I continued with my chores and carried on as though nothing was wrong with me. But I knew I was not feeling good at all. I was feeling sick. It was no longer looking like I was suffering from fatigue of the marathon studying I’d been doing for my exams. This was starting to look like something really serious. It was when, by the following day, I started feeling nauseous that it dawned on me something was seriously wrong. And unfortunately for me, mum was in the house when I began to throw up.
“Ah, Rosemary, I don’t understand o, I thought you said you were okay, is this not turning into a serious sickness now?” she’d said, alarmed at the way I rushed out of the house to throw up. “We have to go to the chemist right away, I cannot let you go to sleep again today without treating whatever it is that is wrong with you.”
“No, mama, I swear, I will be okay, its just a little rest that I need…..” I tried to dissuade her. But she wasn’t even paying me the least of attention. Mama simply went into her room to get a change of clothes. And before I knew it, I was right inside the chemist’s shop, being examined.
The chemist brought out some drugs he said were for malaria to my mum and told her the total amount. She paid for the drugs and we left. But three days after, my condition did not get any better, if anything, it only got worse. That was when my dad told mama to take me to the hospital. And that was where my troubles began….
I never liked hospitals. They reminded me often of death. I knew two people in our neighbourhood back then who were ill and were taken to the hospital but never returned home alive. Instead, they were dead and buried some days after. As a little girl then, those images never left my head. And I never liked going to the hospital after then. Hospitals scared me to death. Even if I was seriously ill, I would lie to my parents that it wasn’t serious, just so that I could avoid getting an injection and going to see the walls of a hospital all over again. But this time, there was no escaping it, mother had made up her mind she couldn’t watch me continue to pretend I wasn’t ill, she was taking me to the hospital and that was that.
When we got to the hospital, there were only a few patients waiting to see the doctor. I had been hoping that if we got there and we met quite a crowd, mother might decide she couldn’t wait and opt to bring me the following day. Between that time and the next day, I would have found a way to get myself together. But that wasn’t to be. Mother was going to wait to see the doctor, even if it meant waiting the whole day.
Finally, it was our turn to see the doctor. We were ushered into a small office where the doctor was waiting to attend to us. He was a small statured man who was popular among the people within our area. They loved him and could trust him with their lives.
“How are you doing today, madam, it’s been quite a long time we saw you, hope all is well?” the doctor said to mother as we stepped into his office.
“Thank you, doctor, it’s my daughter, Rosemary, she’s not feeling fine.” Mother said.
“What is wrong with her?” doctor asked.
“I think she has malaria,” mother answered.
“How can you be sure its malaria”, the man said as he turned to me. “Young lady, how exactly are you feeling?”
“It’s nothing really that serious, doctor….”
“Don’t mind her o, she’s not been okay for two days now and she says she’s fine,” mother interjected.
“Come over here, young lady,” the doctor said to me. I stood up and moved closer to him. He examined me and asked which drugs I’d taken. My mother told him.
“It’s okay,” he said to me. “Go and sit down.” He wrote some things on a piece of paper and then called the nurse to come in. “Please, take her to the lab for these tests.” He turned to me, “you can come back for the results tomorrow. And you don’t need to come with your mother, only you can come for the result, then we can decide the drugs to give you.” He said.
Mother thanked him and we left for the lab. After the tests were conducted, my urine taken as well, we left for home. That night, I could barely sleep. My mind was restless. I was scared of what could possibly be waiting for me at the hospital the following day….