No longer a little girl, now I go to the hospital alone

It's awkward being asked if you’re 'sexually active' with mum around

In Summary

• Constant bloating on an empty stomach leads to a testing situation

Medics attend to a patient in hospital
Medics attend to a patient in hospital

When I started going to the Central Business District (town) alone, my mother always used to tell me one thing, “Ukipotea tafuta Archives”.

On this day, the touts shouted, “Beba beba, madam 70 tao, wawili wa haraka twende.” And I boarded the Double M bus, whose route was from Donholm to the Central Business District.

Luckily, there was little traffic, so in 20 minutes, I was already in town. First task of the day, look for Koja stage. This was also my first time taking myself to the hospital. My mother insists that I’m no longer a little girl.

My go-to people while asking for directions to anywhere are always security guards or people selling in shops. “Excuse, nataka kuenda Koja, ni wapi?” I ask. The security guard is kind enough and replies, “Unaona tu hii barabara? Enda straight, utaona fire station. Halafu unaweza ulizia tena gari za mahali unataka kuenda.” I thank him and off I go.

A large board sits atop the matatu, and I can see it is written 'MP Shah' in bold. I was the last one to enter and told the makanga my alighting destination, asinipitishe. “Ule wa MP Shah ni hapa, shuka,” he later says.

At MP Shah, I’m at the general section waiting area. Apparently I’m now too old for the paediatric section. I took my ticket number and waited to be called. “Ticket number B-713, please proceed to the cashier’, a robotic feminine voice calls out. Here, I’m required to pay consultation fees before proceeding to triage.

My weight, height and blood pressure are noted down in triage. A doctor is shortly assigned to me, and I proceed.

The good thing about taking myself to the hospital is the zero awkwardness when the doctor asks you whether you are “sexually active” and “if you consume alcohol”. I mean, with your mother in the room, the most vigorous side-eye is given to you as she awaits your answer. However, I missed the fact that whenever she took me to the hospital, I would nudge her to tell the respective doctor of my symptoms, as I was a shy little girl. Time really waits for no man.

I explain to the doctor my symptoms, including constant bloating even when I’ve not consumed anything. She directs me to the lab, where I’m supposed to take a stool test. I was given a container and a spoon. It was a very awkward moment for me because I can assure you nothing was coming out of my bowels. Huge relief when I was told I could just go with the container and spoon and come back the next day with the sample.

I’m covered with my mother’s NHIF plan, and so all I was required to do in the various payment points is to show her national identification card, my student identification card and lastly, to scan my fingerprint on a certain device. A successful day it was.

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