For A Heroine: Dr Ameyo Adadevoh

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By Tomi Fajolu

A lot has been said, I need say no more till I was urged by my brother (Mayowa) to give a personal account on the life of my Guardian Angel, Dr Ameyo Adadevoh.

Dr Adadevoh and her sister Dr Ama Soleye

We all know the antecedents, and it is no surprise considering how humanitarian her heritage is. Like the saying goes, an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. However putting heritage aside and the global accolades for her act of bravery and true professionalism: Who was the woman Dr Adadevoh? Who was she before all this? What were her routines? How did she go about her business handling patients on a daily?

Here’s an account. In over 25years as a regular Dr Adadevoh patient, a summary in ten volumes of big gigantic books wouldn’t be enough so I’ll endeavor to pick out just the very memorable moments in the Doctor – Patient relationship. I can’t just refer to her as my Doctor, because she was much more. She was a Doctor, mother and teacher.

As her patient, I learned one of my most important skills which comes second only to faith and the magnificent Grace of God. She inadvertently always said think positively, but this subtle yet simple words stamped in my DNA a survival code I’ll attribute to my still being alive. Dr Adadevoh, most likely, unknowingly and intuitively taught me that the power of life and death is in the mind.

Believe it or not, I recovered many times from just seeing her smile. On the eve of my bar exams I fell terribly ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. Arriving at about 1am I was put on pain killers and medications. We had become so fond of each other and I knew I was a special patient to her not because I had some big bucks to throw around but because we had gone through so much together and she had seen me come out so many times unscathed. She had laid down instructions when it came to Tomi. “Once Tomi is around call me regardless of the time” was a rule everyone in the hospital had to comply with. She was called at about 2am and they received instructions as to the particular dose of drip or medication that had to be administered. I had given up on even making an attempt at the bar finals. The next morning, before my eyes opened I could hear someone speak with a loud voice as she called out my name. She was there with a smile and asked “how do you feel?” then whispered into my ears that she had seen me overcome far greater bouts and she believed my will could overcome the way I was feeling . I picked up my cell phone and called my friends who were going to write the exams to pick me up from the hospital. My parents couldn’t know this at least not immediately as they would have disagreed. I got dressed and with a canular still strapped to my right arm, I got into the car with the hospital’s best nurses and headed to the Nigerian Law school. I ended up not finishing any of my papers due to constraints of writing such an exam in pain but I was proud of myself: I did put in my best.

With her son, Bankole Cardoso.

Another memorable experience where she made all the difference was when my blood haemoglobin went ridiculously low. I could feel myself slipping into a coma as raising even an arm was difficult. A- is the most uncommon blood type and I don’t know if that is still the case but with due normal protocol that kind of blood couldn’t be found after three days. She walked in and promised me I’ll get it before dawn and that she was going to go and hunt for it herself. She wasn’t leaving it to normal work protocol anymore. She was ready to make the extra move before she left that evening to get the blood type. Her last words were “Stay alive with a smile. Keep being the champion I know you are.” I woke up the next morning feeling terribly warm, and strapped to my arm was a blood transfusion. How she did it I don’t know, but before she got it, it was reported that no single hospital had access to it and there would have been no access for about a week.

She was there all five times I had to battle pneumonia. When I had my car accident she told me not to fret and that I would walk again.

How could I forget when I was in secondary school and was bullied by terrible seniors for attending the parties their girlfriends organized? My sides were slammed with iron sharp ends of lockers. This ruptured my right kidney causing me to urinate blood with clots. It was serious and she personally made queries to the school, going all out. To all who knew me, I had two Mothers.

She was amongst the 15 few people my Mother deemed fit to invite for an exclusive 60th birthday dinner party. I saw her a few times after that but we didn’t sit down to gist as much as we usually would because I had to rush back to work. Normally patients would sit outside and we could keep talking for so long that we actually forget she was at work.

Then the week the Ebola Virus was unleashed, I thought of going to see Dr Adadevoh. It was almost like something was pushing me to go and say a final goodbye, but I didn’t obey that instinct. I regret it. A few days later I got a broadcast about keeping away from First Consultants (the hospital) and I immediately called one of the nurses. She told me there was no point coming as I won’t be allowed in and all other patients had been discharged. I was scared. I spoke to my Mom about it and she sent a text knowing she might not be in the right shape to talk. She responded that she was good and God was in control and we were all calm. Next thing, her phones went off and at the time there were rumors that she was in quarantine. Then there were other rumors that she was discharged from quarantine and then the news that she was dead which was the news I really prayed was a rumor. I observed a lot of people simultaneously messaging me and asking about her. My responses immediately gave them a hint that I wasn’t aware and none of them wanted to be the first to break such news knowing how dear she was to me. Then the phone rang and a colleague at work asked if it was true. I was puzzled. She went further and asked “You don’t know?” and I told her I wasn’t aware of any such news. I immediately jumped on Twitter and saw a few tweets related to the phone call I had just received. I called a few nurses and no one sounded certain.

I knew the only way to confirm was to watch the Channels news at 10pm. The usual headline flash didn’t say anything and they went on with the normal news. As it started came the Ebola breaking news announcing her death. They put up her picture. That was my beloved Dr Adadevoh. I would never see that smile again.

A Doctor who made falling ill seem like not such a bad idea. Anyone would willingly want to fall ill if it meant having Dr Adadevoh’s attention. Yes! She was that good. When you look forward to ward rounds, the Doctor is definitely doing something right.

A day before her death I tried to sneak out of work early but was saddled with too much work . My intention was to go to the Isolation center, tip who I could and then see her even if it was from a distance. I just wanted to give her numerous reasons why she couldn’t die as we had so many agreements- one of which was that she would sit on my wedding high table and see my kids .

It wasn’t about the survival codes she taught me or the other patients. To her she had achieved her sole aim as a Doctor by doing her job and rescuing the country from a viral epidemic.

Dr Adadevoh,

You are my jewel, my gem, my guardian angel. I will never ever forget you. Though you didn’t get to meet my kids or wife, I will tell of your stories to my dying days because you’re the stuff heroines are made of.

Pictures courtesy of The Scoop NG

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