A/N: Double update.
A/N: Hey guys, I know I have been terribly slacking off and I sincerely apologize for it. I’ve been extremely lazy these past few days but I’m back now.
Here’s another chapter, enjoy.
(A couple of months later)
My phone chimed in the side pockets of my teal green scrubs. I pulled it out to see a Whatsapp message notification from Ijeoma.
I chuckled when I saw an image of a crying Zozo in her cute little school uniform; a white shirt, stripped with tiny black lines running vertically along the shirt and a plain ash coloured pinafore.
It had been a few weeks since Zozo began kindergarten; she was so excited to be starting school initially. She was literally bouncing with excitement when Ijeoma and I walked her into the school premises.
Little Angels private school was one of the most prestigious nursery and primary schools. Their academic excellence was outstanding that it was literally a hassle to get your child into the school as there were many other children trying to get in as well.
Ijeoma was skeptical about enrolling Zozo because she felt that was where top men and women of the society took their children and also wouldn’t be able to afford it. I was able to persuade her into letting me help out with part of the school fees as the other half was being covered by her parents.
Zozo’s excitement didn’t last through the whole day because when Ijeoma returned to get her at the end of the day, she was spotting a sad look on her face. The kindergarten teacher informed Ijeoma that Zozo had begun to ask for her mummy two and a half hours after they left and then started to cry.
Ever since then, anytime Ijeoma takes out Zozo’s school uniform, she quickly realizes what’s to come and starts crying, making a huge fuss which explains the picture.
How’s it going over there? – I texted back
It was a disaster trying to get that uniform on her
she almost broke my nose whilst she was kicking and screaming – Ijeoma replied in seconds
Awwn, I’m sorry
She’ll get used to the whole school thing very soon – I texted
Yeah, I can’t wait
we’re on our way to her school, talk to you later – She replied before going offline.
I placed my phone back into my pocket and headed over to see my first patient of the day
I walked into the children’s ward where my last patient for the day was located. A few other doctors where present in the room when I walked in.
“Dr. Noah” Joy, my twelve year old patient announced happily
Joy and her mother had come to the hospital a year ago, they were referred from one of the free clinics. Joy had an abdominal cancerous tumor that had enlarged in size limiting her movement and most of her daily activities.
Joy wasn’t the first enlarged tumor case we’ve had, it was sadly common in Nigeria. A lot of people don’t know the relevance of regular check-ups and even they do, they can’t afford it which was why it was made free in or clinics and also public awareness was carried out in rural areas to educate people on the importance of regular check-us and how dangerous it was to ignore body pains or changes until it got too complicated/big to handle.
Joy’s mother is a trader, selling local food stuffs in the market, barely making enough to sustain herself and her daughter. Her husband had passed a couple of years ago, leaving her and Joy to fend for their selves. They were placed on the pro bono cases list since they couldn’t afford the money for the operation and the follow up chemotherapy that Joy needed.
Joy’s name had finally made to the top of list and was immediately called into the hospital. I was only assisting on this case with a couple of other doctors, her tumor had enlarged to the size of a football and had metastasize to other organs in her abdominal region which meant a lot of hands will be needed in the operating room in case of emergencies.
“Hey sweetie” I said with a smile before greeting her mother who was standing beside the bed.
“How are you feeling about your surgery?” I asked
“I’m both scared and excited. Scared because surgery is risky and excited to be rid of this load” she said pointing at her abdomen.
“Well, you have nothing to be worried about, you’re in good hands. You have a ton of doctors going on with you and they are going to take good care of you” I assure her.
“What’s the first thing you’ll do once you’re well and fine?” I asked with a smile.
“Football. I’d play football with my friends” she said excitedly
I laughed out. “Well, not immediately though because we want to take it easy right?”
It wasn’t hard to tell that Joy was a bit of a tomboy, from the low-cut hair she spotted, the faint bruise marks on various parts of her light-skinned body indicating rough play and how she talked excitedly about sports and games that mostly boys her age would be interested in.
She is very outspoken, optimistic and confident about herself which was what stood out to me when she came to the hospital for the first time.
“Yeah” she nodded in agreement. “Would you come to play football with me, when I leave here?”
“Of course but let’s focus on getting better first okay?” I replied.
I didn’t want to burst her bubble of excitement by telling her that chemotherapy will zap her energy out and she wouldn’t even want to play football. She put out her folded knuckles and we fist bumped making an explosion sound effect to accompany it.
I stood by as the oncologist (a doctor who treats cancer and provides medical care for someone diagnosed with cancer) who was leading the surgery explained the procedure to Joy’s mother and the follow up chemotherapy that joy will be needing.
CODE BLUE, ROOM 34B! CODE BLUE, ROOM 34B!
I was filing out some paperwork by the nurse station when the overhead PA system came on. Room 34B is the ward where Joy and three other girls shared and it was just at end of the hall. I immediately dropped my pen on the pile of papers and rushed towards the room.
Two nurses were hovered over an unconscious Joy, her bed was pulled back in order for a bag valve mask to be used to provide ventilation, another nurse wheeled in the crash cart (a trolley carrying medicine and equipment for use in emergency resuscitations). I quickly got on chest compressions as the defibrillator was being prepped for use.
The other three girls that shared the room with Joy was ushered out of the room in order for them not be terrified by what was going on around them. Joy’s mother was also escorted out the room, in order for us to have enough space to work on her daughter without interference.
Forty minutes later, two shocks, a couple shots of epinephrine and still no response from Joy, my muscles were getting sore and was a little out of breath but I still kept the chest compressions going. One of joy’s rib had cracked minutes into the chest compression and as scary as that was, reviving her was more important.
“Come on... come on....” I chanted under my breath.
You can’t leave that poor woman behind too. She has lost a lot, so you need to come back for her. I thought
“Dr. Noah ...” one of my supervisors called out.
I ignored him and continued going at the chest compressions.
“Joy, come on ...” I muttered
“Dr. Noah, it’s been over 40 minutes ...” my supervisor pointed out
I still kept the chest compressions going, like in any second, she’ll come back.
“Dr. Noah!!” the supervisor yelled out, making me halt. “It’s time to call it”
I inhaled and exhaled trying to catch my breath, lifting my gaze from Joy’s body, my eyes met with a few concerned faces.
I cleared my throat. “Time of death, 7:53pm”
“Are you okay?” I said as I let Noah in.
He looked drained and tired as he stumbled into my apartment.
Noah and I didn’t come home together today because Noah said he had a surgery case he was assisting in and he didn’t know how long it was going to last so he asked me to go without him.
“Babe, are you good?” I asked, sitting next to him on the sofa.
He nodded not saying a word.
It was obvious that he wasn’t fine but I didn’t pressure him to say anything, instead I just ran my hands along his arm in a comforting manner. After a while, he leaned into me and I wrapped my arms around him.
“I lost a patient today” he finally spoke out.
“Oh my God” I exclaimed.
“She didn’t even get to have surgery, her heart stopped whilst she was been prepped for surgery” he said, staring into space. “They had to wait a year on that list before it was finally her turn and just a couple of minutes to surgery, she just gives up.”
I didn’t know what list he was talking about but I didn’t bother to interrupt him by asking.
“She was just a child, she had a lot of days ahead of her. I mean... if she could last a year why not a couple more minutes.” he said more to himself than me. “This is not the first time I’ve witnessed a patient die but hers just hits different”
“I don’t know much about being a doctor ... in fact, I don’t know anything about being a doctor but as a human being, I know that we feel pain when we lose the people we care about or share bonds with and Noah in as much as you are a doctor, you’re also a human being and I don’t believe you’re immune to pain just because you witness a lot of people die” I said.
“I’m sure you’ve created a rapport with this patient of yours and the fact that she was just a child who had a long life ahead of her makes it even more hurtful” I said softly. “God knows why he took her so soon and I know he’s going to provide comfort to her family and friends, even you”
He didn’t say a word after that but I knew he agreed with me. We stayed in a comfortable silence as I continued to run my hand along his arm. Couple of minutes later, I looked down at Noah and he had fallen asleep.
He looked so peaceful like a baby and I didn’t have it in me to wake him up. Today has been a long day for him and he needed enough rest, so I gently detangled myself from him and brought him to a lying position that was comfortable enough for him.
The weather had that cool effect coming after a heavy rain fall, so I went into my room to get an extra blanket which I used to cover his body as he slept.
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