~ Author: Sunita Bansdawala ~
From a daughter’s eyes as a tender teenager, she reveals the trauma of herself, mother and her father’s Traumatic Surgery. She prays with her heart and soul, for her father to survive…..
The question is, “Does Father Survive as a Fit & Healthy Man again?”
The drumming sirens, drummed in my ears in this raucous African city Mogadishu, in Somalia. The crimson red lights of the ambulance alerted the morning sea of traffic to give way, as Father was semi-conscious and suffering to breathe. My heart pounded with beats of terror, threat, and anxiety, along with deep prayer as we reached the hospital gates.
The ambulance doors busted open, and four male nurses hopped on to their feet as quick as kangaroos. They swiftly pulled father on to the stretcher and dashed into the emergency ward at this poverty-stricken medical center, called The African Trauma Hospital.
As I watched the four muscular nurses lift Father, My heart was in my mouth. Father was still in the semi-conscious state, while on the stretcher, it was traumatic! Without waiting, they carried Father on the hospital bed, when four female nurses scurried into the room. They started a monitor which looked like a small television screen, next to him. Soon the nurses simultaneously surrounded the bed. In a jiffy, they poked razor-sharp needles into Father’s thick fair skin, and deep into his purple violet veins. On the sight of seeing blood drawn into the syringe, tears rolled down my cheeks.
Father’s Traumatic Treatment Begins
On the spur of the moment, a young African nurse dressed in a pure white dress peered into my sorrowful eyes. With her gentle eyes, she reassuringly said, “Don’t worry, little one, your Father is with the best medical team.” She held my thirteen-year-old hand. She ushered me outside the emergency ward, and closed the doors.
Now, my blood-shot eyes peered through a dainty circular window pane of the door. I felt every urge to rush in and help, yet I was totally helpless. Next, Father’s mouth was covered with a plastic mask, resembling an inflating and deflating tiny balloon.
Father becomes Unconscious
This mask was connected to Father’s supposedly life-machine. The machine’s flaming red and a jade green light were blinking one below the other. Lines were moving in ragged line from left-to-right on it, but what was it?
All of a sudden, Father’s eyes began to close slowly, and suddenly they were tightly shut. I slowly murmured with shock, “Father is unconscious!” I was terrified. A thousand horrendous and traumatic thoughts ran through my thirteen-year-old stressed mind! “Had I lost Father? Did Father stop breathing? Did the nurses do something wrong? Where with the doctors!?”
I felt my blood boil with anger and aghast. Just as I was about to blast towards Father’s room, and give a piece of my mind to the nurses, I caught a glimpse of a tall-aged doctor walking at the speed of light. He barged through the door and grabbed Father’s reports! Now, I felt somewhat at ease, finally!
The doctor scrutinised the report with his experienced grey eyes, with a Somalian Matron, standing beside him, and called me into the room. With a heavy heave of breath, I entered. The doctor began to explain the diagnosis of Father’s report.
“My name is Dr. Richard Johanson, the neurosurgeon. Your father will be under my care for his brain and vitals. As of now, his vitals are fine,” the doctor read the story in English of my father – the report.
I felt a huge relief that Father was safe, but still had a pestering notion that Father was in trouble. What kind of trouble, especially in this Somalian Hospital, with limited resources? So, I questioned Dr. Johanson, “What do you mean by ‘vitals’?”
The doctor replied, “My innocent young child, vitals are blood pressure, heart rate, and other important factors. It is highly necessary, that your father’s body vitals are responding to the medicines given to him.”
I nodded, and looked deeper into his skilful eyes, waiting for further information. Within moments, he continued to interpret the story.
Sending Father for MRI Diagnosis
Dr. Johanson slowly responded, “We will be sending your father to have an MRI done to check his brain for any problems. Thereafter, we will call your mother.”
With a deep heart, I sighed and prayed for all to be good, trying to avoid the traumatic cyclone in my mind to explode.
The next moment, Father was dressed into a white gown, with threads tied at the back, still in an unconscious state. He was reeled into a huge, cold and silent room with a colossal white- washed electric machine. The nurses placed Father on the steel bed and stood on the side. The uproar of the machine was extremely noisy, as Father was moving into the crux of this electronic medical magnet. The doctor instructed his medical team to read the story and report immediately the results of this huge noisy machine.
In the parallel room of the MRI machine, I gawped with anticipation and avoided the traumatic mind to challenge my thoughts. My eyes blinked at the triplet of Somalia’s experienced medical staff. The staff were able to read the story in English as per the machine’s recording. The first specialist recorded the machine’s crimson red and royal blue lines, the second doctor examined Father’s brain-neurons, and the third physician wrote the discoveries of the MRI Scan. To read the story of the complex examination was finally done. The reports were printed, enveloped and delivered to Dr. Johanson, with the words embedded “URGENT”.
What was The Traumatic Urgency?
Father was reeled out of that dreadful machine and hauled into the Intensive Care Unit, commonly known as ICU. I wondered of the updated story, which the doctor would read to me. So, I waited patiently for Dr. Johanson in this pitiful and joyless ward, where Father was now referred to as ‘Patient Roberts’ by the medical staff.
Consistently, a nurse entered and checked Father’s vitals. However this time, a senior matron walked into the ICU and asked me to follow her. She said, “Hang in there, dear. I have telephoned your mother, she will be here in a jiffy. Dr. Johanson will be with you and your mother shortly. He will read the story in English to both of you.”
I was thankful that Mother would be here soon, as I began feeling lonely and desperate for support, in the traumatic hospital. I quietly waited in the ICU Lobby.
Mother arrives in a Fearful State
Clippety-clop-clippety-clop, Mother’s sandals were headed towards the ICU Lobby, and in a split second, she reached me. Mother gazed with fearful eyes, and she spoke worriedly, “Why didn’t you call me, immediately, Anastasia!” I sadly bowed my head, and replied without any excuse, “I am sorry, Mother, I was just listening in a traumatic state as Dr. Joshanson interpreted the diagnosis of father.”
Mother lifted my chin, peered deep into my eyes, and read the story of my heart. “I know that you are feeling extremely frightened and so am I. However, let’s not jump to any conclusions, until we meet the doctor and listen till he reads the story in English.”
Reading the Traumatic MRI Diagnosis Report
Dr. Johanson, called Mother and me into his office. As we slowly ambled in, he spread his sorrowful smile across his wrinkled face, and pointed his palms to the two empty armchairs, for us to settle down in. We obediently obeyed, but with heavy hearts, filled with bitter anxiety.
Dr. Johanson began to interpret the reports, “Mrs. Roberts, your husband has experienced a dreadful neurological condition – a brain complication.” Mother and I had question marks expressed on our faces, nevertheless, the doctor continued.
“Mr. Roberts is suffering from a brain aneurysm – a type of brain tumor. It is similar to a bubble in the brain, filled with blood, and ready to burst,” ended the doctor’s speech.
Blood bursting sent a creepy shrill rolling down my spine. This meant Father was in deep trouble. Mother was completely silent by this horrific news that was read to her.
Immediate Surgery or Paralysis for Life
Dr. Johanson continued, “We need to perform surgery on Mr. Roberts urgently, as he is critical. if not done earlier, the worst would be… paralyzed for life. A life in a wheelchair.”
Hearing these words, Mother dawdled slightly, and she turned to be in a traumatic mind boggling situation, as it was clearly noticed that she was taken aback. She depressingly whispered to herself, “Surgery! Paralyzed! Wheelchair!” She frantically asked Dr. Johanson, “When can my husband be operated, and what would be the cost of the surgery?”
Dr. Johanson said with a strong voice, “Immediate surgery, or else the worst.” Mother took a deep breath, and the doctor reluctantly continued, “The cost of the surgery is thirty thousand American Dollars.”
On hearing this, Mother controlled her flowing tears and asked to be excused from Dr. Johanson’s office. She held my hand and walked out.
Mother breaks down
Mother broke down in the ICU Lobby. Her tears were rolling down her sapphire blue eyes. She frantically spoke to me, “How will we find this kind of money for your Father, especially in Somalia’s crippled economy! I am already working double shifts at the college, just to pay for our house rent and food! I am going through traumatic emotions!”
I was not able to digest, that Mother, who was always a strong and courageous woman, was having a traumatic mental collapse, especially after she was read the story. My eyes welled up like an ocean of tears, which flowed like a silent waterfall. I was never accustomed to seeing Father and Mother, both in a devastating situation.
A Daughter Breaks Down
As Mother saw me, her daughter, wistfully crying, she quickly garnered all her willpower. She lifted my chin, cupped her soft supple hands on my face, peered deep into my teenage eyes, and hugged me with the deepest compassion. In our bear-hug, my teary eyes shut tightly, and I poured my heart out. “I never want you or Father to leave me, kick the bucket or shrivel up and droop like flowers.”
Mother passionately kissed my forehead and said, “Your father and I will always love you until eternity. You are, our only and loving daughter.” In our cradled-hug, I knew these words had been embossed as a blueprint in my mind, heart, and soul.
I smiled reassuringly, even though Father would be in a traumatic surgery, I wiped my tears.
Mother never lost hope. She called and began solemnly pleading relatives and friends for a smudge of financial support. However, in her time of need, everyone turned their back against her. Fortunately, Mother was a loyal, trustworthy and hardworking teacher at her college. She went to the college and narrated Father’s sorrowful story to the Board of Directors.
Mother returned to the ICU Ward with a cheerful smile on her face, held me around my waist, and said, “My college’s Board of Directors, within a moment of good will, granted me a loan of thirty thousand American Dollars!”
Mother and I strode to the Cash Counter at the hospital and deposited the cheque. We presented the receipt to the Somalian Matron at Dr. Johanson’s office. She said, “Let me give Mr. Robert’s receipt immediately to the doctor”, and quickly left the Nurse’s Station and walked to Dr. Johanson’s office.
Suddenly, there was a loud siren from the ICU Ward. A junior Somalian nurse rushed towards the ward. The Matron followed and Dr. Johanson was running too. Mother and I were confused, terrified, and praying that the siren was not from Father’s bed! We hastily followed the medical team and were alarmed to see Father!
Father began breathing heavily again, his eyes were shut. Furthermore, his left arm was jerking in an extremely abnormal condition. Whereas, his right arm was completely lifeless! Father was squirming painfully!
Four nurses steadily bolstered us into the ICU Lobby and they returned to Dr. Johanson. Two of the African nurses drew the green curtains around Father’s bed. All we could hear was the rigorous sound of the machine, beep-beep-beep continuously, with Dr. Johanson’s quick and loud instructions to the nurses.
The next moment, Mother and I heard squeak-squeak-squeak of the hospital stretcher with Father, being wheeled out of the ICU Ward. Dr. Johanson came to the ICU Lobby, and exasperatingly said, “We are taking Mr. Roberts into the Operation Theatre, immediately. He has suffered a severe brain stroke because his blood-bubble has burst. We will do our best to save his life! You can do your best to pray to God.”
Praying to the Almighty Lord
By this moment, it felt as if Mother and I had said the prayers umpteen times. After the four-hour traumatic surgery in this African Hospital, finally the Operation Theatre doors opened.
Each female nurse exited one by one, from the traumatic surgery without any expression on their face. Mother and I kept peering and waiting for Dr. Johanson to exit. Every minute was crucial, and every second was heart wrenching. Finally, Dr. Johanson appeared, immediately followed by four male nurses pushing Father’s hospital stretcher very slowly.
Father exits from the Operation Theatre – Traumatic Surgery
Dr. Johanson, peered at us, with a grey discomforting glare. He spoke with a heavy heart, “Mrs. Roberts and Anastasia, we had done our ultimate best to help Mr. Roberts in surgery. However, he suffered another major brain-stroke while on the operating table, which caused blood to spread across his entire brain and paralyzed him from the neck to his legs. He became a weak vegetable on the operating table. Yet, Mr. Roberts was not ready to give up. He and my medical team, still didn’t give up hope.”
Mother and I were in a state of distress, yet Dr. Johanson continued. “Mr. Roberts was a strong fighter, but on the third brain-attack, we lost him.”
Mother and I crashed into an oblivious heart wrenching state.
Dr. Johanson and the female nurses, held our hands sympathetically. They walked with us to say our last farewell to Father. Today was our last day to read the story in English to father, after his traumatic surgery.
Thank you for reading.
This Story was written with : Secret 10-Story Arc Writing Funnel
More tools to writer can be found on : https://www.sunitabansdawala.com/index.php/category/creative-writing-tools/
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