GENERAL HOSPITAL IKEJA
Monica was asleep on the bench in the waiting room when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
“Aunty, aunty…” Monica woke with a startle; turning to look at the medical assistant standing before her, she winced
“The doctor is calling you ma” the assistant concluded
Monica picked her bag, searched for the phones to check if she had missed a call from Giorgio or he had replied her sms, there was none; she looked at her wristwatch; she must have spent close to two hours napping on that bench, she was really tired and needed some rest. She dragged herself to the doctor’s office.
“Have your seat madam” the doctor said, motioning her without looking up from the file he was reading.
“Thank you doctor”
“What is your relationship with the patient?” the doctor asked with his head still buried in the file.
“She is my childhood friend, more like my sister. We have been living together since school days – and till now”
“Alright then, first, I would like to say bringing her here on time actually prevented cardiac arrhythmia, and…”
“Doctor, please just tell me in plain terms, is she okay?” Monica cut in but the doctor simply continued
“She cut her radial artery, lost some blood, and almost had cardiovascular collapse but we took care of that and yes, she is clear of any present danger for now”
Monica heaved a sigh of relief “Thank you doctor, thank you. When will she be discharged?”
“Well, she is resting right now and needs to be observed for one more day, then she should be fine to go back home. But, there are few things I need to know, because wrist slitting is a product of highly lethal mental state, and the mental state itself must be treated so that another attempt at self-harm can be prevented” the doctor said as he lifted his head from the file and looked straight into her eyes
“So, I need to ask; is this her first attempt?”
Monica shifted her gaze from the doctor and seemed lost for a moment, it wasn’t Shade’s first attempt but she was not sure if she could tell the doctor so, she wasn’t even sure if it was in her place to say anything about it without her friend being present; she decided not to.
“Doctor, maybe you need to speak with her when she gets better, and she will tell you everything you need to know sir” she replied without looking up.
“See, there is nothing to be ashamed of, you said you live together, and I believe if something worse had happened to her tonight, you’d probably be giving statement to the police now – willingly”
“I understand, I just want her to tell you by herself”
“Ok, that’s fine. Normally, I should refer her to a psychiatrist, but I run a clinic of my own where I deal with issues like psychiatry, psychology, and sometimes I just act as a life-coach because some patients simply need someone to just listen to them and tell them everything is going to be alright; it’s more of a calling for me though, than a job. So, here’s my card, give me a call later, and both of you can come and see me” he said as he handed her a business card.
Thunder had left the dance floor of the club, most of his friends had gone home for the night but he couldn’t leave, he was worried and confused, he had gone to the car to check on Giorgio when Benny asked to speak with him about two hours ago, but he couldn’t find him, the bouncers at the gate told him someone matching Giorgio’s description stopped a cab and left earlier. He remembered their last discussion was about Shade, “Would Giorgio just abandon the party and go after Shade at this time of the night when all we talked about was calling her phone?” he asked himself as he dialed his number again “The number you have dialed is switched off, please try again later” he looked at the phone again to be sure he heard the automated voice right, he had been trying the number for the past two hours and all he had been getting was “Sorry, your call cannot be completed at the moment; please try again later” he tried the number one more time to be sure the network was now connecting and it was Giorgio’s phone that had been switched off. He then dialed Benny’s number to let him know the network was connecting but Benny’s line was engaged.
Shade woke up; the skin around her arm where the needle through which blood is being transfused into her veins, tingled as she tried to turn on her bed. She cried softly, she remembered she had tried to kill herself and was glad she didn’t die from the cut but wished Giorgio was at her bedside to see how far she was willing to go to be back in his life. She missed him so much and wished to see him as soon as she left the hospital.
Benny’s face was a mask of shock and disbelief; he just received a call from someone claiming to be calling from the general hospital Gbagada, in Lagos, telling him that his complimentary card was found inside the wallet of a certain George Francis who was brought unconscious to their hospital by a police patrol team. He made more enquiries and he was told Giorgio was involved in an accident on a motorcycle which was recovered at the scene on the third mainland bridge. Benny couldn’t understand how Giorgio would be on a motorcycle and on the third mainland bridge the same night he was sitting in a car at Thunder’s birthday party. When he dropped the call, he saw that Thunder had tried to call him while he was talking to the caller from the hospital, he called back.
GENERAL HOSPITAL GBAGADA
Benny paced back and forth in the waiting room close to the corridor leading to the Intensive Care Unit where Giorgio had remained in comatose since he was brought to the hospital by the police patrol team the day before. He came on the next available flight from Port Harcourt and identified himself as a family member of Giorgio. The doctor on duty told him that the hospital had been monitoring his breathing and directing all attention to maintaining his respiration and circulation, using intubation and ventilation also administering intravenous fluids and other supportive care as needed to keep him stable and alive; he turned as he heard footsteps behind him, he exhaled.
“Thank God you are here doctor, what do we do? When is he going to wake up?” he asked; his voice almost hysterical.
“Calm down sir, we are trying our best and he appears to be stable and no longer in immediate danger and all we have to do now is concentrate on maintaining his physical health” the doctor said calmly
“Alright. So, when is he going to wake up?”
“Like I was explaining to you, he appears to have had a closed head injury as a result of the impact, which could lead to haemorrhage, haematoma or cerebral contusions…”
“Doctor, I don’t understand any of these things you are saying, what do we do? How does my brother not die? Benny snapped impatiently
“Well, I am going to refer him to a very good neurosurgeon in a specialist hospital where CT scans will be carried out on….”
“So, what are we waiting for?” Benny cut in.
“You have it!”
Benny stood aside and refused to sit despite the doctor motioning him alongside Thunder, Shade and Joan to the comfortable chairs inside his office. He was angry with Thunder for allowing Shade access to Giorgio in the hospital; he was very certain Giorgio was probably going to see her when he had the accident that had left him in coma for more than three weeks. Thunder tried to disabuse his mind from pinning everything and anything on Shade, since no one had any proof of Giorgio reaching Shade on phone that night, and since Shade had earlier confirmed and even swore to them that she was at home that night sleeping, and only tried to check Giorgio in his house on a random day when the neighbours informed her that he was in an accident.
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I have good news and bad news” the doctor paused to gauge their reactions, he didn’t see much; Joan looked at Benny and Shade looked at Thunder with tears welling up in her eyes; the doctor continued.
“I will start with the good news; we were able to control the bleeding and swelling in George’s brain, and he came out of coma this morning, he is not talking yet but he is responding”
Murmurs of “Ah! Praise God” “Thank God” “Hallelujah” “Thank you Jesus” “Glory be to God…..” permeated the room as they all responded to the good news except Shade who sobbed.
“But the bad news is, after the neurological examination to assess his memory, thinking, vision, hearing, touch, balance, reflexes and other indicators of brain function, it was discovered that the head trauma has caused some damage to parts of the brain beside the hippocampus. Though, we tried our best with some corrective surgeries, he seems to be having post-traumatic amnesia which may be permanent or either anterograde, retrograde or mixed typed, because he doesn’t seem to remember where and when he was involved in the accident or even the accident itself. And though he remembers his own name; he doesn’t seem to remember where he works or any other thing for now, and I also can’t say for sure if he remembers anyone’s name, and that is why I asked you guys to come in today since you said you guys are what he got closest to a family”
SAME HOSPITAL (GIORGIO’S BEDSIDE)
“As you can see, he has opened his eyes, he is moving his eyelids and can see us, but he can’t move his limbs yet; so I will need you not to say anything while I ask him if he remembers any of you” the doctor addressed them before turning to Giorgio.
“George, I’m going to ask you if you remember any of these people one after the other, and I’m going to need you to blink once for a yes and twice for a no; so, if you understand what I just said, can you please blink twice.” Giorgio blinked once and then he blinked again!
“Good” the doctor smiled and continued, putting his hand on Benny. “Do you remember this guy? His name is Benny”
Giorgio blinked once! The doctor smiled, and moved towards Thunder.
“Do you remember this guy? His name is Tunde” putting his hand on Thunder’s shoulder.
Giorgio blinked once!
“Do you remember this woman? Her name is Joan”
Giorgio stared, not blinking; the doctor asked again. “Do you remember Joan?”
Giorgio blinked twice; then blinked twice again – and again!
“What!” Benny exclaimed. You don’t remember Joan? She is your girlfriend, you’ve been dating her for 3 months before the accident and she has been coming to see you everyday since you were here”
“Shhhhhhhh! Benny, please let’s not put too much pressure on him, it simply means he can’t remember her right now, he might later, ok?” the doctor hushed him
“George, do you remember this lady? Her nam…” He stopped, squinted, “Wait! He is moving his thumb… and his index finger, I think he wants to write” the doctor enthused as Giorgio tried to communicate to them. The doctor placed a pen in between his thumb and index finger and positioned the pen on a pad – on his bed, and Giorgio scribbled painstakingly
“SHADE, MY ENDLESS LOVE!”
“Impossible, freaking impossible!” Benny snapped, his semi-outstretched hands clenched…”how can he remember this Shade and not Joan? I don’t believe it, he must be pretending …”