It is the time of recession. Nigerian recession. Economic recession. Global recession. Aisha’s kidneys’ recession. And I am resisting recession in my internship in Paediatrics. It is in this period that I am meeting Aisha. She is 11 and she isn’t. She isn’t pranking her friends at the back of a classroom. She isn’t sticking out her neck to feature in a group selfie. She isn’t running to her mother with blood stains on her underwear. She isn’t staring at her breast buds in the mirror. She is 11 only by the mathematics of subtraction.
You are beginning to think this is a sad story but it isn’t. It is not a happy story either. This is not a love story. I loved Aisha out of pity but this is not about that love. This is about everything but that. This is about Aisha sighing at the one thousandth needle kissing her skin. This is about me walking with Aisha in the Paediatric ward with her drip stand in my hand, hoping it will light up her mood. This is about Aisha’s uneducated grandmother reading off the amount of urine she has made with a 20ml syringe by her bedside under the supervision of a nurse and hissing when she realises it’s less than the previous reading. This is about me trying to convince her that we can wash out Aisha’s disease with the fluid of peritoneal dialysate. This is about her searching the effluent anxiously for a sign of disease leaving her.
This is about Aisha rolling her eyes and me following them into another world where her parents slipped tablets of Augmentin into her mouth to treat her sore throat. In that world, she does not know me. Ironically, there she may even be enueretic. Her parents may even bring her to your hospital complaining of her bedwetting. And you would smile while counselling them and writing something like Desmopressin on your prescription pad. And thereafter write a story about meeting her, giving it a tinge of humor. And we would laugh after reading about the eleven year old bedwetter.
But Aisha suddenly winces, complaining of abdominal pain, dragging my attention back to this world where we are in a tug of war with death. All of us holding Aisha in our hands.
Image: Pixabay.com remixed