As I alighted from the bus, I realized that I had forgotten to carry my name tag. In our school as is in any other medical school, name tags are important in identifying students in the hospital. the name tags are of different colors according to faculty and hierarchy in the medical profession. We put on red tags as undergraduates in medicine while post graduates have gold tags. whoever doesn’t have a tag could be a consultant, a technician or a lost fellow. identifying a consultant again is not a daunting task because of their usual ardent demeanor. Sometimes they can be callous I tell you.
I hurried past the deserted corridor to the gynecology ward. The torrid smell of sickness welcomes me to this ward. On the end of the long alley past the wards is a nurse station with the attending nurses clustered together, their heads closely knit, obviously gossiping. Or what else could they be doing? I quickly hatched a plan to scare the nurses by masquerading as a consultant. No name tag after all. I stopped for a while, prepared some false seriousness in my face, hands at the back, walking is majestic, not so fast not so slow, all this while composure is maintained, an embodiment of a seasoned obstetrician. My plan worked perfectly well. The nurses moved in quick successions, each to her desk and everything that was in the wrong place removed.
“Yes daktari,” one of the nurses said in a honeyed voice hoping that I did not see the events that transpired minutes ago.
“Are there any deliveries today?” I asked gently.
“OK, in that case i will leave,” I said as I made a U turn. Staying for long would mean having to deal with complications that might have occurred during the course of their monitoring of patients. I am only a medical student and after sending chills down their spines, I was not ready to have them confirm that I was not a consultant after all. They would have beaten me, literary.
To make good use of that afternoon, I went to the gynecological cancer ward in the same floor, to assist my friend Dr Kgabu. Dr Kgabu is a South African whose parents migrated to Kenya during the heydays of Apartheid. We first met during a round when he presented to the consultant on call a patient in a perfect and coherent manner that even a lay person could make a diagnosis from it. I developed a rapport with him and always forced him to listen to my patient presentations. I had grown to love gynecology under his tutelage and up to date, I respect his clinical acumen.
He was preparing his patients for a major round the next day. This involved updating any biochemical tests, following up on some results from the laboratory and discharging whoever was fit to receive medication from home. The patients loved him dearly. some were contemplating giving him their daughters for marriage. Some just smiled cluelessly at him. Some called him sweet names as he passed by. As we were moving to Njoki’s bedside, one of the patients at the far corner shouted, ” Sweetheart, i don’t want to be injected today,” all the others covered their faces and shouted in unison, “No injection today!” However, they were careful enough not to be heard by the senior nurse who does not tolerate mischief. For a moment, I thought it was World’s No Injection Day.
Dr Kgabu had learnt enough Swahili to help him objectively ask questions related to bleeding and all the issues sorrounding women. he kindly asked for blood sample and Njoki scorningly replied , “ Ile damu ya jana mlipeleka wapi, kila siku damu damu na sina hata damu,” she was lamenting why blood samples had to be taken from her regurlarly. then she realized she had no choice and grudgingly gave her hand for blood to be drawn. as the needle pierced into her vein, she let out a shrill cry that was obviously of pretense. Women will be women. They nag, I tell you.