My Cameroonian Hospital Experience
It was my first time passing a night in a hospital as a patient. In my 24 years as an African girl, all I did was rely on traditional medicines and home prescribed medicines.
Why I Don’t Like Going to the Hospital
I had the notion that hospitals were expensive: Let’s find out if it’s true in this Blog post.
I knew I was a strong girl who didn’t get sick easily. This is true for me because you will hardly hear I am ill or at the hospital. Hospitals are for the ‘AJEBOTAS’ (Well-to-do), so we knew. It is not like I have not been visiting the hospital to consult or buy medicines, I have. The thing is I have never passed a night there as a patient.
They are expensive at times and the smell of medicines irritate. For me, ailments are contagious. I do not like the beds and sheets in some hospitals. Like this one.
My journey to the hospital
So that Sunday morning, I managed to go out after I had a rough Saturday night; I felt, body pains, fever and some slight headache. I wore my sweater, socks and cap but I still felt cold. I had to double the bedsheet I was covering before I could feel better on the bed.
That morning, I wore my long white sweater over my long white jeans trouser and leather slippers, took my small bag and took off to the bank. I was feeling better then.
Upon reaching the road, I started feeling funny. ‘’I be get to tie heart” because I had waited for that money for so long, so it had to enter my pocket that Sunday.
After collecting it, I headed home to go get some bed rest because that was what I prescribed for myself. Immediately I reached Ndongo field errr, I felt my stomach rumble. I thought I wanted to poo, but it was doing me somehow. I decided to shift the trouser from my stomach to my waist.
Oh nooh! My throat was not hearing that thing ooo. Before I knew, I was on my knees in the grass pouring out some yellowish and whitish vomit from my throat.
Jesuuuus! I felt like my lungs were leaving my body. “My eyes them commot like frog whey them match ei belle, then na so them reeeed’’. In my heart err, I wished a passerby helped me but I was on my own.
The vomiting made me feel better. I felt like some load had been taken off my shoulders. This gave me the energy to remove my phone and call Dione.
“Ma Dione, abeg bring me that my hospital book for that hospital whey we be go dey so last time whey I no be well. Check am on top table place whey I di keep those books them’’.
Thank God Dione knew everything and how to find her way. With that, I ran to that hospital. This was where my illness started for real. Massango was right to say hospitals in Cameroon contribute to their patients’ death.
My Hospital Experience
Can you imagine I waited to be attended to at that hospital for more than two hours? You know that feeling when you think you have come to the right place to get an immediate solution to your problem and they instead turn to waste your time? Tell me why I shouldn’t go to the pharmacy to buy self-prescribed drugs? After all, everyone living in Cameroon should know by now that fever + pains at the joints + cold + heat= Malaria. I could go there and buy my malaria drugs and I would be ok.
When I came into the hospital, I met just two people on the consultation line. I sat behind the last person and that made us three.
Before I knew it, I was in the toilet vomiting. The same thing at the field happened all over again but worse this time. I had to wait for over 45mins before the nurse could attend to me. That was because she had many things to attend to and my hospital book wasn’t with me.
When Dione finally came with the book, I entered the consultation room, the nurse took all my vital signs and started questioning me.
“… you dey how old…, give me ya date of birth…, ya mami ei name na weti…, you di stay na for wusai…Tell me how you di feel?”
And I answered;
“…I di feel pains for all my skin, my joints them di hurt, I di feel cold very badly: when I feel cold so, as I cover my skin, I di start feel heat back, I don di get fever now like for two weeks, na say ei di cam go then I di get small headache some time. I di normally suffer from yeast (fungi) so ei di move me rashes them for skin…”
She summarized and scribbled all what I said in my book and asked me to join the next line that was leading to the doctor’s office. Weehhhh Eduke! I knew it was another 45 minutes of wait again.
Deep in me, I knew the cause of my ailment. Remember I went to Ediki two weeks before then and spent two nights in the bush where the villagers were living. Mosquitoes enjoyed biting me and the water I drank was not the best. All I could do was imagine those children living there as their permanent home.
What was I doing while waiting?
I was feeling cold so I went outside and sat under the sun. The warmth from it was sweet and it made me feel better. I didn’t feel like going inside again. Since I felt better, I started feeling hungry too. That’s one thing with Eduke. I know I have to eat when I am ill to get well. Papa p and Mmayoyo (my dad and mom) told us food is medicine itself. Thank God Dione was by me all this while.
She bought some oranges for me. Luckily! They were very sweet and had much water “I brushed them down.” After 45 minutes, the doctor called my name and Dione rushed to tell me it was my turn to see the doctor.
What happened between me and the doctor?
She asked me to lie on the bed that was in her office. As I laid down on it, she wore her hand gloves and touched the lower part of my belly hard while asking me if it was paining or if I was pregnant. The same question others asked me when they saw me vomiting. It seems an obvious symptom for pregnancy is vomiting.
She also put her thumbs under my two eyes and opened widely. I knew she was checking if I had a blood shortage. That can never be possible with me. My second name it “Mami bitter leaf.”
But my answer to her question was obvious. After some questioning and writing in my book, she sent me back to the nurse. This time the nurse didn’t waste my time.
The tests process at the hospital
From what the doctor wrote, the nurse said I needed to do some tests so she sent me to the lab technician. But I had to deposit some money before that could take place. Though it wasn’t available at that moment, the lab technician went ahead with the tests.
She pulled my sweater right up to my arm, took her cream-white gloves, tied them around my arm, injected a syringe in my vein and removed some blood. Then, she gave me a small bottle and sent me to the toilet to bring some of my faeces.
This task was the killer. That was when I finished the last segment of the vomiting. It almost ended me. My shit irritated me to the point of making me throw up. Could the shit even come? I was so pressed when I entered the hospital but didn’t want to poo because I knew time will come when the doctor will tell me I needed to give a sample of my shit.
“…I vomit sooottteeeyyyy my skin loss alignment, my eyes them white. I almost collapse but I talk for myself say Eduke, you no be the collapsing type, no be today you go broke record. I struggle sottey small shit comot. Na the small tin I puttam inside the bottle whey I go give lab technician…”
It was another 1h; 30mins of wait again. I went back to my usual position. Thank God, the weather was friendly. I enjoyed staying in the sun. Don’t think because, I am not mentioning money, there was no money involved. I was asked to pay a consultation fee for XAF 1,000 and test for XAF 6,000. But that wasn’t their main issue. They did those things without necessarily collecting the money, though I had it.
My moments of wait were over because my lab result was ready. They diagnosed me of malaria, typhoid and yeast (fungi).
”Doctor said make we admit you”, the nurse said.
“Noooo, I no want sleep me for hospital. I no like me hospital. I replied.
“With all this malaria and typhoid for ya skin? We need for pay attention to you, if not, you go came back for here again…”
Did I have a choice? I had to accept.
Why I refused to sleep at the hospital
-I indeed wanted to be well, but I knew I would spend a lot of money if I slept there, and I did.
-I had much work on my table which I knew the hospital will never accept me to do.
-I was missing the comfort of my house.
-My colleague was moving to Douala and I needed to help her park in.
-I generally do not like being at the hospital.
Omoh! After spending just a night there taking two drips, sleeping on a clean and soft bed, taking almost four injections and no drugs, my bill was ready. Guess how much?
XAF50, 000 my people. Wandas.com. see eerr, let’s forget how the story ended but one thing was certain; I went home grumbling and signed never to go back to that hospital again.
What I loved about that Cameroonian Hospital
- It is very clean. I was so excited when upon seeing the bed I had to sleep in. the bedsheet was clean, pink and smelled good while the mattress was soft unlike other hospitals with bony, rusted and old beds with dirty sheets.
- The nurses and doctor are friendly and beautiful. I can’t remember any of them scolding me or any other patient. They kept telling me “ashia” and felt cared for. The doctor too is nice and welcoming. I am sure the majority of the patients who come there go back well.
- It is considerate, it puts health first before the money. I was surprised and impressed when the nurses went on with my treatment even when I told them my money was not available. It may not be true for all cases but I was happy mine was like that.
- The hospital is sophisticated and nostalgic; TV screens everywhere, fee Wi-Fi and solid working equipment. I had my own room and enjoyed my privacy.
- Accessible Location. I could easily get to the hospital. It wasn’t far from my house and everyone in the quarter can easily get to it. Those with cars have where to pack and the environment is clean and peaceful.
What I didn’t love about that Cameroonian Hospital
- It was expensive. I spent more than XAF50, 000 within 24 hours. That was too much for a low-income earner like me.
- Time wasting. It took the nurses and doctor 4-5 hours to diagnose and put me on treatment. If not for the fact that I am strong, I would have passed out before they could help me. Massango was right; “Na some hospital them go kill person for Cameroon, no be sick. No doubt Popo di ever go ei na France”
Tell us about your own hospital experience in the comments section. Do not forget to share and subscribe to this blog via the sign-up pop showing above.