Few weeks after Ranti’s emergency transfer to the teaching hospital for a holistic care, she regained consciousness and was recuperating. Series of medical tests were conducted on her. Also, her husband, Aremu, was always checking on her after settling the score between him and his mother in-law. The doctor had advised Ranti to go for a pap smear after the nurse had complained to him that she was having some blood discharge from her genitals, while it was not her monthly period. Aremu had gone for the test result as scheduled by the laboratory microbiologist. He was denied entry into the test room to prevent contamination. The laboratory assistant, a young lady in her mid-twenties called out names of patients who had come for their result.
Aremu sat down on a wooden bench in a corner of the laboratory reception, looking around the big hall. He was staring at an inscription on a poster with an image of the human heart and other organs, when the attendant called the name of his wife several times. He was lost in thought, so he did not hear the first two times his wife’s name was called, until the third.
Aremu: “oh, I am sorry. I did not hear you on time. I I .” he stuttered
Lab attendant: “haba, I have been screaming your name since, you want my throat to cut?” She asked rhetorically, tilting her eye glasses to the middle of her nose bridge.
Aremu: ‘I am sorry, may you not see wahala”. He prayed and the lady handed the test result to him. He read through as though, he understood the terms on the paper. He folded it and took it to the nurse who passed it to the doctor on his arrival at the ward.
The doctor sent for Aremu few minutes after the test result got to his table.
Aremu: “yes doctor, the nurse said you asked me to see you”
Doctor: “yes, I sent for you. Have your seat” he said, pointing to the padded wooden chair in front of him.
Aremu: ‘thank you sir” He said as he sat down.
Doctor: “ehn, ehn,” he cleared his throat. “Yes, I asked the nurse to tell you to see me. It is about the result of the test conducted on your wife. If you can remember, I asked you to go and do the test after the nurse complained to me that she was bleeding from her vagina and it was not her monthly period?”
“Yes”. Aremu replied nodding his head.
Doctor: “good. The test result indicates that your wife has cancer! She has cervical cancer”. He stared firmly, however, Aremu did not really have much knowledge about some medical terms. So he wore a bewildered look on his face. The doctor broke it down to him, explaining the term to him in a lay man language.
Aremu became weak at the breaking of the state of his wife’s health status news to him. The doctor encouraged him not to be downcast.
Doctor: “see, you don’t have to be sad, it is not too late. With consistent therapies, she is likely to stay longer for a period of time. Don’t panic, the stage she is, is still okay. She can be managed for some time. Only on one condition, she must not miss her therapy. But, I will write a note for her, which she will take to the oncology department, so, from there, the procedure will begin”. He advised, while Aremu was lost in thought. He left the doctor’s office afterwards, looking gravely downcast.
Aremu looked at his wife, lying in bed. He shook his head in pity, wondering how he would be able to provide for her health care.
“What did the doctor say?” Ranti’s mother asked as she saw her son-in-law looking so unhappy.
Aremu: “He said she has cancer”. He replied, looking down and leaning against the wall at the tail of his wife’s hospital bed. The mother leapt out of her chair as she heard the word “cancer”.
Ranti’s mother: “agh, mo gbe. Is it not the disease that they say make people’s body to have big sore?” She asked, putting her hands on top of her head, and stamping her feet on the floor. The nurse cautioned her form the nurses’ station as she was disturbing other patients in the ward.
Khadijah went to see Abeni at her jewellery store some weeks after their conversation on phone. She met the sales girl at the desk in the main shop.
Sales Girl: “agh, Aunty, good afternoon ma!” She greeted her, bending her knees courteously.
Khadijah: “good afternoon. How are you?”
Sales Girl: “I am fine aunty”. She replied in a funny accent peculiar to the Ibadan majority ethnic group of the Yorubas.
Khadijah: “is your madam around?” She asked pointing in the direction of the small room serving as office.
Sales Girl: “No mo. She went to the see a customer. But she will come back now”. She replied.
Khadijah: “okay, I will wait for her in her office” She left for her friend’s office.
Few minutes later, Abeni came back as the sales girl had said. She met her friend in her office, who looked so worried and unhappy.
Abeni: “ehee, Ore mi! ba wo ni. How is life?” She greeted her, rubbing her friend’s bony cheek.
Khadijah: “hmm, I am fine jare”. She replied casually.
Abeni: “you better cheer up. Don’t kill yourself o. No life after death o”. He said to cheer her moody friend up.
Khadijah: “see, I am not here for play jare”.
Abeni: “I know, but at the same time, you have to cheer up”. She replied calmly.
Khadijah: “let me go straight to the point. My husband has been acting strangely lately. He hardly comes home early like before, and he is always dead drunk whenever, he comes home. This his strange attitude that he came up with lately is giving me a lot of concern. That is why I came here to see you, ore mi. Help me, I don’t want to lose him”. She explained, with her eyes heavy with tears.
Abeni: “see, you are the one giving yourself unnecessary headache. I have told you time without number to put this away from your mind. Act like nothing is wrong. Or you are thinking Ponmile has told him something?” she asked
“Hmmm”. Khadijah nodded in agreement to what she said.
Abeni: “see, keep calm, if he doesn’t ask you anything, you too pretend like nothing happened. Just make yourself happy. Don’t send yourself to an early grave because of any man o. if you die before your time, this man will live and remarry. So, tell me what is your gain when you die?” she asked, stretching her right palm forward. “Just keep me abreast of any latest development, we will know what action to take next”. She said.
Khadijah: “okay, no problem. Okay no problem, I will always count on you”. She replied.
Abbas was with a group of friends at a night club.
Ponmile: “see o this your paddy just dey dull himself. I have told him several times to free himself. He is there forming Alfa”. He said teasingly facing his other friend, Tola.
Tola: “awwwwwn, no o. Don’t contaminate my friend for me o. He is flawless o. Holy art thou, how far?” He waved his fingers at Abbas, teasing him.
Abbas: “see, you guys will not understand, whenever, I am in a normal mood, I always think of my wife. I don’t want to hurt her. I love her so dearly, so I won’t do anything to hurt her feelings” he said, grinning. His declaration stirred Ponmile up, that he almost spoke up, but he controlled himself, since he was in the midst of their friends.
Ponmile: “see, guy, stop mentioning you wife here, whenever we are talking here. This your love declaration and vow recall makes me get angry. How sure are you that this woman likes you and is faithful to you? And you are here dying for woman”. He burst into anger.
Tola: “calm down. Stop using Panadol for another man’s headache” He said, patting his back.
Ponmile: ‘leave me alone, you will not understand”. He shrugged off his shoulder, looking away
Abbas: “tell us what we don’t know. You keep saying we will not understand. We are all here, make us understand. Abi you had an affair with my wife before?” he asked, straining his eyes, and fuming.
Tola: “eh, guys calm down. We are here to unwind and not quarrel about our private life matters. So, let us kill the fire, and enjoy our night out”. He calmed the two raging friends down, as the heat was off, the altercation was rising.
Abbas: “I need him to tell me why he is always irritated each time I mention my wife. You know her before?” he yelled at him.
Tola: “Abbas! It’s okay now” He shouted at his friend. “And you, Ponle, respect him and his wife. And mind your business. Finished!”
Ponmile: ‘okay, I have heard, nothing between us, just that I am trying to make him understand that one cannot count on women too much like that” He said, and smiled at his friend, Abbas, who eyed him. Tola settled the quarrel on spot.
Question: For how long will Abbas remain in the dark?
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