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The Price of Love BY …Kipazze Madaki

The Price of Love BY …Kipazze Madaki

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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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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