By Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi
Student Nurse: Doc she’s not breathing.
Me: what? What did you… what!!!!?
I jumped off the chair. Truly my Virginia was no longer making any respiratory effort.
Me: What’s happening? This cannot be happening.
I was rattled.
Me: Get me the oxygen cylinder.
Nna mehn “What do I do, what do I do, what do I dooo ooo” I was shivering. But this was unusual. I’m a doctor, I’m usually calm in situations like this. But this is my little friend, Virginia. I closed my eyes to say another prayer but no words could describe what I had in mind. Tears were running down my cheeks again.
Then I realised the problem. I was too involved with this patient. At that moment I could barely make any rational decision. I probably should call another doctor but who you wan call by that time of the day? Her eyes were still closed, I asked myself ‘what would I do if this was someone else? If it wasn’t Virginia?’
Nurse: “Doc oxygen is here.”
Me: “Connect it to an ambubag, lower this bed, we need to do a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Let’s resuscitate our patient people!!! Move…move… move!!!!”
I could feel it. My brain had started working well again.
Me: “Get me my stethoscope… Check her vitals…”
I listened to her chest, there was silence in there…
Me: “Get me Adrenaline fast!!!”
Then we started what was the most emotional episode of CPR I’ve ever done.
I’d spare you the details.
At exactly the 45th chest compression…Virginia jerked bark to life, taking a deeeeeep breath like someone who had drowned in a pool.
Usually I could complete an evacuation in 30 mins but I had been on this table and in this room for more than 2 hours.
Nurse: “Doc. do we finish d procedure.”
Me: “No, no, no, we’re done. She’s still oozing a little but anything left behind would be expelled. Let’s move her to the casualty unit… Leave her on oxygen. Continue the transfusion…give another shot of the uterine stimulants and as well as the infusion; tell the lab I’d need another unit of blood.”
As I walk out, I meet Virginia’s distressed mother.
Mama: “Doctor! Doctor!! Doctor!!! will you eat something?”
I was lost in thought.
It was Virginia’s mom, she was having breakfast from a food flask that was brought by her son.
It’s been 12 hrs since we left the MVA room. I’d been by her bed side all this time, just sitting there…Since we moved her to the emergency unit.
Me: “Thank you ma. I’m fine. Thank you.”
Mama: “Doc, when my pikin go wake up nau? Can’t you wake her up? No injection you fit give her to wake up?”
Me: “No ooo mama, it’s not that simple…she’s resting and in a deep sleep. Let her rest. Her vitals are stable for now…let’s hope for the best mama.”
Her vitals were stable. The bleeding had stopped. She was still on oxygen and was on the second unit of blood. A donor had come around earlier.
I was so tired. I hadn’t had a bath or breakfast. It was past midday the next day. I wasn’t on duty but I couldn’t get myself to go home.
Mama: “They said she’s in a Coma.” (Sobbing)
Me: “She’s unconscious, yes. But she’d be fine by the grace of God… you don’t have to cry Ma. Just pray for her.”
Mama: “What was the problem Doc? Why did her period come like that? That she lost that much blood…”
Me: “Mama, when she wakes, both of you’d talk about everything.”
Mama stepped out of the ward to have a word with her sons outside the hospital.
I leaned close to Virginia, when her mum left the word and whispered in her ears.
Me: “My dear. I know you’re doing great. Get some good rest OK, your mom and brothers are worried about you. And so am I. Get back as soon as you can… I’m sure it wasn’t your fault. I know life can be quite confusing at your age, but you’d figure it out. Get well soon nne… We have so much to talk about.”
I stood up and left.
As I walked outside towards my room, I met mama outside.
Mama: “Doc are you going?
Me: “I’d be back later”
I got home so tired but then, I was too worried to notice how tired I was. I prayed and prayed and prayed for my young friend… I must’ve fallen asleep while praying cos I was awoken by a phone call from the hospital. It was not my shift, so I wondered what the call was about.
Don’t worry the story doesn’t end here, let me pick a call, will conclude when I am done with the call. Don’t worry about my dogs they are asleep now and they won’t interrupt us again.
Any similarity with persons in the above story and any other person living, dead or in between is surely a coincidence.
Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi studied Medicine and Surgery in the University of Port Harcourt. He is a stock trader, a practicing doctor; and writing happens to be one of many things he is very fond of. He is passionate about sharing authentic and useful health information with the public in forms that are very interesting, easy to read and relate to. When not relating with humans he spends time grooming and raising his dogs.