A Newspack Sunday Story Series (ANSSS)

A call from the American Embassy- Part 1

Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard

I got home at about midnight completely fagged out. My house was eeriely quiet. My wife and the kids had relocated to my mother’s place in Jabi to isolate themselves from me over the covid-19 crisis.

I went straight to the bathroom to wash down even though I had done so at the temporary isolation site provided for covid-19 patients at the Gwagwalada General Hospital.

Nothing in medical school prepares you for this once in a life time pandemic crisis. Yes, we went through the history of pandemics as virology students at the University of Birmingham years ago. I recalled the 1918/19 Spanish Flu medical history class. It was scary. People dropped like flies in the streets with no sign of illness. Burying the dead was as difficult as saving the sick. Millions died without help. But that was history. That was years ago.

Covid-19 is the real deal. Face to face with a world famous virus doing a deadly dance and poking fun at the very apex of society is something else.

International media feed.

At the Gwagwalada Hospital, I am assigned primarily to a high profile case. The fellow is in a bad shape, perhaps, due to his age and underlying medical conditions.

I had just relocated from Lagos, where I worked at the Infectious Dsease Centre at Yaba. The Centre cares mostly for the lower class. My experience there was a different ball game.

Social media feed by Ace Cartoonist, Bulama.

Dealing with a high profile patient who ordinarily would be receiving a non stop flow of high profile well wishers and pretender well wishes is a lesson in life.

There he lies in distress, alone, fixed up with all kinds of stuff as we battle to save his life. Illness has a way of making very powerful people look ordinary. Will he make it? I don’t know. But we are doing our best to get him back to life.

Social media feed.

After my bath, I looked into the fridge. That place was packed with different kinds of soups. My wife loves to cook and I love to eat good food. Oh, I should not fail to mention that she accuses me of eating a little too much, a disguised way of saying I am a glutton.

But my argument has always been simple. “Look at me dear, see how “lepacious” I am. If I don’t eat a lot, what do you think will happen? I may just be walking on the street one day and a little breeze will take me away from you. Besides, see how much money I save because I always come home to eat your delicious food”.

That usually settles things and I have always used the same worn out line whenever the issue comes up without any modifications.

Anyway, I picked up from the fridge the container of egusi soup, my favorite and dropped it on the table. It was way too late to eat eba, I thought and put it back.

I looked further down the fridge and picked up the left over pizza from the previous day, threw it into the microwave and made some tea.

As I ate, I flipped true the international and local television channels. It was like listening to rap music from one station to another, it was covid, covid and covid.

I must have dozed off on the sofa with some pieces of pizza in my mouth and my tea untouched when the alarm woke me up at 5.30am.

I got up grudgingly from the sofa and headed outside to see my plants. They looked wilted and pale. I was a little angry. I have always told the kids to provide some care to my plants. But they never do. As for madam, well, let me not say a word only that she knows how to “balance” to enjoy the mangoes, cashews, bananas and pawpaws when they are in season. Hey, don’t let madam hear this part of the story. Otherwise, my cherished daily “gluttony” food allocation could be in serious jeopardy.

Any way, I did some watering of the plants and went back in to see what I could fix for breakfast.

The “owo” soup caught my attention. So I boiled some plantain and had a feast. It feels good to eat whatever you want without somebody, whose name I won’t mention, taunting you.

Social media feed.

As I dressed up to head to work, the phone rang.

About author
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Newspackng.
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