All is not Lost
It was the beginning of my profession as a nurse. I worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the neurology ward. As a young professional, I wished to save the world. I was excited to see the patient and making a quick recovery from the devastating accidents, yet I was pained to nurse those who were stuck with an acute neurological disorder.
One day, standing at the bedside of a young patient, I wondered if she could make the same recovery as others. Hira had recovered from severe head and spinal injuries as she was hit by a speeding bus while crossing a busy road. I took her lifeless and arms in my hands and tried to do several exercises on her but in vain. Also, I asked her younger sister to 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 certain helplessness. I could read her mind through her eyes. Perhaps she wanted to say “Please help me.”
A Fellow nurse come near me and asked. “Rahila, what are you doing? Fighting a lost battle?” I was at first to hear a colleague making a hopeless comment. Then I replied, “I am trying to make her brain process by her sister’s voice. Also, I am doing my best to ensure that her arms and legs got proper exercise. This might help her work 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 the other patients. Please go and see the other patients. We do not have much hope for her. I don’t think that she will ever walk again”
I was upset. This advice to leave the patient on attended 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 Spock, “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 remade that she had orders from the doctor in charge to shift her to the general ward. The doctors thought that she was hopeless care and the bed must be separated from 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 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 the bed in a miserable state. Could I be able to justify my stance before the senior doctors? I did not lose. I continued to work with the patient and kept doing exercise with her. Gradually, I could see her making a slight recovery. One day, I was thrilled to see, she left her little finger. All was not lost!
I was sent on a 3 months training course to Karachi. I made all possible attempts to leave my patient in good hands. I returned after 3 months to see my patient 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 bad with several questions popping in my mind, I felt a gentle pat on my shoulder. I turned around and see a young woman, smiling at me. “Are you looking for your patient?” she said and give 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 glad that my efforts bore fruit. But most of all, I was happy that Allah Almighty 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 seen of gratitude towards me. I felt a scene of the renewed strength in me. ‘where there is a will there is a way.’ I was proud to be a nurse.