Three Nights at UCH..
Just in a brief moment of rage, in the twinkling of an eye, my mom slipped and fell on hard tiles on her way back into her room. There was no water on the floor. And in an unbelievable action drama that occurred right under my eyes, the nightmare began.
The “help” ran to call her friend who lived close by. The, we carried her and she continued to wail loudly saying ‘her arm was broken’. I didn’t believe her. How could your arm be broken just now? Weren’t you reading your bible outside by yourself just a little while ago?
Truly, the arm was swollen, she kept telling us to touch it. As we made to lift her off the floor, she groaned in pain as someone touched the arm. Then, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement, like a disjointed bone, protruding through her arm. And in that instant, my heart missed a bit. I almost ran. I was too scared.
I called the driver on phone. The almost thirty minutes he spent before arriving felt like an eternity. So, we moved her into the car on our way to our family hospital.
After examining her(the doctor on duty had come outside to see her) they applied first aid in the car and referred us to UCH. I thought the nightmare was over but it was just beginning? UCH????? The driver made a U-turn towards Mokola. By this time, darkness had set in.
This drama started somewhat in the early evening, when you would have concluded that the day was gone. When dinner was even been prepared. The stew I was cooking was left on fire. That’s how unpredictable life is, dealing us heavy blows unprecedented. Nobody had the fore knowledge that we were going to be in an hospital that day, let alone, a gory place like UCH.
Now, the name UCH means so many things to different people. To some, it is a place of death. They believe people who go there never almost make it back alive. To another group of people, it is a place of dread, of sad stories. They have equally taken someone there who had a terminal illness and didn’t make it. To some, they remember UCH for its numerous canteens where they go to buy different kinds of food-as funny as that sounds.
In 1995 or so, when I was in the boarding house, Mother Catherine(it was a catholic secondary school) had sent us to UCH every week to visit a young man who reportedly fell from a 2-storey building during the UNIBEN riot of that time. He lost his legs and spent months at UCH. We visited initially in Mother’s 504 peugeot station wagon(cars of those times). It was a rare privilege to be taken out by the administrator of the school(talking of Sacred Heart Private School, Ring road). The young man was in West West 2. I can never forget that name. We always went with a big bowl of Eba and Ogbono soup whose rich aroma filled our nostrils every time. And while pouring the soup into his own bowl, I marvelled at the richness of the thick soup containing several “animals’. It was different from the normal mixed okro and vegetable that they served us in the dinning.
Again, I remember West West 2 clearly because my mom had told me the story of how my paternal grandmother who I never knew(go figure from my name) was also admitted on that same floor in the mid eighties-and she didn’t forget the name too. So, WW2 became historical.
Back to the present, after an initial road block and traffic jam(bad things happening on an already bad night) with my mom yelling with pain at the back while I was lost in my reverie and imagining appearing at UCH now with a sick person, we finally managed to arrive…….to be continued