“Doctor Bambi, what are you talking about? What do you mean you no longer do D&C”, Aunty Meg was the first to speak.
“Exactly what you heard, my dear,“ the man answered with a funny looking smile on his face. “The medical association has been very critical about our activities, especially as it concerns administering D&C. We believe that offering D&C services has contributed to the immoral and reckless lifestyle of our young ladies. They engage in unprotected sex and are confident that once they get pregnant there are doctors out there who are willing to evacuate the pregnancies from their womb because they have the money to pay. And to make matters even worse, there are a lot of quack doctors out there who have ruined the lives of these girls by performing D*Cs that have left them with fatal damages to their wombs. Some will never be able to have children again. They will never be able to get pregnant again. And those who may be lucky to still get pregnant, their womb may never be able to carry the pregnancy. Some of them would have to spend an awful lot of money on their medical situation before they can conceive and carry their baby in their womb for nine months and then put to bed. Even the government was beginning to frown at our activities, especially as we were not able to check the activities of the quacks amongst us and this was also leading to the deaths of some of these young girls. So, we decided that all of that has to stop. The few D&Cs I do now are the ones that involve couples. Sometimes, for personal or medical reasons, couples can decide to abort a pregnancy and we give them what they want. And in your own case now, you are not here with your husband……”
“But doctor, she married too,” Aunty Meg threw in to make a case for me.
“Is she?” the man retorted, looking at me with obvious disbelief on his face. He certainly looked like he didn’t believe Aunty Meg one bit. “So, where is her husband?” he asked.
“He can’t come, doctor.” Aunty Meg answered.
“Why?” he asked, his gaze still fixed at my face as though he could find the answers to his questions there.
“Because her husband is not around,” Aunty Meg replied.
“And so she wants to abort his pregnancy behind his back?” Doctor Bambi said, a cynical smile on his face.
“No, doctor, she…she…” Aunty Meg was stuttering, she didn’t know how best to respond to his question. It was time I spoke for myself.
“My husband doesn’t know about the pregnancy!”, I interjected, taking over from Aunty Meg who was already running out of answers to give doctor Bambi.
“Ah, finally you’re talking,” the man threw at me. “So, why is he not aware? Why don’t you want to tell him?”
“Because I don’t want to have another baby now!” I shot at him. “My son, Junior, is still very young and I need time to concentrate on my job. If my husband knows I’m pregnant he will want me to keep the baby and that’s not what I want right now! So, will you do the D&C for me or not?
I was really apprehensive. Why was this man behaving like this? Is it not my money that I will pay? I don’t understand what the problem is with all these doctors?
“Listen my dear, you don’t need to get agitated, these things are no longer the way they used to be,” the man said. “A lot has happened lately and the government and our medical association have taken it upon themselves to damp down on any medical hospital that undertakes any abortion that goes bad, especially the one that takes the life of the patient.”
I looked at Aunty Meg. She was as confused as I was.
“Aunty, say something now,” I said to her, urging her to speak.
“But doctor, this her own case is obvisouly one that is safe enough,” she said to him. “She is not in any bad condition presently, so how can anything possibly go wrong with the D&C?”
The doctor gave a heavy sigh.
“Okay, first, let me even examine you,” he motioned to me to get on the small stretcher bad behind him.
“How many weeks did you say the pregnancy is?” he asked.
“It shouldn’t be more than six weeks or thereabout,” I replied, climbing on the bed.
He examined me. I preferred the way he was touching me, compared to that other stupid doctor. He was by far more professional, touching me without acting funny.
“It’s a little over six weeks, I am sure,” he said as I got down from the bed.
“Okay, I will do it,” he finally said. “ I will give you an appointment for this week Friday.”
I heaved a sigh of relief.”
Finally, I would be able to evacuate this stubborn baby that does not want to go away.
“So, how much will I pay for your services, sir?” I inquired.
“Your bill is N20, 000 and you pay in full before I start anything!” he’d thrown at me.
I nearly fainted!
It’s as if this man just wants to make things difficult for me. Where did he expect me to get that kind of money from in bulk? Back then, in those days, N20,000 was a lot of money. It was money sufficient enough to buy a few stuffs one can sell, unlike now that our money has been terribly devalued and messed up. I’d gone with N10,000, believing that, no matter how classy the clinic would be, N10,000 will be more than sufficient to sort out the bill.
“But, doctor, is that amount not seriously on the high side?” Aunty Meg was the first to speak. She was obviously as shocked as I was.
“No, dear, it’s not,” the doctor responded. “In fact, it’s because of you that I’m doing this and at a reduced rate. If I didn’t know you from Adam, I would be asking you to pay nothing less than N25,000.”
“But, I don’t have that kind of money, doctor,” I said to him. “All I budgeted for was N10,000, and that’s what I have here with me. Please, you must help me, Doctor,” I pleaded with him.
The man didn’t seem the least impressed by our pleas, as far as he was concerned, he was merely doing us a favour. In truth, he was starting to really piss me off.
“No, my dear, that amount won’t do it, it won’t be worth my while,” he stressed.
I turned to Aunty Meg. “What do we do now? I don’t have N20,000 here with me. Aunty Meg opened her bag and brought bout some money.
“Take this, its N5,000, add it to what you have with you,” she handed the money over to me. I counted it and added it to mine.
“Give it to doctor Bambi,” she said to me as she turned to the doctor. “Doctor, please take the N15,000, from her and go ahead with the D&C, she will pay the balance later, please..”
The man just stared at the money in my hand for a few seconds, then, almost reluctantly, he took the money from me. “Because of her, I will accept the part payment. But there’s one more thing though,” the doctor said, ”you can’t get the D&C today, you will have to come back for it!”
To be continued….