Pastor Wale Adeduro

Everything that happened next was a blur. My mother pushed me out of the way and ran to gather Siji’s broken legs in her arms. She turned around in the same breath and ran out of our cramped compound. I was at her heels when she hailed down the nearest taxi and screamed at the driver to take us to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital itself was erratic. The driver didn’t care for the sea of heads we encountered on the way. He put his hand permanently on the horn of the yellow-painted taxi. He honked the horn all the way to the hospital in Onikan, Lagos. Before we knew it, he screeched to a stop in front of the hospital.

We ran in, yelling, “Emergency! Emergency!” as we entered.

The first thing that hit me was the unpleasant smell of bleach. The air in the hospital felt too clean, as if the very thing that made it easily go down your nostrils were stripped away. If not for the metallic smell of Siji’s blood that was starting to permeate the air, I’d have assumed I had lost my sense of smell.

The nurses took Siji from the emergency room, barring us from following. I turned around at the same time Siji’s mother was stepping into the hospital.

Siji’s mother was looking absolutely forlorn. Her blouse was different from her wrapper. Her wrapper was also tied in a way that half of her wrapper was pulled up and her undergarments were in full show. Her hair was in a wild tangle, as if she had been pulling it desperately. I remembered that she was at home when Siji fell from the balcony.

“Pastor, are you ready?” my doctor’s voice brought me out of my reverie. I remembered where I was and what I was doing. Siji had entered a hospital carried by my mother and I and he didn’t die. I stepped in to this procedure room with my own legs, I wasn’t going to die, I assured myself.

“Yes,” I said, nodding my head.

Two doctors attended to me. A professor and a junior doctor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The procedure was supposed to last no longer than 45 minutes but after an hour, they had still not been able to find the artery needed to pass the catheter.

I was in so much pain, I almost believed people in the waiting room heard my screams of agony. This also unsettled the doctors as they took time to calm me down and offer sympathetic words. The second hour passed and we were well into the third when the doctors started contemplating quitting.

“After all this stress, I wouldn’t want to leave without getting this done,” the professor said.

I was in so much pain, I was convinced I had passed out at some point.

“Doctor,” I groaned from where I lay on the hospital couch. “Do you believe in God?”

“Yes,” the professor said.

“Let us pray.”

The doctors held my hands as I prayed for their eyes to be opened to see where the artery is and their hands be directed straight to the place they needed to insert the catheter with less pain.

They said, “Amen” and agreed to try it one last time.

Just as the professor was going to start, the younger doctor said, “Why don’t we use a vein finder?”

“We can use it.” The professor said, “Although, I don’t really trust that device much, but it should work.”

The younger doctor went to fetch the equipment and they began to use it. A minute later, they had found the needed artery and were already inserting the catheter. I was still in so much pain but l was grateful it was already over. A procedure I was assured was going to last 45 minutes had turned to 3 hours for no known reason.

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