…Still on being a medical Doctor as a Rev. Sr
By Mercy Hill
In the course of the admission being delayed, I was sent to a school in Okigwe to work with a Reverend Sister that was managing a secondary school. On reaching to Okigwe, His Lordship, Most Rev. Anthony Ilonu, Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, trusted me by making me his confidential Secretary. I did it for four years.
As a confidential secretary to the Bishop, my ideas of becoming a Rev. Sister gained momentum having earlier thought of leaving the sisterhood. The sincerity and exposure the job gave me in working with matured people convinced more of continuing my vocation. I think many of my achievements in life should be attributed to the bishop because of how he relates with those working with him and what I learned doing my job.
After working with the Bishop
I was sent to Umulogo Obowu in the same Okigwe Diocese. There, I was attached to a hospital. It was there that the Mother General suggested I retake JAMB to apply for medicine. Though I had wanted to study chemical engineering, I took up what Mother said and applied for medicine.
After writing JAMB in the 2001/2002 academic session, I scored 265 and got admission on merit at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The admission was a pointer for me to the fact that God wants me to be a medical doctor. Overcoming the hurdles of blood was also another thought that raised my concern. How the phobia for blood disappeared is what I cannot tell.
After gaining admission then, the new Mother General called me in 2002 and said I should change to Chemistry education because she felt that was what they needed. But she later allowed me to continue with medicine when they were advised.
My biological mother who has always stood by me sacrificed all her savings to enable me get a befitting accommodation to avoid disturbance from lodge mates. She took me to her back of our house where she kept a container for her savings and gave me all that was in it.
She told me to pay for my accommodation with the money, that she had heard my cries during our morning devotion of getting a befitting lodge. Even when I wanted to return the money after I must have gotten, she refused to take it back.
In the University
In the university, I had a problem of mixing up because I never wanted people to know that I was studying Medicine. Whenever they asked, I will tell them I was studying chemistry. I was so scared as I lived my three years in fear because I needed to still do my final vow before I can be satisfied as Reverend Sister. The fear kept me hiding.
Even though they didn’t know that I was not studying the chemistry, I was encouraged by my former Superior to move on with medicine because she believed that the Church needs a doctor. So, in 2003 when we were at our three-month preparatory stage for our final vow, I told myself the fear needed to be rid of, that I wouldn’t go into my final vows with hide and seek.
So, I summoned courage to tell the Mother Superior of the course I was study. I thought to myself: either ways, it’s expulsion or acceptance. When I told her of how I disobeyed her to study medicine, I expected her to say why? Rather she said: “Good!” She told me she didn’t even remember when she told me to study chemistry education.
My Final Vow, United States, and UK…
I was denied my final vow in 2002 for no reason. I eventually did it afterwards in 2003 and finished my medical school.
In my fifth year in the medical school, I was among the best during President Yaradua’s tenure. They sent us to United States (US) for six months in 2007. I studied in Brooklyn, New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn and New York University Hospital free of charge sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
I was about to be retained for doing well after finishing but the Mother General at the time decided I should come home. I came back and switched off the intention of studying emergency medicine as I had wanted to because emergency medicine was not studied in Nigeria.
When we came-back, we went to have a presidential handshake with the president, where I pleaded with him to run our housemanship at the National Hospital. He agreed and said provided we passed the intake examination, that we would definitely get access to work in the national hospital. They took our records.
In our final MBA, I came out as one of the best 10 students in the university. This gave me an opportunity to run my house manship automatically in my university of study but because I had interest to run it at the national hospital, I wrote the intake exams, and I was successfully.
We were accepted and I did my house job at the National Hospital. From the five of us that did the house job at the national hospital, I am the only person that did not relocate to the States, and I have no regrets about it. I am happy I did not go back to the US.
When I finished my house job at the National Hospital Abuja, I did well, and I was retained. I told them I wanted to study Emergency Medicine. I was sent to United Kingdom so as to have certificate in Emergency Medicine. It made them open an emergency unit at the national hospital. I was part of the first people used.
I was absorbed in 2010 and worked for 2 years. December 25, 2011 was when the bomb blast at St Theresa’s Catholic Church at Madala, Suleja, Abuja, happened. During that time, I was the only medical doctor in the emergency unit. I had wanted to go home before I was informed by the security man that they are bringing patients from Suleja as a result of the bomb blast.
I did not attend mass that December 25 because of many patients. I had to use cleaners and security to aid me in saving of lives because the patients were many. Some doctors came back the following day but before they could return, I had already put lime and done x-ray on many patients.
Finally, we thank God, as there was no life lost by those affected by the bomb blast at Madala brought to the national hospital, Abuja.
To be continued…