DIARY OF A PERPETUAL BACHELOR

The one with the pregnant woman

Can love be doctored? Patience pays when a stranger charms Dr Tom

In Summary

• The call of duty runs stronger than the tide of romance, as Dr Tom learns

A man holds the belly of a pregnant woman
A man holds the belly of a pregnant woman
Image: PEXELS / DAYVISON DE OLIVEIRA SILVA

Diary,

I’ve been on some crazy dates, but last night’s must take the cake. Her name was Zuri, but trust me, there was nothing nzuri about her. Not at first.

She had called me out of the blue. “Is this Dr Tom?”

“Yes, it’s he,” I said nervously.

I’m always nervous when a strange woman calls me. It’s either an emergency or, God forbid, someone calling about child support. The latter hasn’t happened yet, but it’s only a matter of time, right?

“This may not sound unlady-like, but the moment I saw you, I had to find your number.”

“Saw me? Where?”

“At the hospital. I’d brought my sick father in.” She laughed. “Sounds silly, I know.”

Not to me. Unless you resemble Gorgon.

“That’s okay,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“You can come on a white steed and sweep me off my feet.”

Never had I heard more romantic words. And she sounded so sweet on the phone. After talking for a couple days, she asked if we could meet yesterday. I was staying late at the hospital, but she insisted in that irresistible voice of hers.

So we met for a late dinner, and would you picture my astonishment when I realised she was close to the fortieth week of pregnancy?

I didn’t even have to ask her. I’m a doctor. Sometimes I can tell the stage of a pregnancy almost as accurately as an ultrasound. And Zuri was cutting it close.

Turns out, this time I was wrong. Zuri wasn’t close to giving birth; she was on her due date. Yes, it went down exactly as you’re thinking. In the middle of our dinner, Zuri went into something we call precipitous labour, where a woman ends up giving birth after less than 3 hours of regular contractions.

“Didn’t you feel the contractions?” I asked her while she lay on the floor of the restaurant surrounded by, not nurses, but a bunch of waitresses and cooks.

“Oh, I felt them,” Zuri said. “Didn’t know I would make it to our date.”

“You began contractions and still came here instead of going to the hospital?”

“Two things you should know about me,” she said between pushes. “One, I always keep my word and—Uuuuurgh!—and two, I don’t have money to go to a hospital.”

That’s how I learned I’d been had. She got me good.