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THE PRICE OF LOVE

When Daphne (pronounced daf-nee) left Dr
Benedict’s office after a late evening appointment, she stopped by
the food canteen to get something to drink. She sat on a lonely
table and played with the rim of her glass as she replayed Dr
Benedict’s words. Daphne, you are not getting any better; I have
written another prescription for your dornase medication. You can
use an inhaler to ease the consistent cough and shortness of
breath. She couldn’t believe many years down the line that there
still isn’t a permanent cure for her cystic fibrosis. She was tired of
this life, bound by years of swallowing pills and anti-histamine.
Across from her sat a distraught young man, he was easy on the
eyes and had soufflé brown eyes. She contemplated going to
speak with him, what she didn’t know however was that this young
man will hold her heart in his soufflé brown eyes for years to
come. *********** As Caleb laid on his hospital bed in Ibadan, Dr
Okoye was performing a lung transplant on him in a few hours. He
was beyond ecstatic to say the least. His coughing days were
over, he could finally leave the embarrassing stares that came
with the consistent cough. Daphne sat on a chair to his left as
three doctors came to prep him for surgery. Dr Okoye the lead
surgeon on his case was in another wing of the hospital harvesting
his new lungs, he could only be thankful to his anonymous donor
who was already brain dead. He looked at Daphne with them
soufflé brown eyes and remembered the first day he met her at the
restaurant and bar across the street. He was drawn to her overly
white sclera and the frequent use of her metered dose inhaler. He
figured she also had a respiratory disease just like him. He closed
the distance between them and introduced himself and for the
next four hours, they sat across each other and talked about
cystic fibrosis; until they started to get unfriendly stares from the
restaurant staffers. As he was being prep for surgery today, he
said a silent prayer thanking his stars for sending Daphne his way.
The love they shared was spectacular, he had envisioned a whole
future with her, a future full of babies, love and laughter, the kind
that came from the heart, that leaves an indelible mark of painful
ribs from laughing too much and too hard. A future that does not
care where his dream house is built because home was where
Daphne was. “What are you eating Babe?” He asked Daphne who
loved like a hot executive of a badass multimillion Naira company
in her black and white polka dot chiffon top, black flare pants and
her black pump heels to match. “Bounty” she replied mouthful
with her hand over her mouth. “Uhhh, chocolate, can I have
some?” “No you can’t, You are due for surgery in a few minutes.”
Daphne said shoving the rest of the chocolate in her bag and
zipped it. All doctors started to laugh and the gorgeous petite
doctor pointed out how lucky he was to have Daphne to take care
of him during his recovery post op. For a final physical
examination, the doctors checked his lungs for murmurs and
abnormal sounds as he breathe shallow and laboured breathes.
Daphne had to stop by the hospital cafeteria for lunch. As she ate
her meal, the petite beautiful doctor ~ who she now know to be Dr
Aishat ~ came to sit with her. They both ate and chatted until
Daphne had trouble breathing and reached to her bag for an
inhaler, zipper opened and bag in disarray, she sucked onto her
inhaler for dear life. Dr Aishat was drawn to a distinct label on a
drug in Daphne’s bag. “Dornase?” She asked Daphne holding up
the drug with a puzzled look on her face. “Uhm, it’s Caleb’s. I’ve
only got asthma.” Daphne replied, saying the last part in almost a
whisper. “Caleb isn’t on these, not that I know of recently anyway.
And these are new.” “I think I will just leave.” Dr Aishat got up and
body blocked her. “Daphne, do you have Cystic fibrosis?” “Oh no,
don’t be silly Dr Aishat, Caleb has Cystic fibrosis, I’ve only got
Asthma.” Daphne said with a fake smile, the worst Dr Aishat had
seen. Back in Caleb’s amenity room, Dr Okoye’s voice could be
heard in the hallway. Daphne walked in in slow steps as she leaned
against the door frame. “Dr Okoye, you have nothing to worry
about, the medication Dr Aishat saw in Daphne’s bag was mine.”
Caleb said between laboured breathes. “Don’t lie to me, don’t you
dare lie to me,” Dr Okoye looked behind him to see Daphne by the
door silently sobbing, “you both have cystic fibrosis and you are
lying to me.” Dr Okoye tried to calm his nerves. Yelling clearly
wasn’t working so he decided to take on a new approach. “People
with cystic fibrosis can date other people in the population, but it
is never all right for them to date each other. You can’t infect any
ordinary person no matter how much you cough, but once you date
another cystic fibrosis patient, you can infect each other by
transmitting different bacteria between each other, with no way
your bodies can fight it. I don’t know why but you two just can’t
be together. That you haven’t even swapped a life threatening
bacteria between yourselves is a miracle.” “Dr Okoye we know
that. Don’t you think we worry about that? We worry so much we
can’t help ourselves, but the heart wants what it wants and we fell
in love when we shouldn’t have. Do you know what it’s like to date
normal people? To see them look at you like you are about to die
and infect their whole lineage when you cough? How irritated they
look, like it was something they could pick up like SARS. We know
the risks, we love each other and life is a risk so we are willing to
take the risk.” Caleb said as he held hands with Daphne. “Caleb,
after you get a new pair of lungs, you will be on
immunosuppressants and are ten times more likely to get
infected.” Dr Aishat said. “People need these lungs, other people,
good people whose lungs are failing could use these lungs. Kids,
teenagers whose life is just beginning but you get it, and you want
to be reckless with it. If you stay together, these lungs could be
damaged in months. All I am saying is, end this relationship and
get new lungs, continue and I won’t waste a second fixing what
will be broken in no time.” Dr Okoye made himself very simply
clear as he walked out of Caleb’s room. Life wasn’t fair. The heart
learns to love But sometimes, the one the heart chooses to love is
not the one the brain will ordinarily choose So we are left to
choose to follow our hearts Or to follow our brains Which to some
might be quite easy For me, I have loved with just my heart and
have loved with just my brain. Today I have found the love that
speaks directly to my bones and marrows, a language even my
nerves and tendons understand And just when I thought I have
finally loved right, medicine disagrees. As Dr Okoye walked in,
Caleb and Daphne both said they had ended the relationship and
the surgery can be scheduled back on. As Daphne turned her back
to leave, to leave the man she loves the most, the man that loved
her, that made her feel like a million bucks even when she felt she
was worth nothing. She felt the tears stringing, the feeling that a
true love, a soul mate, her soul mate was being left behind,
because the universe decided to take away her joy, the joy that
lasted only a few months. Daphne knew such love will be hard to
find again, not after it took her so long to meet him. She sat in the
waiting room for hours, it was the closest she felt to him and she
needed to know that the surgery was a success. Dr Aishat walked
past and she saw her, she told her Caleb was okay and that she
has to leave before Dr Okoye sees her. “I understand the love that
you both share. And I am so sorry that medicine didn’t let it
happen even though the universe is always on the side of love.
There must be a reason it happened like this. It always feels like
there is only one person in the whole world you can truly love,
until you find another and you love so hard your heart hurts, then
you wonder why you were worried in the first place. Go Daphne,
open your heart and you will find true love again.” Dr Aishat said
as she walked her through the hospital exit. As Daphne sat in her
taxi, tears wetting her blouse and eyes blurry, she looked back at
the hospital where her true love lies in recovery and prayed he
finds love again, a love that doesn’t make his lungs sick like she
did. And she prayed the new girl knows how blessed she is to
have Caleb. Daphne may love again but Caleb was her true love,
her soul mate. And in the coming weeks, even though she told
herself that it was in his best interest to never stay in touch, it
took her 43 days to delete his number after dialling many times
and cancelling before it rings. She wondered, if she will ever truly
move on. Life isn’t fair.

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2 Comments

  1. Good update

  2. Ok

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