For Justina…

Justina Ejelonu

July 26 2014

7:35 AM

Babe, it’s my mother again! She wants to talk to you – yeah, she’s coming – but why must you people have your women talk on my phone na…? “

His voice is an echo in my subconscious and if I focused a little, I’d hear him chuckle.

It triggers him that his mother prefers talking to me, than him.

Dennis.

Nkem.

This is the only thought that makes me smile as I peer into the bathroom mirror.

What stares back at me drains the color from my face and jolts me back to reality.

Blood.

All over the floor too.

I mean, I know what it is, and what that means, after the fever I had, but I’m not sure.

It can’t be…right?

I’m still – young?

“Babe?”

“Are you alright? I’ve been calling you since. Mother says she’ll call back but it’s you she -”

Wow.

It must be that bad, for him to stop in his tracks when I turn towards him, standing in the bathroom door way.

Realization dawns on him quickly, and even as my vision is blurry from the tears, I make out his frame.

He’s shaking his head violently now.

” No!”

“No!”

” No!”

I think he believes that if he says it thrice, perhaps this can be undone.

I would laugh if it wasn’t serious already.

“Baby! No now!”

His voice breaks and he crumbles to a weeping heap at my feet.


July 21 2014

9:00Am

Today is the day!

My first day!

Dennis dropped me off. He didn’t want me jumping the bus on my first day.

We have a lot to be grateful for, our wedding is coming up in October and we have a baby on the way.

He got a new job and I did too.

Even, I almost didn’t go to work today, morning sickness and all, but he encouraged me.

This man!

He’s proud of me – I saw it in the way he smiled, while stealing glances at me in traffic.

I mean, I’m proud of myself too. Landing this job at First consultant’s has always been a dream and now, it’s happening. I can finally say,

“Mama, I made it! “

Nope! Not mama. It’s just Tayo… And if you keep staring at the gate like that, you’ll be late. Very late! “

A voice jolts me out of my reverie and I realize I was thinking out loud.

Oh, sorry. I’m actually Justina, and today is my first day. I was a little – overwhelmed.”

She looks down at my outstretched hand but doesn’t take it. Instead, she turns to stare at the gate with me.

“The New girl? I Sha felt like this my first day,too. Congratulations! ”

With that, she’s gone – into the building to start her shift, leaving me confused in her wake.


“Justina… Hmm? “

It is her, in the flesh.

I am standing before Doctor Adadevoh and I don’t know how to behave.

” – that is your name, right?”

Y-Yes ma! Justina Ejelonu, ma.

Ahn! Ahn! I was wondering o, ‘cos the way you were looking at me… Why are you smiling?”

She looks alarmed and I’m this close to laughing.

“Nothing, Ma! I’m just so excited to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

Dr. Adadevoh relaxes and drops the file she’s holding, on the table. She writes a few words and looks up at me, as if asking for confirmation.

You look like a happy person… Hmm.. You’d do well in the general Ward. Take this file to front desk and they’ll direct you to Tayo, she’ll show you what to do next.”


Tayo did not look happy to see me.

“They said you should come and meet me?”

I’m sure that’s what I said the first time, but I don’t push it. Instead, I watch her peruse my file. Who knows? Maybe she’s looking for her head.

General ward? … Gene… ral… Hmm. Lol!”

Laugh out loud?

She pronounced it as a word.

People… do that?

Okay! Here’s what’s going to happen. They brought someone in yesterday. He’s a VIP.

Go and take his vitals and make him comfortable…When you go upstairs, the first room by your left. ”

She is still looking into my file and I find it very strange that she’s smiling now.

Very strange!

I do my job regardless, and take his vitals. He’s visibly agitated, but it’s not something a warm smile can’t fix.

Even Doctor Adadevoh is impressed that I could keep him calm.

Before I came upstairs, he had removed his infusion and there was blood everywhere.

I directed someone to clean it up, while I helped him get back in bed and fed him.


July 25 2014

12:30 Pm

It started with the rumors.

No one could say for certain, but there were rumors from upstairs after our VIP patient died.

I was in the Cafeteria when I overheard one nurse whisper,

Ebola! Yes, that’s what they think it is. They’re waiting to hear back from the Government… “

Her partner pleaded the blood of Jesus in shock and I said amen under my breath.

You know, just in case.

The silence in the hospital over the next few hours was deadly. You could hear a stethoscope drop – literally.

Everyone was calculating in their minds, if they were at risk and guessing who had the most contact with him.

Even though I noticed the side eyes directed my way every time I passed the halls, I knew I was safe, and I went to Facebook to say Just that.

I mean, I didn’t touch any of his body fluids, even though he spilled blood everywhere.

All I did was check his vitals and feed him.

Plus, I feel fine.


July 26 2014

8:00 AM

“I feel fine, mama. I don’t want you to worry. I’ll call you after we see the doctor.”

I lied.

There’s blood all over the car seat and we’re beating traffic to get to First Consultant’s.

I don’t feel fine at all.

Dennis is tense. I see it in his grip, as he turns the steering wheel, cursing under his breath.

He’s a good man, but he’s in denial.

Somehow, he thinks the baby will make it.

I already know there’s a dead foetus inside me – because, you see, you just know these things.

It cannot survive this virus, but Dennis is in Denial.


August 16 2014

2:00 PM

It’s been a long three weeks. The longest three weeks in the history of three weeks.

I’ve thought of all the ways I could possibly die, and somehow, never pictured this – Lying alone in isolation, far from the people who love me, and watching my life seep away slowly, just like the body fluids and fecal matter surrounding me.

Life has dealt me an unfair hand. I mean, I just started getting my life together, after many years of struggling.

I should hate the government. I know.

They did not do enough. If there was adequate preparation and funding, an evacuation would have been done, to remove the dead baby.

Why was I left alone, after all the sacrifices I made? They put us in an unhabitable isolation center because you see, we’re not too important, like that.

I should hate the government, but I don’t. I don’t hate Mr. Sawyer either.

You see, when your time is up, these things become less important.

Right now, I’m worried about Dennis. He’d soon be here, to clean me up and get me food. Only, he would call and call my phone as he does before coming.

I won’t pick up, obviously – and then, he would know.

He’s a good man, Dennis. I hope he takes it well.

Dr. Ada, too. She’s been in Isolation with me. I don’t know what her odds are, but I hope she survives.

As for me, I have no fighting chance and I must go.


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