Tales from the clinic


The hotness of the weather was evident as sweat flooded down Tony’s face while he took a nap. Even with the ceiling fan on, one could still envisage the wetness on his chest, as he lay shirtless on the bed. For someone who had spent his entire life in Nigeria, he was yet to acclimatize with the hot weather. It was at its peak and Tony, for his own sanity had made a new weather resolution..never to sleep with his shirt on.

Jude, his best friend on the other hand was in the opposite room, his entire focus on a document he was searching for. Whenever Jude was this focused, it took a really important emergency to pull him away from completing whatever task he had at hand. On this ocassion, he had made up his mind not to step out of his Hotel room till he laid his hands on this particular document…one he needed for the business meeting he had with a client in 30minutes time. The client, a well known retailer was famous for patronizing wholesalers like himself and he didn’t want anything to stand in between him signing a business deal with the mogul.
The duo weren’t just  best friends but colleagues in the business field, the only difference being that Jude dealt in jewelries and Tony in women’s clothing. He managed one of the largest boutiques at Onitcha. They had traveled to Lagos to get the goods they had ordered through the help of their friend Emeka, who had recently gone to China to meet some of his business partners and also ship in some goods for his numerous shops in Lagos.
The shred scream from Tony’s room jerked Jude back to the present. He had earlier channelled all his attention to the document he was searching for. He was soon on his feet and running to Tony’s room. “What is it?” He asked, looking at Tony who was already sitted up on his bed. “I saw her!” Tony said, still panting like someone who had just finished a marathon race. “Saw who, what are you talking about?” Jude’s face was now squized. “The woman I once told you about, the one always appearing in my dreams, I saw her again” Tony explained.
For a moment Jude was silent. He was still trying to process what his friend just said. “You mean you saw her again?” He managed to ask. He couldn’t believe that Tony could have the same dream he has had  for months even now that they were far away from home. Series of thoughts flashed through his mind but each disappeared almost as soon as it came. He waved them aside and encouraged his friend, reasurring him that it was just another dream-something he shouldn’t loose sleep over.
Jude soon rushed back to his room. Luckily, he found the very document he had been looking for embedded in another steppled document. He quickly put it in a file and rushed out almost immediately to avoid keeping his soon to be business partner waiting.
Tony on the other hand decided to hang out a bit. He didn’t want to stay in the Hotel all of a sudden. He wanted a breath of fresh air while he waited for his friend to return so he would know the outcome of the meeting-the single thing preventing them from picking their goods and moving back to Onitcha.
He was trekking down to the bus stop when he caught sight of something that left him stagnated. He quickly rubbed his eyes to be sure they weren’t deceiving him. He looked again, this time more steadily, the image was still same.  Taking no cognisance of the suspicious stares that were beginning to come his way, he turned and ran back to the Hotel, quizzically stealing glances backwards from time to time to ensure he wasn’t being followed. He made straight for the bar, dialing Jude’s number unstoppably. He was too scared to go back to his room.
“I saw her!” He said, the moment Jude got into the bar. He had earlier gotten a text message from Tony after series of missed calls, summoning him to the bar. “Saw who?” He asked in a tone that showed he was in no mood for jokes. “The woman now” Tony insisted. “Which woman?” Jude was getting irritated, his patience reaching it’s limit. Tony came closer and in a low voice said, “the woman in my dreams!”
Jude burst into an uncontrollable laughter. You know what man, I think you have been overstressed; you are letting your imaginations get the better part of you. If it is a wife you want, just choose one and we will support you.  If I hadn’t known you better, I would have concluded that you are crazy. Jude was still laughing. So this is why you pulled me out of my meeting. Now I have to go back tomorrow to seal the deal. Tony just stared at his friend, unable to alter a word. He could swear on his life that he knew what he saw but his friend had turned it around and made it look like he was crazy.
About the same time the following day, Jude got ready for his meeting and Tony, surprisendly insisted on going with him. He didn’t want to be home alone besides, he prayed in his heart that they again run into this mysterious woman so he would be vindicated. He hated the way Jude had made him look like a fool.
Tony paused abruptly by the road side, alerting his friend’s attention. Jude didn’t find the act funny, he was running late for the meeting, a second chance he had gotten on a platter of gold, the last thing he wanted was anyone messing it up for him. “If you had suddenly changed your mind and would want to go back to the Hotel, just say so and you are free to go” he complained.
“There she is” was all Tony could say. “Who? Please, let’s just go. Save my time now!” Jude said in outright disdain. “The woman I told you about, the one in my dreams, there she is” Tony maintained, pointing at the bustop a few steps away from them. Jude looked forward but saw nothing. He again followed Tony’s direction, yet, nothing. “Where did you say she is?” He asked, in a bit to confirm that his eyes weren’t failing him. She is sitted on one of the seats in that busstop, putting on a pretty traditional dress, a skirt, shirt and head tie designed in different colours. Can’t you see her? Tony asked, surprised. “I can’t see anyone at that busstop o” Jude said, giving his friend a what-is-wrong-with-you kind of look. Are you sure you are okay? He asked further. “I should be the one asking you that, are you sure you haven’t suddenly gone blind, partial blindness at least.” Tony fired back. A bus soon stopped in front of them and they boarded, momentarily forgetting the entire drama.
The weather the following morning was cool. The sun was yet to rise and Tony ceased the opportunity to relax a bit. He had just finished swimming and lay on one of the sits by the pool side when Jude spotted him talking to someone. At first, he assumed that whoever Tony was conversing with must be out of his own view since he only observed from his room upstairs, but Tony’s action a few minutes later made him think otherwise. Tony was pressing his hands against an empty space, screaming “what do you want from me, you don’t want to talk abi?”.
The Hotel management and everyone around were at that point rushing to Tony to find out what was suddenly wrong with him. Jude had to rush down in his boxers and singlate before his friend is put in a police station or locked up in an asylum. Every slight movement around Tony appeared creepy to him and he kept screaming, “stay away from me, all of you”. He was at this point surrounded by onlookers. Jude immediately rushed back to his room, put on something, grabbed a change of clothes for his friend and rushed back downstairs. Luckily, a taxi had just dropped someone at the premises and was about driving away when he got down. He immediately waved it to a stop and with the help of some guys still present at the scene, bundled Tony into the taxi and rushed to the Emergency unit of University of Lagos Teaching Hospital.
Dr. Ulasi, after asking Jude a few questions and examining Tony explained to Jude that his friend was having something called “visual hallucination”, commonly called “seeing things that are not there”. He went further to explain that hallucination involved seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting something that doesn’t exist.  Tony was exhibiting the symptoms of one part, “seeing  things that don’t exist”. He went further to explain that it was one of the types of hallucination and could be caused by quiet a number of things; some psychiatry related, some not and some as a result of old age.
In your friends case, it could be either a non psychiatry disease like Parkinson’s disease, Charles Bonnet’s syndrome (CBS), seizures, migraine etc or a psychiatry disease like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. You must have also noticed some level of anxiety and depression in your friend, they are all part of the symptoms experienced in cases like this. Jude was confused. If anyone had told him that he would go from collecting his goods to taking care of his best friend in some psychiatry unit, he would have called the person a liar. He just stood, transfixed, unable to move. Tony on the other hand had been sedated, in a bit to calm him down.
“So doc, what am I to do now?” Jude managed to ask. “You have done your part by bringing him to the hospital. It is left for us, the medical team to find out what is really wrong with him and manage accordingly. I will invite a consultant psychiatrist to handle the case immediately.” He reassured,  patting Jude at the back. Jude at this point was fighting to hold back his tears. He felt terrible for having cajoled his friend the entire time he talked about “the woman in his dreams”. So she did appear after all, but only to him…