It is close to midnight. I am seated in one of these rows of green seats arranged back to back at the reception . Less than half the seats are occupied. The night-guard with a hot beverage on one side. A mother trying to soothe a shrieking big-eyed baby on the other. All others are seated quietly. Probably sleeping. Or trying to. Immediately after the baby calms down.
Two screens are mounted on opposite walls. One showing a Nigerian movie on AfroSinema .The other showing whore music on Str8 Up. The TV with music is on mute. Thankfully.
I’m at The Mater Hospital in South B. Patiently waiting for the nurse-clerk to find my mom’s insurance details. My bro is sick. His tummy hurts. We have been ignoring it since Saturday. Because it seemed to stop every time he ate a plate or two of food. Today he did not even feel like eating. My brother has never felt like not eating. Ever. This little poop-machine only stops eating because he is tried of chewing. Not because he is full.
That is why we have come to the hospital. We believe that it is something serious.
This reminds me about the stomach problems I keep having. The pain comes and goes and usually does not last more than a day. I chose to ignore this problem. But suppose it turns out to be something really bad? And since I only go to the same campus doctor I may be getting the same bogus diagnosis? Supposing Web MD is actually correct and I turn out to be pregnant? What would I name the kid? Grudanzuellina sounds nice.
The Aunt is quick to brush off the pain as a hygiene problem. I get sick because I do not drink boiled water and because I drink milk straight from the fridge. She is a health freak, see. She cannot drink water unless it is boiling hot. Or eat fruits without scrubbing them with soap. Have you ever eaten a poorly rinsed pear? Your mouth starts foaming with every bite. Like a rabid dog.
I need to go to a team of private doctors. That is what I think. But seeing as how expensive that is, it might take me a while to come up with the resources. I am not covered by Mom’s insurance cover. Apparently, I am too old. And somehow Dad isn’t. Because he is covered. Damn insurance people. Being age-discriminative and shit.
Around 10 years ago I had gone to a private doctor to see what was up. Yes this stomach has been bugging me since time immemorial. This time it was the Aga Khan Hospital. I do not remember what I told the doctor my symptoms were, but among the drugs prescribed were what I can only call anal beads.
Hey look. The music TV is playing Rihanna’s Diamonds. Again. Just in case I had missed it 25 minutes ago. Let me ignore it so that I become excited when I see it 30 minutes from now.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Anal meds. I had heard of such medication before but I hadn’t seen them. I had laughed at the friend that was taking them. And now it was I that was taking them. Karma, right?
Like I said, I had not seen such drugs before so I did not know why the tablets were as big as my fists. I thought I was supposed to grind a tablet and mix it with water. I asked Mom just to be sure. Her career was in medicine. She’d know what the scribbles meant. She told me the tablets had to be taken anally. Pause. Suddenly, the name of the drug made sense. Anusol. She explained in vivid details how I am supposed to take the drugs. Most awkward conversation with my mom ever. Even the day she told me how to use a condom does not hold a light to this one.
Hemorrhoids, she said the drugs treat. She told me that my rectum was falling out of my arse and the drugs are meant to stop that.
Seriously, what symptoms had I told the doctor I had? My rectum was not falling out. My arse itched from time to time but that’s because of dingle berries. Nothing a good shower could not cure. What the fuck? Rectum falling out? Jesus!
Needless to say I did not take the tablets. Tried to, Lord knows I tried to, but just could not. There are people who can shove things up their arses, I am not one of them. Plus those tablets were huge. The size of my foot. I was not going to stick a foot up my own arse. Mom said the tablet would dissolve in there but it was safer not to believe her. Supposing they don’t dissolve and move up my digestive tract until I start tasting them in my mouth? Would that not be the same as eating my own shit? Even the two girls with that had that cup were not eating their own shit. They were eating each other’s. I was so sure that was one of the side effects of these rugby-ball-sized drugs.
But now sitting here watching a man fall down dead long before the gun shots are fired at him on the Nigerian screen, all I can think about is; suppose that those drugs really worked? Am I to blame for the continued pain? Suppose I go buy them now, would they still work? Suppose the doctor was full of shit? Suppose I stop asking stupid questions and just see another specialist?
Okay I have to really stop with the questions because the clerk nurse has finally found the insurance information. She is calling us. Let us see what is bugging my bro.
P.S: The guy that shot the man is now in bed with who I can only presume to be the deceased’s wife. Let’s see how much skin she’ll show…ah dammit the sex is over. Without even removal of any clothes. But on the bright side, at least Rihanna is back.