Author: AHS PM
In March 2007, Cuddy presents House with a new patient who lives in Ghana. Confused by the distance and Cuddy’s obsession with the case, House follows her to Africa to diagnose the patient, a doctor who has a nasty habit of occluding her past. Huddy.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - G. House & L. Cuddy - Chapters: 21 - Words: 55,784 - Reviews: 143 - Favs: 50 - Follows: 102 - Updated: 06-03-12 - Published: 04-15-07 - id: 3488896
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hot couldn't even begin to explain the climate of the sub-Saharan Africa in the midday. In early April, when a good amount of the world was enjoying temperate or even cold weather, northern Ghana was baking with temperatures that easily reached the high forties in the shade, if you could even find any. There definitely wasn't any shade available for the lone woman crossing the rural savannah dressed with barely her hands showing on the handlebars of her rusty old bicycle, a young boy holding a bag sitting on the rack behind her. She bumped over the uneven dust road as she had since leaving her clinic in Sumpini, a tiny village in the province of West Gonja. As a gust of wind from the tail-end of the Harmattan lifted the edge of her linen skirt, the woman made a sharp turn to ride down a footpath towards a thatch hut in the centre of a sickly-looking crop of early season millet. The bike fishtailed slightly as the boy leaned over, letting the very ends of his fingertips brush the bumpy heads of the stalks. As they approached the house, a woman wearing an old t-shirt and a dusty but richly coloured sarong stepped out, her hand held over her brow as she watched the other woman dismount the bicycle after the boy.
'I'm glad you could come, dɔketa.'
Grabbing the clunky bag from the boy, the doctor simply nodded before walking up to the other woman. The boy sat down in the shade of the house, his knees held to his chest as he listened to the screaming coming from the house. Seemingly unfazed, he picked up a piece of millet and began pulling the seed off of it.
'Kwaku,' said the older woman as she looked longways at the boy. 'Fetch some water for Ama.'
'Where is she?' asked the visitor shortly.
'In the back room,' the Ghanaian woman replied, gesturing to the inside of the house and letting the doctor pass her.
Inside of the house, the temperature dropped a good fifteen degrees, and before going into the back room, the doctor paused to take off her hijab, letting her dark hair down for only a moment before tying it back with an elastic. Unbuttoning the top few buttons of her jilbab, she picked up her bag again and with another nod to the other woman, followed her to the source of the screaming.
'We sent Kwaku as soon as her waters broke,' the woman said in a hushed voice as she pushed the door open to a small bedroom. Two other women were crowded around a girl who was sweating profusely.
The doctor, never one for conversation, took a few steps toward the girl, bending down to pull her legs farther apart to take a good look at her vagina once she noticed the dirt floor under the woman had already turned into ruddy mud. Speaking quick Twi to the other women around her, the doctor pulled latex gloves from her bag and snapped them on.
'Hold her legs; press them toward her chest.'
The first wife of Kwame, the woman who had let the doctor in, scuttled from the room and gathered a bucket of water from the second wife's only son Kwaku. When she came back in, she took the old bucket of water sitting between the second wife and the teenager who was giving birth, his third wife. On the other side, the girl's mother held her hand, and a moment later, the second wife was dabbing at the third wife's forehead.
'Pia,' said the doctor calmly, and the girl gritted her teeth as she pushed. After a few more solid pushes, the baby crowned and the doctor slipped her fingers between the baby's head and the vagina to coax up the skin, which was scarred by the female circumcision that Ama had received in her childhood. 'Almost there.'
A minute later, the baby's head popped out sending a gush of fluid onto the ground. Ama visibly relaxed as the doctor helped pull the baby's shoulder out, and within a couple of minutes, the baby was wrapped in a kente cloth and handed to the second wife, who quickly got to work cleaning the baby with the fresh water. As the women worked, the doctor delivered the placenta and handed it to the first wife before digging through her bag and pulling out her scissors and some thread to disconnect the baby from the placenta. Once she finished, the first wife took the placenta to another room where the father awaited.
'Berimba,' murmured Ama's mother as she looked at her grandson, who laid squealing in the second wife's arms. Ama smiled exhaustedly.
With a small smile on her face, the doctor took a needle and rubbed it with an alcohol patch before smearing iodine on the new mother's perineal area and sewing her up. Ama hissed a few times in pain, but the doctor had always been quick with stitching and made all attempts to keep it a non-event.
Once her job was done, the doctor walked out into the hall and looked down to see the local witch doctor picking through the placenta, examining the bloody hunk. She watched from a distance for a moment before the father noticed her and walked toward her, pressing his hand to her back as he brought her back to the front room. He averted his eyes until she had placed her hijab back on her head.
'Meda ase, dɔketa,' he said with a smile when he turned back.
'It's my job,' she answered quite matter of factly, snapping her gloves off and placing them in a Ziploc in her bag. 'I'm sure you're proud to have another son.'
The man nodded before giving her a concerned look. 'You have some blood on your face, doctor.'
She furrowed her brow before reaching up and brushing her fingertips to her upper lip, pulling them from her face to look at the bright blood that suddenly started gushing from both nostrils. Blinking, she dropped her bag before staring blankly at Kwame, who reached out to grab her arm as she crumpled to the ground, her eyes rolling back in her head. As her body began to spasm, he pinned her down, soon joined by his first wife, who threw herself over the doctor, pressing her hands on the younger woman's shoulders.
'Kwaku!' Kwame screamed, and the boy came down the hall. 'Take the doctor's bicycle and go into Sumpini; tell Anna to call the hospital in Kumasi.'
The boy, a look of terror on his face, ran past the three adults as the first wife dumped out the doctor's bag and picked through the contents, finding an orange bottle and twisting it open as her husband held the doctor down. Reading the bottle in a panic, she tipped the doctor's head back and snapped the end of a plastic ampoule off before squeezing drops into the doctor's nose and holding her breath as the doctor's seizures stopped slowly, leaving the woman lying motionlessly as a drop of blood ran down the side of her mouth. The first wife leaned over her, pressing the woman's hair back from her face as she looked her in the eyes.
'Are you all right?' she asked as the doctor stared blankly at the ceiling. 'Can you hear me, Dr Chase?'