THE ZEPHYR

Tick, tock, tick tock, Michael counted the clicks, as death flashed a light as he strolled by. He attempted to avoid death’s gaze by looking left and right but the beam directly fell on his face in whichever direction he turned his head. He couldn’t escape today. There was no way He was breaking free from the spider’s web. “Mama!” He called out! But then even He could not hear himself. He lay afloat the sea of desperation and envisioned a raft dancing from a distance.
Then, he heard the gentle sobs of his mother and felt the agonizing heart of his father, as imperceptible hands clenched his cold fingers. His heart skipped another beat on the monitor in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the doctor strenuously pressing on his precordium, forcefully pushing his strong palms against his frail, weary heart.
Every moment happened in succession and his worlds began to drift apart, the broken framework continued to shatter, revealing pieces of the other world, – So beautiful and lovely! The thin thread affixing his soul to his body wavered. With every tick, the thread detached from its fastness and propelled him further downwards. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
There was my hand, fiddling for a pulse, just a single pulse! The sign of a persevering life. His pulse however kept tapping my finger lightly like an oscillating pendulum- So faint and thready.
The story then unfolds, Michael was wheeled in by the nurses after He was triaged a code of red, which meant he had to be seen immediately. He was involved in a road traffic accident, as a restrained passenger, in a top speeding bus. On that day, He was sandwiched between his grandmother and his mother who were seated on his left and right respectively; His two guardian angels. They had said a word of prayer as they set off to their destination. – The airport.
Daddy had returned from a 7 year expedition which earned him the title “Specialist Physician”. He waited patiently for the arrival of his family because he had not set sight on them in a very long time. He longed to see his son; who looked so much like him.
Rewind to the bus, Michael read a bedtime novel he bucked in his backpack before the journey. Mother enjoyed her playlist from her favorite musician –Joe Mettle, and Grannie went back to the blues; keeping her gaze fixed on the moving glass window, seemingly reminiscing the past – the good old times with Papa Mensah. She held back tears, as she aroused her last moments with him – on the hospital bed.
The man writhed in pain and gasped for air, battling so hard to set himself free from the terminal stages of prostate cancer. She clinched her grandson closer retaining the presence of her husband in the boy, Michael.
It all happened in a flash, Misery in motion. Her mother recalls recoiling herself backwards to take a nap, the driver throwing the car in a berserk motion to avoid collision with the big truck, frantic screams, convulsions and gasps from the passengers, in different motions of recovery, from the front to the rear of the car, dilated pupils bracing themselves for impact, rigid flexed knees ready to take a knock for being hard headed, and bloodshot ears which screeched to the sound of the bang.

Fast forward to the hospital, Grandmother, mother and grandson are being wheeled to the emergency department. Michael was in a coma, not responding to command, touch and pain. He was triaged RED and images from his head to his foot were taken.
The head and neck CT scan showed a large bleed on both sides of his brain with associated fractures of the cervical spine vertebrae. A chest x-ray showed serial rib fractures with collection of blood in the right lung and a pelvic x-ray showed widening of the pubis symphysis. He spiked a constant fever of 40.6 which was unresponsive to anti-pyretics. Even his lungs denied the oxygen being impaled through his nostrils.
He then began to deteriorate, very fast! The call was made and pride of doctors surged in. Surprisingly, his father too joined. His pulse glowed faintly and diminished with every shot of adrenaline being pumped in, eventually moving into hibernation. The atmosphere hinted it was his time to leave; the doctors reclined when the zephyr disappeared.
After 30mins of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Michael’s pupils were fixed and dilated; unresponsive to the touch of a cotton wool. There was no respiratory effort and no carotid pulse – The pulse we had fought to bring back.
I gently closed his eyelids and checked the time: 11:25pm. I wished I could have done something more to save his life but then, I had ran out of options and so He had assumed room temperature. I bowed my head as I exited the emergency department breaking the unfortunate news to his uncle. Rest in peace Michael.
#DoctorDiaries

Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim.

TRANSITION

Kwaku is rushed to the hospital wheeled in by a stretcher at 7:25pm GMT, repeatedly vomiting and profoundly confused. Everything he says makes no sense as blood oozes from the temporal side of his head.Chasing his stretcher, is his best friend who trips and falls as he attempts to phone Kwaku’s parents. He places the first call and redials when the call does not go through. His heart keeps pounding as the doctor on duty charges towards Kwaku and sends him in. He paces across the reception room and waits for the arrival of his best friend’s parents.

It all happened 10mins ago as a bus driven by a drunk driver lost control when a burst tire threw the bus into an aberrant motion, knocked Kwaku to the ground and passed over him, speeding off into night life.

The emergency doctor tries to stabilize the airway- preventing the tongue from falling back by doing a chin lift..head tilt however suspects Kwaku could have injured his cervical spine. He then shoots off and returns with a cervical collar to stabilize the spine, bearing the complications of a cervical spine injury in mind – The most feared; complete paralysis of the whole body. He is just 24 years. It would take a great miracle to restore him back to his full potential.
He cogitates about this as he puts on the cervical collar and realizes the boy is convulsing. Deep rhythmic jerky movements involving his whole body. The injury to the cervical spine is worsening. His breathing is failing!

Judging from the convulsions, he had a stupendous blow to his head, but there’s not enough time. “What should I do?” Where are enough doctors when you need them? He looks to the left and notices another doctor suturing a dehiscent wound on a driver’s arm.. He looks to the right and returns his gaze as the sweating doctor reduces (pushes back) a prolapsed rectum. He stands on a thread between life and death of this young man.

The convulsions cease and the flux of air suddenly changes. He gets the cue and palpates the neck of this boy – no pulse! He checks the pupils and as expected, they are both unresponsive to light. He’s run out of options so he says a silent prayer for this boy’s soul as he pulls a white cloth over the boy’s head. Another soul gone today. Today of all days, when his son was graduating class 1. Such luck! He bows his head as he writes the time of death. 8:00pm.
Walking down the hallway, he thinks of how to release the bombshell to Kwaku’s friend. Beloved friends have heard the news and trooped in to support him. Distant friends are praying for him. Everyone is on knees! We can’t loose this wonderful soul! You aren’t going today! Not of all days!

As the doctor returns, the boy’s mother notices the look on the doctor’s face and breaks into uncontrollable tears. The father has to stay strong but He’s crashing inwardly. Everything feels like a dream. “Someone should pour water on me to wake me up!”, “What is happening?” “Why me?” He then bows his head. They both have to stay strong!

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The doctor has to support the family but He’s out of words so He walks slowly back to the ward. ‘The harbinger of death!’

Friends cannot believe their ears. He’s gone? For real? Why him? But then death is no respecter of age, sex and race. Is there any way to bring him back? The portal would begin to close as his soul leaves for heaven. Invisible, he smiles as he watches his bereaved family and friends, from above, transiting into the heavenlies.

Death is a destination we all share, we are born alone and we will die alone. Even the man who lived longest on the surface on the earth died. The question is when we are going to die? In the next 5 years or next 50 years? What would we have achieved in the sight of God and the sight of men? Would we have impacted positively in the lives of others?
No one can confidently say He will still be living tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. What assurance then do we have?

Psalms 118:17 says you would not die; instead, you will live and proclaim what the Lord has done! This is the assurance you have! God is a loving Father who never goes back on his Word! Live love, speak love and think love because you have no idea as to the seconds more you have to live. A lifetime isn’t forever, so take the first chance, don’t wait for the second one! Because sometimes, there aren’t second chances! And if it turns out to be a mistake? So what! This is life! The time to accept Christ is now!

“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we are alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are” – Elisabeth Kubler- Ross.

Enjoy your week!

Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim