I was inside my consulting room that afternoon when a gemtleman and a lady walked in. I later knew Mr Akin ( not the real name ) to be 38 years old and Miss Juliet ( not the real name) to be 30 years old. They were both planning to get married. “So what can I do for you both?”. Mr Akin said doctor I brought my fiancee here for you to help me check her intoto and tell me everything about her health and I will like to know all your findings. I asked Miss Juliet ,did you hear what your fiance said? and did you give your consent to that ? She emphatically said a big yes. I documented this and asked her to sign the consent form. She did. Then I asked mr Akin to excuse us. I called in an hospital female assistant to stay with me as my witness.
There are 3 steps we use in medical profession to comprehensively check our patients. The first one is called history taking or interviewing. The second one is called examination which means checking the body. We do this in two ways. First we check generally from head to toe and then secondly we focus on the important systems. Then the last step is for us to order for relevant tests.
There is something unusual about this premarital medical check up requested by Mr Akin and that was him asking for complete check up. Many couples to be I have met usually come for genotype, blood group, HIV and Hepatitis viruses tests and once they are okay, they are good but requesting for a comprehensive premarital check up is not common.
So I proceeded into step one. I interviewed Miss Juliet asking all our barrage of questions about the past and the present,the ones that concerned her and her family,work and social life and past relationships and abortions and so on. Miss Juliet told me all was well. No single problem.
Then I proceeded to step 2 of the medical check up which was examination. I checked her generally first, all was fine.Then I focused on the important systems one by one.The major findings were found at the tummy. I saw wrinkles and lines that showed Miss Juliet was once pregnant or most likely had a child which she denied through out the interview. Then I confronted her with the clinical evidence which she could not deny. Then she burst into tears begging me to help her lie to her fiance that she had never been pregnant before. I told her I would not be able to do that. Apart from betraying my oath, I would be putting my integrity on the line which is the main and major thing in my job as somebody dealing with human lives, as somebody that whatever I say today or I do not say, can make or mar people’s destinies. I told her I wouldn’t join her to lie to her fiance. She cried and begged me with her life. I stood my ground. I went ahead to counsel her to tell Mr Akin herself when I called him in but after which she failed to do so i would have no choice than to tell Mr Akin myself the whole truth about my findings. After a while she agreed to confess to Mr akin herself when I called him in. That was better for me because the truth would be coming from her herself.
I called in Mr Akin. I told Mr Akin every other thing I found and told him, his fiancee would tell him the major finding. So I waited and waited Miss Juliet remained mute. She kept dragging feet. She couldn’t say it. I excused Mr Akin for the second time. I counseled her again to tell him herself. She concured but when Mr Akin came in. Same silence happened again. I excused Mr Akin the third time and appealed greatly to Miss Juliet to do the needful. She agreed but when Mr Akin came in same thing happened. Then I opened up to Mr Akin about the past pregnancy issue I discovered.
Miss Juliet rushed to her knees held Mr Akin feet and started weeping and wailing. Begging to tell him the whole truth. Mr Akin told her to go ahead and tell him the whole truth. Now this was what actually happened. This year made it 3 years they had been dating. They dated for 1 year before Mr Akin travelled abroad for his 2 years postgraduate scholarship Master’s program. He was so committed to Miss Juliet that he had introduced her to his family and he kept in touch for the 2 years he was abroad. At least in a day they would talk for 5 minutes to 2 hours as time permitted. He gave her assurance all the time of his love for her and promised to marry her as soon as he was back to the country. After Mr Akin left for abroad, Miss Juliet met her Ex in shoprite in one of those times she went for shopping. One thing led to another and they started seeing each other again but Miss Juliet kept this from Mr Akin. It was in this process she got pregnant for the Ex and the Ex insisted he would not agree to abortion of his baby. In all this she still kept communicating with Mr Akin.
After 9 months, she delivered the baby but the baby died few weeks later in the hospital after developing Jaundice. This led to the break up with the Ex. Then a year later Mr Akin returned and brought her for this check up before marrying her. After she narrated this story I was overwhelmed and so many lessons started rushing through my mind but before I told you the lessons rushing through my mind, let me tell you about Mr Akin’s response to all this. First and foremost I noticed that he was calm,unperturbed and unruffled about all these confessions and tears. As I was wondering why, then he gave his response this way. He said and I quote ” I knew everything you confessed now because immediately I returned to the country, people had been coming to tell me all sorts of things that happened in my absence. Even over there I perceived something was wrong with you the way you usually turned down my video calls which was not so before. But you know what? Because of the love I have for you I forgive you.”. Then Mr Akin turned to me. He said ” Doctor thank you for standing by your integrity and the oath you took to tell nothing but the truth at all times no matter the pressure. Keep it up.”
I went ahead to conduct the other relevant tests which later came back to be compatible with one another. They came three days later to collect them and it was as if no offence happened three days ago. Love is a powerful force behind forgiveness, now I have no doubt. Three months later they got married. I was invited to the wedding as a VIP which I honoured. I asked for the permission of both of them to share this lesson on my platform for others to learn. It was granted. As I wished them marital bliss and on my way home from the reception the following life lessons started running through my mind:
Lesson number 1: This is to my fellow medical doctors. Always ask for your patients’ consent in all important and seemingly unimportant issues.
Lesson number 2: always document everything you discuss with your patients
Lesson number 3: never collude with any patient to lie to anybody
Lesson number 4: this is to all the young ladies out there in a committed relationship, always avoid Exes. This can put you in big trouble.
Lesson number 5: keep no secret for the person you are planning to spend the rest of your life with or someone that loves you so much. Dont join people in saying that when you love someone you dont want to hurt them then you keep secret or lie to them . Even in 20 years into the marriage ,the truth will find you out and then the consequences will be grave.
Lesson number 6: when you are wrong or caught in your wrong doing, dont defend your wrongs. Dont excuse them. Repent and show true remorse, who knows you may be forgiven.
Lesson number 7 that Mr Akin taught me was LOVE CAN FORGIVE ANY SIN, I MEAN ANY SIN,NO MATTER HOW GREVIOUS IT MAY BE.
The writer is Dr Adesida Adewumi,he works in the department of Family Medicine,Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital,AKTH,Kano,Nigeria