Driving Miss Crazy – Episode 2
“What has been happening to your daughter can actually be explained, Chief Briggs. These episodes are called epileptic seizures.”
There were four occupants in the room and only one was in a white ward coat. A plaque on the table before him declared him to be Dr Emmanuel Ochijele, Consultant Neurologist. A variety of awards and special recognitions were framed and hung on the white wall bheind him, declaring his competency in his area of expertise. It was only to be expected; nothing but the best could be allowed to cater for the oil tycoon’s family.
The doctor’s office was cool, air-conditioned air swirling around the occupants of the room, and yet, Chief Hanson Briggs was sweating. He mopped at his pudgy face with an already soaked handkerchief, throwing a worried look at his daughter, Preye, who was sitting, slouched between him and his wife. As the doctor droned on in a soothing voice, Mrs Priscilla Briggs fussed over her daughter, causing the young lady to throw a few glares in her direction.
“Epilepsy?” there was dread in Chief Brigg’s voice. “How can a child of mine be epileptic?”
“Gee, sorry dad for being such a problem to you. An epileptic child. The dishonour to the great Briggs name, oh no!” Preye’s voice was heavy with unveiled sarcasm, hiding the true hurt bheind her words. The chief sighed aloud and ignored his daughter’s rude tone, used to her caustic tongue.
“Preye, you’re not epileptic in Jesus name. Reject it.” Mrs Priscilla Briggs chimed in, throwing a challenging look at the doctor as she tried to grip Preye’s hand. The young lady pulled her hand away crossly.
The Chief ignored his wife as well, and addressed the doctor. “Preye has never had any seizures before now, but in just two weeks, it happened thrice! What’s the cause of this?”
The doctor sighed. “To be frank, Chief Briggs, we can’t really tell.” He patted a folder on the table. “In here are your daughter’s MRI scan results and they show nothing obvious we can pinpoint as the cause of the onset of these seizures. But I have to ask, have there been any history of epilepsy in your family?”
“God forbid!” Mrs Priscilla Briggs interjected again. “There has never been epilepsy in my family and there never will be, in Jesus…”
“Be quiet, Priscilla.” Chief Briggs growled. “This is not the place for your usual dramatics. Please, bheave.” He turned to the doctor. “I seem to recall a grand-aunt of mine being known for having seizures, but in the village they claimed she was seeing visions and revered her as a prophetess of some sort…”
“I come against any ancestral covenant placed on my child….!”
It was Preye’s mother again, launching into a loud prayer on bhealf of her daughter, who seemed exasperated by her mother’s antics. But it was the last straw for the young lady’s father.
“That’s it!” Chief Briggs raised his voice and pointed a finger at his wife. “One more peep out of you, and you’ll wait out the rest of this consultation outside this office. Is that clear?”
Mrs Priscilla Brigg’s prayers trailed off and she frowned sullenly, but years of being subservient to her forceful husband prevented her from defying him,
The doctor, who had successfully hidden his amusement, continued speaking. “With evidence of epilepsy in the family, I’m afraid we can’t expect these seizures to just go away, sir. of course I would recommend a second opinion, or even better, you could fly your daughter out of the country for a more detailed diagnosis and better treatment.”
Preye frowned. “Fly where? Dad, I’m not going anywhere o.”
“I haven’t said you are. The doctor is just suggesting…”
“You guys can suggest whatever.” Preye interrupted her father rudely. “But I, Preye Briggs, am not going anywhere until I finish my one-year internship as a journalist in this country. Dad, you insisted I suffer through a federal university and further insisted i carry out the internship here. I have just four months to go, so I have no intention of letting six months of grunt-work go down the drain just like that. after I’m done…then, and only then, will I leave this country and never return to this hellhole. But for now, I’m not going nowhere.”
There was a brief silence as her words roiled around the office. To the doctor’s surprise, the young lady’s parents did not rebuke her for her obstinacy.
“What can we do for now, Doctor?” Chief Briggs asked. He avoided looking at his daughter. “The drugs your clinic prescribed seem to be working so far, so can she stay on those for now?”
The doctor hesitated. “The medicine regulates brain activity, and I think it will suffice for a while, but I highly recommend further, more intricate encephalic tests and brain scans to find a more permanent solution to the seizures.”
“As long as I take these drugs, I won’t have any seizures, right?” Preye asked.
“You should be okay.” The doctor affirmed. “As long as you take your drugs religiously.”
“And pray, of course.” Mrs Priscilla Briggs added, ignoring her husband and daughter’s annoyed glares.
The doctor kept his feelings well hidden, but in his head he wondered at the weird dynamic of the family before him. A wealthy, powerful man, and an overly spiritual wife, both of whom seemed afraid to upset their obstinate child. He only hoped he would not be seeing them too often. the chief’s financial patronage was always welcome, but Preye Briggs was a handful to deal with. Her one-week stay in the private clinic had been a trial for even the most patient of the hospital staff. They were all glad to see her go.
For his sake as well as that of the Briggs, the neurologist took a cue from Mrs Priscilla Briggs and sent a silent, fervent prayer up to heaven.
Lord, let her not have any more seizures. So we can all have peace of mind.
There was little friction on the ride back to the Briggs home, until the Chief managed to touch a sore spot.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you drive for now.”
He sounded almost apologetic, but Preye was having none of it.
“Dad, what do you mean? How will I get to work every day? I’ve already missed almost two weeks of work because of this…this… seizure thing. Besides as long as I take my drugs, I’ll be fine.”
Inspiration hit the Chief. “I suppose we can always hire a driver for you…”
“I don’t trust anybody to drive my car, you know that!” Preye whined. She actually stomped her feet in annoyance. “No, I won’t allow it!”
The Chief’s expression hardened. “Don’t mistake my indulgence for weakness, Preye. You will not risk a seizure while driving again. I will hire a driver for you. End of discussion.”
Preye fumed quietly. She knew her father well enough to know that when he put his foot down in that manner, nothing would move him. Preye’s mother, seated beside her, tried to drape a soothing hand over her shoulders, but the angry young lady petulantly pushed the arm away.
She stared out the window and refused to talk all the way home. Her hands tightened into fists and her jaw was clenched.
She could hardly wait to meet whoever they hired to drive her precious jeep. She would make his life hell on earth.