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Bosi gbangba pt2

"What is the issue now?" the man asked. "Haven't you taken enough for the tests?"
The child was crying silently, in her mother's arms.The nurse glanced nervously at the couple. How was she to tell them that the pathologist was out for his noon day drinking break?
"Er...the samples have been sent to the Lab sir," the nurse stuttered.
"But that is what you said twenty minutes ago!" the man exclaimed.
"We are waiting for the results sir, before we can proceed." the nurse repeated again. "

The man glared at the nurse before turning back to his wife and child. Suddenly two doctors rushed into the room and asked for the referred child. The nurse pointed towards the watching couple. One doctor quickly collected the sleeping child from its mother while another began explaining that the child had to be operated on because they believed any more delay would jeopardize the child's life.

"No!" exclaimed the mother. "That's the reason we asked for a referral! We do not want an operation!"

"But madam," the doctor replied. "she can barely breath! The only reason she can sleep right now is because she is not alert. When she wakes up she will be in a lot of pain. If you only let us..."

"Let you do what?" the mother interrupted. "Cut a hole in my baby's throat?"

"But its just a tiny hole madam." the doctor said.

"No matter the size its still a hole," the father replied. "A permanent hole. We do not consent to the operation. Why are you not waiting for the test results?"

"Tests?" repeated the doctor.

"He means these test results," another voice floated from the end of the corridor. She was tall, slim and her steps were soft and sure on the worn tiles of the hospital. As she crossed a sun beam, her face was framed for a second, and it looked more like a model's than a doctor- the mother's roving eye caught on the billowing doctor's coat again for assurance. What could this teenager be doing in a doctor's coat? She wanted to ask.

"You ran tests on the child?" the second doctor asked her, his face contorted in a frown.

"Yes," replied the lady as she moved closer to the mother and rubbed her hand up then down the woman's sleeve. The woman relaxed a little, unconsciously.

"She has a bit of apple stuck in her wind pipe." she continued. "Its not poisoning as their hospital's note said. All we have to do is give her drops that will melt the piece. We will also give her more sleeping syrup."

She looked directly at both parents as she said,"There wont be any need for an operation. Please let ur perform the procedure. It will only take a few hours."

"We don't even know these people." the mother said, looking at her husband pointedly. The doctors apologized and introduced themselves.

As they made their way back to the waiting room, the mother wondered what would have happened if the teenager doctor, who turned out to be a pediatrician, had not arrived when she did. She had shuddered when they had been told that their baby was about to be given a permanent hole in her throat. Her mind had failed to refuse to stop picturing the child, with a hole in her throat, growing up still with a hole in her throat.She pictured the humiliation, the shame, the suffering the girl would be put through all her life, all through no fault of hers.All because another woman who wanted her father had decided to 'deal with' the girl.

The mother shuddered again."Are you alright dear?" her husband asked as they sat down to wait.

"I will be if you can assure me that that witch will not spend another night under my roof," the mother responded.
"It could have happened with anyone," the father defended their house guest. "Even you."
"Even me?" the mother repeated. "How could I possibly be so dumb as to feed apple to a child that has no teeth?"
"I knew you were going to react this way." the man said in a resigned tone.
His wife just stared at him before shaking her head, also in resignation. How was it that men were blind when it concerned women that wanted them?

They sat in silence for three hours, the wife muttering prayers for minutes at a time. The husband sat back, and reminisced. He remembered when the baby was born, how he had been called aside and told that the hospital did not have an incubator, but there was a way out - they could improvise, if only they could get their hands on about ten hot water bottles and a few more thick blankets.
He'd made a dash for the university quarters, and gone from door to door until he'd gathered all he needed. His neighbors looked at him in wonder - an African man was usually this jubilant when his wife gave birth to a boy, but the father was oblivious to the the gender, and even the condition. As far as he was concerned, he had a child.
He was a father.
He had a child.

The baby had been 1.6kg at birth, and the doctors, after setting up a make-shift incubator with cardboard boxes, hot water bottles, and thick blankets, were scared when the weight dropped to 1.4kg. The baby was a survivor however, she not only survived the incubator, she survived one month at the hospital. She was the smallest premature baby to ever survive in the hospital, and as a gift, she was granted free treatment until she clocked three years of age.

But the baby was barely one year old, when an old friend came visiting some days ago, totting apples, the local species. She had insisted on carrying and playing with the baby, then on feeding her apples today. Ajibike had adapted to the new food until a particularly big piece had gotten stuck in her throat.What started as a small back-patting incident, became an alarming issue that entailed rushing the child to the nearest hospital. Thank God they had been alert and not numb, because the doctor on duty had insisted on operating on the child, even after hearing that the kid was choking on ordinary apple. They had put their foot down, and insisted on a referral.

"Sunday?" a leathery voice interrupted his musing. The father looked up, then sat up immediately. His brother, older than him with more than fifteen years, was standing in front of him. He tapped his wife gently before standing up and prostrating in greeting.

"I thought so," the man said, nodding his white head. "When that child doctor kept disturbing me that I must carry out the analysis before going to my joint for my midday palmwine, I thought she was just ranting as usual. Thank God I glanced at the name on the forms. I carried out the analysis quickly before going out. I am glad I did."

"Thank you Papa," the wife said, rising from her kneeling pose.

"What happened to my child?" he asked as he took the seat vacated by his younger brother.
"She got apple stuck in her throat," the wife replied.
"Hmm...." the man mused. "Asphyxiation, or poisioning. Was it critical when you got here?"
"The doctors from General Hospital gave her a sedative so she was still sleeping when we got here."
"General wanted to cut a hole in her throat abi?" the old man asked.
"Yes," replied the mother.
"Typical," the old man muttered. "All they have to do is dissolve the apple piece, then give her a sleeping draught, and position her so that she doesn't choke before she wakes up. That's all."
"That is what the girl doctor said," the woman said.
They all turned at the footsteps coming down the corridor. The nurse approached the receptionist first, then came towards them.

"Dr. Ogochukwu says you can see your daughter now." She said. "Please follow me."
The three of them followed the nurse who led them down the corridor as she spoke.
"She is now in the Children's ward, but in a separate room. I see you have met Papa Mankind."
"He's actually my elder brother," the father responded.
"Small world." she said.
"Yes small world." agreed the father, who entered the room after the nurse.
They were greeted by the endearing sight of Ajibike clapping her hands and shaking her crib in enthusiasm as the lady doctor sang out of tune, while she checked her vital signs.The mother's silent tears were in complete contrast to her happy laughter.


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