Head, shoulders, knees and toes. All parts physical, social, spiritual and emotional. From the cries of a newborn somewhat soothing to the ears to the agony of saying goodbye to a loved one. We’re not hard to find. We’re always there with you. I like to think I’m some sort of mystical being because I get to watch and explore the cycle of life, because I’m some kind of hope in this dark, dark world.
I remember the first time I ever saw a nurse. My little brother broke his arm, quite expected, he was always playing around. He was 6 I think. We were at our school’s end of the session party. Unfortunately for him, there was this huge bouncing castle at the far end of the school’s compound where all the little kids were having fun totally oblivious of everything around them. I’m not quite sure how it happened, I remember my friend running up to where I was to tell me the bad news. I ran to where she said my brother was to find him surrounded by some teachers. One of them was on the phone with my Dad, his hand on my brother’s shoulder. I looked at him, his eyes were red and swollen so I knew he’d been crying. Long story short, my injured brother, two teachers and I were on our way to the health center.
A female doctor attended to my brother and after a while my parents showed up. His stiff gasps of pain turned to screams so I left the room and walked back to the entrance. That was where the real sight was. Till today, I’m not quite sure why my eyes overlooked all what it now permitted me to see. There was a pregnant lady walking to and fro muttering prayers a little bit louder than she probably wanted to or she just didn’t care. Right behind her was a middle aged woman with a mosquito net scolding her son about something he did. They seemed okay. About three seats away from them was a man with a bandaged forehead and a cast on his leg. Some women were crying over someone that died and the screams of a baby I couldn’t see filled the air.
With my mind still processing this bizarre scene right in front of me, a man of say 60 years who I for some reason didn’t see before had an episode of cardiac arrest. Then I didn’t know what that meant. All I remember is he looked so much in pain with his hands clutched to his chest. His pleas for help were interrupted by his own fall to the bare ground. I wondered where he came from or better still why I didn’t notice him before. Maybe because he looked perfectly okay, not like the others. He wore my favorite color, a blue shirt tucked under a black pair of trousers.
The receptionist rushed out to call for help screaming ‘’Doctor! Doctor!! Doctor!!!’’. Just then a woman in a white gown knelt beside the unconscious man. She reached for his hand, held it still for about 3 seconds and said he had a pulse. ‘’What is a pulse?’’ I thought. But the way she said it gave me some kind of hope that he was still alive. Another man in white came into the waiting room holding a piece of equipment I later knew to be an automated external defibrillator. ‘’Everyone stay clear’’ were the second words I heard her utter.
The woman in white placed the equipment on the unconscious man’s chest and it jerked him up. She immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation but I didn’t know what that meant then. All my 11year old self saw was she applying pressure to the unconscious man’s chest with both hands continuously for about two minutes before I saw her jerk him up again after which she continued applying pressure to his chest for another 2-3 minutes. Then the shocker came when the woman in white delivered a sharp blow to his chest and he ‘’came back to life’’ gasping for air. I was wowed, I mean miracles don’t get better than what I just saw. She just saved this man’s life yet she looked so calm and composed like she’d done it a million times.
It wasn’t long until it was time to leave. My parents came to where I was with my brother trailing behind with three quarters of his left arm bandaged. His whole face was wet with tears but he had this happy look in his eyes, I knew they’d promised to buy him something on the way home. Classy Daniel. It was a quiet ride back home. I remember wishing the bouncing castle would be at the upcoming Christmas party.