doctor that doesn’t belong to the ‘polite’ school of thought. He owns the hospital my mum was admitted and he never calls except to demand for payment for my mum’s treatment. It was annoying enough that money was all he ever called for. Having him to call me a day earlier than normal to demand for payment was taking it to another level. I hid my irritation and answered as nicely as I could;
Dr. Assein: ‘Where have you been? I‘ve been trying to reach you. Your number is always switched off!’
Me: “sorry about that, my battery…”
Dr. Assein: (cuts in) “…where are you now?”
Me: “I am on my way there”
Dr. Assein: “how long before you get here?”
Me: “Should be there in 30…”
Dr. Assein: “be fast” (Cuts the call)
I cursed under my breath as he terminated the call. The old lousy bastard! I got to the hospital in 25 minutes time and I was ushered into his office. He acted unusually nice and I did not waste time in retrieving the N30, 000 Alex had loaned me to pay for mumsie’s bills as agreed previously with Dr. Assein. He seemed surprised to see the money. Pretentious fool.
“That’s nice. You were able to get the money. Keep it first. We need to discuss something else.”
With a confused look in my face, and my mind absolutely not in the frame to hear an old man ask me for a relationship, I returned the money to my bag and anxiously awaited what could be more important to Dr. Assein than money.
“Jenny… your mum is dead.”