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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

(S1): HEARTBEAT OF BELLO'S HOSPITAL. E1


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EPISODE 1 TITLE: From the Beginning (1)
*******
I love being a woman. I love God. I love my family. I love my work.  When I look back and think about how I started, I won't say I am lucky to be the person I have become. I will tell you that I am destined to be great. Becoming a medical doctor, a surgeon is what I have always wanted. I achieved it. I achieved more than I expected. 

I have returned home from the saloon. I needed a new hair. Today is Saturday. Today’s date is special to me. I didn’t wait for my driver to open the door for me. I am capable of handling it myself. I open the door to the living room…

“Happy Birthday!” The crowd in my magnificent home chorused. 

It is a surprise birthday for me. Hurray!

“Thank you very much!” I told them with a huge smile on my face. “Wow! I am very grateful. This is a big surprise for me. Thank you for coming and please have fun!”

My guests clap their hands, some moved forward to hug me and shake my hand. Am I really surprise about the party organized for me? No! I suspected my husband before I left the house. He is not good with surprises. I know him very well like the back of my palm. I know what he is capable of doing. I love the way he loves me after many years of friendship, heartbreak, courtship and marriage. Did he ever break my heart? Did I get to marry the love of my life? Don’t be too quick and curious to know the answer. People marry for a reason; they are for love, children, pressure, protection, among other reasons. Why did I marry my husband? Is he the one I have always wanted and loved with all my heart? 

In life, sometimes you don’t always get what you want. I have cried, and faced challenges in my past, I am here still strong, and standing tall with the people I love and love me back. 
I look around again and I see my friends, colleagues, foes, employees, old friends, ex-lover, relatives, estranged relatives, and my beautiful children. 

I see my husband coming my way. He is the heartbeat of my heart. I cannot go on without him in my life. He has always been there for me and I am deeply grateful. He is a charming man with a large heart. He is supportive, caring, brilliant, a wonderful father, and the perfect husband for me. He is my mentor. It does not matter how old is he now. Sixty looks good on him. He is still sexy as fire! I am fifty-five years old today. Hurray! Would you have known if I didn’t tell you my age. Hell no!

I have been through thin and thick. My life is a very long journey. My name is Lola, I am a surgeon and you can call me Doctor Lola. This is my story:

*******
“Lola.” Bidemi’s voice was not loud enough for Lola to hear her clearly. She thought the door to her 28-years old daughter’s room was still locked at 7:30 in the morning. It was unlike her not to be out of the room especially today that was very important. Mother and daughter lived in a two bedroom flat. Bidemi struggled and managed to build the house with her hard-earned money. She owned a restaurant. She cooked for events too.  

“Lola, can’t you hear me?!” Bidemi expected her not to be at home. “Open the door!”

Lola underneath her white bed sheet closed her eyes and grumbled when she heard her mother’s voice. With the way she felt, being nervous was an understatement. How was she going to behave on her first day at Bello’s hospital? It happened to be a private and reputable hospital with qualified doctors, surgeons with medical equipment’s. 
When she finished the university and graduated with fantastic grade, she went for her residency at a government hospital, after three years of medical training, which she passed, it was time for full employment. She quit and sent job applications to other hospitals, including Bello’s private Hospital.

The day she received the letter from them, it came as a big surprise. She already got employment letter from two hospitals and when she decided to accept one of them, she received a letter to appear for a written and oral interview at Bello hospital for a spot to be among four of their contract staffs. If accepted, after three months of work and supervision, only two of them would be employed as a full staff.

Lola was confused. It would be an honor to work at Bello’s hospital. She told her mother about it and she convinced Lola that such opportunity might never come again. It was worth the risk. Lola knew it was the truth. She admired Dr. Bello for his work. She has read about him. She hoped to meet him one day. She decided to go for the interview.
They did the interview in a boardroom at a hotel. Three of the judges were owners of hospitals. Dr. Wole Bello was absent. The Chief of surgeons in his hospital represented him. She was a woman in her late fifties. Just the look on her face made people sacred. Mrs. Wendy Fayemi hardly wore a smile and she loved wearing skirt suit. The number of aspiring surgeons that came made Lola lose hope. Only four surgeons were needed out of three hundred and twenty one candidates. That day, she arrived home at 10:43pm. Her mother was already outside the house waiting for her despite they spoke on the phone every twenty minutes. Weeks later, Lola received a letter that she was among the four applicants chosen. She sang, danced and ate free food at the restaurant.

“Lola, open the door!” 

Lola stayed quiet. Her mother decided to try the handle and found it unlocked.  She entered into the white painted room that had a large bed, reading table, flat screen TV, disc player, two beautiful photos of her as a little girl, and her favorite musician, Toni Braxton. 

“Can you imagine, I didn’t know you did not lock the door!” Bidemi yelled and dragged the sheet away from Lola. “What is wrong with you? Are you not late for work?”

Lola looked at her mom. She was born with beautiful eyes, a pretty face, and impeccable skin. She had a nice figure and average in height. One thing special about her, people easily liked her. Smiling was one of her hobbies and helping people around her, especially the poor were a thing of joy. White was her favorite color. She loved listening to music. She had a beautiful voice. If medicine wasn’t her first choice in life, she would have become a singer. 

“I’m scared.” Lola said and sat on the bed. She was dressed in a fitted knee length gown already. She wore small earrings, and did light makeup on her face.

Bidemi stood in front of her. “Scared about what?”

“I am scared I won’t be picked after three months.”

“You have not even started as a contract staff; you are talking about becoming a full staff. You will start from somewhere my dear. You are not a failure. You will be among the best.”

“I have prayed and I still don’t feel good about it.”

“This is the devil pushing you to a wrong path. You have to get up from the bed. Be brave and believe in yourself. When you do, you can be who you have always wanted to be, a remarkable surgeon.”

Those words made her feel alive. Lola grinned, rose quickly and grabbed her handbag from the table. She ran to the door.

“Thanks mom! See you in the evening!”

Bidemi smiled like never before even though she expected a hug from her only child.
******* 

The founder and chief executive of Bello’s hospital, Dr. Wole Bello, sixty-one years old, no longer performed surgeries. Due to some circumstances that happened thirteen years ago, he quit his job and retired where he worked as a surgeon. He had an accident that caused some damages to his right hand. After two surgeries in his hand, even though it looked normal, sometimes it quivered and he won’t be able to control it. People wondered what he would do next as a widower. His wife and son died in the accident with the driver. He was the only one that survived. 

Bello concentrated and managed his billionaire father’s company after his death. It was part of Bello’s inheritance. The other was millions of dollars. Ten years ago, he made a decision to build a hospital with the money and employ doctors and surgeons. A year ago, Bello created an NGO, Bells Helping Hands Initiative to cater for patients unable to pay for surgeries that needed urgent attention. 

******                                                                       At Bello’s hospital, Dr. Gerald Duke happened to be the surgeon women want for medical attention. There was a time, a particular woman frequently had injuries on her left arm and requested to see Duke. A nurse found out that she was always causing harm to herself because she wanted to see him. She reported the case and Duke no longer felt safe after she started to send him romantic messages and monitored his whereabouts around the hospital. She was a stalker. It became a case of the police and he never saw her again. She was admitted in a mental institution.

The color of the hospital’s uniform was blue, and green. Nurses wore blue or white. If Duke didn’t wear his uniform, he would be mistaken for a badass actor. The tall, handsome and attractive man named Duke has charisma and a good dress sense. He was very neat and straightforward. Women loved to be around him but he was professional. He was dedicated to his work. He never mixed business with pleasure. In the hospital, he was a doctor. In his home, he could be anything he desired. 

People respected him, even his boss because of his intelligence. He was highly skilled as a surgeon and successful at his age. He was in his thirties. 

******
Dr. Jidenna Kalu, a doctor in his early thirties and in charge of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) ward. He and other group of doctors attended to patients to know their ailments before assigning them to surgeons in case they needed surgery. 

Jidenna popularly had a nickname. He was known as Mr. tallest because of his height. He was good-looking and friendly. Jidenna and Mrs. Wendy Fayemi were not on talking terms. Although, Jidenna tried to make amends twice but she refused and tried as much as possible to avoid seeing him despite working in the same building.

******
Pretty and outspoken Dr. Yvonne Kola, a brilliant surgeon at the hospital was the same height with Gerald Duke. Before she married a year ago, she has always wanted to be the woman in his life. She once told him how she felt but he turned her down. She felt hurt but glad he told her the truth. Other men would have taken advantage of her. Deep in her heart, she still had feelings for him. 

******  
Lola knew she was late. She ought to be there at 7:30am. She checked the time and her heartbeat raced faster. The time: 8:15am. She begged the cabman to drive faster.

Gerald Duke was walking along the hallway, heading towards the emergency ward but he stopped to check his iphone7 that beeped. He stepped forward and stood beside the wall to read the message. 

“Good morning Dr. Duke.” A female nurse greeted him as she walked by.

He quickly glimpsed at her. He couldn’t remember her name despite she has worked there for two years. 

“Good morning.” 

He returned his eyes on his phone and read it. He frowned.

Two males and a female stood in front of a male nurse, Oliver Oboli. He was a thirty years old man, not tall, dark and blessed with a charming face that no matter any situation he would always try to solve it with a smile. 

“I have been busy attending to patients,” he said to them. He was holding a sealed long envelope. “I should have been here to see you.”

“But we have been waiting for one hour.” Zara Lukeman said with a sneer on her face. She has a fine face, slim but with a nasty attitude.  “This is so unfair.”

“He explained already. He has been attending to patients.” Melvin Okorie said. He was good-looking, tall and determined to succeed.

Zara folded her arms and glared at him. “I wasn’t talking to you.”

“That’s okay,” Oliver said. “You are not here to argue. You are here to save lives but are you not supposed to be four?”

“Yes but I don’t think the fourth surgeon is here.” Ahmed Danjuma the other male said. The way he spoke, people could tell he must have lived abroad, probably in London but obviously a Muslim. He looked like a nerd with his medicated glasses.

“As long as the three of us are here, we should begin or are you waiting for the surgeon.” Zara said to Oliver. “Do you know the person?”

“I don’t. You can follow me.” Oliver answered. He turned back and they followed. “Oh, there he is.”

They walked to Gerald Duke who was engrossed in what he was reading on his phone. 

“Dr. Duke, the new surgeons are here.” Oliver said.

Duke didn’t look at any of them. “Give me the list of names.”

Oliver unsealed the envelope, removed the sheet and placed it in his hand.

“Thanks.” Duke said.

Oliver gave him a look. “Call me if you need me.” 

Duke nodded with his eyes still on the phone. The three surgeons stood like log of woods, staring at him. He wasn’t a stranger to them. They have heard about him and they respected him. Zara wanted him to raise his head so that she could be sure he wasn’t photogenic. Sometimes pictures lie. She had seen his pictures. How could a man be very handsome and not married? She wondered.

Gerald Duke shoved his phone inside his pocket and glanced at the sheet. “When you hear your name say present. Ahmed Danjuma.”

“Present.” Ahmed said.

“Zara Lukeman.” 

“Present.” Zara said.

“Melvin Okorie.” Melvin said.

“Present.”

“Lola Bello.” No answer. He repeated without looking up. “Lola Bello.” 

Gerard Duke raised his head. Zara couldn’t stop staring at his eyes. They were grey. 

“Where is Lola Bello?” Duke asked them.

“I’m here!” Lola said. She was at their back walking to meet them. She stood beside Ahmed.

“You are supposed to say present.” Ahmed whispered to her.

“Present sir.”

“Don’t sir me. You are late. It seems you don’t take the job serious.”

“I do sir…I do.” 

“I’m not sure because if you do, you won’t be coming late on your first day at work. I will not tolerate such.”

“I’m sorry.” 

“Keep your sorry to yourself. I don’t need it. The four of you must work very hard and no favors from anywhere if you think you know someone here. In this hospital, you are on your own.”

Lola heard about him. She hoped to work with him. She has met him and not pleased at all despite his amazing record as a surgeon.

He added. “I am Dr. Gerald Duke. I am the Chief of CS. I hope you know the meaning.”

“Contract Staff.” The four of them chorused.

“I am in charge of the four of you. You will get orders from me. You will report to me.” His phone beeped. He checked it and stared at all of them. “I have to go now. A patient of mine has woken up from the surgery I did.” He peeped at a corner and saw Oliver talking to a man.

“You can come with me.”

They moved to where Oliver was. The man with him left.

“Are you busy?” Duke asked Oliver.

“No.” He lied. Oliver was busy but as long as it was not an emergency, he would always be there for him. 

“I want you to show them around and the dressing room. After they change, bring them to my office.”

“Okay doc.”

“Thanks.”
 
He grinned and pointed with two fingers. “Anything for you doc.”

Duke gave him a thumb up and strolled away.

“Is he always like this?” Zara asked.

“Like how?” Oliver questioned.

“Too serious.”

He smiled faintly. “My advice for all of you is, take your job very serious and please be punctual and alert. That man is not difficult to work with.”

The hospital was a four-storey building. The emergency ward was big. There were relatives, friends, family members and even patients with minor injuring at the waiting room. Oliver showed them the reception, the small kiosk inside the hospital for breakfast. They sell all kinds of tea and snacks. The cafeteria was outside, quite a big building. He showed them the wards, the intensive care unit (ICU), laboratory, operating room (OR) and other places. He took them to the dressing room for doctors. Male and female shared a very large room with wardrobes, beds for resting. They entered and found a doctor and a nurse kissing and smooching. 

“Oops!” Oliver said and locked the door. 

They quickly adjusted, and opened the door. The nurse smiled at them and walked away.

“Hello.” The doctor said with a wide smile on his lips. He was a fine-looking man. “You must be the new surgeons.”

“Yes, they are.” Oliver answered.

“I would have shaken your hands but I need to wash my hands first. I am Dr. Damien Fola.” 

They introduced themselves to him.

He gazed at Lola and Zara.” If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” Fola walked away.

They strolled inside.

“Dr. Fola can be playful sometimes but ladies, stay away from him.” Oliver advised. “He is a Yoruba demon. I hope you know what I mean.”

“He is not my kind of guy.” Zara quickly said to him.

“I hope you mean it.” 

“I mean every word.”

All eyes went to Lola who was keeping her bag. She noticed.

“Why are you all looking at me like that?”

“Are you interested in Dr. Damien?” Zara asked her.

She looked at them with her eyes wide opened. “Of course not, I am here to learn more, and help patients.”

Oliver smiled faintly. “I believe you.”

Zara acted surprised. “And what is that supposed to mean?” 

“I don’t get you.”

“You didn’t tell me you believed me.”

He sighed loudly. “I believe you.” He pointed at their uniforms and badges with their white coat. They came in three pairs each. “Please, put them on, I will be waiting outside.”

Zara faced Melvin and Ahmed while she wanted to dress. They turned back. She gave a side smile. They wore the green uniform. After they were set, Zara faced Lola.

“Your name is Lola Bello. Are you related to the owner of the hospital?”

“That’s true,” Melvin said. “I wanted to ask.”

“No. It’s a coincidence. We are just namesake.”

“Well, that’s a relief.” Zara said.

They joined Oliver who took them to where the offices of high rank doctors and physicians stayed. As they were approaching Dr. Duke’s office, Jidenna Kalu was walking by. 

Oliver introduced them to him and he shook their hands. “Please wait for me.”

“You have to be fast.” Jidenna Kalu said. “There could be an emergency.”

“I know. I just want to see Dr. Duke briefly.”

“Okay. Be fast about it.”

He smiled at Lola and she smiled back.

Oliver knocked, and they entered. “I’m through with them.”

“Thanks.” Duke said and rose.

“Do you need anything?”

“No.”

He nodded and walked out of the simple, neat and organized office. They were artwork photos on the wall. Duke carried four files from his desk and looked at them.

“My advice for the four of you, do not see each other as enemies. Work as a team. It doesn’t matter if you are fighting for a spot in top two.” 

Can he just say sorry for trying to humiliate me? Lola said to herself silently.

Duke looked at the documents in his hands. “Your files were given to me by Dr. Wendy Fayemi. You must know her. She is the Chief of surgeons and a Neurosurgeon. I’m an orthopedic surgeon. Who are you Dr. Ahmed?”

“I’m an orthopedic surgeon sir.” Ahmed said.

“That’s good. Refer to me as Dr. Duke.”

“Yes si… Yes doctor Duke.”

Duke smiled for the first time. 
They smiled back at him except Lola. She felt he didn’t like her. Duke stared at Zara standing next to Melvin.

“I’m a pediatric surgeon.” Zara said.

“That means you must be good with children.”

“Yes Dr. Duke.”

He pointed at Melvin.

“I’m an obstetrics and gynecology surgeon.” Melvin said proudly.

“What about you Dr. Bello?”

“General surgeon.”

“Okay.” Duke said. “It doesn’t matter your area of field, we are surgeons and we will work together as a team. I have three rules you must follow. Rule number one; do not ever talk about your personal life to me. It’s none of my business. Rule number two, you must be at the hospital when I reach out to you. Don’t give me excuses and rule number three, we are not friends. Do I need to explain the rules?”

“No Dr. Duke.” They chorused.

“Good. I already took your phone numbers from your file. Other surgeons will need yours. I will give you my number.” They brought out their phones and he gave it to them. “Make sure your phone is always with you in your pocket.”

Someone knocked and opened the door. 

“Dr. Duke, I need one of the new surgeons to assist me. My patient is having a surgery in his chest.” Yvonne Kola said.

He introduced her to them. She was a Thoracic surgeon. “You can take Dr. Zara.”

Zara appeared excited and followed Yvonne to the operating room (OR). 

Duke looked at Melvin. “Dr. Melvin, go to the emergency ward and ask for Nurse Mimi. Tell her to show you the pregnant patient that was admitted yesterday. She has malaria and severe back pain. Check how she is doing.” 

“Okay doc.”

Duke returned to his seat and looked at Ahmed and Lola. As he was about to talk, his phone beeped. He glanced at it and rose up quickly. “One of my patients is bleeding from his surgery. We have to move fast!”

Ahmed and Lola ran with Duke. They reached there and saw two nurses there.

“What happened?” He asked one of the nurses in charge. He checked on the patient and the injury in his leg.

“He woke up and when he started to talk, his body started to shake and he became unresponsive. I performed CPR.”

Duke said. “He went into shock. He is stable now but I have to take a good look at his injury in case of infection and see what went wrong. You have to prepare the OR.”

“Okay sir.” The two nurses pushed the bed to the OR.

Duke stared at Ahmed and Lola. “Get prepared. We are going in now.”

*******
The pregnant woman laughed at Melvin’s joke after he attended to her and did an ultra sound.

“Thank you doc.” She said to him. “I was really feeling down but I feel great now.”

“You are welcome.”

“The medication given to me yesterday worked and I feel better.”

“I’m glad you are better. You don’t need to get worried over your baby. She is kicking very fine.”

“I can’t wait for her to come into his world. I hope you will be here on that day.”

“I will.” Melvin smiled at her. “In a month’s time, you will carry your baby.”

“Amen.”

“You can call your husband to come in the evening to take you home. You will be discharged soon.”

“I don’t have a husband,” she said. “I am a single mom.”

“Oh I’m sorry.” He said.

“That’s okay.” She said and rubbed her protruding stomach. “I choose this for myself.”

Melvin nodded at her, removed the hand gloves, and dumped them into the bin.  He excused himself, went out and shook his head.
********
“I really wanted to thank you for the opportunity to work with you.” Zara said to Yvonne. “Thank you doc.”

“You should thank Dr. Duke. He called you first.”

“I am glad the surgery went successful.”

“Me too.” Yvonne smiled and walked away. 

********
“Somebody help me!” A woman carrying her child entered into the Emergency ward. Oliver rushed to her and carried the little girl from her to one of the emergency rooms (ER) for immediate attention. Dr. Jidenna quickly wore his stethoscope to listen to her internal sound and inspect the cause of her condition.

“What happened to her?” He asked the mother.

As she spoke, she was panicking. “She was playing and all of a sudden started shaking.”

“Afterwards she passed out?”

“Yes! What’s wrong with her? Please, nothing bad must happen to my daughter.”

“She had a seizure. How old is she?”

“Seven.”

“Is she on any medication?”

“No.

Zara sighted them and ran to meet them. “Anything I can do to help?”

Jidenna looked at her and back at the woman. “Please you have to go to the waiting room and wait. We will attend to your daughter.”

“Will she be okay?”

“Yes.”

The woman left to wait and he closed the curtain to avoid other patients staring at them. Zara and Jidenna examined her.

*******
During the surgical procedure, Lola noticed how calm Duke was as he operated on the patient. The OR nurse turned on the audio disc player and played one of his favorite songs for him. Heal the world by Michael Jackson. Lola was tempted to sing along but she wouldn’t dare. She did not want any embarrassment.

Duke’s eyes never left the leg. It was time to stitch the leg. 

He looked at Lola. They made eye contact. She blinked her eyes.

“Staple please.”

She gave it to him.

He proceeded and paused. He looked at her again. “Do it.”

“You want me to stitch the leg?”

“Did I speak Spanish to you?”

“No Dr. Duke.” Lola took it from him.

Duke watched how she did it. Ahmed smiled at her. The patient was placed in the ICU for observation. Apart from the nurse, Duke ordered Lola and Ahmed to check on the patient occasionally. Duke went for lunch.

”I hope you were not offended about what happened at the OR.” Lola said to Ahmed.

“I wasn’t. I was happy for you. At least it was you and I with him in there.”

 Lola smiled at him. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

********
Later in the day, Jidenna went to meet the mother of the girl. Zara went with him.

“Your daughter is responding to treatment. She has an ear infection which caused a febrile seizure.”

“I didn’t know she had an infection.”

“You should pay more attention to your child.” Zara quickly said and Jidenna gave her a look and took his face away.

“How would I have known?” The woman asked emotionally.

“It’s okay ma.” He gave her a small sheet. “Go to the pharmacy and buy her the drugs she needs.”

“I will. When can I see her?”

"Soon. You are to pay an amount for treatment. Check with the nurse and come back with your receipt.”

“No problem. Thank you doc.”

“You are welcome.”

The woman left and Zara turned to him.

“I saw the way you looked at me. I am not a bad person.”

“I never said you are a bad person. You did well today.” Jidenna turned and strode away and bumped into Lola and Ahmed.

They were heading to the cafeteria. Lola seemed shy. His height made her feel like a short person.

“How is your first day at work going?” Jidenna said with a smile on his face.
“Good.” Ahmed said.

He gazed at Lola. “What about you? It seems you are not enjoying it?”

“I am. It’s been good.”

“Is Dr. Duke putting pressure on you?”

“Not really, no. I’m okay.”

Duke had left the cafeteria. He was approaching the ward. As he sauntered towards them, he only acknowledged Jidenna. He smiled at him and gave a nod. Jidenna gave a nod too. Lola gazed Duke as he walked. She thought she wouldn’t last in the hospital if Duke continued to act like that. She hoped he would not be a thorn in her flesh. The way he focused on his patient was so beautiful to watch. She respected him for that.

As Lola looked away to face Jidenna, he could not stop staring at her just as Zara couldn’t stop looking at Jidenna. Zara also admired Duke greatly but he appeared to be untouchable. A man like him would be difficult to have. Becoming a full staff was the most important thing to her.

Duke reached his office, sat down and sighed. He thought and questioned himself.

Was he harsh on the new surgeons? Did they hate him for that? Who was Lola Bello and why does he feel she didn’t like him? Well, it doesn’t matter what she felt about him.

What mattered to him was the wellbeing of his patients. He grabbed his phone and read the message again.

"Hey baby. I'm back. I miss you. Call me when you get home. You and I will be having dinner with my father on Wednesday. I have booked a table in my favourite. restaurant. Love you!" 

Duke hissed. He disliked his girlfriend's father. He was arrogant, self-centered and a piece of shit.

*******
To be continued Wednesday…

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