I sank into the faded white plastic chair that stood on three legs instead of four. An elegant bedstead was at the corner of the room, sitting pretty without a bed. I shook my head before burying it on the examination table that had accommodated the heads of more doctors than the bodies of patients. My phone made a last beep before going off on its own; NEPA had been on strike for two weeks and the hospital generator was still a promise on the lips of the state Governor. My mother had called earlier to beg me to submit a redeployment letter to the NYSC secretariat. She was never in support of me serving in Maiduguri.

Coper, Coper!  Please come, there is an emergency “

These were the words of the Fulani nurse as she frantically ran towards the call room.

I opened the door and said,

Aisha, can’t you attend to the patient? It’s past midnight and I’m tired”

No, I can’t” she answered.

The patient is about to deliver a baby”

There was no way Aisha was going to leave me to rest that night. I reluctantly grabbed my stethoscope and followed her.

The patient was accompanied by two people whom I assumed to be her parents. She was clearly in pain because she was bleeding heavily and wouldn’t stop crying. Her mother was helpless as she was also in tears. The older man looked stoic. I assumed he was just being a man, the way we’ve been wrongly taught to be unexpressive of our deepest emotions as men. I wheeled the patient into the delivery room hoping to figure out what was making her bleed and more importantly, help her safely deliver her baby.

Three lit candles gave life to the delivery room that smelt dead from blood and unfiltered sweats. A long crotchet-like hook lay helplessly beside the blood drenched gauze sponges that I should have replaced after the first use.

Amina push!”  I screamed.

Her eyes became misty with tears as she tilted head to look into the eyes of an already confused mother before giving death a go ahead. I was sad and infuriated. I turned to the tall, grey bearded old man that came with her and asked,

Who impregnated your little daughter?”

“Not my daughter” he snapped,

She was my wife”

This article was written by Jolaade Philips; connect with him on IG here

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