A Week In The Life: The Medical Doctor Curing Programming Bugs

November 3, 2020

“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.

The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is a Medical doctor. He talks about the worst year of his medical career, how Nigeria kills dreams, and why he’s aggressively learning to code.


I wake up by 5:30 a.m. because I have to pray and get ready for work. I like to get to work early because punctuality is a virtue. After prayers,, I scroll through messages on my phone to see if I missed anything from the night before. I reply to a few messages, then I go through the ritual of brushing, bathing and general grooming, and I’m ready for the day.

I work as a doctor in a small private clinic. When I resume at the hospital, the doctor on the night shift hands over a patient that was on admission over the night. I introduce myself and go over the treatment plan. There is no other patient on admission, so I sit and wait for outpatients. I’m grateful for this job because I don’t see more than 5 – 10 patients in a day. It’s rare, as a doctor, to do a job that gives you free time. 

Thankfully, I’m with my laptop, so I decide to write some code. I inform the nurse that I’ll be in the doctor’s room if she needs me, and my day really begins.


The residency program for doctors in this country is crap. I considered doing residency and even wrote the first qualifying exam, but thank goodness I noticed a trend that changed my orientation on time. 

A few months ago, each unit had ten doctors, and even that wasn’t enough. But now, you have one doctor doing the work of ten people. So you realise that the person is overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. This is quite discouraging. 

I still think that my house job year was one of the worst years of my life because it was a really long year. There were days I thought I was going to die because of the workload. I don’t consider myself a lazy person, but it was overwhelming even for me. It was just too much work. 

I’ll never forget a weekend call that broke me. Typical weekend calls last for 48 hrs — you resume at 8 a.m. on Saturday and leave the hospital by 4 p.m. on Monday. I remember that I was in one extremely stressful unit and by 9 p.m. on Monday, we hadn’t left the hospital. I’ll never forget thinking I was going to die as we moved to the last patient. My eyes were closing as I struggled to keep up with my senior colleagues. At one point, I didn’t even realise I had started swaying until I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was an elderly matron who had noticed I was about to fall that stopped me. She got me a chair, sat me down and sent for a bottle of coke for me. For the first time since that day started, someone showed me empathy. It’s funny how people are so focused on getting help that they don’t realise that even the helper needs help. That singular act was the kindest thing anyone did for me during that house job year. 

I think that was one of the straws that made me realise that this country is not it and any hope for a change in the healthcare sector is light-years away. 

The thought of residency being worse than house job is scary, and that’s why a lot of doctors are investing in jaapa. I hope that journey will be more straightforward and rewarding. Today, I’m going to spend my time dreaming of a healthcare system that’s not trying to kill me.


The hardest part of being a doctor is societal expectations. People expect you to dress a certain way, act in a certain manner and then go down the traditional path of residency. 

Anyone who diverges from this path — I have friends exploring other fields — is considered a failure. In a way, medicine has a way of indoctrinating you to believe that you can’t be anything without it.  And that doctrine is one of the hardest things to break free from. I think once many doctors realise that there’s much more outside of the profession, the better they’ll be for it. I’m hoping that when we jaapa, our passion will be reignited. I think for many people, passion died during the house job year, and they’re just winging it until they get out. 

Learning to code started out as a result of curiosity and a lack of options. I remember reading a book that changed my perspective. The book talks about how people with two high in-demand skills can give more value, and how they own the future. These people are able to identify opportunities for innovation in one field and then bring knowledge from another completely different field to help in problem-solving. The unique advantage they have is that someone in either field would either be unable to see those unique problems or would lack the skills to solve them. 

After reading the book, I started learning to code as part of my new year resolution. I’m trying to see if I can use technology to solve medical problems. Two months to the end of 2020, and I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to say it’s been one year since I started learning to code. 


Today, I can’t sleep. I’m tossing and turning. I’ve been dreaming of a bug that just won’t allow my code to be great. I dreamt of the solution to the problem and that’s what woke me up. 

For something that started out of curiosity, I’m hooked. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night to solve some problem. I’ve lost count of how many times I have found myself dancing in the middle of the night alone, with no music playing, because I successfully fixed a bug in my code. 

My proudest moment still remains my first project. I was at work one day when a child was brought in the middle of the night. The child had seizures, was dehydrated and unconscious. Being the only doctor [with only a nurse] in the clinic, I had so many responsibilities. I had to monitor vital signs, set intravenous access [a line] and calculate the amount of fluids to give the child. Even though the calculation wasn’t hard, I couldn’t help but think of how to automate the task so that the next time I had a similar patient, I’d have one less task to perform. I wanted a way to input some values and get the amount of fluid to give. This made me build my first project — a calculator to determine the amount of fluid to give to a dehydrated child. 

After building this, I innocently put in on Twitter because I felt like one or two people would relate. In less than six hours, I had over two thousand views. I was shocked because I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that had more than 10 views. It was a humbling experience which has prompted me to build a lot more medical applications. 

I’m grateful for the medical community on Twitter, and I’m glad to be a part of it. I’m also grateful for my support system, most notably my girlfriend who’s always there for me. 

I’m just here thinking about how she’s been my number one supporter on this journey. She has supported me with time, money and encouragement. In fact, my plan for today is simple: I’ll start calling her sugar mummy. 


Today, I made $100 from my first coding job. This may not seem like a lot until you realise that it is one third the average salary of a doctor in Lagos. It’ll take 10 full working days for a doctor to earn that amount, and I did that in six hours. More than anything, this has shown me that there’s some prospect in coding. We die here.

I’m not going to white-wash it; coding is hard. It’s frustrating. It makes me feel clueless, stupid, dumb. It’s ridiculous that because you miss one semicolon, your project is breaking.  However, if you stick through the difficult times, it gets easier and you begin to gain some proficiency. I’m lucky because I have a good support system, and I’ve also been a recipient of kindness from helpful strangers. 

I’m going to keep pushing it — medicine and technology. I see a future where I’m running my own tech startup. At the back of my mind, I’m hoping that it’s not within this country because Nigeria has a way of killing your dreams. And because medicine in Nigeria is a jealous lover; it’s almost impossible to combine anything with it, especially if you’re going through the path of a residency programme. Outside this country, you can have a life outside of medicine, the long hours and poor pay, and that’s all I’m hoping to have. Is that too much to ask for?

Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life ” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, fill this form.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

March 26, 2021

One recurring question everyone considering having kids asks is: how much does it really cost to have a baby. There are tons of hospital visits, tests and procedures. All of these things cost money and for the most part, a lot of Nigerians don’t have insurance.  For this aritcle, I spoke to six Nigerian parents […]

October 10, 2020

Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke out for the first time on the #EndSARS protests (he actually tweeted). He stated that the there is a determination to end the Police, and that he is being briefed regularly on reforms to end the police brutality and unethical conduct, and to ensure that the Police are fully accountable […]


Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

More from Money


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.