You know how it is when you're on a date or having drinks with a member of the opposite sex and you both start to swap life stories, from childhood till date? I was out just a while ago and having one of those moments and I remembered, and marveled for the millionth time, at something that happened years ago.
So I was in secondary school in Osun state, Ipetumodu to be precise. Ipetumodu was no Queen's College. Here they believed in using the rod and using it extravagantly! In Ipetumodu you got lashed over any and everything. Miss a class; cane. Miss church; cane. Miss your meal; cane. Get the wrong answer; cane. Have no answer; cane. Come late to class; cane. Teacher is having a bad day; cane. Teacher is taking the piss; cane. Teacher is having a laugh; cane. Don't do your homework; cane. You get the drift by now.
That Monday, English was the first class we had and for some reason I didn't do my english assignment. Somehow the consequence didn't dawn on me until assembly was nearly over, but a brilliant idea suddenly showed up! Ill or recovering patients visited the sickbay after assembly for drugs or treatment, and I'd noticed that there were often so many people that you could spend the entire 1st period waiting to get treated. Yippee!!!
Excitedly, I ran to the clinic and sat patiently in a corner. I was very healthy and bursting with life and energy, but the nurse didn't need to know that, she wouldn't be able to prove that the severe headache I was about to complain about was totally fictitious either. And what else; the place was crowded. I might even have to be there well into the 2nd period. Double yippee!!
Unfortunately the fates were not smiling on me, the Principal walked in. The sickbay was too crowded and she wanted anyone who didn't have any urgent case to return to their classroom and return during break. Yekpa! She walked from student to student, asking each one what the problem was, and then immediately sending them away. I watched with my ass throbbing at the thought of six lashes of pankere licking my small behind that morning, I could almost feel the scalding pain. Then the principal got to me.
Princi: what is wrong with you?
Me: good morning ma. Ma my head is aching me, it has be paining me since yesterday. (I was already getting to my feet to walk to my classroom)
Princi: *squinting at me* sit down, let me look at you.
She then proceeded to pull down my lower lids and examine the colour of the insides. Internally I rolled my eyes at her silliness. Or could she tell I was lying? Either way, this wouldn't end well.
I had no idea...
Princi: go to that bed and lie down. Nurse remove her uniform and give her something to wear, let her lie down.
Guys, if I'd never felt loved by God, at that moment I felt like I was the ONLY one on earth God loved. I not only got to miss English, I was going to take a breezy nap while doing it. Haha!
...The events that followed in the next few hours, days and weeks, make absolutely no sense.
I slept off immediately. Next thing I know I was woken up hours later, I was very confused. I thought I would be sent back to my class, it was around break by then, instead I was escorted to the Principal's office. At the Principal's office I sat for a while and then I was ushered into a cream coloured Peugeot 504. Next thing I know, I was being drive outside school.
I was driven straight to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital. The next memory I have is of two young doctors, one male, one female, badgering me with questions. But guys, my focus was so shot that I couldn't even tell them my name!
Then I was ushered into a ward and given a bed. Next thing I know, it was dark outside and the boy in the bed opposite mine was screaming in pain. He had gone hunting with some old men who (supposedly) mistook him for an animal, when he separated from them, and shot him. I remember seeing him bleed terribly before he was moved to ICU and I also remember pointing fingers at him and laughing maniacally. I was delirious. I remember seeing his blood-stained sheets, laughing hysterically and pointing at him, shrieking in the most amused tone; "look that boy is menstruating! That boy is menstruating oooo!!!" And then I would collapse in laughter, I was uncontrollable. The boy in question died the next day.
The next time I woke up I had needles feeding drip into my veins. It was one drip after another and at the end of that week I had needle scars all over my right wrist. I was delirious half the time, one day I woke up and saw my parents beside me, looking very miserable and hopeless. I burst into laughter.
A few days later, my French teacher, the sternest, strictest, most fearsome teacher in school; Mr Ajala came to see me. That was the first time I was a grown man cry. My Ajala wept at my bed side and I couldn't stop laughing like a nutcase. The harder I laughed the harder he cried. My parents were distraught.
I was in OAUTH for about three weeks, and although when I left the doctors thought I was fine, they also thought it wise for me to return to Lagos for a couple of weeks, before returning to school.
Now I actually couldn't wait to return to school but one week later, I woke up in the middle of the night and the clattering of my teeth could have woken up the people down the street. I was rushed to a hospital in Surulere, off Adeniran Ogunsanya. I was immediately admitted. There I stayed for another twelve nights. Twelve more days of drips, injections, loss of appetite and misery. On the thirteenth day I went home but I was to return everyday for five days for injection shots. At this point I felt perfectly healthy.
On my fifth day, I was over the moon, it was my last injection shot, I was perfectly fine, and I could return to school soon. Yippeeeee!
I was so wrong.
I got my injection but two hours after I got home, I began to develop a rash and then my temperature shot through the ceiling. I was immediately rushed to Lagoon hospital Apapa. I prayed, Lord how I prayed, that they would give me an injection and send me on my merry way. It was not to be.
My parents could not believe it when I fell to my knees and grabbed the doctor by both hands; "please I cannot. I cannot stay in the hospital again. I am tired. Doctor please I am tired, I can't. Please. I have been in the hospital for too long, doctor you won't even find my vein again. There is no more space for drip. Please I will die if I stay here". I cried with all the strength in my soul. I was honestly, honestly tired of hospital beds, drips and living like an invalid.
My impassioned pleas fell on deaf ears as I was practically hauled to my room. I was in Lagoon hospital for eleven nights.
Eventually I got back to school about a week to the exam and I'm still so proud to say that that term, among 41 pupils, I came 11th. (It's not impressive but considering I was absent practically through the term, I still 'beat' about one third of my class, that was impressive to me!)
Till date I'm not sure what was wrong with me. I know the words I kept hearing over that period were cerebral malaria, Typhoid and meningitis. At least those were the three ailments that I heard I may be suffering from at OAUTH.
I still have never understood it, how a perfectly healthy upbeat me, went from pretending to have a headache to avoid getting lashed, to spending several weeks severely ill, running from one hospital to another, most of the time; delirious.
This has got to be the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me. I told it to my date and while it's not a funny story, we both had a good laugh.
What about you? What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened in your life? None? Well then tell me the most memorable!