BLINKERED – GRACE OCHIGBO
“Jake, you remember l have always told you to come back here. There are better opportunities here ?”
Professor Arome Abuh beamed with ecstasy as he spoke into the receiver, joining his wife in the garden beside their house. The garden is small but it’s beautiful and serene nature is so much inviting that one could soak in the evening cool breeze as it gently blows the neatly trimmed rose and hibiscus flowers planted everywhere around the house. A beautiful sight indeed.
He wore an almond t-shirt on a midi length jean trousers. His well-built muscular stature gave Tonia a template of her ideal man. He was tall, and handsome. His dim-gray neatly trimmed full hair complimented his broad shoulders, his soft dark hairy skin and podgy body. His round attractive face and bulging eyes says a lot about Tonia’s genetic makeup. He is in his early 50s, yet could pass for a 40year old. l mean, being educated has a way of keeping us forever young, right? His picture paints a thousand words about his youthful days.
Lowering his left eyebrow and raising the right one, he winked coyly at his wife before taking his seat on the uniquely designed antique wooden chair beside her. He listened to the caller on the other side of the phone and immediately burst out into laughter
“You are not serious man! l mean, is that why you hypocritically call me once in a while? Just to buttress your charade of being busy?” He scorned with a sneer
He placed his legs on the stool in front of him, picked up his glass of apple juice and sipped it gently
“You will enjoy this place! Frankly, there is a lot of serenity here, don’t be scared” He admonished with a more jeering tone.
His wife, Abigail Abuh stared impassively at him, she could bet who he had been speaking with. He was introverted. Unlike her, her husband had few friends. She in fact knows only Jacob Onuh as her husband’s only confidant and friend.
“Anyways, regards to your woman…” He said quite politely
“And how is our boy doing? He must be a man now. Time flies indeed” He added quickly clearing his throat
“Ok man, you know am still your best host.”
He concluded as he dropped the call still smiling and sipping his glass of apple juice.
Abigail straightened out on her seat, “When are they due to pack into town?”
“How did you know it was Onuh?” Arome asked bug-eyed
“Who else gets you laughing over the phone this long? It must be Jake Onuh. l can imagine how you guys concentrated in class back then. You two are quite a combo”
He smiled roguishly
“Well, Onuh is the best man you always want to have around. But seriously, we didn’t ever disturb in class. Unless of course the teacher was scrappy! You know what l mean”. He blinked at her.
“Like your Biology teacher who had bow legs and pot belly?” Abigail said staring sternly at him. He started laughing again and she continued
“l know that line already, Honey. God knows l have heard it enough times to write a book on it”
Everything about Jacob Onuh, popularly referred as ‘Jake’, is appealing to Arome Abuh. Their souls are totally knit together. They looked alike, they are age mates, they sound alike, behaved alike and more interestingly they attended the same schools all through their lives.
“Jake is moving back into town next week” Arome said excitedly
Abigail was entranced by this news. Her blue eyes displayed like on a TV screen, a joy that seem to beam from her inside. She adjusted her velvet evening gown and flipped her long twisted braids to the back of her neck with her left hand
” Wow, l get to live with Juliet again. l have deeply missed them ever since they left this town. l think Tonia was still sucking…”
Arome interrupted her “He even said his son is in his final year now, you remember he was barely two when Jake left me in this place” he said, beating his hands against his chest lightly with a despondent look on his face mimicking self-pity
“It wasn’t easy separating Juliet and l too, you know that…” Abigail retorted “we were caught in between two stools. Jake saw greener pastures and felt the family needed to leave, who was l to hold her back?” She took a deep breath and held it.
“Thank God she will soon be back” A sweet smile formed around her tiny red lips
Arome gave a quizzical gaze at her, held her hand and pulled her head towards his chest in a mild way before touching her nose affectionately,
“Hey woman, make sure you have my time when they come here… else??” He said pulling her even closer
She held his chin, gazed at him with alluring eyes
“Juliet cannot take your place honey”
They hugged tightly.
About my last hospital visit;
l opened the door to the doctor’s office, he smiled at me. This hospital visits will continue all my life time…
“How long more?” l always ask myself
l don’t know. l don’t want to know, l just will live one day at a time.
The doctor had been talking with my parents all through the time l went to the laboratory for several medical test that took so long. Several of them today including blood counts, reticulocytes count, urinalysis, pulse oximetry, ophthalmology examination and those l can’t even remember the names.
We got familiar with Dr Wale already. Of course l have been paying him traditional visits often, after my transition from the paediatric health care unit to the adult health care unit at thirteen. He had this pair of lenses always placed on his nose. He is not a tall man, rotund but very nice, jovial and truly intelligent.
Dr Wale motioned me to a seat beside my mum. She wore an almond green, knee length chiffon dress. Her beautiful accessories and dress sense always justifies her expertise in the fashion styling profession. Right now, she wore everything else but a smile.
l zipped down my doublet before sitting
“My little Moppet, how are you?” Dr Wale started after l barely sat.
That is how he usually referred to me, ‘Moppet’. He looks much older than dad. His wife is a dentist. He told me his only daughter was about my age and that was the name he loved calling her. l didn’t like the sound of the name initially till l checked up its meaning.
l smiled back at him before answering
“Doctor, am fine! Except for this continuous visits to you that is beginning to bore me, keeping up with my appointments has not been easy” l looked cheerless as l continued talking “and it seems you even want to make it more frequent now”
He was about to answer me when the door creaked open. A nurse walked in with my file, handed it over to him and walked out hurriedly. My parents’ silence since l joined them in the doctor’s office, worried me more now. l know they enjoy my argumentative conversations with the doctor always, but there was something unusual about this stillness.
“Or did the doctor break a bad news to them?” Diverse thoughts flied through my head as Dr Wale went through the bulky sheets of test reports. l didn’t know why the lab man made me run unusual tests today, including a scan. Dr Wale soon dropped his glasses on the file in front of him. He looked at us, still having that smile dancing around his lips. “Was l the only one seeing that this smile was not genuine?
He turned his face to my dad
“Can Tonia excuse us for a moment? l need to talk to you both in private”
“NO…” l cut in hitting the table angrily before dad could give an answer. l sat up to face the doctor. l was already becoming impatient too myself.
“Dr ljeoma assured me that after my transition from her pediatric care, l will be treated as an adult, l will gain a little independence over matters of my health and any prognosis or diagnosis pertaining to me, will be related directly to me first-hand” l blurted out standing up, in spite of me
Dr Wale knew better than to argue with me any further. He wore his glasses back and faced us. He was obviously contemplating how best to relate whatever the news was to us as l managed to take my seat
“Well… Tonia has been doing pretty good” He started, looking at me “She has a very good fighting spirit and that is really great…” He paused to look at dad again “Her results are quite hopeful but…” He said counting his words
Mum sat up looking haunted, l could hear her heart beat, it sounded as loud as talking drums playing on a new moon festival. Her breathing increased in speed, her eyes glazed, she seem to be in a world of her own.
Dad became anxious, adjusting his seat forward, droplets of sweat appeared on his forehead with his hands clasped together, they shivered.
l didn’t know what my own feelings were, l couldn’t place it. l just sat mute
He continued “the contraindications of the indispensable drugs you have been taking, as l told you before, is its potential to result in renal failure with use over lengthen time. You remember we have been reducing the dosage at some points earlier but even at that, some renal glomerular diseases still manages to surface. These are the things that usually results in the lots of complications that may sometimes lead to the death of the patient”
Hot tears burned in mummy’s eyes as she heard the word ‘death’. l guess that has been the reality about my life she still wishes remained in her dreams.
Everywhere in the office was quiet, dead silence. It seemed like night had fallen, the heartbeat from my parents came out loud like sounding gongs. I could hear the echoing of the doctor’s voice… death!
“OK? Does that mean l will soon die?…” l muttered giving the doctor the questioning look
He sighed “No Moppet! ” l knew he was careful not to raise false hope at the same time not to dash the little left
“From your results here, we discovered your blood pressure is still quite high, there is presence of proteinuria alongside increasing anaemia. These are all predictions for end stage renal disease in patients with sickle cell disease…”
He paused again. Mum let the tears flow freely now down her cheek. She curdled my head against her body and stroked my hair lightly
Dad sat motionless
“The condition of your kidney is worsening by the day, Moppet”
With shoulders falling, my jaws dropped, my face suddenly became pale as l sat dejected unable to hold back my tears…
To be continued …