Diseases can be terrible; how much more epidemics? It was barely a week ago that I came down with fever, malaise and highly disturbing diarrhoea. It was just after I’d (unsuccessfully) treated malaria with drugs of questionable originality; they had been much cheaper. So my first differential was of course relapse. Then I realigned my sentiments with prevailing public opinion and arrived unquestioningly at Ebola (note the capital E; na respect be that). And I automatically began a rather paranoid contact tracing in my head…
All these before I remembered that I had made a warm culture of anaerobic organisms, don’t ask me how, and swallowed it, don’t ask me why. Suffice it to say I was not recolonising my gut, I do not have pseudomembranous colitis. It was a mistake. Mistakes happen, even with the most careful and most experienced of doctors. That is why God made PPEs, personal protective equipments, to discredit our paranoia as much as we’d allow.
I do not blame the original proponent of this joke, not as much as I laugh, for I too have been there, and it is a rather blinding thought. My anus became the mouth of a bottle filled to the neck with fluid and turned upside down, relieved of its cork. Yes, it was that serious. My gut was a one-inch hose defiling continence and conservation. My body was dying of dehydration. If not Ebola, then what else?
Doctors too can be afraid, being humans like everyone else. Doctors too need money, reassurance, protection. Being a doctor is not a death sentence; doctors are not expendable, even if all we do is examine. We are important, always were, always will be. As is every paramedic that knows his onions; yes, Ebola does not discriminate against paramedics, why should I?
I personally am of the view that the best that could have happened to us was the Doctors’ strike, closing the overpopulated, yet understaffed government hospitals. In the face of an incurable disease, the coward does speak the mind of the brave. In this issue, alliances must be moulded, however temporary, so that Doctors find themselves with the policemen: hazard allowance is coffee allowance; pittance, when it is not missing.
But for the government to be bent on relieving resident doctors in federal health institutions of their jobs is insult upon injury. The Yoruba have a saying that itself says if an idol cannot improve one’s condition, the least it should do is leave him the way it met him; abi? Why then is the government terminating the appointments of residents? To add to the already sickening brain-drain?
Or have we become Gorgons, terrifying, dragon-like creatures, covered with golden scales and having snakes for hair, huge wings and round, ugly faces, tongues always hanging out, and large, tusk-like teeth? Are we being shunned so that they can be revived whom the Eyes of Medusa had finally turned to stone? One cannot but wonder!
They cannot upgrade hospitals. They cannot pay tangible hazard allowance. They cannot provide state-of-the-art (protective) equipment. All they then see fit to do is play smear politics, blackmailing job-hungry doctors into taking an insecure job in the face of an ill-controlled epidemic. What shall separate us from the will to survive? Shall Ebola? Shall Ebele? Shall Eego? Chai! There is God o…
And as one mentions God, the only one that we look upon to solve our problems, and without looking within and without, one must mention why exactly it is that we find ourselves in this rather pathetic state, devoid of tangible hope and void of passable vision: vested interests, as the much-esteemed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi put it. Why did they not prevent Ebola from coming onto our shores? If they had so much force to use, how did that fomite of a woman get to Enugu? If they had so much sense, why are they appearing more clueless by the day?
One only hopes that the people set to profit off the present chaos realise that Ebola, unlike Chuks, is not a respecter of persons. That they too must come and run the hospitals they wish to see run. And that they will catch (and not only contract) Ebola. Insha Allah. Insha Jehovah. Insha every Nigerian that deserves a better lot. For we are no sheep for no slaughter.
Someone has wished Ebola on the House of Senate, perhaps another has, on the House of Reps. As for me, i wish it much more closer to Home on the Rock, wherever that is. And do pardon my English. We Gorgons are not much for talk, as they do who want reelection after an empty tenure; we are more for saving lives and practicality and protesting imbecility, even Presidential ones, ultimately turning all schizophrenoid ambitions into stone.
Alas, not all of us are. Case in point: Dr C. It can’t be so hard to resign. Even when you are not bold enough to ratify your ignoble directive yourself, we see beyond plausible deniability; if you can think of it, we have thought of it. Again, it cannot be so hard to resign; à kúkú ‘joyè, ó sàn j’enu mi ò ká’lùú…
A kú Èbólà o…