Dear Diary

Five-minute trip to hell and back

My left hand is still swollen. And from the way I’m carrying it – as if it were the last egg in the world and there was no more protein on the planet – I think I may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I remember telling the nurse that my veins don’t generally like needles. They’re really not the poking and prodding type.

They will accommodate the occasional shot in the arm, but only if it’s a matter of life and death. Intravenous drip feeds that require a medical practitioner to latch a needle onto a vein for more than one minute, are in themselves a matter of life and death. Which is why I was at death’s door two weeks ago. I made what by all accounts should have been an innocent visit to the clinic because I wasn’t feeling well. I expected to see a doctor, and probably a nurse as well.

I didn’t expect to be sick enough to warrant needles being stuck into body parts. Nor did I expect the nurse to be from hell. Now I understand what they say about expectations. So the doctor prescribes a long list of pills and potions to be taken once, twice, thrice a day for the next seven days. His list starts at number one, but for some odd reason, he skips the first item, deciding instead to explain every other dose in detail.

Like I was a 2-year-old. “This one you’ll take before food, and this one make sure you take only on a full stomach,” he says. “Remember, this one I said you take three times a day, sawa?” Uh-huh. Yep. Got you, Doc. I do know how to read. I’m standing up to leave the room when he clears his throat and begins to speak again. Damn. Almost made it! “Erm, Ms Masiga there is the matter of item number one – the injection. The fastest way to treat you is intravenously. Trust me.”

Ha! What did the man know about trust? Well, whatever he did or didn’t know, he was about to meet the 2-year-old he thought he was addressing earlier. I tried to negotiate with him. I told him I could deal with any kind of pain – even childbirth – if it meant no needles. But did he listen? Nope. Neither did the nurse from hell. You know what the witch said? Trust me. It won’t hurt a bit. Ha! What did the woman know about trust?

Anyway, long story short. The two conspired to stick a needle in my vein and hold it there for the better part of five minutes, so that their so-called “medicine” could flow through. And what did I do? Well, what any normal 30-something woman would do. I burst into tears. What can I say? I DON’T LIKE NEEDLES.