Wednesday, 18 September 2013


When she was here we planned earnestly for tomorrow. We, like you, viewed death as an alien. We were trying our best; she was giving her all. What better combination would a doctor want? The litany of body errors had slowed her down a little.

Her once voluptuous rounded waist was now a framework of unpleasant bones buried deep in scaly sagging skin. Her once fitting skirt sagging generously to her knees just to cover them but revealing legs thin like the reeds that hold papyrus. Well-oiled though as if to emphasize her will to get her groove back and turn heads once again.

Up her face, it required a poet’s complex mind to fix her now desolate look to the beauty in one of the snaps she keeps showing to those who cared to lend her a minute. The snaps a constant reminder of her goal.
Her chest no more than a loose blouse worn over the loose skin that was once the mark of her beauty.
She was supporting herself with a walking stick. She was 25 years old. She hoped to live for 65 more years, like her grand papa, she said.

Before the thunder of an unforgiving infection rendered her hospital-chained, Maliya was a student and a single mother to a dotting angel; Angel being her real name.

When she was here we planned each day for tomorrow. We looked forward to her discharge from the boring hospital ceiling. Her daughter needed her more than we did. Of course. For good measure, she needed to fulfill her dreams. The first university graduate in her entire family, she would have been.
“When I get out of here, I swear I will buy a whole sack of mangoes hide in my room and eat them one by one.” She said, interrupting her croaky voice with an equally croaky laughter.

So as I sighed out of relief, my legs up after a long day’s work. My phone rang. It was the hospital. It’s never a good sign. And I heard the narration.

While Maliya groaned in need of attention, the ward nurse was too busy writing in those books they have and when she finally came and realized things ‘were not so good’, she called the doctor. The doctor answered in a lazy tone, that which says without saying it, that a bother is not welcome. “I will come!” the doctors finally said and hang up. He was a good man though, he showed up. Two hours later. Eyes a little too red. Maybe he was glad then that there was no work left. God had done it. The lifeless body lay in bed, mouth open to betray the ignored cries for help.

Without uttering a word, he picked his pen and wrote “pupils fixed and not reacting to light, no cardiopulmonary activity. Patient certified dead” signed. And left. To continue. Yes to continue watching the series he had been interrupted watching. What’s the big deal peeps. That’s life man. Man up.
In as much as we grumble about poor working conditions and poor pay and lack of equipment, what really is our attitude and contribution to needless deaths. Did you play your role in treating another human being like a human being?

I hope Maliya’s baby Angel will grow up to understand the meaning of the words “pupils fixed.” As for now, the clouds have invited a dark night, and I guess it’s time to sleep. Good night peeps, but do wake up when you are needed. And do remember what someone else needs could be as simple as to get to eat a sack of mangoes.

#Someone should hug little Angel really tight for all of us :)