THE SUMMER of 2006: Dr Ashewo

In the first half of this post published in September ( I told you about the unexplainable fainting spells I used to have and how one of my mum’s friends suggested I see a ‘prophet’, as there seemed to be no medical explanation. Needless to say, the prophet was useless…just as I had prophesied.

As a result of the his incompetence, I found myself in an EXPENSIVE clinic, sat opposite a well respected doctor of Nigerian heritage who is also friends with my mother. 

‘What’s wrong with your daughter?’

‘I don’t know doctor. Na so so faint she just dey faint. She has seen a number of doctors on the NHS and no one’s been able to come up with a diagnosis.’

‘My dear, how do you feel just before you pass out?’

‘One minute I feel normal and the next, I feel lightheaded,’ I whispered.

‘Speak up, I can’t hear what you’re saying!’

Bear in mind that on top of this strange ailment that was plaguing me, I was also contending with the worse bout of hay fever I’ve ever had. My head was constantly pounding, my eyes were permanently red and watery and my nostrils had been made redundant by my blocked nasal cavity. I also had to endure the shame of walking the streets looking a hot mess.

 Having red itchy eyes meant I had to ditch my contact lenses for my 5 year old glasses. I didn’t have the energy to fuss over my hair or dress up. I looked like a tramp. Really.

I was weak, frustrated and irritable. Sensing my mood, my mother echoed my earlier response.

N a wa o, this your pikin no fit talk?!’

I couldn’t guarantee that my response would be polite so I ignored his comment.

He ran a series of tests and after asking further questions about my personal life, he concluded that it was most likely a result of stress.

‘All you need is rest. You’ll be fine.’

Turns out he was right. After a week off work, I felt brand new.  My first day back in the office, I was told by HR that I’d have to get a sick note from the doctor and so I found myself sitting opposite that well respected doctor again.

When I first walked into his office, he didn’t recognise me. The glasses and red eyes had been replaced by grey contacts. Gone were the ill-fitting trousers and hideous jumper; I was wearing a pretty summer dress. The previously matted hair had morphed into a sea of flowing locks. My flawless (excuse the vanity) skin was enhanced by my best friend, MAC NW45 Studio Tech. I looked more than alright.

‘Ahn, aren’t you Tee’s daughter?!’ he said in amazement.

You should have seen his face. I would have picked his chin off the floor but I didn’t want the saliva dripping from his mouth to collide with my perfectly manicured nails.

‘Yes sir I am.’

‘Sit down my dear,’ he said, eyes gleaming like 20 carat diamonds. ‘You girls of nowadays are bad! The other day because your mother was here you were dressing like Mary Amaka. Now she’s not here you want to confuse all the men in London?!’

I stared at him in shock. Surely he didn’t just say that to me?! I smiled like an idiot. I needed that sick note.

After handing over the note, he pulled out a business card from his pocket and scribbled something on it. ‘I’m going on holiday in a few days with my family but when I get back, I’d like to take you out to dinner. I’ve written down my private number, call that one, no one else answers that phone.’

I couldn’t believe my ears.

‘Oh and when you’re coming to dinner don’t wear that your Mary Amaka dress o, dress the way you are dressed today.’

There were so many things I wanted to say to the well respected doctor who is also friends with my mother, but when I opened my mouth, all that came out was, ‘yes sir.’

If only I could turn back the hands of time.




  1. Hmmm,why does this doctor sound like an uncle of mine with whom I share my last name.he’s apparently the doc of choice(outside the nhs) for nigerians in obodo ibo.


  2. I know four famous Nigerian doctors in jand, one of whom I’m related to. Thinking about it, I don’t know why we didn’t use him. hmn.
    Let’s just pray it’s not your Uncle. I’d tell you his last name but… 🙂


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