“You do have to stop crying at some point, you know? Na me suppose dey cry.” Ivy said through gritted teeth, though she felt very bad for the young lady whom the doctor had earlier introduced as Kemi. In spite of the anger she had harboured for whomever put her in this situation, she could not bear to stay angry at Kemi. The lady was so pretty, so innocent, and so full of remorse, it was heartbreaking to behold.
Kemi sniffed and snorted a bit. “I’m so ashamed of myself. God knows I should never have driven at such speed. What was I thinking?”
“Yea, right? And God knows I shouldn’t have been on the road at that time of the night either. Let’s just look on the brighter side and thank God none of us died.” Ivy inhaled and exhaled carefully. Talking felt like hard labour.
Kemi thought about that for a second. “Yes ma’am…I am most grateful to God. He has been so good to me lately.”
Mangodo raised his eyebrows when the women mentioned God. He could have sworn Kemi wasn’t the religious type.
Ivy smiled. She must have truly looked like a ma’am in her hospital garb, amidst ICU equipment. “Please call me Ivy. I only just turned twenty-seven.”
“Oh I am so sorry, ma’am… Oops! So sorry Ivy.” Kemi tried to hide her laugh. “I could have sworn you were a lot older.”
“I nor blame you,” Ivy added. “Accidents can do that to people. Go ahead Kemi, laugh at me all you want.”
Kemi laughed out loud, which merited her hard stares from some of the nurses in the Unit. In spite of everything, Kemi could see that Ivy retained a canny sense of humour. The events of the past week have been very intense. She had been so caught up in the aftermath of this accident, she had completely forgotten her depression. She had even rediscovered her connection with God. Maybe this was some sort of turning point.
“Let me know when you’re done Kemi.” Mangodo made a gesture with his hands. “I’ll be in my office. We do need to talk.”
“No worries Doctor. I’ll be right there.”
Mangodo opened the door and closed it gently after him. He figured the women might need as much privacy as the ICU could allow.
“Ivy?” Kemi whispered, as soon as the doctor left.
“Please get well soon.”
“Like I have a choice. If not that I have broken bones, and a battered body, I would be back to my businesses already.”
“You’re a business woman?”
“Yes darling. A very successful one at that.” Her mind reminded her she might not have a business after the accident. No one would want to sleep with the lady on the wheel chair. “Did you see that young lady that was leaving when you came in?”
Kemi recalled seeing a shapely dark skinned woman. “Yes?”
“She’s my sister, my friend and business partner. Her name is Bisola, and she’s all the family I have.”
“Wow.” Kemi tried to absorb the information. “And your parents?”
“Both of them?”
“Yes, both of them.”
“Oh dear. I am so sorry. I didn’t know.”
“You nor be witch nah. You can’t know everything. What about you? What do you do?”
“Oh, I’m a lawyer for a firm on the Island.”
“A lawyer hah? That’s cool. So is the Doctor your brother, or your boyfriend? You seem to have a very warm relationship.”
Hot blood rushed onto Kemi’s cheeks. “Oh, neither. He’s my Doctor.”
“Your personal doctor? In a hospital this large? Okay o.”
“Kpium, kpium.” Kemi brought out her phone from her purse. She had two WhatsApp messages – ‘Can we have lunch together?’ The first sentence read. Kemi smiled. ‘Please say yes’, the second chat pleaded.
Kemi was still smiling as she typed one word in reply – ‘Yes’.
Ivy saw the whole thing from her semi suspended position. “Is the boyfriend calling?”
Kemi frowned. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
“You know I’m genuinely worried about you.” Mangodo said between sips from his glass of grape juice. They were at Kilnex Assortments, just outside Johnson & Jones.
“I could say the same thing about you, you know?”
“Well, for starters, you’re a little bit too nice.”
“How does my being nice give you cause for worry?” Mangodo asked.
“Is this ‘niceness’ professional doctor/patient relationship?”
“What can I say? I’m a very nice person.” Mangodo held Kemi’s gaze with his.
Kemi slowly sipped her smoothie through the straw jutting out of her cup. “Can I ask you a question?”
“What’s the cure for depression?”
Mangodo wasn’t expecting the abrupt switch in topics. “Erm, it depends on a number of factors.”
“Well, just as depression in different patients manifests different symptoms, so do patients react differently to medication. While it’s enough to use antidepressants for some patients, others might further need regular talk therapies, or both. You know that depression alters the brain along very negative lines?”
“I guess?” Kemi didn’t know.
“Medical research has shown that anti depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy can help normalise brain changes associated with depression. Then there’s behaviour therapy, which is focused on remedying negative thoughts and emotional responses arising from psychological distress. More severe cases, can include psychotherapy as well.”
Kemi was silent for a moment. She tried to take the medical jargon all in. “What about me? What medication do I need?”
Mangodo exhaled. “I started with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which significantly reduced my mood swings and anxiety.”
“You started… Wait a minute! Are you on medication?”
Mangodo had nearly given himself away. What was wrong with him? “I mean, I’ll start with something that’ll reduce your mood swings.”
“What’s serotonin?” Kemi asked. She knew Mangodo was hiding something, but she was ready to let it slide. He didn’t owe her any explanations.
“Seroronin is a chemical that our bodies produce for our nerve cells and brains to function. It is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it plays an important role in regulating mood. Hence, low levels of serotonin in the brain often results in depression.”
“I see!” Kemi was getting the hang of the gist.
“These SSRIs are meant to balance the levels of serotonin in the brain. They generally cause fewer adverse side effects. We will try Prozac first and see how it goes…
“Call me Mangodo, Kemi. Isn’t it about time?”
Kemi wasn’t listening. “Is there something you’re not saying?”
Mangodo smiled and took another sip of his grape juice.
To be continued…
© Oselumhense ANETOR, 2019.