Days rolled into weeks, and months rolled into another year as Mayokun’s life settled into romantic bliss and the fulfilment of purpose. It was as though the universe connived with time to make things align for her. “Good things happen to people who wait”, so the popular saying goes. Truly, patience is a virtue. She reckoned she might have been married to the pastor who wanted her to use her salary as a doctor to finance his ministry, perhaps very frustrated in the marriage and unable to continue with her residency. It was not entirely fair in her mind that a woman had to wait for marriage while a man decides when he is ready. The waiting game was something Mayokun wished she could change as she really desired to have been done with childbirth at 30. Here she was about to clock 34, and yet to have her first baby. She really could not afford to complain. Her birthday was just three months away and she was so sure that Kayode would propose on or before her birthday. Scribbling “thankful” in her notepad, Mayokun had sketched a human heart on the page while she allowed her thoughts to wander away from the academic burden.
“Thankful heart without an aorta”
“Christ!” Mayokun exclaimed. She had not taken cognizance of Dr. Ruth Alao’s presence in the room.
“What are we thankful for this time around?” Dr. Alao teased.
“Girl, you startled me”. Mayokun gave her a gentle shove.
“I got some coffee from the vendor.” Alao handed her a cup.
“Thanks babe. You know I needed it. I’ve been nodding on this page for the past one hour” Mayokun expressed in gratitude for the sleep antidote.
“Hmmm…. I see.” Alao raised a suspicious brow.
“Don’t even go there. I know you’re up to no good.”
“I know Kayode has been doing a goooood job down there “ Alao put up some mischievous dance, placed her coffee on the table and grabbed Mayokun’s face and palms for examination.
“You’re such an idiot!” Mayokun burst into laughter as her eyes got teary “Old school matron!”
“Cyesis!” Alao clapped her hands in ecstasy “I knew it! You’re pregnant!”
“You’re a foolish girl, Ruth! “ Mayokun shoved her aside “Get out of here!”
“What’s the noise about?” Adekemi came in through the door, looking like she had transfused her blood to the patients in the ward. “What are two village girls chirping about?”
“Mayokun is pregnant and I’m trying to help her life by getting her to antenatal clinic for the nurses to finish her life” Ruth Alao raised her voice to suppress Mayokun’s voice as she brought the matter to Adekemi.
“Please ignore this chicken. I’d have said she’s on her period but she’s too excited” Mayokun dismissed Ruth with a wave of hand as Adekemi crashed into bed “Kemz, what’s up you don’t look well?”
“That wardround was gangster.” Adekemi began to unpack her evening as she struggled with fatigue. “Those GOPD doctors ehn, I don’t even know what’s wrong with them. They just write consults anyhow as though earned their medical degree from a polytechnic.”
“Tell me about it!”
Girl! You can say that again!”
Alao and Mayokun chipped in as Adekemi narrated her ongoing call duty. “Don’t even get me started on those surgeons” Adekemi threw her hand in the air and made a stop sign. “Sometimes I wonder if they’re better than butchers with just a sprinkle of medical education. The thirst for blood is some vampire steez.” Alao and Mayokun erupted into laughter.
“I’m serious!” Adekemi continued. “I had to start cleaning up mess from surgery and A&E”
“That A&E own is on another level” Alao grabs her lukewarm coffee. “I always pray against their consult whenever my team is on call”.
“Right!” Mayokun exclaims in agreement. “Honestly, medicine needs more grants. We basically run clinical services in this hospital.” The girls nodded in agreement. Mayokun did a quick mental check as though she did not make an accurate assessment. “Well at least, the chunk of it. The bulk falls on our table. Even if every other person does a shoddy job and packages the patient to the ward, we can’t afford to. We’re expected to right every other person’s wrong and make no wrongs of our own”
“We’re the miracle workers. Medical Jesus!“ Alao raised her coffee cup to Mayokun.
“Perfectionists!” Adekemi bumped her fist with Alao since she had no coffee cup to raise. “I’m just thankful that we have the best nurses. We did the rounds and I asked them to hold the ward so I could rest for three hours. They’ve made our lives easier. Thank God we borrowed sense. Na so dem dey carry stress kill doctor.”
“Imagine that we had those Mamas at GOPD” Alao threw her head back in laughter.
“Na die!” Mayokun stomped her feet as she scattered in a laughter that came from her imaginations “I no fit imagine dat kain thing abeg. Abort mission”.
“Make I nap 30mins before we begin our group discussion abeg.” Adekemi adjusted her pillow. “Our nursing mother talk say she go zoom am. Just tell her we’ll start by 6pm. Shey?.”
“No wahala, mamalette” Alao covered Adekemi with a blanket.
“I’ll send the link to Bunmi right away and go for a walk since sleep don comot my eye with you people’s ijongbon” Mayokun grabbed her headphones as she ran through her exercise playlist for the track best suited to launch the evening.
“Mmm… I hear” Alao turned her nose up. “Just say you want to go get some from Kayode”. She gave Mayokun a nudge.
“Leave my front, Ruth” Mayokun tickled her away. “See how charged you are! I know how to get you henceforth.”
Mayokun stepped into the cool of the evening as she took a stroll towards the hospital quarters. The sun was on its way home at 5:30pm and the hospital car parks had generally emptied themselves, leaving behind a few administrative staff, management staff, and clinical staff on duty. The trees aligned in good perspective delivered fresh breeze as Mayokun enjoyed the stretch of horticultural investment. Every little thing contributes to the patient’s wellbeing. Things are really looking good for her. She could not have imagined that she would be in the call room, laughing and exchanging bants with her sworn enemies. Dr. Bunmi Ajayi was the one who went on maternity leave a few weeks after she joined the department. Dr. Ruth Alao was the one who would not hesitate to spit on her shadow because of the spat they had over Kayode. Dr. Adekemi Coker was the galvanizing agent, in fact, more like a binding agent, pulling them together in a strong unit to harass her. It took some introspection and some fracas after she made up with Kayode for her to see that it is possible to co-exist with them, and it might start by her taking responsibility and apologizing for the role she played. The animosity was increasingly unhealthy. Residents and house officers walked around them like egg shells, nurses were whispering it, it was as though the consultants heard about it but decided to not meddle. Mayokun could not afford to lose the respect of her consultant, Dr. Ojo, and this propelled her to extend an olive branch to her colleagues. It did not just yield a cordial environment, it produced friendship, work felt like family. They decided to implement the same protocol in improving their relationship with the nurses, and it worked. The hostility that often came with working in the same space was deleted. Grievances were amicably discussed and squashed before they even started. Who would have believed that it was as easy as respecting the nurses as stakeholders in care delivery? Mayokun could not believe the turn around and synergy that came out of that meeting she called for doctors to meet with the departmental nurses. It wasn’t anything innovative anyway, she served the country at a general hospital, where the medical director ordained a weekly grand round. It often lasted for an hour – 30mins presentation and 30mins rapport building. Each week featured a different department presenting a topic and the medical director was always seated to moderate hostility out of the window. Food was always provided at such meetings to encourage attendance and foster bonding. It was after one of such rounds where the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics handled the meeting, that Mayokun realized that milk and tea should not be mixed together. A balanced diet was all that mattered to her before then, and milk had always gone into her tea cup. Patient outcomes were improved upon when they partnered with Nutrition department in the management of certain conditions.
Mayokun checked her wristwatch, alarmed at far time had flown, she quickened her steps back to the call room. Fellowship exams were fast closing in on them and it was important that they all passed it before they even went in for it. The senior registrars were ticking a lot of firsts in the department’s history and are determined to initiate a new culture that no resident writes an exam twice. How do they even establish it as a culture, if not by starting with themselves? They have also been teaching medical students on posting, and brushing up tutorials with residents preparing for exams as well. It is a lot to do, but they have somewhat managed to do better with each following day, leveraging on one another’s strength.
“Life is better together”. Mayokun muttered as her quick steps transformed to a jog because they must finish the tutorial in good time for Adekemi to get back to duty.