TINNITUS: that sound you hear when the school bell comes to live in your ear

SPLASH! SPLASH!!!…..the splashing sounds do not end before they are followed by another. Bathing takes less than 30seconds and I race back to my room. Crikrrrrrkrrrr,my teeth clatter as I run back. My tummy rumbles..GRRR.

“Easy stomach,eassyyyyyy”, I mutter as I sit down to put on my underpants. I feel more nauseous than I did yesterday.The ringing sounds in both ears haven’t stopped yet.

Is it just me, or does every sound have an echo to it. Its either I’m very sick or I’m mutating and will soon be part of the x-men. I notice that I can hear the crickets chirping loudly. Well,they must be overjoyed about something to make all this noise in broad daylight. I’m glad my head doesn’t hurt so much.

A mosquito flies by my ear making that annoying droning sound. I slap the mosquito hard..KPAH!. Then I wipe my hands on the wall.
“BLOODY FOOL”,I mutter, no pun intended. I chuckle and spray some perfume on my once bloody hand. The slap has made my ears ring louder. I struggle to put on my tight shorts which is bursting at its seams.

“AUNTY,WAKE UP!!, YOU PROMISED ME ICE CREAM AT 3!!, The ringing had started yesterday afternoon after my little neighbor jumped on my sleeping form and yelled about me keeping my promise to her. I thought the ringing would go in about 30minutes but its still there. I have also developed a headache and nausea.

It rings louder as I struggle to my feet. The ants have joined in the cacophony,I hear them crawling. CRUNCH!, the soldier ant in charge breaks off a wing from the cockroach in the corner.
LAZY DRONES,CARRY OFF ALL THE FOOD!, he screams. I shake my head violently. Did I just hear that? Locking my door, I walk out of the dirt path leading from my house to the tarred road.

I hear the drops before I feel them….before i see them. Through my haze,hands drag me off the tarred street. A bike zooms past, blaring its horn for all it is worth.

“Pour am anoda water”, a masculine voice says.
Thirty more drops. I know how many they are, the world has slowed down and I can hear each drop as it lands.
I struggled feebly with the hands gripping me.

The air around me smells damp,nay, smells like a mixture…a mixture of body odour,baby poo and the cloying odour of cheap cologne.
I sniff again, not because I’m enjoying the smell around me. I need to take control of the situation ,to employ all my senses.

Again, I struggle with the person holding up my sagging shoulders. Who was the mad person ringing their bicycle bell near me? Hey,HEY!! Stop talking all of you!,I scream somewhere in my mind. I can hear it in my soul.

I open my eyes, open them to five sets of eyes, staring, asking silent questions. My landlady is there and she helps me get on a bike. Ten minutes later, we arrive at the clinic and wait in line to see the doctor.

Time passes slowly…TICK TOCK! TICk TOCK!! I can hear the seconds hand of the clock moving.tick, tick, tick. I count to sixty,and I start again as it makes a fresh circuit.
BrRrrrrrrrrrrr(bells ringing)….TICK TOCK! TICK TOCK!!
BUZZ!!!, CRUNCH!, drrrr drrr brrr#sound of pen on paper#. Brrrrrrrrrr. At this point I pray to be stuck deaf.To others around there is no noise.
To me a rock band comprising of ants,clocks,doors and pens is making its greatest hit. Oh! Let’s not forget the bell that could,he’s the band leader.

It’s finally my turn:
questions,medical terms, irrelevant facts…..bla bla (I’m almost asleep from the long discussion with the doctor)….finally, he pinpoints the problem #cheers#.

“Well, it seems you have a B complex deficiency”, the doctor says. I look at him like he’s insane.
He explains how the lack of this vitamin can cause severe illness and damage to the body. I nod in all the right places and pretend to listen. His voice is so loud he might have been using a megaphone.
“Your body needs this vitamin. Its either we inject it into you or you change your diet”

I’m absolutely terrified of shots, so I hastily agree to change my diet. A huge chart is drawn up with food classes and what I need to eat. Proteins,more proteins and oh let me not forget PROTEINS and veggies.

I fake smile my way out of the hospital,clutching a hospital bag laden with supplements and loads of b complex tablets. Halfway home, I mentally calculate how much money I have…hmmm.lemme see. 500naira in the bank. 200naira at home.
I decide it won’t be enough for a change in diet. So I give up that thought. Let’s try the tablets with plenty carbohydrates.

The ice cream truck is passing by and belting out tunes. I ignore the LOUD melody echoing in my head. I get myself a strawberry wafer ice cream and buy one for my neighbour. My head will have to be a bell tower till I’m paid my salary.



  1. Sickness toh badt!!!
    First I didn’t understand it…(hoping that I even do now). You can sha like to be awarded the Wole Soyinka prize for literary composition.


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