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Tales from the clinic




young cheerful woman showing sparkling balloon with word love

As I sat back in bed I could still picture myself in my small sized bed in my little girly room, thriving in pink decorations back in my teens. It’s been years yet, seems like yesterday. I was that indoor young lady who would rather lock herself away from human relations while having a good time with her romance novels or movies as the case maybe.

The opposite was the case with my siblings. Soma, my elder brother was then in the University, studying Medicine and surgery while Nkiru, my younger sister, though still in junior secondary was a book worm. Whenever they weren’t engrossed in their numerous texts, one would always find them dilly dallying with friends or chatting at one corner of the house.

It fast became their thing as I never showed interest. I had no physical friend yet, lots of best friends from my favorite characters in my stories. I never left the house without at least a novel to keep myself company.

I didn’t just like love stories, I lived them. Even while completely detached from everyone I still hoped for an awesome young man, my prince charming to find me at due time and sweep me off my feet. It was an enchanting mission, one I was wholistically set out to accomplish.

The University was a bit challenging. It was nice but somewhat different. I had to live in the hostel. That meant by force roommates as I couldn’t get my wish of staying alone granted – The toughest moment of my life. Funny how it has become the most fulfilling: the friends I made, the first Friends I ever had! How fulfilling. Jessica and kelechi were Godsent. I would never forget the immeasurable sacrifices they underwent to drift my mindset hard enough to accommodate the least possible social life.

It had been during one of those Dilly dallies that I met Sochima. By my definition, the most handsome man on Earth! He was everything I wished for and more. Seeing him reminded me of the perfect picture I extracted from one of the numerous scenes I had read in my drama series. I had stood smiling and gaping at him for God knows how long. Even now, the thought of him still gets me longing for his touch. I had fallen in love with him the moment I saw him. Even after the ups and downs, the bitterness thwarted in agony. The misery of having him so close yet, too far. The anguish of having to let our brief union end in divorce, I still love him.

The marriage had only lasted five years. Loosing our only child to sickle cell anaemia was the worst nightmare for both of us. It’s the worst experience any parent would ever have. The sorrow, the bitterness… It was more than we could handle and it eventually led our marriage to its end.

We had known our genotypes before the wedding, we had known we weren’t a match. Everyone who heard of it, from the doctor to our distant relatives had warned us to cancel the wedding but we refused. We convinced ourselves that the first three children won’t be SS. We believed that if we only had three children, we won’t have to grace the burden, the emotional pain of raising a sickler. Little did we know that that 25% in the gene could choose to manifest itself whenever and however!

Sitting alone in my room with no one to call me mummy, sitting alone in the cofines of my room with my shirt soaked in tears, in agony, and in longing for all that I have lost; my first ever child, a bubbly little boy and my beloveth husband; I can’t help but ask myself why I stubbornly went ahead with that wedding. I know I would still have lost Sochima but at least, I wouldn’t have caused an innocent child to die prematurely for something he knew nothing about. Moreso, neither of us would have gone through the trauma the entire incident greeted us with!

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  1. SelmaMartin

    May 18, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Oh my, that’s a sad story. I’m so sorry it happened to you. I’ll say a prayer for you tonight, sweet Dera and hope you find comfort in my electronic embrace. Be well. I wish you miracles.

    • Dera

      May 18, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for your concern dear but it didn’t really happen to me. I told the story in the first person narrative to let people know how important it is for each and everyone of us to know our genotypes and to plead with people with unmatched genotypes to avoid getting married.

      The cases of sickle cell anaemia we see in the clinic are really high and terribly disheartening.

      This is me trying to creat every awareness I can to curb future occurrences.

  2. ViKtorsobe

    May 22, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Thanks Dera for a reminder.

    I would advice no one, I mean no one to try this, the love that flies like a bird now will be so far from you that you regret ever meeting your Ms charming.

    Check your genotype today.

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Tales from the clinic





crop doctor writing prescription on paper

It was another busy day at the ER. We had come to school that morning expecting nothing in particular. We had gotten well acquinted with the mode of operation of the Emergency Room(ER) to know that there was no stability. Some days were so busy that we were always on our feet till almost evening while some others were so so free that we saw ourselves literarily doing nothing. This particular day was a bit of both. A day that started off with no new case was suddenly burstling with activities. We had our hands full. Every med student, not to mention doctors had something doing.

Being a hospital, not to mention an ER, the patient relatives were agitated especially those whose loved ones had just been wheeled in. They were on the neck of every single medic they could lay their hands on, possibly trying to drag every single doctor into attending to their loved one. The feeling, the facial expression, the state of agitation and the location of each patient relative differed, just as their personalities differ. Some obeyed the doctor’s instructions and were calmly sitted while others walked to and fro the Nurse’s station looking for who to complain to about how they think their loved one still needs to be attended to even when a doctor had just left their bedside! It was the perfect description of a crazy afternoon!

woman sitting on dental chair

As I attended to one of the new patients, trying to perform a peripheral venous cannulation with one of my colleagues assisting me, there was a loud scream from the center of the ER, somewhere around the nurse’s station. It was the voice of a lady, a young lady. As though an announcement was made, there was suddenly absolute tranquility in the ER as everyone paused what they were doing and rushed to see what was happening. Already, I could hear the shouts from the little cubicle where I was with my patient. My colleagues and even the formally agitated patient relatives already made their way to the scene to get a clearer look, leaving me behind with the patient as I had my cannula already in the vein.

I could hear the young lady screaming at the top of her voice “HE IS DEATH, SEND HIM OUT AND ALL OF YOU WILL LIVE!” It turned out she wasn’t just screaming at the young man but engaging him in a fight as well. As onlookers tried to separate them, they kept asking the young man if he knew the lady but his answer was always in the negative. The young lady was bent on fighting the guy as she kept rushing back, every chance she got. She claimed he was the cause of the deaths happening in the ER. The young man was at this point fed up and started to fight back, threatening to kill the lady if he laid his hands on her. “No wonder she starred at me in a way that I didn’t understand since her arrival. So this is your plan? I can see that you are possessed, if I lay my hands on you eh, I will beat you until whatever has possessed you leaves your body!” He yelled.

black couple arguing with each other at home

The orderlies were finally able to force the lady to an isolated room while they awaited the psychiatry team to come and see her. Getting her bound to the bed was the only way they could make her remain at a place. I was at this point done with my cannulation and rushed out to enquire what the entire drama was about. The orderlies and some other medics never left the young lady’s side, they prayed for her while awaiting the psychiatrist. I had witnessed series of psychiatry drama but this particular one got me speechless….an obviously pretty young lady! In my heart I was just like “this could have been anyone! No one wakes up in the morning with a nutche that he is going to fall ill, just as no one gets a pre info that he is going to die, or else of course the Almighty decides to reveal it. This is the more reason we should align ourselves with Him…. something I learnt, something I think we should all consider!

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Tales from the clinic





The campus environment as usual was burstling with activities and the three friends couldn’t wait for the day’s activities to draw it’s curtains so they could go for their usual Friday night hang out. Jenny and her two friends, Miriam and Nenye had been friends since their first year in the university. You could best describe them as a clique of the unrelated sisters. They were always together but no one could ever describe them with one adjective.  Jenny and Miriam were more of the reserved type while Nenye was the life of the party. There was rarely any social gathering around town that you wouldn’t see her in.

Nenye’s nature attracted a lot of people their way, they soon became popular. Nenye somehow always had men around, showering her with gifts. She had a boyfriend in school, one she had dated for one year and counting yet, still got all the attention from men. Even when she didn’t want to date these other men, she would always hang out with them, make out with them and collect loads of gifts in return. She had even at a point acted as though she was pregnant. Jenny suspected and still suspects that she was pregnant but the symptoms dwindled away almost as soon as it had come, making her doubt her intuition.

As long as Jenny could remember, the only issues they have had as friends and roommates revolved around the wide Gap in their choice of lifestyle. Nenye had tried countless times to recruit them into her so called “sure way of living life yet getting loads  of cash to throw about” but each stunt she pulled always ended the same way as the others before it. She had even threatened to stop them from ever using her numerous belongings but still wasn’t able to get them on their knees as she had expected.

Even with everything going on, Jenny was glad for the friendship they shared. Besides her family at home, they were the closest thing to a family she had. They had shared a lot together and had been each other’s backbone the entire time they had been in school. Jenny’s encounter with her mum the last time she was home was still fresh in her memory. It was one she didn’t think she could ever forget. The mum she had known all her life treated her like a stranger.

The first time she had raised the marriage talk, Jenny had thought it was a joke and waved it aside. She was in her final year  and didn’t see why her mum should be bothering her with talks like that when she had infact gone home for the single purpose of getting the money she needed for her project. Even Nenye was slowing down on her frequent outings. She had even ditched everyother man that came around, concentrating only on her boyfriend, her project and their forth coming final exams. Why would mum be so insensitive to the extent of bringing up this topic at this time? She was embittered but consoled by the thought that her mum wasn’t serious.

The encounter she had with her mum when she got home after her exams to wait for their convocation and NYSC posting proved her wrong. Her mum wasn’t just serious but determined to get what she wanted.  She had refused Jenny entrance to their house on the grounds that her ticket for entrance was a man. That she should go back to wherever she was coming from and never step her foot into her own husband’s house except she had come to introduce her soon to be husband to the family.

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At first, Jenny had laughed, thinking it was all a prank to note her reaction before a proper welcome. She was only able to read the handwriting on the wall when her mum shut the door on her. She begged, cried and wailed, yet nothing. Being the last born and only daughter, her elder brother’s weren’t at home while her dad was late. After much deliberation on what to do, she settled for Miriam’s place. Even though Nenye’s was closer, she didn’t want to go there, she wasn’t ready to add more drama to the one she already had.

The next day was a rather long one for Jenny. Maybe because there was nothing to engage herself in as usual. Miriam had tried to entertain her with movies and gists without success as she soon relapsed to her usual mood. She was depressed. She felt like her whole life had suddenly turned upside down. As she laid down on one of the settees in the sitting room refusing to join Miriam in the movie she was watching, Miraiam concentrated on her movie, intermittently laughing out loud to draw Jenny’s interest. The door was opened abruptly, drawing their attention to its direction. Nenye majestically strolled in, holding her handbag in a way that displayed her left hand.

The duo weren’t surprised to see her as they had earlier explained Jenny’s situation to her over the phone. “What’s up girlfriend?” Miriam asked Nenye who paused infront of them like a model in a contest. She simply smiled and brought her left hand towards her face to display the shinny diamond ring in her middle finger. “Is it what am thinking?” Miriam asked, rushing closer to her friend. Jenny was alerted and she soon rushed to Nenye’s side as well to take a look. “It’s a lie! How did it happen?” She asked while Miriam was busy admiring the ring. ” So Jide has finally proposed! But come to think of it, he is yet to serve and to the best of my knowledge, he isn’t from an elite home. How could he afford a diamond ring?” Miriam asked, confused.

“Nenye laughed. And who told you it’s Jide? That broke ass! I was only managing him back in school while waiting for the main man to come. It didn’t take me a minute to recognize him the moment I laid my eyes on him and trust me, I used my charm to steal my way into his heart.” She was now waving the diamond ring as though to give them a clearer view. Jenny and Miriam were speechless. “So, this your new catch, how long have you known him?” Jenny managed to ask. Well, babe, that’s not important. All you need know is that my guy is in money! She was screaming. “Hope you guys at least checked your genotype, to avoid giving birth to sickle cell children o” Miriam said, rolling her eyes. “Of course we did. I’m not a fool you know.” She smirked.

The moment Nenye left to break the news to her family, Jenny began to shout. “This world no balance at all o! How exactly does the bad girls get married while the good ones don’t? Just take a look at Nenye, the typical runs girl we all know and look at me, now squatting with a friend simply because I have no fiance to introduce to my people!” She was really bitter but what could she do. Miriam on her own side was in too much shock to as much as comment on Jenny’s laments.

Fast forward to a few months and Nenye was married and living happily with her husband. She was soon gravid and her husband pampered her like she never expected. He even made plans to fly her abroad to be delivered of the baby. He never let her do any work in the house. All she did was take her bath and look beautiful for  him.  Five months into the pregnancy, she miscarried. She cried and cried that even Jenny and Miriam who weren’t initially happy with her began to feel for her. Jenny was suddenly wondering if all marriages were like that. Somehow, the whole obsession to get married died down for a while.

At five years of marriage, Nenye had miscarried five times. She was wailing. After several days of drinking her own tears, she decided to go see a gynaecologist. “Doctor, in 5 years of marriage, I have miscarried 5 times, who did I offend?” She cried. The tears couldn’t just stop coming and Dr. Israel had to pause his consultation, giving her a few minutes to express her tears. “At what gestation of the pregnancies did you miscarry?” He asked after a few minutes. “At about 5 or 6months” Nenye replied. Dr. Israel nodded, his mind going somewhere…he still needed a few questions to confirm. “What is your blood group?” He asked. “O neg”, she said still wondering what her blood group had to do with the issue at hand. “And your husband?”

“O positive” she was getting more confused.

“Did you ever abort a baby before getting married to your husband?” The doctor asked. He was getting closer to confirming his suspicion but Nenye wasn’t finding the new swift in the pattern of questions funny. She was obviously uncomfortable, readjusting herself in her seat all of a sudden. “I’m still waiting for your answer” Dr. Israel reminded her.

“I might have aborted a baby while in school” she said, avoiding his gaze. “Might have or have?” Dr. Israel was set on getting a clear information. “Ok. I had two abortions done for my boyfriend back in school. He wasn’t ready to father a child” she admitted. “Do you know his blood group?” He asked, his interest obvious. “Well, I don’t. We never really discussed it” Nenye said with a shrug. “Well, call him and find out” he said, to the surprise of Nenye. “Call my ex? That’s ridiculous! I’m not doing it” she maintained. “You have to. I need that information to really know what is wrong with you” he persuaded her.

“What do you want? You have the guts to call me after leaving me for that guy, you want to kill me this time!” Came the voice from the other end of the phone. “I just wanted to find out your blood group, nothing else.” Nenye said and the guy fled: you mean to tell me that the whole time we were together you never knew my blood group? Dr. Israel immediately sensed what was going to happen and opted to speak to the young man himself. The moment he heard the word “O positive”, he was sure. All he needed now was a test, an evidence to support his diagnosis.

Mrs Nenye, I know what is wrong with you but you will  have to do one test so I can confirm it. The test is called: indirect coolomb’s test. Come see me with the result whenever it is ready so we can discuss some more alright. Nenye thanked him immensely and left. A few weeks later, she was back with the result and just as expected, it was positive. Dr. Israel went ahead to explain to her that as a woman with O negative blood group, whenever she got pregnant by a partner who is O positive that the baby will be more likely to pick up the father’s blood group. As a result, the blood group of the baby and that of the mother ought not to meet, if they do, the mother’s blood will build antibodies that will fight off every future baby from an O positive father.

Medically, we manage the situation by giving a drug called Rogham after every contact with the blood of such babies with their mother’s. That way, the antibodies won’t form. This is exactly what happened to you. The blood of your baby mixed with yours when you had your first abortion and no medical move was made to stop the antibodies from forming. That’s exactly why you have miscarried every single pregnancy you have had ever since. Nenye was now in tears, she couldn’t believe “blood group” could prevent her from having a baby. It was the first time she heard of the words “rhesus D+ and rhesus D-“. The popular one had been genotype to prevent sickle cell anaemia. How she wished she had lived a better life back in school, she would have at least had one child or even more…the doctors would have known and prevented this whole thing. The tears just kept coming…

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