Waiting was a game that we learnt early in medical school, and wait we did. For even though we finished our second MB in May/June 1997, we did not resume to school until October 1997. This was for a stop gap session in which out of compassion, the Faculty allowed us back to school to start preliminary lectures before we commenced the real clinical period. This we termed “Jele osinmi”.
All along our journey, we lost and gained people through repetitions and school exchange. Yet every single person added to our allure as a class set and imbued us with their wealth of character. A set joined us from LAUTECH due to accreditation issues and it was a pleasure to welcome them to the fold. We commenced our journey into the clinicals in January 1998. It was euphoric for us to wear actual ward coats. Ladies and gents would often be seen hanging coats over shoulders and steths over their necks as a way to say “please, been in the hospital and I know stuff”.
We were the kings and queens of Moremi, Awolowo and Fajuyi. The medical floor was sought after, distinguished but not void of the usual drama that you would find in the halls of residence of Great Ife. We sailed through our clinical postings, getting the first glimpse of MSS, struggling to grapple with suffering and tragedy. But we were buoyed by the hope when disease was cured, tumors removed and health regained.
Part 4 in the hospital also afforded us a glimpse into what our future looked like. While on one part it was cheery to see the consultants, registrars and doctors moving stuff, it was also a bit daunting. Counting even more years ahead on the road to getting there and to witness the lashing of house officers on rounds was quite traumatic. It gave us pause, “this is what I signed up for”.
It was during our set in Medical school that it became compulsory to pass the Junior clinical examinations. We lost a number of our colleagues to this rule as they had to repeat the class. We commenced our penultimate year, part 5, in January 1999. There was a 4-month strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors that derailed our postings. We were however able to resume postings after this. But on the 10th of July 1999, a horrible massacre, which led to the death of 5 students left us all in shock.
Cultists invaded OAU, a school known and respected for its staunch anti-cultism stand. Little wonder that in the confusion and pain that followed, we spent numerous months at home. Part 5 lasted till April 2000. The experience of the massacre haunted us, especially because we also lost a colleague, a medical student. It really could have been anyone, we were subdued but we carried on.
Part 5 opened us up to the likes of paediatrics, running along the corridors to get blood, giving blood to save a young child’s life. The joy on the faces of parents who had given up hope. Drama in the labour ward of obstructed labor and husbands refusing to sign consent or women refusing lifesaving surgery for religious reasons. It was interesting to see the skin lesions that we had only hitherto read about and gratifying to move stuff and be applauded for it. It was equally unnerving to be dragged on account of moving spurious, purulent or no stuff at all.
Part 5 also moved most out of the university into other halls of residence like glory land, which was practically an outpost at this time. People like Pastee would carry shoes so that he could appear at the rounds immaculate after wading through mud. The other residence was Oremeji. We had fun bonding, forming lasting friendships and having a jolly good time.
We commenced our final year, part 6 in April 2000. Then the unthinkable happened.
©Boladale Mapayi 2021(Dates provided by Bunmi Lawal and other members of the Reunion committee)
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