Sunday came really quickly and all I could think of all night was the screening exercise in church. We got to church that morning and after the pastors sermon, was the call for women to come together for a health talk with the doctors who came in that morning. How I wished the sermon lasted a bit longer. Before I knew what was happening, the medical professionals were done with the education and counselling and it was time to start the screening. “Is this how fast it happens?” I asked myself. “The screening happens really quickly too. It takes less than 10 minutes.” The nurse standing right beside me answered like she heard me. “Oh that’s nice.” I said with a fake smile. If only she knew what was going on in my mind.
“Okay Abeni. You can start coordinating the women into the screening room now.” Dr Adaeze said. “Of course” I replied with a big smile. One by one they came in and left really quickly and before I knew it, over a hundred women were screened. The conversations the doctor had with the women made me feel really terrible because I could see beyond any reasonable doubt that I needed to get screened as infections left untreated could turn into cervical cancer years down the line. I stood there thinking of how best to present my case. I am a pastor’s daughter. How on earth was I supposed to say I was eligible for screening?. “I am supposed to be a virgin” I whispered to myself as I looked around to see if anyone was watching.
After minutes of contemplating, I moved close to the doctor with whom it seemed like we had a connection all morning. “Hi Dr Adaeze you are doing a very great job.” I said giving out a fake smile for the umpteenth time. “Thank you my dear.That’s what we signed up for. You have been amazing with coordinating the women.” “Oh wow, she seems nice,” I thought to myself. I was still trying to study her mood to know when best to present my case. After pacing up and down the room, I summoned all the courage I needed and voiced out; “Doctor I was wondering if it will be possible for me to have this screening done without my parents finding out?” She gently brought down her glasses to look straight into my eyes. At this point I could feel shivers all over. “Okay, that’s not a problem.” She said as she turned to continue her work. Five seconds later, she turned to take another glance at me. “Oh my God, why did I open up?” I asked myself. I felt like the devil. I bowed my head in shame and turned to walk out of the room. After I took a few steps, she called me back. “You do not need to feel terrible. I totally understand. I know how you feel and trust me I am not going to ask for any more details. Get on the couch.”
I moved out of the room to make sure there was no one anywhere close. As soon as it felt really quiet, I quickly jumped on the couch. “Can we do this very quickly?” I asked in panic. “Relax, naughty girl. When you were having fun, did you do it quickly?” She asked laughing. It took us a while to get the speculum inserted because I was too conscious of the environment seriously hoping no one would walk in. What do I say with my legs spread wide open in that position with a speculum inside my vagina and someone walks in. That alone was enough explanation. “Abeni you will need to get treated! I can see some changes right here, and here and here she said as she showed me the different areas on the screen.” While we were still speaking, I could hear someone walking towards the room. “Doctor, can you take the speculum out quickly? We will talk about this treatment some other time.” “Yea I know but ......” “Take it out now.” I shouted. “Okay I will Abeni” she replied shocked at my reaction as she started to unscrew the speculum really quickly. She tried her best but just as she took it out, my sister walked in.
I laid down on the couch like I was lifeless. I really wished I was though. “Abeni, mummy said you need to....” she said as she paused for a minute to take a look at me, the doctor who now had the used speculum in her hands and then the screen that had my cervix exposed. She took a really deep breath, stood still for about 10 seconds and then walked out of the room quietly without saying a word. “I am finished.” I muttered to myself.
a costly mistake
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