Let me start by admitting that I am a hypochondriac.
Growing up, I had a nickname amongst my siblings. They called me ‘informator’.
This was because I was a mild dosage of Sheldon. In primary school, I read my father’s Junior Britannica Encyclopaedia back-to-back. I knew everything in it. From rare butterflies to World War 3. I could tell you when Hannibal was born and why and when he died. I found Mata Hari fascinating. It did not matter if they wrote about a T-rex or sheep, I would read it all.
The worst part of this was that I was eager to show it all off. I always had something to say. When I started wearing coke bottles, I fit into the picture of a nerd. My nickname had an addendum; monkey-in-goggles.
I sought out smart people because I loved the brain stretching. But also, so that they could be impressed by what I knew. Most people did not care but smart people knew knowing some things said you were smart.
I dey go somewhere… stay with me.
Doctors fell into this category. Most doctors are smart. So, anytime I had a chance to go to the hospital, I would strike up conversations with doctors.
Can you see where this is going…I am zeroing in now.
When I finished secondary school, there was a time I had a fever. My father took me to Ahmaddiya Hospital in Bukuru. The doctor was known to my dad. I sat alone in his office and I confidently struck a conversation.
He examined me. I found it embarrassing that he asked me to lie down on the examination table and lift up my dress (calm down, this is not one of those stories… but now when I think about it…).
I was a teenager and was an expert in hiding my body even from my sisters (long story).
So, I felt exposed and vulnerable as he pressed my stomach. But I have a good ‘bone face’ and I kept the conversation going. As he was scribbling in his file, I asked him what he thought the problem was. My guy said: Plasmodium falciparum.
I asked him for the prognosis in a very mature voice. My insides were like jelly at this point. Surely, this was something terminal. He said I was going to take some medication and he would review.
Na shiga uku!!!! I don enter.
You guys may not get this but being a hypochondriac made things worse. Remember, there was no Google or search engines a finger tap away. I had never come across that name before.
We had choir rehearsals that day, so I went to the church from the hospital. Luckily, Aunty Sola was there and I knew she was in the medical line. I asked her about it casually (I had memorised the name).
She laughed and said it only meant MALARIA.
First of all, I was going to live.
Second of all, why on earth did the doctor feel the need to confuse me? I mean a three-syllable word is easier to say than two words with seven syllables.
Thirdly, I was just a kid. He did not need to pull out the big guns to impress me. I was impressed by him being a doctor.
Lastly, the stomach press though…was that necessary?
The fall out of curiosity for me is an unhealthy dosage of hypochondria. I read trivia and then I delve into all possibilities and then a cold becomes pneumonia; a mole is melanoma for sure and a cough is TB.
There was a day I was so embarrassed that I was seeing my doctor for what seemed like the umpteenth time for what kept turning out as nothing.
I offered an icebreaker
“Ehmm… doctor… well done o. I am here again. How many more hypochondriac have you seen today…” Awkward laugh.
My doctor leaned back and grinned widely with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
With this background info, you have to understand how it was alarming for me during my first doctor visit with my first pregnancy; especially when the doctor sent me for a scan and on that bit where they write what the scan was for, he scribbled the word:
I am finished. Am I having a miscarriage? Had some cysts formed one hard ball and masked as a pregnancy? I quickly typed the word in the browser of my Nokia E63 phone and kept trying and trying to open the page before any heart-breaking news was delivered to me.
Finally, I did.
These doctors are not serious. I was already creating more work for them by elevating my already elevated BP trying to understand what was going on.
So, today in the hospital (we do tend to go a lot, ba? Nothing serious), my hubby was getting checked out. There was a particular thing that he had ignored for years. We just wanted to speak to a GP consultant for some understanding and closure.
I had used all my experience as an almost hypochondriac with a ton of medical shows watched; as well as bits of info gathered over the years to offer my husband a diagnosis years ago. He did not take me seriously. After all, I no be doctor.
So, he explained everything to the doctor and the doctor thought for a while. The resident with him offered an explanation which he rejected. Then he looked at my husband and called a name.
I almost danced shaku shaku.
It was the exact same thing I had told my husband. It was even the complex name he used…just like I had used.
“I TOLD YA!”
I love to gloat, so I yelled out.
The doctor turned back and asked if I was a doctor.
I almost wept with joy and relief.
Years and years of being bamboozled by doctors. Years and years of reading seemingly useless trivia had just paid off.
Someone actually thought I was a doctor.
My father would be proud.
That funny BBC documentary I watched years back would wipe a tear watching me.
I ignored the resident doctor wey no sabi anything.
“Omo science student….” The real one o.