(For those who are still making inquiries on the format of purchasing novellas, here is the clarification. As I mentioned on Friday, the preferred methods of purchase are the two methods I have introduced recently, where you buy directly from the bookstore. This is because you will get your copy instantly, without having to wait for me to check my mail.
However, if you are unable to use either of the two methods, you can still get your copy by sending Kshs. 100 to the Buy Goods Till Number 297264, then sending an email to email@example.com stating your MPESA name for verification. For verification you can also send a direct message (Inbox) Sanctuary Side on Facebook, stating your MPESA name and email address. I will send your copy once I verify your payment. The instructions on how to use all the three methods are at the bottom of the post.
In other news, I have opened another Facebook page, The Maroncha Bookstore, where I will post the summaries of all the books that I have published so far. If you missed out on a book, you will be able to read what it is all about on that page before making the decision to buy. Kindly go over there and like that page. And if you are yet to like Sanctuary Side on Facebook, please do so as well.)
(I first published this story as Nurse Jemimah. I am expanding it to make it a novella). The corridors of Meke Mission Hospital are deserted, except for the occasional orderly who passes by mopping the floor or ferrying a tray of food. Jemimah is getting ready to go round the wards administering drugs to the patients. There are still enough patients in the hospital to strain the few remaining nurses and clinical officers, although the hospital is operating at hardly half its capacity. Many beds in the wards are empty.
The state of the hospital fills Jemimah with sadness. While located in the small market of Meke, Meke Mission Hospital was once the pride of the region. It was once brimming with young doctors who would pronounce Meke with an arrogant accent:
“I am Doctor Nancy, a medical intern at M’kr hospital,” they would say.
Those days working at Meke Hospital was a source of pride. It was the referral hospital in the region, and patients from all the public, mission and private hospitals in the region were brought here for specialized treatment.
Young professionals, from doctors, nurses and clinical officers to support staff such as drivers, orderlies, secretaries and technicians strutted the corridors with a sense of pride. They were after all, working at the Meke Mission Hospital.
The older professionals were more reigned in, but there was no doubt that they also enjoyed working at Meke Mission. The Hospital had a battalion of 17 experienced doctors, which number included eleven specialists and six general physicians. That number did not include the army of medical interns that came and went year in year out. There was a whole regiment of clinical officers and nurses. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to work at the Meke Mission Hospital.
Some have argued that Beeline Hospital took the shine out of Meke Hospital, but Jemimah knows that that is not true. Beeline is a giant hospital with ultra-modern facilities, but it only serves the super-rich and the poorest of the poor. Meke Hospital is, and has always been, the hospital that serves the wide spectrum that is referred to as middle class, including those on the edge of the poverty line. This is where the average employed or self-employed people in Shava County sought treatment.
What brought down this hospital is mismanagement and unfettered greed.
The downfall of the hospital can be traced to the installation of Archbishop Jeremiah Dina as the General Overseer of the Holy Fire Church, which owns the hospital. Immediately after his installation, Archbishop Dina moved swiftly to assert his authority over the hospital administration.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the Hospital Council, Archbishop Jeremiah Dina wrote a lengthy letter to the then hospital administrator, Professor Karagita, instructing him to remove the Chief Doctor, Dr. Otuoma, from his position. The professor refused. He wrote back saying that the charter of the hospital mandated him to pick, at his discretion, the doctor he thought most competent to help him run the hospital. And he thought Dr. Otuoma was best suited for the job.
The following week the Hospital Council sat and removed Prof. Karagita from office, replacing him with a little known church elder known as Benjamin Bala. Mr. Bala’s first job as Administrator was to fire Dr. Otuoma. He picked a young doctor, Samuel Haye to be his replacement. Many senior doctors were dissatisfied with that decision and left in protest.
That is when the looting started. Archbishop Dina has over the years conspired with Mr. Bala and Dr. Haye to fleece the hospital. Salaries started getting delayed; machines broke down and were not replaced; food became pathetic. A fifty year old dream hospital built by the visionary Archbishop Ephraim Boma started going down the drain.
The professionals fled, with the remaining senior doctors leading the way. Now Meke Mission is a pale shadow of its former self.
Jemimah is loved by the patients, and she loves them back. She is always jovial and talks kindly to even the most difficult and stubborn patients. Most nurses were like her when the hospital was in its glory days, but now most of the remaining nurses are overworked and underpaid, and therefore very grumpy. They snap at patients at the slightest provocation. But Jemimah draws her inspiration from her innate desire to keep her patients comfortable. That has always been her driving force.
Although Dr. Haye holds the pretentious title of Chief Doctor, he is the only doctor left at the hospital. There are two clinical officers and about ten nurses. Jemimah is the Head Nurse. In that capacity, Jemimah pushes the Bala-Haye administration on a daily basis in a bid to ensure that the patients are comfortable. She barks at orderlies to ensure that they clean the floors and bedding; she terrorizes morgue attendants into wheeling away the bodies from wards soon after death; she ensures that clinical officers make rounds, like doctors used to do, by calling them nonstop until they show up. She chastises Bala and Haye when the hospital is low on supplies. She oversteps her mandate many times, but that is what it takes to keep the hospital running.
The patients are her main business; the only part of her life that gives her fulfillment.
Her finances are in shambles. She used to get a decent package before the Bala-Haye tyranny. That salary now exists only on paper. She gets bits and pieces every now and then. She could have left for greener pastures at Beeline or at Shava County Hospital, but Meke is her home area and this hospital serves her people. Many people in Meke township and the surrounding villages do not qualify to get treatment at Beeline, which is thirty kilometers away, and Shava County hospital is about one hundred kilometers away, on the other side of the County. Jemimah stayed to serve her people.
To keep her patients comfortable, she fights daily with Dr. Haye. She has become a thorn in his flesh. She loses many battles, but the few she has won have been worth it. One such battle was the battle over diet. To save cost, the hospital wanted to stop offering food to inpatients. Yet the cost of inpatient care included meals. Jemimah raised hell and threatened to talk to a journalist. The move to stop offering food was quietly dropped.
But there is a limit. Jemimah is now tired of fighting. For every one fight she wins against Haye and Bala, she loses more than five. This constant fighting is draining her. Besides, she has gone for three months without pay now, and she can feel frustration rising within her. She knows it is time to leave, before she starts unleashing her frustration on the patients. Today she intends to apply for a job at Beeline Hospital. They have tried to woo her for years now, but she has remained faithful to Meke. Not anymore.
I also deserve better pay and better working conditions, she mumbles to herself.
Jemimah is walking past the emergency area when a man is wheeled in. He has deep cuts and is bleeding profusely. Jemimah looks at him and instantly realizes that the clinical officers will not be able to handle him. She takes out her phone and calls Dr. Haye, but he does not pick the call. So she rushes to his office and pushes the door without knocking. The door is locked. But she has seen his car in the parking lot, and Dr. Haye is not one to make rounds in the hospital. The natural thing would have been to ask his secretary where he is, but Judy is not at her station. Jemimah knows what they are up to.
She pounds the door insistently until he opens. His shirt is untucked and the tie is loose.
“What do you want?”
Jemimah knows from experience that if she picks a fight with him at a time like this, it is the patient who will suffer.
“There is an emergency patient at the casualty area. He is seriously injured and needs a doctor.”
“Has he paid?”
“What kind of doctor are you? A patient is dying and you are talking about payment? Why don’t you save his life then talk about payment later?”
“I am busy Jemimah. Let the clinical officers handle him,” Dr. Haye says, walking back to his office. Jemimah follows him inside, and finds his secretary Judy on the couch, fastening the buttons of her blouse.
“Busy doing what doctor? Having sex with this prostitute?”
Haye glares at her and then he walks around her to the door. He slams it shut and locks it. That surprises and unnerves Jemimah. What does he plan to do?
“I have tolerated you for so long, Jemimah. Now you are getting on my nerves.”
“You can fire me if you want. But I will not stand here and watch as you kill patients.”
“I am not going to fire you Jemimah. I am going to deal with you permanently. Do you remember Dr. Felipe? She was a pain on my behind too.”
Jemimah’s eyes turn round with horror as she realizes the implication of what he is saying. Dr. Felipe Katana was a dedicated medical officer, and was a close friend of Jemimah. Like Jemimah, she was constantly fighting the hospital administration, until she was found dead in her house three years ago. The police ruled her death a suicide.
“Tomorrow you will be found dead in your office. I will do a post mortem, and I will find that a heart attack killed you. Judy, there is a shelf behind you. Get me a syringe and a bottle labeled Clofytomium*.”
As the secretary searches for the syringe and the drug, Dr. Haye pounces on Jemimah. He wraps one of his hands around her body to restrain her, and uses the other to cover her mouth so that she does not scream.
“Be quick Judy,” Haye growls. “I want you to inject her and we do not have the whole day. You were once a nurse, so I assume that you do remember how to use a syringe. Don’t you?”
“Hurry up then.”
(To be continued on Friday)
Image by xxx from Pixabay:
To purchase a copy of the second novella of October, Torpedoed by a Male Charmer, you can follow either one of three ways:
- MPESA Automated Digital Payment Method. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book (Torpedoed by a Male Charmer). Add to cart, check out then pay by inserting your number on the space provided then clicking ‘confirm’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
- Pay Via Till Number. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book (Torpedoed by a Male Charmer). Add to cart, check out then pay via the Buy Goods Till Number provided. Once you get the message from MPESA, insert the MPESA code on the space provided then click ‘Validate Code’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
If you are completely unable to use the above two methods, you can still purchase your copy manually. The only disadvantage of this method is that you will have to wait for a few hours before you get your copy. But eventually it will come.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook) stating your MPESA name. Use the name of the book as the subject of your email. If you send a DM to Sanctuary Side on Facebook, kindly also include your email address). I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
Remember you can always DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook or email me at email@example.com if you have a query or feedback. See you all on Friday –Edward.