I did not have that money and even if I was to be paid immediately, my salary was not going to meet up. (They were even talking about us not being paid until three months into the job. Kuku kee me). But, I was convinced about that place being the God ordained location for me. it was the perfect walking distance from my place of work (but, trust me, I only walked that distance maybe five times. How much is my body weight before before? ) and just a N30 cab distance. Utmost bliss! The electricity there was the point of reference for good light. You’d hear people saying, “Do you have Olokuta light?” There was a certain Dr. From UCH who would always call me to ask if we had power. The quiet and security… dear, dear. So, I was not going to pass up the opportunity. I first moved in with Ibilola for a few days and then moved out into my own room, right beside hers.
Knight, I know I tell you how much I appreciate you but I just need to remind you again how much of a blessing you are. You have remained rock solid and this is my shout out to you. I love you.❤️?❤️?
Ibilola mi. If I was told I’d get this close to you, maybe I would have just smiled. You have been a mummy, sister, friend, troublemaker, work partner and so on and so forth. Thank you for the love, care and understanding. Thank you for the opportunity to share work related gist and for accommodating me because I think I spent more than 75% of my nights in your room… Knight be talking about, “What y’all girls getting up to on the same bed?”
Bible/Books/Boys and Baes. These ones are the most superb siblings in the whole wide world. They love a lot. And they talk a lot. And they share a lot. They can hype you to the highest heaven. Bro D, bro J and Debby, your essence is inestimable.
Peaches. These ones are just something else. They are a riot…anytime, any day. Thank you for ensuring we had our Peaches Conference. Thank you for all the times you saved me from embarrassing myself.
My parents… your daughter has grown up to some more extent.
Maybe I should include in this chapter the conversation I had with my mum repeatedly in my first few months at Abeokuta.
My mother kept asking about my plans for feeding.”Won’t you get pots and spoons? Won’t you even get a small camp gas? Won’t you even get to the market and get some foodstuff? Won’t you…”
At first, I was like, “Yes mummy, I would get the camp gas.” Then, it changed to, “Mummy, there is no need. Ibilola has this table top gas cooker that we can share and a big gas cylinder.”
Truly, we had the intention to be serious about our cooking careers but we came to realize that that kind of seriousness was not going to be affordable. It would be cheap, money-wise, but talking about time and energy as currencies, it would have turned out to be quite expensive. We needed to strike a balance between money-wise and time/energy-wise. And I think we did pretty good. In all, maybe we had ten actual cooking sessions, the rest were handled by Personal Waiter and Iya Bash. Praise Be.
What the hell am I to do with these little creatures?
I resumed housejob on the 24th and I was told to resume into pediatrics. First of all, I love children and they love me too. We get along so well, I sometimes forget that I have been initiated into this whole adulting thing. I know their language, I hear and understand it and when the spirit is upon me, I even speak it. I like how they are so innocent and trusting. Sincerely yours, pediatrics was and still is a temptation for me for residency.
How are these doctors even comfortable to use any needle at all on them? Yes, I can see they have veins and all and they are so visible and beautiful, but, why would you want to stain that kind of pretty, angelic and soft hand with blood? The baby’s blood for goodness sake?!?!
But, I really do not like sick children!
I feel especially bad when what ails the child is nothing of his own doing and 99.9% of the time, that is the case. These little ones have no clue what is in the world or what to make of it. They see the adults do things and they emulate them. They follow the older ones around like ants drawn to honey, and when they are even gravely ill, they sometimes have no clue. How am I to help these ones? How am I to overcome my sympathy for them and “harden’ my heart enough to do what needs to be done to make them get better?
I saw the agony of the parents, I heard the pleas in their words but I only really felt the fight in those sick kids as they fought something they were only vaguely aware of.
From the so called mild upper respiratory tract infection we saw at the children out-patient and the foreign body in the ear or nose we had to send to the Otorhinolaryngologist, to the deeply jaundiced babies who came in either convulsing or riding bicycle like we said of those with serious encephalopathy with often poor prognosis and to the slightly older ones with Hodgkins or Wilms tumor who had to have chemotherapy at such young ages.
And what would I say of the cases of parental neglect to the extent of malnutrition? A supposed twelve year old presenting to you in the body belonging to a four year old and the mind of a three year old? What is to be said of the little girls raped by uncles and cousins and presenting with injuries too deep to heal in one sitting? What should we say of those mothers who in their desperate need to cater for several mouths take their eyes off one child for just one second only to rush the child in with 60% body surface area burns?
I do not know about you but I believe children do not deserve to be sick, injured or to die. They know little or nothing and whatever they know, they have not yet had time to process the implications of such and are still bound to be instinctive about their actions. Anyway, I had to rotate through this place and shelving my emotions aside, I got down to work.
My first call
It was immediately I resumed that I realized the love and consideration in the pediatrics department. My SR then in charge of our unit rotations and call duties asked me with all sincerity, “Do you want to be on call on Christmas day?” I think maybe it is because of the children they have to cater for, but pediatricians have a delicate approach to life. They are never in a hurry to ‘Judge’ and probably from realizing that no matter how much of medicine you know, the mother/parents of a child usually know their child(ren) better, they have learnt to hear from the horses’ mouth first as much as possible before taking action.
You can guess my reply to that Christmas day question. So, I had that day to stay at my new place and celebrate with my whole family who had come down from Osogbo and over the seas to be with me and one another. The truth is if I had known how that day was to go, maybe I would have chosen to be on call instead. But, I put it all aside and resumed for my first call and first 24hour call on Boxing day.
I had the awesome Dr. Lawal Abisola as call partner that day and I think it really helped ease me into the system. She showed me where to keep my things, told me the things I would need for the call, where to microwave my food, where to get water to drink, where to have my bath, where the drug for the patients were kept, how to start serving the drugs early enough to either meet or beat the handover shenanigans of the nurses, how to deal with issues relating to lack of materials and how to not break down.
It was children emergency and if my memory serves me well, we actually slept that night.
Now, I think I have lost memory of my first intravenous access gotten for a pediatric patient. We dealt with pink cannulas and downward. Even the pink ones were meant for the really older children. The ‘real’ children had blue and yellow cannulas and even at that, watching those needles breach the delicate skins of those ones took a while for me to get used to. One might ask, was I put through at any point? Nope. No. Nah. I just remember starting and the rest is history. The neonatal lines are something else. These are creatures newly delivered, barely four weeks in the world and despite having the freshest of veins, getting their intravenous lines could take ‘years’.
I digress. Pardon me.
At the morning review, it was the norm for new houseofficers to introduce themselves to the gathered assembly and that involved saying your name, state of origin, name of the school you finished from and your marital status…single, in a relationship, married, divorced. Funny how most of them were more interested in the last two and how without being told, we houseofficers knew those were potential traps. Tell them you are single and they start match making you with some other unfortunate soul or they may even blame your low moods on the absence of a love focus. Tell them you are in a relationship and they must never see you smile too much with the opposite sex.
And if you share that you are married, they start asking if it is ‘daddy’ that did not allow you read over the night???. What if I was dealing with rats all night? What if I was holding vigil? No oh, it has to be ‘daddy’.
And that part of what school you finished from, that is the basis of all potential percussions you would face in the department. That is why you would be going on with your own work jejely and a consultant in another unit will sight you and be like, “heyys, omo’badan, come and answer this question.” It is also why when some people are asked questions and they don’t know it, there is little or no fuss about it but when others don’t answer satisfactorily (not that they did not know it o, they just did not answer in tandem with the school they represent), all hell is let loose.
Concluding this chapter, I think I need to sound this note to readers out there. The temptation is great to approach people based on where they are coming from and relating with them based on general assumptions passed down through generations and touched over the years by sentiments and psychological inferences. However, no matter how true these assumptions may seem, it is still better, safer and more logical to deal with people on individual basis. The fact that a doctor puts on a badge with ‘MBBS, Lekki’ does not mean all others are like him or should be like him. I am my own person. I have my strengths and weaknesses that are independent of my College of Medicine. Truly, passing through a certain school gives me certain exposures and experiences that others may not have had, but, what I made of them is personal.
However, I also think if your school is held in high esteem, you can try to hide your own bad behaviour in the time being, at least for the sake of the legacy left by others before you and for the benefit of others coming after you. Don’t come and use your sand sand to spoil our garri.
Some backup for the awesomeness of pediatricians from my colleagues at UCH;
A Little Note;
We made 120 views yesterday.
We actually did it and I am amazed.
Let’s target 200 today, shall we?