I stood on the weighing scale. And stared at the gauge as it danced back and fourth rhythmically. She scribbled on her Writing pad my weight and gesticulated me to a seat nearby. She asked me to unbutton my shirt and slipped a thermometer into my armpits followed by a stethoscope just under my vest.
“Good Morning Mr Juma. How are you feeling?”
“Thanks Doc… Just call me Juma. I woke up today feeling a little bit weak. Mild headache and sour throat. And as you can see I am looking very ugly with a swollen mouth.”
“You look handsome,” She teased me. I knew she was lying. But I took it as a hearty compliment. And anybody would have even if it was flatter in black and white. Specifically because it came from her. She oozed with elegance. Had the beauty of a model and most likely the brains of a genius.
“Any allergies Juma” (I loved the way she pronounced my name.)
“Eggs and alcohol” She chuckled.
“Have you been diagnosed and hospitalized with any chronic medical condition?”
“None that I can think of”
“We will take your blood and urine samples for testing in the lab.” she said as she handed me a small plastic bottle and a khaki bag. “The gents are on the furthest end to the right.”
Off I went! I had never done this thing before. Or maybe I did it as a child. Holding my ginene and emptying its contents into a bottle. But the mere thought of it felt crazy but ecstatic. I did it anyway. And
placed it nicely into the khaki bags as if it was chips mwitu.
As I walked back to the Consultation room I thought about the work of Doctors. I tried to vivify her routine. Maybe meet that guy whose ginene is malfunctioning and he has come for medical help to “resurrect it.” Or that lady who applied chemical to Vera Sidika her back yard but it backfired and one buttock is Vera and the other is Njeri. She is expected to listen to that rich guy who has seven daughters but the wife has “refused” to give him a son to inherit his vast estate. And also attend to Naliaka who, after taking miti shamba to terminate her unwanted pregnancy, runs to the hospital once she reaches a dead end.
“You will wait over there- she said pointing on the couch outside her office- as we run your blood and urine test.” I sat next to this mama in huge spectacles. She had, on her lap, an exercise book that, on first glance, looked like a little kids book. But when I took a closer swipe, I noticed she was mumbling Chinese pinyin.
“Ni` ha`o ma” (How are you) I greeted her.
“Wo` he`n hao” (I am fine!)
She was elated to the point she removed her specs and took a closer look at me.
“Wo` Jia`o Juma. Ni` na.”
“Ni` Jia`o Susan.
And the story of Susan’s life followed. Her life as a teacher of English up to her retirement and how she got enthused to study Chinese. A story of how what started as a opportunity to pass time in retirement turned out to be a source of money in retirement. And you could feel the enthusiasm of a 60 plus year old mama talk about attending Chinese Expos in Kenya as a translator. I also attended a few Pinyin classes just because I hated Economics with my bile. And the Chinese Lecture Hall was next to the Economics one. I always wished people would be allowed to study things they loved and graduate with whatever degree. Like I would take 10 units in sports science, 10 in Accounting, 10 in literature, 5 in Philosophy. Another 5 in Psychology and end up with a Bachelors in whatever that would be.
Dr. Grace cut short our hearty conversation by calling out my name in her gracious voice. She read the results of my tests and scribbled prescriptions on a pad. I swear she is the only Doctor with a good handwriting.
“You will go to the Lab- right ahead and turn to your left- and collect your medicine.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you Juma?”
“Mmmmmhhh… can the patient have the Doctor’s number?” I said as I pulled my card from my pocket.
She looked at my card and read aloud.
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