Ebola and the GORGONS
week ago that I came down with fever, malaise and highly disturbing
diarrhoea. It was just after I’d (unsuccessfully) treated malaria with
drugs of questionable originality; they had been much cheaper. So my
first differential was of course relapse. Then I realigned my
sentiments with prevailing public opinion and arrived unquestioningly
at Ebola (note the capital E; na respect be that). And I automatically
began a rather paranoid contact tracing in my head…
All these before I remembered that I had made a warm culture of
anaerobic organisms, don’t ask me how, and swallowed it, don’t ask me
why. Suffice it to say I was not recolonising my gut, I do not have
pseudomembranous colitis. It was a mistake. Mistakes happen, even with
the most careful and most experienced of doctors. That is why God made
PPEs, personal protective equipments, to discredit our paranoia as
much as we’d allow.
“ι ρυт ση му ησкια ρнσηє тσɗαу αηɗ тнє тωσ нαηɗѕ ʀєƒυѕєɗ тσ ѕнαкє. ι
тнιηк тнєу αʀє αƒʀαιɗ σƒ євσℓα.”
I do not blame the original proponent of this joke, not as much as I
laugh, for I too have been there, and it is a rather blinding thought.
My anus became the mouth of a bottle filled to the neck with fluid and
turned upside down, relieved of its cork. Yes, it was that serious. My
gut was a one-inch hose defiling continence and conservation. My body
was dying of dehydration. If not Ebola, then what else?
Doctors too can be afraid, being humans like everyone else. Doctors
too need money, reassurance, protection. Being a doctor is not a death
sentence; doctors are not expendable, even if all we do is examine. We
are important, always were, always will be. As is every paramedic that
knows his onions; yes, Ebola does not discriminate against paramedics,
why should I?
I personally am of the view that the best that could have happened to
us was the Doctors’ strike, closing the overpopulated, yet
understaffed government hospitals. In the face of an incurable
disease, the coward does speak the mind of the brave. In this issue,
alliances must be moulded, however temporary, so that Doctors find
themselves with the policemen: hazard allowance is coffee allowance;
pittance, when it is not missing.
But for the government to be bent on relieving resident doctors in
federal health institutions of their jobs is insult upon injury. The
Yoruba have a saying that itself says if an idol cannot improve one’s
condition, the least it should do is leave him the way it met him;
abi? Why then is the government terminating the appointments of
residents? To add to the already sickening brain-drain?
Or have we become Gorgons, terrifying, dragonlike creatures, covered
with golden scales and having snakes for hair, huge wings and round,
ugly faces, tongues always hanging out, and large, tusklike teeth? Are
we being shunned so that they can be revived whom the Eyes of Medusa
had finally turned to stone? One cannot but wonder!
They cannot upgrade hospitals. They cannot pay tangible hazard
allowance. They cannot provide state-of-the-art (protective)
equipment. All they then see fit to do is play smear politics,
blackmailing job-hungry doctors into taking an insecure job in the
face of an ill-controlled epidemic. What shall separate us from the
will to survive? Shall Ebola? Shall Ebele? Shall Eego? Chai! There is
And as one mentions God, the only one that we look upon to solve our
problems, and without looking within and without, one must mention why
exactly it is that we find ourselves in this rather pathetic state,
devoid of tangible hope and void of passable vision: vested interests,
as the much-esteemed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi put it. Why did they not
prevent Ebola from coming onto our shores? If they had so much force
to use, how did that fomite of a woman get to Enugu? If they had so
much sense, why are they appearing more clueless by the day?
One only hopes that the people set to profit off the present chaos
realise that Ebola, unlike Chuks, is not a respecter of persons. That
they too must come and run the hospitals they wish to see run. And
that they will catch (and not only contract) Ebola. Insha Allah. Insha
Jehovah. Insha every Nigerian that deserves a better lot. For we are
no sheep for no slaughter.
Someone has wished Ebola on the House of Senate, perhaps another has,
on the House of Reps. As for me, i wish it much more closer to Home on
the Rock, wherever that is. And do pardon my English. We Gorgons are
not much for talk, as they do who want reelection after an empty
tenure; we are more for saving lives and practicality and protesting
imbecility, even Presidential ones, ultimately turning all
schizophrenoid ambitions into stone.
Alas, not all of us are. Case in point: Dr C. It can’t be so hard to
resign. Even when you are not bold enough to ratify your ignoble
directive yourself, we see beyond plausible deniability; if you can
think of it, we have thought of it. Again, it cannot be so hard to
resign; à kúkú ‘joyè, ó sàn j’enu mi ò ká’lùú…
A kú Èbólà o…
Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire,