HDU stands for High Dependency Unit. But you already knew that no? This is one of the sections of a hospital that makes one to really think hard about so many things; Life, Death, God, Health, People, Friends, Enemies, Frenemies, Family, Cars, Politicians, Fuel… (Ok, I am kidding about the last three)
I spent 3 nights in this unit early this month from the night of July 30th till the morning of August 2nd. These were the most trying moments for me as a human being and mostly as a mother.
Heidi fell sick in the wee hours of Tuesday, 26th July. I first noticed that she was not ok when she became very irritable at around 2 am. Then it started- That noisy breathing that was to make me a walking zombie for the next one and a half weeks. We walked into hospital hoping to get treatment and go back to living our lives. Little did I know that from the pediatric casualty of Aga Khan Hospital, we were to be admitted to the children’s wards. Upon admission I thought, well they should indeed watch her overnight just to make sure that she is breathing fine. Little did I know that one night would turn into nine days!
Nine nights during which I barely slept. Nine days during which I showered not just to clean myself, but mostly to feel the almost scalding water run through my aching body. Nine days during which, I sometimes forgot to brush my teeth (something I am very particular about) Nine days during which I sneaked in a few minutes for myself to have a good cry – in my sleep and in the shower, but never in public; I had to be strong. Nine days that I depended so much on my family that I could not even dare to imagine what a mess I would be without them. Nine very long days; very tiring and trying days. Nine days of looking up to God and the doctors to make my girl well again.
During those days, I cried, I prayed, I gave up, I hoped. I sat with Heidi, slept with Heidi, played and prayed with Heidi. I even tried to negotiate with God at some point.
This was the night Heidi went to distress and had to be transferred from the general wards to HDU. I could barely think. I held her in my arms the whole night. Even when those codes that are connected to a monitor were strapped to her chest, I held her even when a mask for nebulization (look, I learnt a new medical term!) was put over her face. She cried, and I spoke to her the whole time. Soothing her, telling her that she would be fine. That I was there with her, not to be afraid. I was scared. My feet were cold and my arms were aching.
When she managed to fall asleep, I turned to God and had a very long conversation with him. It went something like;
“I have been good, haven’t I? Is it just me or am I actually a good person: I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm… I consult you every single day before I get out of bed. I remember to say thank you for my meals that are consistent and for the good health I have enjoyed since forever. I turn back to you at night before I hit the sack just to check in and to keep thanking you. There is nothing I take for granted, nothing. Neither the air that I breathe nor the perfect functionality of my five senses. I remember to thank you for not getting hit by a random vehicle while I crossed the road, that the driver whose matatu I boarded to work was sane and sober, for not running into armed thugs on my way from work. I thank you that I have an education, a job and I never forget to thank you for the person that I am; that I can speak for myself and that I have the confidence to follow what I deem right and to object to anything that I feel is not right. I thank you for my mother, my father, my children’s father, my brothers and sister , everyone in my life– some who know me like the back of their hand, others who barely know me. I keep thanking you for Hailey & Heidi; the two most important people in my life. Every single day I thank you that Heidi can have milk, food to eat, clothes and even diapers to wear. I thank you when Hailey does not break a leg when she jumps from furniture to furniture. I thank you when she does not come into contact with dangerous appliances that could cause her harm. I thank you when she is dropped home from school in one piece. Every single day I remember to thank you when I get home from work and Hailey runs into my arms to promptly demand for chocolate and yoghurt even before I am through hugging her. I never forget to thank you for Heidi’s smiling face when she sees me walk through the door…..So where have I gone wrong? Why is my little girl helpless and sick and weak and where is that smile Lord? Why is my daughter not smiling tonight?”
Then suddenly I went blank. Words failed me and I had nothing else to say. I eventually managed to plead “Please make my girl well again Lord. Please heal my little girl”, and I promptly fell asleep.
Heidi was smiling the next day. And even then, I didn’t forget to thank God.
Motherhood! What a load we take up, huh?! For the nine days in hospital, when Heidi made the slightest movement I was on my feet to check on her. I checked the machine that monitored her vitals for the heart rate, blood oxygen and respiration levels every waking minute (I learned a thing or two about this “MD” jargon too) I asked the doctors all the questions I could think of. I insisted on knowing what medicine they were giving her and what it was for. I refused to take any chances. At some point, my colleagues from work who had come to visit remarked that I had lost weight. “Damn! There goes my chance to grace LMK’s slimpossible program!” I lamented. They could only shake their heads.
In all these, I knew that God had the powerful card. The Ace. And I trusted Him to use it on us.
He did. We were out of hospital on August 4th.
Sometimes I have to ask myself, do my girls have the slightest idea how much power they wield over me? That smile from Heidi, and the laughter from Hailey cannot be compared to ANYTHING that walks the face of this planet. Nothing.
Photo Credit: Pixgood.com