“kai” “kai” “kai” that’s the funny sound I make whenever I remember I’d forgotten something. But tonight I make them with a huge smile on my face, and with one hell of a racing excited heartbeat. What did I forget? My wallet contained cash and credentials but for tonight, the most important thing was the two movie tickets I had purchased for me and Trinity. And who was trinity? Let’s simply put as this, she was the one lady at this phase of my life that mattered to me the most. I waited for the next “U-turn,” then swerved quickly and while gaining up speed, I added volume to the random love song that was already playing on radio.
Luckily, I hadn’t gone too far before remembering about the tickets which I placed in my wallet. Within minutes, I could already see the three stories building where the bold neon lights of “Stevenson’s medical clinic and maternity” was placed a few distance away. Did I mention that I am a doctor? Well I am. I am currently four months into my senior residency in a government hospital while I also try gathering up a little change from this private clinic owned by one of my father’s close friend.
It was 7.30pm Christmas Eve, and the streets were already empty. “They must be very religious in this town.” I thought. I imagined how crowded the churches would be by now. Then I thought of those who would be at several joints having a really nice time. This made me think again of my night with trinity. I felt a sudden thrill rush through me; I couldn’t help but smile at as I felt my hands shake. I was totally feeling like I was 16 years old again, and about to go on my first date.
I put off the air conditioner, whined down, and took a deep breath. While my mates had chosen big cities for their residencies, I had chosen this peaceful town and right now, I was assured that it was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. The city was coupled with the peaceful serenity, security and pretty ladies here and there, all the things I liked; I couldn’t have asked for more.
Gazing at the opposite lane, I saw a car speed past with its driver on the phone. The overhead street lamps had given me a glimpse of the driver, and judging from the mass of hair that flowed with the rushing wind, I concluded that the driver was a woman. “This is how they get themselves into accidents during festive seasons.” I said to myself. I took the caution then to put my phones on silence. You see, I have four mobile phones. Two were strictly for emergencies which were always at their loudest volumes and always switched on, one was for general calls including families, friends and trinity. The last was for random contacts and people I really didn’t want to keep in contact in cases like random number exchanges in parties. However, tonight I decided to put all four on silence. I guessed since I had left the hospital premises and was already done with my shift for the night, I deserved the night alone to myself.
I approached the gate, horned for the gateman who was Francis by name and whose bulgy sleepy eyes showed he wasn’t all too happy to see me returning back unexpectedly. This rather irritated me, and while rushing towards the hospital entrance, I scolded him for fallen asleep in such a short while. “Doctor I never sleep since morning. Haba, doctor I no be wood na. E never tey wey you comot wey….”
Ignoring his excuses I took the staircase and ran upstairs towards the large room that served as a ward for patients. It had been the last room I entered to check on the patient on bed four. I remember I had been talking to my very good friends Cepren who was on call, and Cynthia, the pretty young nurse telling them about my anticipating night with trinity and how boring it must be for them to be spending the Christmas within the hospital premises. I had brought out the tickets to show them but I must have forgotten them somehow in my wallet when I hurried out.
Puddle of mud’s “blurry” was playing in some corner besides some bed. I know the song because it was one of my favorite tracks during my undergraduate years. The music must have been from bed three: the man with the fractured femurs and seizure disorder. Cepren had clerked and written on his case notes. By the way, that’s all I do. When the boss wasn’t around, I was in charge. Call me lazy but that’s the drill. Even Cepren who just graduated and hasn’t started his house-manship would do same someday.
As I entered, I looked around the small room and wondered where Cepren and Cynthia could be. I wasn’t upset when I could not find them. Today definitely had to be for them one of those days when they weren’t just in the mood for any work and it being a Christmas eve, and with my tales of how fun I expected my night to go, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had gone to have some fun themselves leaving Aina and Grace, the two cooperative axillary nurses to look over things till they got back.
I was about to begin the search for my wallet when the patient on bed eight which was opposite four managed to say something. It wasn’t the usual “Doctor” I was used to. I moved to his bed and as I gradually got closer, I heard what he was trying to say a lot better. It sounded like a gasp and I observed he looked calm. Approaching his bedside, I saw he was an elderly man, not that old maybe he was in his early fifties. He was one of the numerous cases I reviewed with Cepren whose diagnosis I couldn’t recall at that moment.
He had two limbs hanging and they were supported by heavy weights to keep them in position. He spoke again and although I was right beside him, I couldn’t make coherence of his words.
I asked politely. “Sorry sir what’s the matter?”
“Mee Zimaz.” was what his response sounded like
I bent closer, grabbing in hand a stethoscope that was close to a table by his bedside, and want on to assess him.
“Mee Zimaz” he croaked again
This time, I didn’t wait for another word to come but went straight up putting a show of checking bronchial sounds and heartbeats. That’s probably what he wanted I presumed. It would make him feel better. The moment the earpieces were plugged in and the sound of the stethoscope began, he unplugged them immediately with shaky hands and half startled me in the process.
I looked at him as he screamed this time, not with anger but with an effort on clarity.
“Doctor, I said Merry Christmas!”
As it dawned upon me in that instant the real meaning of his words, I laughed and he did also rather wholeheartedly; I straightened back up.
“Oh Merry Christmas to you too sir. Sorry I didn’t get you earlier.”
“Oh don’t mind my voice doctor. It is the harmattan”
I still had a large grin on my face as I observed the patients side table. Apart from the usual items that’s ideal to see on an orthopedic patients side table, he had about ten Christmas season greeting cards. Beautiful ones all laid out.
“Hope all’s well sir?” I asked.
“I have been sleeping don’t mind me, the other doctor gave me my drugs not long ago that was yesterday. I remember because it was around eight p.m. Christmas Eve. So I wanted to know when I will be taking my next dose.”
“Oh ok, no problem. Which of the doctors, do you mean Cepren? And by the way it’s still Christmas Eve”
“Are you serious doctor? Don’t mind me doctor. I must have slept very early and too much. Nawa ooh , sickness no good ooh. Are you not the doctor that is on duty this night?” he asked.
“No sir I am not.” I answered now mindful of the amount of time I had spent talking to him. I was getting uneasy and started walking towards the big central table that kept all the major clinical room jargons.
“Don’t mind me doctor, but what about the angel?” I heard him say, chuckling.
“Oh my God.” I thought. Suddenly tired and thinking if it wasn’t a nut case I had in my hands. I ignored him and proceeded to the table where I began searching in for my wallet. After a while, I saw it poking from a corner of the table, partly hidden by continuation sheets and nurse chats. I again regained my thrilled mood as I grabbed it in an instant and pocketing it.
“What about what angel?” I said to the man I was previously talking to. I also tried to sound mean a little because I had found what I was looking for and was in no mood of taking any much time chit-chatting.
“But she told me you will come now.” He said.
Having no idea about what he was saying, I put my palm to his neck and face, checking paleness and any obvious signs of delirium.
“And when did she tell you that sir?” I asked as calm and patient as I could.
“Ehm today, I mean yesterday. That’s the 24th. It has not been long. Just now, didn’t you see the angel doctor? She was beautiful.”
That was it, I was leaving.
“Ok sir, I will give you some drugs now to put you too sleep, the nurse on duty as well as the doctor on call will see you later in the day.”
I was now “mean” in speech because of the fact that I had spent more time here than I intended with him. Furthermore, some patients really needed to be spoken to in harsh and authoritative tones in order for them to be quiet.