I woke up with lots of lazy yawning and a tear roll this morning. My boyfriend touched me all morning and I did not feel aroused at all; only slight irritation and heavy self blame for failing to be pleasured by his finger play.
I woke up with excitement too. I did a cleanup; made sure I was a clean shave and picked out floral pink knickers. I would not want the gyn to sense any bit of bad hygiene on my part.
I know the hospital is along Kawempe road. I am likely to miss it since I do not know its exact location. I alert the conductor of my ignorance. It is 7:00 am and the November rains have started with a light wet show. The drive to the hospital is uneventful. The conductor tells me I have reached my stop. I exit the taxi, trot across the road and viola, the promised land!
So many women! So many women! This is my first observation.
I ask the hospital staff at the entrance and she directs me to the gyn’s room.
“Walk ahead, turn left. The third door on your left.”
I mouth the directions as I walk through the corridor, straightening the coat of my grey suit, looking up at the doors for a sign indicating the gyn’s room.
There is no sign on the third door. I am hesitant to knock. The door is large, like those fire exit doors in most storied buildings. The upper half has a narrow strip of glass in the middle. I am tempted to peep through but papers have been cramped in an unsuccessful attempt to cover the glass. Instead I walk on past all the other sign-less doors towards the waiting area.
I carefully seat myself on one of the pews, my right arm sweeping my skirt into a straight state so it is not wrinkled with folds when I next stand up. There is a reception desk, raised and wooden, if you stood next to it, it would be level with your shoulders. There is no receptionist. Between the reception desk and the first pew is a corridor. To the right, it leads to other unmarked doors. To the left, it leads you straight into an open door with a pink placard stuck to the wall adjacent to the entrance. It reads Family Planning. Next to that, on the left, is another open door with a similar placard that reads Immunisation.
Suddenly the floor becomes active with walking nurses and other women arriving for work. I am searching for a friendly face to ask about the gyn. There is a woman leaning against the receptionist desk but she looks like a cleaner. She may not know much.
A nurse in a white uniform motions to the lady seated on the far end of my pew. For a second I imagine she is calling me. I point my index figure to my chest and raise my eye brows inquisitively at her. The nurse ignores me and walks out of the Family Planning unit to the woman. They walk back together to the Family Planning Unit.
Still at the Family Planning unit I see a more approachable staff. She is wearing a purple uniform. I walk toward her and ask her about the gyn. She leads me past the fire exit-like door to the second door. I realize now that the first staff at the entrance directed me to the wrong door. It should have been second door on the left and not third door on the left.
The nice lady does not enter with me. When I am inside, I notice the nurse in white who ignored me earlier. When did she get here? I am afraid she does not like me so I try to make myself likeable. I lock my fingers as though in submissive prayer and I speak in a low respectful tone.
“Good morning. I am inquiring whether the gynecologist will work today?”
“Just sit in the waiting area. Maybe the Doctor will come.” She responded dismissively.
I am about to walk out of the room. I have made the decision but my feet have not yet moved.
“Mbu she wants to see oba a gy…what.”She is now speaking to another nurse who emerges from the blue cotton drapes hanging from the assembled hospital beds. The new nurse is also wearing white. She is slim and wears glasses. She looks professional.
“What is your problem?” the new nurse asks as she searchingly walks towards me.
“I have pain and a discharge”, I respond, my index finger pointing at my lower abdomen and not courageous enough to point lower to where the pain and discharge call home.
“Pain and a discharge?” she repeats my words unbelievingly. I am a little embarrassed. The other nurse and another woman who walked in seconds ago are now looking on.
“Have you been referred?” she asks as her feet slowly lead her away from me.
“You know Mulago is a specialized hospital. Come back on Monday. Each day is assigned a clinic. The Clinic for your kind of problem is Monday.”
I am hurt by how curt she sounds and by the arrogance in her voice but I still have some strength to speak.
“What time on Monday?” I ask to be certain.
“Just come as early as possible.” I could no longer see her. She had disappeared behind the blue drapes.
My feet turn to begin my exit. My eyes begin to tear. Today is Thursday. Monday is next week.
“The Clinic ends at 11:00 am.” Another useful addition.