“Get her to the Emergency Room quickly” one of the doctors ordered. “She seems to be in a severe pain. Please, sit here. We’d call on you when we need you” a well-rounded pretty nurse said while she pat my shoulder bone assuredly. “She’d be fine, Mr. Handsome” she paced away. My heart fled several distance from me. I choked from within and my eyes almost melted. “Is mummy going to be alright? Where are they taking her to?” I had suddenly taken notice of my younger sister. I pulled her close to me and stroked her hair gently. “She’d be fine. Just be rest assured. God can’t take her now” I comforted her. She looked up at me, so much fears in her eyes. “What if…” “Don’t say it. There’s no if. Just believe” the look in her eyes almost made me tear up. The vehicle that had brought us was gone. Just two and half of us; myself, my sister and our half-dead mother.
“What’s your name, sir?”
“I’m Felix Goku”
“Please, come with me. We need your assistance” one nurse who walked up to me said.
“Sit here, I’d be back” I told my younger sister and followed the nurse, oblivious of what was ahead.
There, in the E.R laid a tonne of people. Men and women, young and old. People who had families, people who ate by themselves. They were all bed-ridden now. Some surviving on oxygen and others on other life support systems. I heaved a sigh. But no! That sigh wasn’t one of relief. If my (our) mother’s condition were any better, I am sure she would not be on transfer to this hospital, I thought.
“Yes, we need you to give us the following information about her…” The doctor had said.
Four hours later, I had been asked to come again.
“Goku, you’d have to help us sign this consent form before we carry on with the Operation” the doctor had said. The surgery was no news to me. In fact, we had heard of it from the previous hospital. We were on transfer to this new hospital because the previous could not handle the kind of surgery involved. “She has bilateral inguinal hernia but we’re sorry we can’t handle her so we shall transfer you to St. Joseph Hospital” the medical doctor at the Abuaka District Hospital had said. All through the moments, I had known of the surgery but only thought of it as a mirage. Now that I had to sign the consent form, I knew I had only a thin line between losing my lovely mother on the surgical table and having her back in a better condition. The harsh reality had dawned on me. I looked over to the corner in which she was laid in bed. Her eyes were dilated and fixed on me, I could see tears forming in her eyes. I managed to hold back mine. Then, I picked up the form, read through and signed it. I helped the doctors get her thumbprint as well. Now, all was set. The die was cast. It was now a matter of death and life. God was the final resort.
I held my sister’s hands as we faced each other and said a word of prayer from the depth of our hearts.
While we prayed, she broke into tears, while trying to console her, I lost control of my lacrimal glands too.
“Goku, please come”. I hurried to my mother’s bed while doing everything to hide my drying tears from her. I was to help the Anaesthesiologist fix the nasogastric tube into her stomach via her nostril. I coaxed her to swallow the tube harder and she did.
In fifteen minutes, exactly six hours thirty minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Our mother was pushed in a wheel chair through the corridor to the OPD – Out Patient Department. So many tubes protruding out of her body orifices. She looked at us for a while. Tears began to flood down her cheeks. I went closer to her, fought my tears and assumed a stable posture.
“Mum, this won’t hurt. The God we serve shall protect you. Before you know it, you’d look very strong tomorrow and even start insulting us again. Si please, cheer up. We’re here. If not for anything, for our sake, go through this successfully” I said. “I love you, mum. Nothing would happen” my younger sister said and gave her a peck. She was sixteen at the time. A cold smile drew up on our mother’s face, bearing the resemblance of a crescent moon dancing in the black sky. She nodded affectionately. We followed up while the wheelchair was moved into the theatre. And there, at the entrance of the theatre, we stood, hand in hand, looking on as our mother took what could either be her last journey or one of her many journeys.