Right to Health
Is access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?
I would die soon.
It’s the same dream every night, although it isn’t a dream – I am here on the hospital bed looking at the ceiling. There’s always a mosquito here. I call it Ayan Labala. It flies all around the room but never comes near me. I am wondering what it feeds on if it never draws my blood. I am wondering whether it loves me or it just does not like the blood of a sickle cell patient very much . I, then, start to think about how I do not like my blood also. I wish I can open my mouth and throw up all my blood and then drink someone else’s blood; someone without sickle cell. Then I shudder and think about how I am thinking like a witch. Before I console myself that I am not a witch and that my thoughts are normal, the door to my room opens up.
Just like every night, he walks in, My Night Visitor. He takes off the stethoscope from his neck and smiles at me. The first night, I returned his smile with a weak one. But after the first night, I stopped smiling. He still smiles at me anyway, every night. After the stethoscope, he takes off his white coat. Then after this, he dips his hand into the right pocket of his grey trousers and takes out a key. He proceeds to lock the door to the room. At this point, I try to faint. I fainted on Tuesday night and that was pretty much the best night I have spent in this hospital room. He still had his way with me that night but I only woke up to the pains, I did not experience them real-time. But I don’t faint this time, I am very alert – weak but alert – when he unbuckles his belt and drops his pants (trouser + actual pant). I am alert when he smiles and says ‘Thank you for this night again’. I am alert when he climbs into the bed, and I am fully alert when my head is bursting with pain and anger.
I am alert when he cries after and just lays on top of me. I sometimes taste the saline of his tears – too salty. Sometimes his tears mix with mine and I cannot tell whose tears I’m tasting. The lump in my throat is heavier than his weight on my body. I cannot move an inch partly because I’m sore and partly because I do not want to move under him. I am clenching my fists and my jaws as tightly as my weak self can. He climbs down from the bed and says, ‘I’m sorry’ without making eye contact. He dresses up in the reverse position as he (dressed down?). He leaves the room and closes the door gently.
This has happened for the 5 nights I’ve been here.
My mom has not come to see me since she dropped me here. She has sent Bisi, our house girl to give me food and drinks and sweets and what-not. But she has not come. I once overheard her say to her friend, Aunty Kike, ‘I am sick and tired of a sick and tired child. She’s such a handful! I mean, I love her… too much sef. I can die for her. But you know, parenting a healthy child is already hardwork, talk less of a sick one. I don’t wish she dies… but *she pauses*, but sometimes I think of how better that would be.’ Then she rushed to quickly say, ‘It would even end her suffering. That child is constantly in unbearable pain’ Aunty Kike said a bunch of ass-kissing crap as expected of her, and my mom sighed and said, ‘God knows best. You know, I’m happy that we are even wealthy and can afford private healthcare. The doctors take care of her so well. Those private hospital doctors are young and are in touch with the evolution of medicine. They also know that the money they bill us is way too much for what they do so their guilty conscience forces them to dot on all their patients. We are not stupid for paying so much money, we’re just playing the game with them. But I pity all those poor people who have SS children. How do they do it? Public hospitals? In those places, you probably have to sit beside your child chasing away flies from their bodies and running after the doctor begging them to see your child. You have to be there 24/7 o, so that if they call your number, you will shout, ‘Present sah!’ Aunty Kike laughed and managed to say, ‘Ahahn, that’s not how it works’
Well, thank you mom but now I want me some public hospital loving. I want someone to pay only N200 for files and sit beside me to chase away 100 flies. I want the doctors to be too busy to even look at my face. I want them to be concerned about my body and not my body. I want them not to know my name, but call me by a number. I want my mom to sit beside me throughout my stay. I want there to be a queue for my bedspace so I’ll get well soon. I want old doctors and wicked nurses. I want a crowd in the hospital, not empty hallways that echo. I want to share my room with plenty patients not minding that I have to endure the smell of their wives’ terrible cooking. I want a room with a broken door so no one ever has to lock it.
I want public healthcare and I don’t give a hoot about its drawbacks.