Mangodo felt the weariness seep into his bones. He was the Medical Doctor assigned to Office D in the Out Patients’ Department of Johnson & Jones Medical Centre. Located at the middle of Luxury Estates, Victoria Island, Lagos, the place was a mad house, with a beehive of activity from dawn to dusk.
Mangodo had been seeing patients since the wee hours of the morning. How come no one worried about the health of doctors? He had to listen to variant shades of complaints from myriads of patients, eight hours a day, all days of the week, all year round. Worse still, his interest for the medical practice was on a steep decline.
The routines that used to be so easy, now seemed like huge obstacles. It was strange, considering that he had not been in the practice for that long.
The enamored clock on the wall of his office let out a rhythmic chime, before two loud bangs announced the time.
2 O’clock in the afternoon already? He needed to grab some lunch from one of the cafeterias around before seeing another patient.
Kemi almost ran into the back of the poker-faced nurse, who had suddenly stopped in her tracks. She had been walking directly behind the nurse without looking in front of her.
“Sorry Doctor, are you on your way out already?” Kemi heard the nurse ask the young man inside the office.
The man, who was already close to the door, looked at the nurse with a frown. “Tinuke, do you know what time it is?” He asked.
“It’s alright,” Kemi said. “I’ll just hang around till you get back?”
The man turned his attention to Kemi. “No. You can come right in, since you’re already here.” He turned to the nurse, “Tinu, please she’s the last person I’ll see before lunch.” The nurse nodded and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“Please sit down Barrister Kemi.”
Kemi smiled as she took the seat adjacent the Doctor’s. She shouldn’t have added “esquire” after her name.
“There’s nothing yet on this file. I’m guessing you’re visiting our hospital for the first time?”
“Yes Doctor.” Kemi replied, trying to guess his age. Twenty seven? Thirty? How tall was he? Six feet six…seven?
“What seems to be the problem Kemi?”
Kemi closed her eyes and tried to find that comportment that always saw her through in court. “It’s like I’m living double lives doctor. I am always shifting between mood swings. I’ve lost interest in everything. I mean everything and everyone. That includes family members by the way. I just really prefer my own space these days. I mean, I know this sounds funny. It’s not like I am aware of any physical symptoms of sickness, but I just have this deep feeling of disappointment and disillusionment about everything. I’ve abused substances sometimes, gotten drunk a few times; just so that I can feel better. I’ve even smoked hemp on one occasion. Yet I don’t feel any better.”
Mangodo continued listening to the woman’s voice. She seemed to be explaining his own thoughts and actions for the past year. Strange!
“So let me get this straight. How often do you get the mood swings?”
“Very often Doctor. Sometimes it stretches on for days. I mean, I act all fine, so no one really understands, but deep down, I’m just flat, like there’s a large pot of disinterest sitting on the pit of my stomach.”
“Do you get sad for no reason at all.” Mangodo asked, all the while scribbling furiously on a sheet of paper inside her file.
“Yes Doctor. Always. I am one sad saaad woman.”
“Feelings of hopelessness? Like there’s nothing you can do about your situation?”
“Did you do anything to anyone? Something you now feel guilty about?”
“Well, not really, except that I am really mean to guys. So I feel guilty sometimes, more like regret at the way I treat them.”
“May I ask why?”
“Messed up relationships, I guess.” Kemi let out a sarcastic laugh.
Mangodo smiled, nodded and kept writing. “Has that affected your sex life in any way? I mean being mean to guys and all that?”
Kemi was a bit embarrassed, but she had to be truthful here. “Truth is, I don’t have a sex life doctor. I’ve not had one since I was twenty.”
“And you’re twenty five years old?”
“Do you have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering stuff?”
“Wait a minute, how do you know just what to ask?” Kemi was aghast.
Mangodo smiled. “Cos I’m a doctor? I’m trying to form a prognosis here, but I have to be extremely sure, cos this is kinda dicey. I don’t want to make the wrong diagnosis.”
“Do you feel tired sometimes? Like deep-in-the-marrow kind of tired?”
“All the time Doctor. All the time. I literarily have to struggle to get myself to do things I used to do with so much ease. Sometimes I even get these unexplained aches and pains, and I oversleep as a result. Can’t recall the last time I followed my exercise routine. It’s weird.”
“How long have you felt this way?” Mangodo asked.
“Let’s see.” Kemi took off her glasses and wiped her eyes with the back of her left palm. “Since 2015?”
“That’s like three years now?”
“And this has affected your social life?”
“Actually, it has affected my whole life.”
“Do you get suicidal, like you want to harm yourself, or kill yourself?”
“Sometimes. But not very often.”
Mangodo had a diagnosis. He was ninety percent sure. He just needed to mention it to her. He was that sure because he was going through the exact same thing.
To be continued…
© Oselumhense ANETOR, 2019.