Sometimes life deals us blows, and some blows can knock the breath out of us, while others leave us for dead. Seeing Baabi lying in the hospital bed, still and lifeless…yes, lifeless…she looked lifeless – as if death had already stilled the air-induced up and down movement of the human chest was…could be…a blow, I suppose. The eventual outcome would determine whether this was a blow, and what kind of blow for that matter.
“Baabi…Baabi… Wake up. Can you hear me?”
I hate hospital smells. They remind me of death. The end. They smell of hopelessness. The stench of defeat. They remind me of suffering, of being trapped. Suffering is a trap. Misery is the crown of it. But at the root of them is poverty, and that is a life I had worked so hard to never endure again. True, the price was heavy but a price had to be paid nonetheless.
I was never meant for the poor life. Never meant for the life of suffering or misery. Why should I have to endure that as an adult? As a child, I had no choice. The choices my parents made predetermined my childhood. But now that I was an adult, I could choose my own path. After all, the race is not to the swift nor the strong; time and chance happen to us all and I took my chance when I had the opportunity. I had to. I did not have a choice. There was only one choice and I took it. I am not proud of what I did but I had to.
Lost in the thoughts that have tormented him for three years, Patrick did not notice Baabi stir slightly. It was just about all she could do, as it took too much effort. He was startled out of his thoughts by the doctor who wore a look that bore no hope.
“I'm afraid I have some good and bad news. I will start with the good news – she is alive. She can live, she will live. The bad news is she may never come out of this,” He said.
“What do you mean? That she will be a vegetable?” Patrick's voice did not betray any form of emotion. Strange but not unlike him.
“Oh no, no, no…she is not going to be a vegetable. I am saying she will wake up…but she may never be mobile again. The blow she suffered to the head and spine … She will need special care going forward,” the doctor explained.
Patrick did not respond for a while…and then said, “Is there no therapy…physiotherapy for example that could help her regain mobility?”
“It is too early to tell,” the doctor responded. “Does she have any children?” He continued after a moment's pause.
“No, none. She does not have any children,” Patrick said with finality.
“Hmmm, well then. We will continue to monitor her for now and hope for the best,” the doctor said before heading out.
Left alone, Patrick easily drifted back to his thoughts.
What will I do now? I cannot have this happening right now? How about the child? Yes, the child…perhaps that was over; never to be a worry again.
Baaba silently lay in the hospital bed – fully aware of her surroundings but no one seemingly aware of that fact.
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