EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY
I wonder where Dr. Francis is. Whether he is still roaming this world unperturbed by this unpredictable life or whether he might have become (God forbid) past tense. The reason I have never forgotten Dr. Francis is because I was born and brought up, towards the end of an era where doctors used the same needle and syringe to inject the residents of a whole location, made up of two or more sub locations.
That was before we discovered AIDS, or may be we had discovered it, but it was not yet a very serious problem. That was before AIDS made it clear who calls the shots in the medical fraternity, hence making it mandatory that each person gets to use one needle and syringe by himself or herself.
The doctor (Dr. Francis in this case) would just look at you thoughtfully, examine your eyes, make you say 'Ahaaa' then he examines your teeth, tongue, soft palate before he asks you a few questions including what you ate last night, how you slept (as if you would know), whether you feel some pain anywhere on your body, before asking you to cough and you would cough softly, trying to show him that you are almost getting well, just in case he changes his mind and spares you the injection. Of course, once you cough, he would conclude that you are ailing from either malaria, common cold, dry cough and whatever else was on the menu, and whatever it was, it always ended with an injection. Dr. Francis never engaged in 'nonsense' like collecting blood samples, urine and stool and you were sure to get well.
Just in case you are still rolling your eyes and wondering who the hell Dr. Francis was, then let me help you. He was a chap who used to be in charge of Sabatia dispensary, somewhere in Baringo county. That was before the birth of Solian health centre and Lebolos dispensary. That meant that most sick people from Naitili, some parts of Kiplombe, or ....... let's just say the residents of a whole location, would head westwards towards Sabatia dispensary. We all had to go through a thick forest, before deforestation reared it's ugly head. You also had to cross a frightening river called 'The river of donkeys' before briefly climbing a steep slope, towards Sabatia railway station and there, just a brief walk past the railway line, next to Sabatia primary school, you would find the good old doctor.
So, as a child, how did you earn yourself a date with Dr. Francis? Well .... It all started after you forgot to do you homework the previous night and since you knew very well that the subject teacher would skin you alive, you had to look for a way to skip school that day. Then you remembered that last night, you had been nursing a mild cough, which was no so serious and could go away with or without medication. But to save your skin from an irate teacher, you exaggerated your cough a little bit, to make you look more sick, than you really are.
Of course your parent or guardian would suggest that you continue sleeping and you keep coughing dramatically. lest they changed their minds and make you go to school.
Unfortunately, your continued coughing would generate another unsolvable problem. This was because your exaggerated coughing would start worrying people, making them think you might die and you know we are all afraid of death, hence soon afterwards, you would be on your way to see Dr. Francis. You would queue as you wait for the doctor hoping that he would be absent that day, but the 'nightmare' would promptly arrive at around 9:00 am. You are tenth in line and you are starting to get worried because every child who goes in to see the good old doctor comes out wailing. In other words, things are not looking good in there.
You are now second in line, your heart is doing some one hundred beats per minute because number one just got called in and you can hear the pressure stove humming softly in Dr Francis's consultation room, as he boils the other needle to sterilize it, the needle which is likely to be used on you. You can already hear the imaginary voice of the good old doctor telling you not to tighten your muscles
( how is that even possible?) because you might break the needle.
At that point, the few brave ones among the children would break free from their parents' tight grip and run back home, with an angry parent in hot pursuit, hurling unprintable abuses including, "I will kill you" but the child knows the parent will not kill him or her, because in Sunday school, he or she had been taught that children are a gift from God.
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