Charles Oloo was one of those people who slowly grew on you. The more I came to know him, the more I was convinced that he was a likeable rogue. Somehow, his prosperity seemed to be connected to the operations I carried out on members of his family.
I am not implying that people should undergo surgery by me if they want to prosper materially! However, the coincidence in Oloo’s case was uncanny. When I circumcised his firstborn, he was promoted to a senior position in the Ministry of Health.
By the time I repaired an umbilical hernia on his daughter, he had launched a grocery business in Pangani. He, however, kept his job following the Ndegwa Commission’s Report that allowed government employees to have other sources of income.
“But how can you manage two fulltime jobs?” I asked. “Simple,” he said, “I have invested in two jackets. One stays on the back of my chair in the office at the ministry and the other stays on my back!”
In the case of the third child, Oloo wanted her ears pierced. That brought luck too because, that year, he opened another branch and resigned from his job. “I realise that we cannot and should not serve two masters,” he said.
One fine morning, he stood beside me pointing at a car as we stood looking out of the window of my office. It was his wife’s car and now they were a two-car family.
“But to maintain that lifestyle, I have decided to limit my family. By the grace of God and with the help of Liz, my wife, I have produced three children — two girls and a boy. It is time we closed shop,” he said.
I explained to him the two methods of permanent sterilisation. “I can ask a gynaecologist to tie Liz’s tubes or I can tie your vasa.”
Without the slightest hesitation, he opted for the former. “I don’t trust a knife anywhere near my vital anatomy,” he said. Much as I tried, I could not shake him of his fear that a vasectomy would make him impotent.
I, therefore, referred his wife to my gynaecological colleague and all was well for a couple of years until Oloo sat in front of me one day making a strange request. “I would like to undergo a vasectomy,” he said. “But your wife has had her tubes tied, so you don’t need to have your vasa ligated,” I explained. “It is better to be doubly sure,” Oloo said with an impish look on his face. I consulted widely and found that there was no legal restriction against it. Consequently, I carried out a vasectomy.
Over the years, I saw Oloo become very wealthy. The bottom of his trousers went from broad to narrow and then back to medium broad and no turn-ups. The lapels of his jackets changed their width and their tapering. The number of buttons varied from two to three and from single-breast to double-breast.
One day, out of the blue, he rang me: “Doc, I wonder if you can do me a favour.” Before I could reply he continued, “A certain lady will want some medical details about me. Please disclose them to her without any reservations. You have my authority to do so.” “What’s it all about?” I asked.
“Don’t ask me, Doc,” he pleaded. “I’m not asking you to do anything illegal. If you divulge all the details that this lady will demand to know, you will, literally, let me off the hook.”
Three days later, Alice was sitting in front of me. “What can I do for you?” I asked. “I understand from Mr Oloo that you carried out a surgical operation on him.” “That’s true. Usually these matters are strictly confidential,” I explained, “but in this particular case, Oloo has given me permission to let you have the necessary information.” I paused for some reaction, but there was none. “He underwent a vasectomy.” I dropped what I thought must have been a bombshell for Alice. By now, I had guessed the situation.
“It means that the tubes that conduct his sperm from inside his body to the outside are tied and, as a result, he cannot sire a child.” “There cannot be any slip-ups in surgery?” she asked. “Not if I have done it.” I could not hide my irritation at someone doubting my competence. “We always do a semen analysis three months after surgery,” I added. “In Oloo’s case it was reported as ‘no sperm present.’”
“Good day,” Alice said, “you have been very frank.” “What’s it all about?” “Never mind,” Alice replied curtly. “
A week later, Oloo was in my office. He has a way with women and could always get my secretary around to fitting him in between patients, even when the appointment list was tight.
“Thank you for the surgery you carried out on me and also for informing Alice about it,” he said with a broad grin on his face. “Can you please tell me what it is all about?” I said. “I’m tired of this hide-and-seek game,” I feigned slight annoyance. “You know,” he said.
“Alice thought she had me in her clutches and decided to palm me off with her unborn child. So, when she tried to place the paternity of that child at my door, I came clean. I could not be the father because I had undergone a sterilisation operation. She wouldn’t believe it so I had to refer her to the maestro who had made it all possible.”
“I am sorry you involved me in all this. Alice has all my sympathies,” I said. “Don’t be sorry, Doc,” he comforted me. “This young flashy, fun-loving lass is a gold digger who saw my thick wallet and decided I would be the father of her child. She thought that I was a good catch but she picked the wrong one this time. She didn’t reckon that I cannot father a child, thanks to your subtle scalpel.” As if to comfort me for my inadvertent role in this drama, he added.
“Anyway, she has got a few puppets at the end of her string. If I am sterilised and she is pregnant, the inference is clear: she is obviously double-crossing me and another sucker too. I’m sure some poor beggar will succumb to her vile designs.”
He then gripped my hand tight as he got up to go. “Thank you for carrying out that operation and leaving no tell-tale scars behind. Those invisible scars are a big advantage to me and quite deceptive to the other party!”