Being a Nigerian is a Full Time Job

Passiveobservher
3 min readMar 14, 2024

It was at this point that I realized that I didn’t need a medical doctor, I needed a therapist.

Photo by Ovinuchi Ejiohuo on Unsplash

I turned the air conditioner towards me using the remote, wishing the cool air would somehow seep into my ears and flow through my brain, cooling it down. It’s been throbbing slightly from the time I found out that an ice cream I used to buy at 500 Naira was now 1,350 Naira, and I can’t get the headache to stop.

The nurse grabbed my forearm from the table where they rested, bringing me back to the situation at hand. She gave me the stink eye and proceeded to speak Yoruba with the old lady who was awaiting her turn to be administered an injection.

“Yi kékeré iran ti padanu ọwọ.”, This younger generation has lost respect.

“bẹẹ ibanuje”, so sad, the old woman responded.

As though the old woman’s reply peaked her irritation at my behavior, she picked up her tourniquet and tied my upper arm so tight, I thought the rope would cut into my skin.

I flinched from the pain but when I looked up, her face had a satisfactory little smile before she said, “Sorry”, without an aorta of regret or sympathy.

Nop, I wasn’t going to deal with badly behaved Nigerian nurses today. I’m just grateful the injection needed to be administered on the hand, or what would I have done had my backside been facing her?

I stared at the picture of our president on the wall, behind the nurse, willing my eyes to look everywhere else except at the needle she was flicking and my throbbing arm.

Looking at the president’s picture, I resisted the urge to hiss, an annoying disrespectfully long one (I respect people). Not even two years into his tenure, the whole country was a mess. Prices of items had risen almost 3x and I couldn’t find one good thing about his reign, no matter how hard they tried.

I felt the sharp pain of the needle tearing through layers of skin toward my blood vessel and then an uncomfortable flow of unwanted fluid in it. I only stared harder at the picture and grit my teeth a little, I wasn’t going to give these women another Yoruba discussion.

The needle still in my arm, held down by the nurse’s thumb, she removed the tourniquet from my arm with her free hand.

“Okay, so now you just have to go to the LAB and wait for your result”, and with that, she slid the needle out and cleaned the pinch of blood with alcohol.

As I sat in the queue with other patients waiting to receive their LAB test results, the old woman from before arrived and sat next to me. I turned away and closed my eyes but the peace didn’t last too long.

She tapped me on my shoulder. When I turned she gave me a near toothless grin and said, “Do you remember the bomb blast that happened in ‘97”.

“Sure ma, I was on my way back from school when the ground shook”, was the sarcastic comeback I wanted to give. For goodness sake, I was born in 2001 and I don’t even look that old.

It was at this point I realized that I didn’t need a medical doctor, I needed a therapist because Nigeria is a lot.

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Passiveobservher

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