The next decision to make was on the logistics of the journey.
My father was at the Scripture Union National Council in Ibadan and as the name connotes, it is a gathering of delegates from all over the nation, including, yeap you guessed right, Abia state. He had mentioned to the delegates from Abia state that his daughter had been posted to their state and asked if I could tag along.
Free ride, right? This was Saturday already. Departure from Ibadan for the delegates was 5 am on Sunday. That would mean traveling down to Ibadan that Saturday to meet up. Then, on arrival, wait till Monday when the camp would be opened.
The other option was to team up with three of my friends with whom I had done housejob and two other friends of theirs. We would reserve seats with one of the interstate travel companies who were going to take us straight to the camp site. While this option was definitely not free and considered less safe (I’m not sure why), it was the better option for me.
I would travel at my own pace and not the abrupt nature of the first option. I would be going with not just familiar faces but with friends and other prospective corp members. And while I wanted some cushioning on arrival at this ‘foreign land’, I doubt it would have come from the SU delegates who I knew… But did not know.
While I had only known these doctors for a year and did not even REALLY interact with them while on the job, I felt like I had more in common with them and would have more in common with them. They were the ones I’d be spending three weeks with in a camp, not the delegates.
Why not bond even more on the journey and have each other’s backs when we get to camp?
So, seats booked, we were to converge as early as 6 am on Monday for the journey. Another advantage of this option was being able to attend Sunday service at Rock Foundation Church before traveling. What I took from that service was that the Alpha state, really, was God’s direction for me, for that time. God did not not answer my prayers. He just had other plans I was not privy to yet. And now, see?
The Knight was caring and supportive. (Thank you!)
We had date night at Dominos; Chairman pizza, sprite drinks and Cinasti snacks (Knight, I still had to check the word and spelling again… Cincinnati sounds better). The place was so crowded, we concluded that ‘NYSC affected couples and families’ were meeting or something like that.
He arranged a bike man to get me to the park the next morning and literally kept vigil so I wouldn’t oversleep.
It was barely 15 minutes past 5 am when we got to the park. The place was dark and deserted except for a security man who asked us to make ourselves comfortable and showed me where to plug my phone to charge.
We sat down. Talked. Joked. Laughed. And more than anything, I held on to him and his presence right there and then. We listened to our songs. Well, not all of them were our songs before that time, but they all are now.
Singly and in batches, other passengers arrived.
Flash From the Past…
“Ha, my doctor, how are you? Where have you been?”
This was three months post housejob and I had not been involved in any private work in the interim, so, I was really at a loss as to who this woman was and how she knew me. Or more precisely, how I was supposed to know her.
“You know, that my daughter eventually died. Here is her sister, the one that came from Ibadan…”
And that is when I remembered.
Her daughter had been one of the neurology patients our unit had had a difficult time figuring out. She had been admitted as a case of ascending paraplegia that eventually became quadriplegia. We initially though Guillain-Barre syndrome. But when she became blind, we were thrown off balance. To top it off, she started having some auditory and visual hallucinations and some violent tendencies.
Space occupying lesion? CT and MRI came back blank.
She had started treatment for TB some months before and seemed to be fairly regular. So, we continued it.
And she was RVS negative.
For a long time, she was making no improvements and her mother had started sneaking in some herbal concotion. The nurses reported her and there was some shouting match. The mother did not understand why we were not allowing them go home when it was obvious the patient was not getting better. It was around this time the sister came to Ibadan.
“Oh, Ma, I am so sorry about that.”
She smiled, wished me well. And I was left wondering what more could have been done for her daughter then.
We sat for three hours before they finally started loading the bus.
“Eunice Oladeji”, we heard my name called over the PA to join a particular bus and then it was repeated about six times and I suddenly felt all eyes on me. The next name and the next were not those of my friends and we all stared at one another wondering what was going on.
Going into the office, we asked what was going on and why my friends were not being called into the same bus. “Ma, you bought one ticket for six people now, that’s why your name was called those number of times.”
Oh, I thought someone just liked my name. Or the PA got stuck on it.
8.11 am, the bus moved. The journey was to begin in earnest.
Armed with my phone, earpiece, Becoming by Michelle Obama, three slices of remnant pizza and Cinasti, I settled into my seat behind the driver.
Abia, here we come.
PS: The video that comes next… Well, direct all comments and questions to my sister.