“Hello lady” he said.
I stopped, looked back and saw a tall fair man of between 40 & 45 years. He was neatly clad in a smart Buba and Sokoto. His sandal glued to his feet perfectly and his wristwatch was gold plated. Obviously, he is one of those I describe as comfortable financially going by his appearance. He held on to a transparent white nylon bag containing some drugs and a plastic bottle of water. I concluded he was a patient or patient’s relative.
“Hello sir, good morning”, I replied.
“Do you work here please?”
“Yes, I do sir!”
“I am going to the Radiology Department but I seem to have missed my path. Do you mind showing me to the place?” He pleaded.
As always and in line with the responsibility attached to the nature of my job, I quickly pointed to the route leading to the Radiology Department, “There sir!”
“God bless you my dear and I wish you a pleasant day.” He gave me a mild pat on my shoulder.
“Oh, it’s my duty sir. Enjoy a good day too sir” I responded and turned towards where I was heading before he stopped me AGAIN!.
“Here is my card. I am DEKOREDE ADEDUNMOLA CRAIG!”
“Oh thanks sir. I am ARODU BLACK DYE. Sorry I don’t have my card here with me sir.” I smiled.
“Your name’s kind of funny, you know?” He smiled back.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes! ARODU means you are a traditionalist or someone rooted in your culture; BLACK DYE is English. You get me now?”
I smiled wondering in my heart how he reasoned; and because I sensed he needed someone to chat with or walk with to the destination he was going, I offered to lead him to the Radiology Department. As we walked on, he talked more. He felt relaxed talking with me about all what and what not. At a point I asked myself why I didn’t follow another route. I had no choice. I offered to help in line with the nature of my job and that I must accomplish. Thank goodness I was able to survive that session with him.
The General Outpatient Clinic was my next stop.
Like every other clinic day, it was busy and the patients’ traffic was on the high.
Nurses, dressed in their usual neatly laundered blue scrubs, monitored and guided patients as required of their profession.
At different points, some nurses were taking vital signs of patients ranging from Blood Pressure, Height, and Weight etc. Hospital Assistants were seen going about their duties. Different groans of pains and cries of children filled the atmosphere. Patients that were strong enough struggled to beat the weaker ones to the available sitting space. Patients littered everywhere with their various conditions; some were good to look at while some were …oops! (You can imagine).
“Ha! You no suppose end am like this na, Nnem! Our two no talk am like this” (You shouldn’t have ended it this way mother! We didn’t plan it this way!) was the cry of a young man, of about 32years, who walked past me.
That was a usual anyway; while some cry over the loss of their loved ones, others rejoice with their loved ones for coming out of their medical conditions safe and healthy.
“Good morning ma!” a pregnant lady said to me.
“Good morning madam” I answered.
“Please, I am going to the Antenatal Clinic.” She said
“Okay madam. Go straight, turn right. Enter into the yellow building on your right. That’s the clinic” I replied.
“Thank you ma” she curtsied and walked on.
I watched her walk slowly but gracefully. I began to imagine what I’d look like when it’s my turn to be a mother. Lols!
I moved on.
“Mo siwaju won de’bi now?” (I got here before him now?) a young lady exclaimed angrily as a nurse called on an old man to come over for his vital signs examination.
“I am sorry madam but the old man is pressed and I need to quickly get done with him so he could go ease himself as quickly as he can” she said with a smile. The young lady murmured inaudibly but could do nothing.
I winked at a nurse in a corner. She was clerking some case files. A little distance away from where she sat was another nurse who was addressing a section of the patients awaiting doctor’s consult. “Any more question on why you should monitor your Blood Pressure?” She asked. A male nurse interrupted the session “If you have come for wound dressing, kindly come to this side. Let me know if you’ll need nurses’ help to move sirs and mas” he said.
About fifteen patients did as directed. Some were on the wheel chairs while some were on their crutches. Some had plasters on their visible body parts while some were with bandages or Plasters of Paris (P.O.P.).
I walked past a beautiful young lady: light skinned, naturally beautiful. She was clad in a pair of knee-length trouser and an Ankara peplum top. She wore a flat leather sandal pair. She was inaudible but I guessed she was singing because she was nodding rhythmically as she murmured. As I passed behind her, I noticed her Ankara top zipper was down, revealing her bare back. I moved close to her and whispered in her ear “Madam, your zipper is down, can I help you with …”
I didn’t finish the sentence when she snapped at me.
“Were!” (Crazy!) She shouted.
“Onyeochi!” (Mad fellow!) She stood up angrily like she was going to hit me.
I quickly took some swift multiple steps backwards to avoid a slap. I immediately realized she was a Psychiatric patient; at the same I saw four hefty men come from nowhere. Another woman walked up to me to apologize. She made to explain but I told her immediately that she needed not because I understood. The hefty men closed in on her and two held her down while the other two mounted guard. A doctor and two nurses came around to do the needful.
“I know say na you dem go send. Una no fit kill me. Emi! Emi! Mo ti se ti yin mo’se! Eyin were yi! Your father…” (I knew they’ll send you. Y’all cannot kill me. Me! Me! I am up to y’all! You mad people! Your father…) she kept shouting at the top of her voice.
All eyes turned to her direction. Patients and relatives started talking at the same time in pity.
“Ikunle abiyamo o” (Mother’s pain!)
“Who can ever believe a beautiful woman like this could be mad?”
A man said to me jokingly “P.R.O., se ko se yin l’ese?” (Hope she didn’t hurt you?) I couldn’t respond because I was still in awe. I only nodded. That was the closest I have ever been with patients of that sort. I looked on as the medical team took over her case to calm her down and eventually took her to where was appropriate.
I meet different patients every day; young and old, sane & insane, healthy and unhealthy, rich and poor. You walk past them; you cannot tell particularly who amongst them is ‘okay’. You just have to flow along with them to avoid trouble until you are able to break out of the impromptu relationship without stress.
What a day!