ALL IS NOT LOST
It was the beginning of my profession as a nurse. I worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of neurology ward. As a young professional, I wished to save the world. I was excited to see patients making quick recoveries from devastating accidents, yet I was pained to nurse those who were struck with acute neurological disorder.
One day, standing at the beside of a young bus-accident victim, I wondered if she could make the same recovery as others. Hira had received severe head and spinal injuries as she was hit by a speeding bus while crossing a busy road. I took her lifeless arm in my hands and tried to do several exercises on her but in vain. Also, I made her younger sister come and talk to her, thinking that the voice of a near and dear one might activate the nearly dead neurons. She could see but not talk. Her eyes showed a certain helplessness. I could read her mind through hers eyes. Perhaps she wanted to say, "Please help me."
A fellow nurse came near me and asked, "Rahila, what are you doing? Fighting a lost battle?" I was shocked at first to hear a colleague making a hopeless comment. Then I replied, "I'm trying to make her brain process her sister's voice. Also, I am doing my best to ensure that her arms and legs get proper exercise. This might help her walk like a normal person." Meanwhile, a senior doctor on duty, walked in. He gave me an ironic smile and said, "If you spend most of your duty hours on one patient, we will have to recruit more nurses to attend to other patients. Please go and see other patients. We do not have much hope for her. I don't think that she can ever walk again."
I was upset. The advice to leave the patient unattended did not seem right. I knew that she had suffered from major neural damage, but she needed to be given a chance. An inner voice somewhere within me spoke, "Try once for her."
I went to the senior nurse and told her that I wanted to help this patient and work with her more closely. The senior nurse looked at me with utter surprise and remarked that she had orders from the doctor-in-charge to shift her to the general ward. The doctors thought that she was a hopeless case and the bed must be spared for other patients. I was shocked to hear this. The patient's family also requested me to help them fight the case. Something needed to be done. I could not leave my patient fighting a lost battle on her own. I made up my mind to risk my career and help the patient. I requested the senior doctors to allow me to attend to this young helpless patient. Somehow, I was able to make the patient stay in the ICU.
I continued to work on Hira. But she was not making much recovery. I felt as helpless as she was to see her lie on bed in a miserable state. Could I be able to justify my stance before the senior doctors? I did not lose hope. I continued to work with patience and kept doing exercises with her. Gradually, I could see her making a slight recovery. One day, I was thrilled to see her lift her little finger. All was not lost!
I was sent on a three months' training course to Karachi. I made all possible attempts to leave my patient in good hands. I returned after three months to see my patient's bed taken up by another. My feet froze to the ground. I did not have the courage to ask, "What happened?" As I stood near the bed with several questions popping in my mind, I felt a gentle pat on my shoulder. I turned around to see a young woman, smiling at me.
"Are you looking for your patient?" she said and gave me a big hug.
"Thank you for everything you did! I know you did not allow them to make me lead a crippled life.
I stood still, until her family came around with big smiles on their faces. Thanks to Allah, she was my patient, standing and walking on her own feet. I could not recognize her without the machinery and tubes around her body.
She walked on crutches, which she would leave in a few months. I was so glad that I had done those exercises on her to keep her limbs in motion. I was glad that my efforts bore fruit. But most of all, I was happy that Allah Almighty had helped me win a lost battle.
She and her family had entered into a considerable bond of friendship with me. I was humbled by their sense of gratitude towards me. I felt a sense of renewed sense. 'Where there is a will there is a way'. I was proud to be a nurse.