Mangodo moved closer to Ivy. Her eyelids weren’t moving. Suddenly she began shaking violently. Was she having a seizure? What had gone wrong? He brought out his phone, scrolled through his contact list rapidly and dialed a number. He waited till he saw the seconds counting on the screen before lifting it to his ears. “Hello, Chief…”
The voice on the other end was not enthusiastic, “Yea, how may I help you this extremely hot afternoon?”
“Erm, it’s Ivy, Sir. The lady we were to move out of ICU today. I think she’s having a seizure,” Mangodo explained.
The other voice became a bit excited. “You think she’s having a seizure, or she’s actually having one? This is medicine, Doctor, not naijabet.”
“Sorry, Chief,” Mangodo apologised. “She’s having a seizure.”
“How’s that possible? Her concussion wasn’t severe. Besides, I looked through the scan myself and there was nothing to show that there was any damage to her brain or her spine for that matter.”
“That’s precisely why I’m calling you sir.”
“Okay…” The voice on the other end paused, “…I’ll be around in a few minutes. Some of these things can’t be resolved over the phone.”
Mangodo rolled his eyes. “And, Sir?”
“Yes?” It was obvious the voice at the other end couldn’t wait to drop the call.
“It may be that the seizure was triggered by some shocking information she just heard.”
“What are you talking about?”
“She had the seizure as soon as she dropped a call sir.”
“And you felt keeping that information from me would achieve what exactly?”
“I’m sorry Sir.”
“You had better be. Well, this changes everything”.
Mangodo dropped the phone from his ear when it was clear the Professor had hung up. The arrogance of that man. Was it because he was the only Professor Neurologist at Johnson and Jones?
Kemi gently closed the restroom door, and tiptoed towards the door of the office. Thankfully, Senator Yuri wasn’t anywhere in sight. She opened the main doors, closed them behind her and half walked, half ran down the hallway. She was never coming back to Alexis ever again.
Professor Nero was a short middle-aged man. But his reputation dwarfed the biggest names in the medical profession of his clime. What he didn’t have in height, he made up for with brains. He was easily an intellectual prodigy. He was rumoured to have graduated from Medical School at eighteen; a feat that seemed practically impossible in Nigeria. His large rimmed glasses always hung at the base of his nose as though eager to take a leap off his face. He didn’t care much for clothes, as he had once performed a major surgery wearing only a pyjamas underneath his personal protective gear.
Professor Nero bent over Ivy and made some more examination. “My first guess is that she might be suffering from what is known as psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES). They are seizure-like episodes that can be brought on due to trauma as well as depression, and/or anxiety. Make her comfortable and leave her in the ICU till we arrive at the bottom of what this is. Let’s see…vitals are stable… She’s good to go. Nothing seems to be wrong with her at all.”
“I thought so too,” Mangodo added.
“If I need your thoughts, I’ll ask, okay?”
“Okay sir.” Mangodo bit his lips.
“You’re a young man, with great prospects. Read some books, okay? PNES are difficult to treat because the condition falls in a not so clear area between psychology and neurology. It’s a place that not many doctors are willing to explore. You’re a bright guy, you can try researching further on the topic.”
Mangodo smiled, and nodded.
“New research presented at the American Academy of Neurology has revealed that we are on the precipice of identifying the link between the mind and the brain when it comes to PNES.”
Ivy opened her eyes then, and looked from one of them to the other.
“How are you young lady?”
“I’m fine, thanks”. Ivy tried to prop herself up on one elbow. “What happened?”
“Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?” Prof. Nero asked curtly.
Ivy looked lost for a while. “Depression?”
“Yes, Miss Ivie. Deepression.”
Mangodo wondered why the Professor had to place that much emphasis on the first syllable of the word.
“Okay, you just had a seizure. Apparently, you scared the living daylights out of the young man here, otherwise, he would not have roused me from my hard earned siesta. I was just telling him that new research in the field of neuroscience shows there’s a bidirectional link between seizures and depression.”
Mangodo was wide-eyed.
Ivy was none the better.
But Professor Nero was still talking. “Dr. W. Curt LaFrance, an assistant professor of psychiatry, human behavior, and clinical neuroscience at Brown University and the lead author of the study has always inspired me. We once had an opportunity to discuss the topic on one of my study trips to France. With you, I see he was right.”
Ivy was totally lost in all the medical rhetoric.
“Theoretically, what you just had is a psychogenic nonepileptic seizure (PNES). PNES have underlying psychological or emotional causes, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses such as cardiac disease or chronic pain.”
“I had a seizure because I’m depressed?” Ivy asked.
“Not exactly, but you’re getting the hang of it. You had a seizure because your mind went to some buried traumatic experiences that you could not express otherwise. Those experiences may have made you really depressed in the past. As soon as you’re strong enough, I’ll write a referral for you to see an expert colleague of mine. She’s a professor of Psychiatry. She can be of great help to you.”
Mangodo didn’t know how to ask for her number himself. He knew she would be of great help to him too.
To be continued…
© Oselumhense Anetor, 2019.