By Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi
Me: Hello Mr. Ken…
Mr. Ken: Doc what’s up?
Me: I’m good sir, how’re you?
Mr. Ken: My brother… I’m ok.
Me: Tell that to someone who doesn’t know you, you’re not ok. What’s the problem? Why you keep face like this?
Mr. Ken managed a smile but it was weird because simultaneously I could see tears running down his cheeks. He is one of my favourite patients. Very very patient and a nice guy. He’d always quietly wait his turn & spoke politely to everyone. He’d become a friend I really care about. He has been married to his lovely wife for seven years. Still waiting for the fruit of the womb. By my assessment they seemed to love each other very much. Together they decided to wait until God blesses them with a child despite the fact that I counselled them severally to see a fertility specialist.
Mrs. Ken is your quintessential nice – ever smiling lady. I have a theory – it’s easy to know a woman who is enjoying her marriage. She is usually always happy, smiling and very nice & pleasant, even to strangers. You see all those your horrible bosses; all those mean, despicable people at work, always rude and angry, if you look well, their problem na from house.
In the past months, Mrs. Ken dey bone face like smoked Bonga fish. I knew something was wrong. You see I really blame myself for pushing them to see the fertility specialist because since their last visit three months ago, a lot has changed in their relationship. The chemistry with which they step into the hospital had vanished. They no longer held hands and played like children in the consulting room. Ken would occasionally call his wife “Bighead” especially whenever she was being naughty & unlike most women she’d smile and say “Doc I thank God my head is not bigger than my father-in-law’s head” and we’d all laugh. I admired the sweetness they oozed but lately Madam would come to the hospital alone, pick up some meds and lab results and leave. It was unusual because they always came together no matter their individual schedules.
I remember calling Ken once to ask why he hadn’t come for his routine checkup and he said “My brother, madam has been so busy lately, I can’t come until she’s free”. A lot had changed in the past three months… It burdened me. If I didn’t know Ken well I’d have thought he might have hurt madam by being unfaithful… She seemed to be very angry. The last time I bumped into her in the Hospital. She had come to visit a neighbour who was on admission, I asked her “Madam how far now? Where’s my guy?”
She: (frowning) he’s at home.
Me: He didn’t join you? I thought you two are always together.
She: Doc. them no bury our placenta for the same place ooo. He’s not a child. He’s at home.
Haba… confusion grip me. This is the same woman who once referred to Ken as her “small purse”…
On that day I was like “Oga can you wait outside I wanna see madam alone… We were going to discuss some of her lab results”. And just as Ken froze at the door, madam who had already entered the consulting room said ” Doc. abeg ooo, woman no dey go anywhere without her “small purse”… then Mr Ken, walking in triumphantly… and taking a seat said “Bighead, who is your small purse?”
She: You now!!!
Him: You no dey fear person abi? You don’t know I’m too big to be a “small purse”?
She: Oya Oga sorry – Mr. “Big purse”. Abi na handbag you be?
And we all laughed… They both had a cute sense of humour. I deeply felt they must’ve been so lucky to have found one another… The last time before today, I saw my friend; Ken, he told me how everything had changed since we discussed their lab results.
You see Mrs. Ken had bilateral tubal blockage which would mean she could not conceive without some medical assistance. Mr. Ken’s semen analysis on the other hand was good. All the parameters were normal but he had come in a day earlier to ask a favour of me.
Him: Doc, the HSG you asked my wife to do, we’ve done it. I went to pick the result and the radiologist told me everything. I believe it’s a product of an infection she had in her university days. She told me about it. She had had a funny discharge and so much abdominal pain for a very long time while in school. She tried several means, mostly herbal concoctions but the symptoms persisted for months. She failed to see a gynecologist sha.
The symptoms eventually resolved spontaneously. I know her tubes are blocked but I know my wife. She’d be devastated and broken if she found out she was the cause of our issues. Please Doc, tell her it’s me. Tell her I have Low sperm count or something.
Me: (completely bewildered) Mr. Ken. Do you know what you’re asking me to do? I think our friendship has made you forget I’m a medical doctor and I have some ethical boundaries I cannot cross. I can’t lie to my patient. Even if I decide to help you; can’t we just tell her both results are ok? Why put ‘Low sperm count’ out in the universe like that?
Him: Doc. you don’t know my wife. She believes something is wrong and I know she wouldn’t rest until she finds out what it is.
Me: I won’t do it, you must find another way.
Ken: I’m not asking you to do this as my Doc. I’m asking you to please do me this favour as a friend.
Me: OK and why do you think madam wouldn’t be just as broken knowing that she can’t be pregnant by you as she’d be knowing her tubes are blocked?
Him: Doc. don’t worry… It won’t be the same. Madam can forgive me for anything and she can barely stay mad at me for long. If she thinks I’m d issue, we’d quickly get over it and move on but if na she, she’d be sad and depressed and that’d break my heart.
After so much pressure from my friend; Ken, I decided to do what he’d asked of me. It was a terrible decision but what can I say, I have few regrets in my life.
He came in with his wife three months ago; a few days after our talk and just as we planned I told her that all her results were good but her husband sperm had some issues. All seemed to have gone well but Mr. Ken would always say “Doc that was the day everything changed. That was the day I lost my baby girl.”
You see since she found that she couldn’t conceive by her husband, she gradually started to “dislike” him… from small small arguments to way bigger altercations and pointless fights.
Mr. Ken: Doc, I’m tired. She’s changed. The worst is I suspect she’s being unfaithful. Always holding on to her phone and changing her Lock code every second. For seven years her phone password has been my birthday but recently she uses these touchscreen lock patterns. Her own be like this illuminati hexagon Abi na “Da vinci code”.
If you touch her phone, she fit bite you. She never used to be like this… what is she hiding? Even from me; her husband and lately she’s always on social media. She used to hate social media but now instead of gisting with me as usual, na either BBM, Whatsapp, Instagram or Facebook.
Me: My brother you sure say you never make madam vex?
Him: Doc I dan knee down beg this woman say wetyn I do her? She is the type that loves to talk about and trash issues before they get out of hand. If I offended her, she for tell me. I know this. But each time I ask “Baby what is it?”… She gets angry and tells me it’s nothing. And if I push it, we’d fight. Doc. everything started the day we told her that “low sperm count” thing. I’m so sure. Just as I’m sure my name is Ken.
Me: hmm. I don’t agree with you sha but I would not claim to know madam better than you do.
I’ve seen my guy cry severally because his wife was treating him poorly at home. One time he called and said he wanted to see me.
Me: my guy are you okay.
Him: Doc, you need to admit me.
Me: Haba you know that’s not how we operate. Tell me what d problem is and I’d decide if you need admission. All his vitals were good.
Him: Doc you know I won’t lie to you, I need a few days away from home.
Him: my house has become a war zone. I just need two days to clear my head.
After plenty beg beg, he started feigning medical symptoms to deceive me into admitting him. When I saw his desperation; I felt so much pity for my friend. I admitted him. He was on bed rest for two days and the most remarkable thing is that in that time, his wife never showed up. Not even to peep if her Oga was fine.
So today, with tears in his eyes and a fake smile in his face, Ken looked up to me and said “Doc, your friend has left me.”
Me – What??? What do you mean my friend has…
Him: madam is gone ooo. She said is no longer happy in our home. She just packed her bags and left.
Me: did u try to…
Him: don’t you even dare ask if I didn’t beg her. I’ve been begging for weeks. There was nothing I didn’t do to try to stop her. I even threatened to kill myself if she leaves, but obviously that woman doesn’t love me anymore… Doctor I think I’m going to die.
My friend was crying so loudly with no shame whatsoever. I didn’t know what to do or say… I should have held my grounds, I felt I had broken their lovely marriage. Chie God! I moved my chair closer to him, placed my hand on his shoulder and said; “My friend, don’t cry. I believe this is happening for a reason”.
I’d finish this later. I’m trying to make stew. Make I Check am before I roast my entire kitchen.
Any similarity with persons in the above story and any other person living, dead or in between is surely a coincidence.
Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi studied Medicine and Surgery in the University of Port Harcourt. He is a stock trader, a practicing doctor; and writing happens to be one of many things he is very fond of. He is passionate about sharing authentic and useful health information with the public in forms that are very interesting, easy to read and relate to. When not relating with humans he spends time grooming and raising his dogs.