I settled into my comfortable work life with the additional responsibility of checking on Auntie Bimba more regularly than I should and taking on the role of a PA, from fielding her calls and directing the ones I felt were important to her to arranging her meals
I had seen her throw up three times in one week. I asked her if she had seen her Doctor which she just brushed aside that she was not ready to use drugs hoping the bug will go away.
Auntie Bimba had started locking herself in her office, but I was not put off. Whenever I heard the noise of the flush of a toilet, I guessed she had thrown up again. I started to get worried building theories in my head that perhaps she was suffering from anorexia or bulimia — the eating disorder where you throw up immediately after eating.
I discreetly found out her family doctor and booked an appointment for her on Monday without her knowledge. I would give a fuss if I were the one but no one could change my mind when I am convinced to take action.
Monday morning saw me informing Auntie Bimba doggedly that we were going to Dr Johnson’s office for an appointment I had booked for her.
“Auntie Bimba, it’s either we go now, or I march off to Uncle Segun’s office to inform him,” I threatened.
My threat worked, and we were off to the hospital together.
Mayflower Hospital was a walking distance from the firm, but I offered to drive her there. I went into the Doctor’s office with her. I still did not trust my Auntie to tell the Doctor what had been happening to her.
“I have never been sick in my life as far as I can remember,” blurted Auntie Bimba nervously.
“Calm down Mrs Adelakun. I can see you are doing well. You have no need to worry,”
“Mild headaches and pains that went without me having to use drugs. The feel of nausea will go, once what caused it in my system is flushed out generally,” Auntie Bimba continued as though she had not heard a word the Doctor said.
Doctor Johnson was a short man with piercing eyes behind glasses that rested above his nose. His angular shaped face had a welcoming look unlike the sharp lines around his mouth that eased up when he smiled.
The man did not have the typically calm, cool and collected look of a regular doctor or the kind that left you swooning with romantic thoughts of “the boy met the girl and lived happily ever after.”
Doctor Johnson had a charisma about him that exuded trust and trust was what we desperately needed now. Someone to genuinely tell us we had nothing to fear but a bug that will pass away and all the medical jargon with pills that will make you better.
The doctor asked questions bordering on if she had recently changed her diet, what new foods she had started taking, when last did she see her menstrual cycle? And dozens of other similar questions.
“I am hitting menopause Doctor; I really can’t remember but I suppose that should be menopause.”
“And who is this charming young lady we have here? Is she your daughter?” he asked referring to me.
“She is not my daughter she is my niece. Dr Johnson, have you forgotten Lana?” she asked.
Wasn’t he supposed to know me? He has been their family doctor for years. He should be aware of their family history. I thought to myself.
But with my birth mum surfacing from nowhere and me becoming Uncle Segun’s daughter, he was not far from the truth.
“You mean the little girl you brought in with a deep gash under her feet needing stitching twenty years ago and her screams were loud enough to pull down the walls of the hospital. How we struggled so hard to give her an injection with a dozen nurses trying their best to calm her down,” he reminisced letting out a chuckle.
“Some energy she had then for a girl of only six years,”
“One and only,” Auntie Bimba smiled at the memory.
I had no memory of what they were talking about, but I could relate with the gash under my left foot representing an ugly scar about half an inch long. I had stepped over a broken glass while on a visit to Uncle Segun’s place.
When I was younger, whenever Uncle Segun came to our house, I would cry to follow him back home, and most days, I had my way. The sleepovers diminished as I grew older, but the bond grew stronger
I was filled with nostalgia and wished I could be that innocent girl climbing into Uncle Segun’s lap at every opportunity. We talked about everything then from dreams to boys, fashion to marriage, and career to parenting.
Maybe Uncle Segun had been trying to tell me in different ways, who he was to me but I never got the message. He showed up for all Fathers’ day events at my school under the guise that my own Dad was busy and asked him to represent him. All my friends in University knew Uncle Segun because he was the one who came to visit me at school most of the time. It was either he was just in the area or my parents asked him to check on me to he wanted to be sure his best girl was doing okay.
It slowly dawned on me Uncle Segun had communicated in every way that I was the most important person to him, and not because I was his favourite niece as I was led to believe. It was because I was his child.
So lost was I in my thoughts that I did not hear the rest of the discussion between Doctor Johnson and my Aunt until she tapped me to get my attention.
“Doctor Johnson was commenting that you have grown into a promising young woman and how your parents must be proud of you,”
“Thank you, Doctor,” I smiled with nothing more to say.
“Now let’s look at you Mrs Adelakun,” boomed Dr Johnson.
“Bring it on Doctor. It is not some terminal disease, is it? ” asked Auntie Bimba visibly relaxed without the trepidation I sensed when we first came in.
Who would have thought a full grown woman to be afraid of the hospital, drugs and injection?
My Aunt’s blood and urine were taken for tests at the lab while we waited in the reception watching a Nollywood movie. The type where the mother — in-law had come to make her daughter-in-laws life miserable.
“Pray, you have a lovely mother-in-law like mine. I find these stories strange because I have not experienced any of that. While your grandma was alive, she was my best friend. I could not have wished for a better mother-in-law, but there are crazy ones out there”, she said with her lips pursed in dismay.
“I would stay out of her way if I were the lady,” I said pointing to the actress on the TV. She should avoid the woman like the plague and stop fighting her husband over his mother. Does she not know she is wedging a wall in her relationship with her husband?”
We should never wish…
Her words were cut short with the lab attendant calling her name for the result
I glanced at my watch. We had spent over three-quarter of an hour waiting.
“You are perfectly fine. Your blood count is superb, and there is no malaria.”
Auntie Bimba beamed at me with an “I told you I am okay look.”
“However, you would need to rest more and not exert yourself. Congratulations you are eight weeks pregnant!”
I could not contain my joy as I leapt from my seat and did a jig of joy.
After all these years my Aunt was finally pregnant with her first child.
She sat stunned and speechless.
Dr Johnson was laughing.
“You are pregnant!” he repeated.
I did not have the words to describe the joy I felt at the realisation of the miracle in our lives.
We left the hospital after picking up the necessary vitamins from the pharmacy. Auntie Bimba was still in a daze and more quiet.
Uncle Segun will be over the moon with this news; I commented as brought out my phone to call him.
“Don’t call him, Lana, I need to tell him myself, but more importantly I need to figure out what I want to do. Things have changed for us, and I can’t spring a pregnancy on him. Please promise me you would be quiet about this. It is a secret till I am ready to tell or it sells me out.
“You can’t hide a pregnancy can you?” She chuckled. The closest to a laugh since we found out she was pregnant.
I could not get it around my head how I was going to keep this piece of news to myself.
“Lana, please do not tell anyone about this,” she pleaded.
I hate what she wanted me to do, but I had to give in. It was not my place to break such news. It was for her to tell who she wanted and if she wanted to keep the news to herself, she had a limited time to hide, at most four more months and the secret is out for the whole world.
But what is it with secrets and my family?