I loved my obstetrics and gynecology rotation. It was a bloody business that rotation. I loved it mostly because it was ladened with human drama.
Pregnancy, as I have come to learn, is always a ticking time bomb. A seemingly normal pregnancy can take twists and turns in matter of minutes. It is worse if that pregnancy is outside the uterus. This is the mother of all chaos.
So on that fateful day I was called by my senior to go operate on a woman with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy to help build my surgical skills. I thrive on adrenaline folks, so I cherish the moments when am the one holding the scalpel. The lady in question was about twenty six; she was beautiful with a nice tiny smile despite the pain she was experiencing. She was pale with very low blood pressure. Time was of the essence. The sword of Damocles was hanging around our necks.
I made an incision just at the bikini line, the standard incision for a caesarean section. There was not so much fat so opening the abdomen was not very difficult. We got to the rectus sheath, tore it open and within no time we were in the peritoneum. I remembered the words of Professor Jani, “Respect the peritoneum and it will respect you.” Those words never leave me whenever I am operating. Since we were not going into the bowels, I was not very worried about contamination.
The peritoneum was full of clotted blood. This was scary to me because I hadn’t done many of such operations. We removed the clot and quickly went to the fallopian tube to deal with the culprit. The right fallopian tube was ruptured and was actively bleeding. We arrested the bleeding to my relief. That was the moment I realized that I was drowning in my own sweat. It had been one hell of an operation. We saved the lady and it was beautiful. The left fallopian tube was visualized and it was normal.
So a few days later, the lady was so depressed that she was wanted to die.
‘Daktari, ata mngeacha tu nikufe,’ she said staring blankly at the wall.
‘Mbona?’ I asked a little surprised.
It was at this moment that she got so vulnerable and shared her story. She had been pregnant for another man while the husband was away. She had initially wanted to abort the fetus but now the ectopic was embarrassing and threatening to kill her. The husband had been called and was on his way. I knew he was going to ask me details about his wife’s condition. Folks, how do you tell a man that his wife got an ectopic pregnancy with another man?