YamI’s Anatomy

    My job offer finally came through and I was asked to certify my health at a government hospital before reporting for duty. This rabbit hole led me to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital . How do I describe LASUTH as it is called? Purgatory! At best and on every other day it’s Tartarus (For anyone who failed Greek mytholog, Tartarus is a level of the underworld worse than Hades).
    Its hallways are crowded with people. The ailing and their caregivers almost indistinguishable but for the dress and uppity manner of the latter. 20 minutes into my registration, my “aunt” hits me up for cash because I am her namesake. Rather than questioning the yorubaness of this Igbo sounding woman I slip her N500 to speed up the process and go on my way. Like most teaching institutes in Nigeria, lasuth was conceived with the expectation of further development. Years down the line, not much development has occurred.
    Not to knock it but L.A.S.U.T.H is the land that time forgot. If you wanted to shoot a seventies movie, the buildings are ideal. With the exception of the air conditioning I think the exterior hasn’t changed in over 3 decades. (It’s been a teaching hospital since 1995 but was a cottage hospital before that) Its seventies feel is emphasized by the nurses in their little white outfits and square hats. I thought those outfits went out with the word stewardess but I guess I was wrong. Serves me right for watching Grey’s and House .
    The bedside manner part of the course must have been eliminated ages ago. Most of the staff and that includes the students are abrasive; add that to their god complex and you can just forget about courtesy. When I thanked them all I received in return was a look. I hope it was a look of guilt.
    I began with x-ray because it was the first place I found. As I changed into the robe I tried not to imagine the gazillion people who had worn it before me. The fact that I could smell each and every one of them made this impossible. As I secured the robe very lightly behind me I prayed, “Dear Lord please don’t let me wake up with a mystery rash tomorrow.” As a sign of faith I resisted the urge to scratch the growing sensation on my back.
    Not one to make a fuss that would only prolong my time in the robe, I bore it in silence but to no avail. Murphy’s law dictated that my x-ray be blurry, forcing me to redo the whole icky process again. My botched x-ray seemed like an ominous sign of things to come. With my history of testing badly, prospects for the blood, eye and other unmentionable tests to come seemed bleak.
    In spite of this, everyone in lasuth moves with purpose. There where no ‘You are here signs’ yet I was the only lost person. That’s how 2 days of testing turned into a 2-week expedition. At which point I had started to offer medical advice. All the while I dealt with several impromptu schedule changes, a 2 minutes AIDS test that required my presence in the hospital at 7am and took 6 hours to resolve, several canisters to fill, a special diet and paperwork designed for the benefit of paper making companies everywhere. In the end I had to rely once again on the age-old tradition of palm greasing as the final solution.


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