Here is the reality, I should not be thinking of Mbuso driving me when it was my mother who I should be worried
about. I just should not. I wanted to get an Uber but the bloody app was not working so I did what I had to do and I went and knocked. Your phone can really freeze at awkward moments.
“Who is it?”
He asked me from inside the house. He was watching TV because I heard it from outside. Damn if it was back then I would have thought he was watching that ETV Emmanuelle from once upon a time. Shows how old I am. I remember how my sister and I would wait for our mother to sleep then cover the TV with a sheet, turning it an angle facing away from her door just so we could watch. Never mind the volume which was put on super low, barely audible for ambiance I guess…that was until she caught us and taught us the real use of the peach tree outside! Watching porn to a Christian woman is like denying that Jesus lived!
“Its Lungi, I am sorry it’s an emergency!”
I told him. I was sorry I won’t lie because now I was just looking desperate. All this running to him when there was a problem was becoming old.
He asked me after he opened the door. I don’t think he believed me because he had that unsure look on his face. I can’t blame the dude I am sure he still had the blue balls I had left him with the other night.
“I just got a call from my sister saying that my mother collapsed and has been taken to hospital. I was drinking and I can’t drive and this bloody Uber thing won’t work!”
I said frantically pressing my phone hoping for a miracle. I was already crying and I didn’t want to but the frustration of the phone in my hand just made it worse.
“Its ok calm down. Ntheteng went to her aunts after you dropped her off. They have no school tomorrow its sports day for seniors. I will take you!”
He said. I was so grateful. I just stood there as he went into the house to fetch his car keys. I told him which hospital and we drove there in silence. I did not know want to talk right because I was not sure if this was real or not. I have said before my mother is a hypochondriac. She makes up illnesses for attention and has done this for as long as I can remember. She just loves the attention.
I called my sister when we got there and when she saw me she ran to hug me. She had been crying earlier on I could tell. I think I have always been the strong one of the two of us. She was older yes but I handled things a bit better.
“What’s happening? What happened?”
I asked her.
“Mam’ Dolly called me saying that she had collapsed. She is the one who called an ambulance. I came to meet the ambulance here. I don’t even know if they locked the house!”
She said worried about the house. Yup she had a little of my mother in her.
“Don’t worry about that right now. What’s the doctor saying?”
I asked her. It was then I realized there was someone behind me. I turned around and said,
“Sis this is Mbuso, Mbuso my sister and her husband!”
I said by way of introduction. I had forgotten that he was standing next to me and I doubt that with what was happening he minded. I did not realize that I actually did not mention her name it happened so fast. They greeted one another.
“So what did the doctor say?”
I asked but again we were disturbed as her husband approached us. He greeted me coldly. Ever since I beat him up for cheating on my sister he had not liked me and that’s fine by me. She had not complained since meaning my message had been driven in.
“There is the doctor now!”
She said as an elderly man came into the room. He came straight to us and I was introduced. I again asked the same question which for some reason was not being answered,
“Doctor what’s going on?”
I asked him. He was holding a clipboard which he put under his arm so he could explain.
“Your mother has a lump in her left breast. She says she has never been tested before meaning we still have to run some tests but from where I stand it does not look good, it looks like cancer!”
I stood there in silence as reality sank in, for someone who was so health conscious how did she let it get to this stage. You know how many times they advertise about breast cancer, how many pamphlets, radio messages, TV adverts etc they tell us about it but we women don’t even bother to test ourselves? How could my mother have missed that? Something was wrong here.
“Doctor are you sure you found a lump?”
I asked him. He was a bit surprised by how I asked that because you know how doctors hate being questioned. I immediately added
“It’s just that my mother is so health conscious and I would be very surprised if she missed this!”
I told him.
“I am afraid she did, we have already run some tests and just waiting on the results. She is also running a very high fever and since she came so I am still trying to lower that.”
He explained a bit further.
“Do you think if its cancer what’s causing the fever?”
I asked her.
“No I don’t think so but because of it her body is much weaker and can’t fight off other infections currently. She is on a regiment of antibiotics for the fever though so I think she is out of the woods on that one.”
He explained to us.
“Are you sure it’s not a stroke or something?”
I asked him because really, cancer come on guys. Cancer is like the new HIV ok, it’s not something that sneaks up on you as it’s something even a lame person can dictate and my mother was not lame.
“Nope it’s not. Your mother is not diabetic, her sugar levels are normal hence inconsistent with someone who has had a stroke.”
I could sense a bit of irritation in his voice with all the second guessing but remember government doctors don’t feel a need to explain like private hospital doctors. He did not give me a chance to ask more questions as he then excused himself leaving us to digest this information for ourselves.
“This can’t be happening!”
I said out loud holding my head in despair. I am sure I looked liked I walked straight outta of a Nollywood movie the way I was standing.
“Breast cancer? Can you believe it?”
I asked my sister. It was just one of those moments where things did not make sense.
“Like of all the things in the world?”
“It’s hard to believe. This is mum we are talking about; even a mosquito bite makes her want to take medicine so how can she have missed something as big as this? Come on now? I mean all the symptoms even I know them by head swelling, skin irritation, breast pain, discharge and all the shebang we all know that. Mum would have seen this long before it even started. I don’t believe it!”
My sister said to me reschooling me in the disease that all women really should know as well as they know their monthly cycle.
“I know. I want a second opinion before I accept this. Mum would never have kept this a secret from us. She would have used it as a rallying call for us to move back home!”
I said and my sister laughed. Even through the pain we still could see the irony in this moment. The thing with people is that denial is our first defence when something tragic happens. It’s a mechanism meant to protect ourselves I guess.
“No we need to wait for the results first before the second opinion. It’s pointless getting another doctor when we don’t even know what the results of this one will say!”
She explained and she was right. With the way my mother always claimed she was sick and we did not believe her the guilt was setting in. The problem was I had taken her to the doctor so many times only to find that she was not sick it was all in her head. One doctor even suggested we take her for therapy because this thing of hers of saying she was sick when she was not was not working.
“There is nothing we can do here tonight. The best thing to do is go home and come back in the morning.”
My sister’s husband finally said finding his voice. I did not respond but to be honest it was not his call. It was our call. The problem with leaving a sick patient at the hospital is that often they die overnight. Ask any adult and they will tell you that at some point someone died at night when they left them in hospital. It’s not a good idea.
“I think I am going to stay here. I wish I had come here with my car would have slept in the car or something!”
I said now regretting not having have driven. I also needed to brush my teeth I felt as though my mouth smelt of alcohol. Mbuso was standing there with his arms across his chest.
“What are we going to do?”
I asked my sister the tears flowing from both our eyes. I don’t think I was strong enough to see my mother waste away because that is what cancer does to you.
“Let’s pray please!”
She said pulling me down on my knees. I had just started the Sangoma thing was this prayer even going to work.
“We will join you!”
Mbuso said implying my sister’s husband and himself.
Where do we even start?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I am sorry about extended absence. I had a bit of a mental scare and getting back to the right frame of mind has taken longer than I thought. It’s all this talking about Sangoma stuff that got me there lol. Just kidding. I will ease into the blogs now so that our journeys can continue. I know I have inconvenienced a lot of people with my absence but I was not well. For all the messages, thank you and for all the calls and support I truly appreciate it. I pray that I stay true to you guys and this does not happen again.
P.S. There is still MAJUBA to come so nothing can stop us.