Tuesday, July the 11th : Part 1

By Tendai Saungweme

I slowly started hearing little noises coming from the boys corridor. The noise woke me up from the dream I was having. Dreaming about my time in high school as the headboy was weird.I was becoming used to seeing my daily activities reflect themselves in my dreams. Not a past event from five years ago. I was still too tired to turn, neither had my wake-up alarm rang. Trying not to wake myself from the sleep mode I was in, wanting to go back to that dream, I struggled as I said the most lazy prayer to at least thank God I was alive that day. I’m sure He never heard it because I, myself was convinced that the words never left the room!

I had been on hospital call that night,a normal routine expected of a medical student like me, who is trying hard to secure a degree.I had slept the whole night in sheets, an action I believe could have brought bad luck the following day. With the hope that we would not get new admissions during the night, I decided to attend to anything that came shortly before the morning post-take ward round vividly recalling the stern voice of my Ethiopian pediatric consultant reiterating how she wanted to return to an orderly ward.Personally, I had done my part in monitoring a neonate admitted for poor breastfeeding for a period of five days and comforted the mother that everything was going to be alright. She was a fourth time mother who had never been in hospital for any reasons to do with her children before. This admission had taken a toll on her. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Just be there for your child,” were my words before I left the cubicle where her son’s bed was. Her eyes looked red from a long time of crying.

Forcing myself out of the bed, I took my bucket of hot water and rushed to the bathroom. I love bathing,though I despise the bathroom setting a lot. Always flooded and dirty floored place with a few showers which over forty people have to take turns to bathe. At least boys do not bathe everyday so this helps to bring the number down to half meaning I had to wait a little less longer to get to my turn. After about seven minutes, my usual average bathing time, I tiptoed myself out of the bathroom not wanting to carry the dirt to my room floor that I had just mopped with water I had mixed with my bathing gel,a leisure for an ordinary student like me. I picked my favorite pair of scrubs and added a warm jersey inside as the skyview from my window promised a chilly cloudy day then dashed to the canteen for breakfast. The usual bread and eggs were served, a meal I nolonger enjoyed ,but forcibly took for nutritional purposes.What would one expect after six months of having the same breakfast everyday? A least the weekends at my aunt’s home helped to sanitize my taste buds. I then headed to the hospital shortly afterwards.

Upon entering ward A5, I went straight to my patient’s cubicle and I did not expect what was waiting for me there. An empty bed with my patient’s mother sitting beside it crying and sobbing. It didn’t make sense to me in that instance. I left the child feeding and breathing with the hope that he would get better over night. I was expecting news of improvement, but the more I looked at this crying woman, the more my mind comprehended and affirmed my fears, the baby had died! I was at complete loss of words,so numb that I failed to ask what had transpired.I moved closer to the grieved mother, gave her a comforting pat which I sustained for about thirty seconds and left the cubicle to confirm my hypothesis from the nurses’ station. Could it be that I missed something on the patient?Or was it a late presentation? Maybe my consultant would have an answer.

After finishing the ward round and the little discussion on my patient which pointed towards infection as a possible cause of death, I returned to the room to get my cutlery for lunch. The trip to the dining hall was filled with chat and a bit of some laughter to at least try and brighten my day from the events that had taken place prior. I took my time eating like I always do. My friends always complain when they sit with me on the dining table as they have to wait long for me to finish so that we go. It happened just like that on that day.

In the then jovial mood a good lunch had ushered us into we returned to the hostel. Upon reaching the hostel yard we saw smoke building up into the air. It was coming from a room on the boys floor, our floor. As I was figuring which room the smoke was coming from I wanted to dispute the realization. It was my room that was on fire! Without trying to think what had caused it, I charged towards the hostel to rescue my property!

26 July, 2023