Written by Jennifer Azubuike
John later changed his mind and took up the election press position just to have something to escape to after saturation with medical information. But he went on to do so well in the position that his press releases found their way to the school senate due to their tactful and creative content. At the end of the election season, his supported candidate lost but John had found a new passion. A professor took note of his work and recommended him to the head of literature departments. They were impressed enough to feature him in their monthly journal which led to the university press inviting him for an interview. They offered him a position with them which he accepted because nothing else made John feel alive as when he wrote an issue.
* * *
As part of his medical curriculum for the 4th year, John was assigned to a community clinic in a remote area for practical medical experience. At first, he was relieved to finally be away from campus but to his disappointment, the clinic barely had the equipment necessary for basic patient care. On his first day on rounds, he watched his supervising physician improvise with household items to manage a patient and he almost packed up his bag to leave. Medicine was hard enough with the well equipped teaching hospital at school, how was he supposed to survive here? A nurse noticed how disparaged he looked and asked.
“Are you okay?”
John swallowed hard and nodded. Apparently, she didn’t believe him.
“I know it doesn’t look like what you expected coming from the big city but you may gain a thing or two if you give it a chance.”
John looked her over for a minute. She’s a woman in her mid fifties who had probably worked there all her professional life. Her hair, neatly packed in a bun with streaks of grey hair, revealed a kind face. Her clean uniform with ironing creases suggested she pays attention to her overall appearance. He wondered what she has gained in such a debilitated place only good to be shut down, but said nothing.
“Doctors sent here are always in a haste to leave. But we need doctors like you. Maybe a little more than the city does.” She said before finally proceeding with her work.
Those words hung over John when he retired to his quarters that night and for a few days after. He queried his dissatisfaction with the poor situation surrounding him. Wasn’t he supposed to be a doctor trained to have compassion for broken people and situations? Gradually, he transitioned from feeling disgusted to brainstorming ideas on what he could do to help. Trying to save sick people with less than ideal equipment matched with his amateur medical skills didn’t do much good for his confidence nor the people he cared for. One afternoon an idea hit him.
“What if I can tactfully tell the story of this place and get the word out? Maybe, just maybe it might get to the right ear.” He muttered to himself.
The days following, John got to work. Soliciting the help of the elderly nurse he met on his first day who has become his friend, he gathered stories. The good thing was that John wrote uniquely. Using words, he easily grafts his intended message into the minds of his reader unforgettably. Sometimes, it took a careful critic to refute his argument and achieve any success.
Meanwhile, he only mentioned to the Medical Director that he was soliciting help to purchase a medical equipment without going into detail. This would later earn him some reprimand. His MD shrugged and gave his approval and his write up got stamped and sent out to targeted destinations. After three weeks, when he received no feedback, he got worried because his time at the clinic was soon coming to an end. His nurse-friend told him she will not forget his effort even if nothing comes of it, but that didn’t console John. He wanted results. He was in his office restrategizing one evening when the MD sent for him.
“John, What did you do?” Were the words that greeted him as he stepped through the door.
“How do you mean, sir?”
“I mean this?” The MD pushed a stack of letters on his desk towards him, all addressed to John Mathews.
John briefly flipped through them. One particularly had the seal of a government official and another was from a news station. John’s face relaxed into a smile. He glanced back at his MD who was still expecting an explanation. He knew he had to come clean hence he started explaining. Nevertheless, by the time he would leave the clinic, it was undergoing thorough renovation. John had achieved his mission, and it was not healing the sick since he still struggled with the application of his medical knowledge but it was saving a dying clinic.
* * *
The 4th year medical students had two weeks break before they returned for final rotations and exams. John chose to spend the break with his family. On his way home, he decided he would talk to his father about his self discovery. But John, being yet an unskilled verbal communicator started with:
“I want to change my career.”
“What do you mean?” Replied his father looking confused.
“I love writing. I want to switch to literature.”
“Are you saying you want to abandon your medical studies?”
The old man took off his glasses and pulled a clean handkerchief from his pocket to wipe the perspiration forming on his forehead. He was pensive for a minute. He then sat up and cleared his throat.
“Think back to four years ago, when you were about to choose a college. Do you remember what I said to you?”
“What was it?”
“You said I was free to pick a school and career of my choice.”
“Which you did. You chose medicine. And as far as I know, you’ve been doing well. So what happened?”
“Well, I discovered I am better at writing and I love doing it too. I believe my calling is to be a writer.”
Mr Mathews was quiet again for a few minutes. John had learned to be patient in conversations with his old man.
“Is that what you have decided to do with your life?”
“Yes.” He replied solemnly.
“No problem. But!” He raised a finger in the air to draw attention to his next sentence. “You will have to refund the tuition and fees I have spent on your medical schooling the past four years.” He concluded and watched for his son’s reaction.
John was alarmed. He was speechless for a moment as his mind spun in thoughts. A rough calculation of what that would amount left him numb. Mr Mathews, seeing that John wasn’t saying anything, added;
“I’ll give you some time to think about it.”
John thought thoroughly about it and knew paying back his dad would be hard, since he was going into literature for passion not earnings. He decided the wise thing to do would be to finish his medical studies as he would not have to pay his father back if he did.
A year and half later John earned his Doctor of Medicine degree. His dad was exploding with pride at his graduation. He threw a big party and had a photo of his son wearing a stethoscope around his neck printed on books, mugs and many other items as souvenirs for attendees. He also invited as many friends as he had to celebrate John’s academic achievement. It was a dream come through for Mr Mathews.
DID JOHN GIVE UP? FIND OUT ON THE FINAL PART HERE…
You’d enjoy it more if you read the beginning. Find it here
Also see previous posts WHY THE FLAG WON’T FLY: THE ENDSARS PROTEST II