Shadows In The Crack Of Dawn-Episode 10
The alarm buzzed loudly by eight, breaking into Dominic’s sleep. He lifted a drowsy hand to it, set it off, and shut his eyes with the intention of stealing a few more minutes of rest. When he awoke again, it was ten thirty. He jumped up in horror and sprinted into the bathroom. He had slept one hour into his shift. In less than ten minutes, he was dressed and out of his room, rushing down the stairs. At the sound of his descent, Kamsi looked up from her favourite bowl of cereal, her face breaking into a smile on sighting her father. Imitating Anjola, her babysitter, she jumped from her seat, and knelt to greet him, Yoruba style. Third day in a row since she had started greeting him that way. Wonderful, he thought to himself. Maybe Anjola could help instill some culture into her. Kamsi was too influenced by western culture, a bit of Africanism would not hurt.
Dominic could not suppress an amusing smile as he greeted her in response. If he knew Kamsi as much as he did, it was only a matter of time before she got tired of the cultural style, and went back to waving at him in the mornings. Just like him, she tired of things easily; a trait he hoped she got over soon.
“How are you both?” he asked
“Fine,” they said in unison, Anjola ending hers with a “Sir”. Every of her conversation and responses with him usually ended with that.
“Dad, you were back late last night.” Kamsi queried a slight dip in her brows from her unconscious frown.
“I was caught up with work. There was this severe accident at Ikeja yesterday”.
“Is it the one that was reported on TV?” she looked up her meal, her brown eyes glinting with interest.
“Yes, that one,” he confirmed with a nod.
“So, how are they? I mean the victims,” she continued with a mouthful of cereal, her eyes full of concern.
Dominic sighed deeply. He truly did not have an answer to that “Better by this morning I hope.” he answered, and turned to Anjola as she asked what he would want for breakfast, already springing to her feet.
“Don’t bother. I’m in a hurry,” he wove in dismissal, and she sat back. Dominic went over to his daughter, patted a few strands of her hair in place. In the past days, his work had become overly demanding. He missed his daughter.
“Do you need anything?” he asked, tilting her head upwards, and studying her face.
“Erm…” she started her gaze flickered thoughtfully “Nothing” she flashed him a smile that revealed a gap from a newly broken tooth. He turned to Anjola, his quirked brows echoing the same question. She shook her head.
“Okay then” Dominic checked the time; it was almost ten thirty “I need to get going. I’ll see you later in the day.” he planted a kiss on Kamsi’s temple, before turning to leave.
“Please come back early today, daddy,” Kamsi pleaded.
She was asleep when he got home last night “I’ll try.” he told her, refraining from making a promise he might not be able to keep. One lesson he had learnt in life was never to make promises to kids, they held on to it a lot.
“Do you want to tell daddy anything?” he turned halfway to the door
She frowned in concentration “hmm hmm” she shook her head. The motion sending her beaded cornrows jiggling.
“So be a good girl at school.”
“So be a good daddy at work” she mimicked and flashed him uneven sets of teeth again.
Dominic smiled and nodded, holding his breath as he walked out, silently praying that Kamsi would not ask about Sarah. Thankfully, she did not. He finally let off his breath on stepping out. He would ward off discussing Sarah’s demise with Kamsi for as long as he could.
Adamu was hard at work washing the red sport car, and whistling as always. He dropped the rag hastily into the bucket of water and thrust his chest out in greeting, military style. Dominic smiled and conversed briefly with him, most of which entailed safe and careful driving. It had absolutely nothing to do with not trusting Kamsi’s driver, but safety.
Dominic climbed into his silver Acura and pulled out of his house into the street, his thoughts on his new patients as he drove. He hoped they were better; the pretty lady, and her brother.
As Dominic pulled into the hospital lot, he was met by the short, stout Matron Claire. She had that bright smile on her face which was always a sight to sore eyes. Claire did not look her age one bit. At fifty-two, she could pass for a lady in her thirties. There was definitely good news.
“Good morning ma.”
“Good morning, Doctor.” Claire answered cheerily “Mr. Tobi is awake.”
“That’s awesome,” Dominic said, in apparent joy.
“Yes it is!” she kept smiling “he woke up sometime at night, and then again a couple of hours ago”
Claire’s smile fell. Already, he knew what the answer was from her look.
She shook her head sadly “She is still unconscious”.
Her confirmation of his thoughts did not stop his heart from sinking. It was still too early to rule her situation as coma. He banished such thought. The patient had survived the night at least. It is a good sign.
Dominic found Tobi’s wife at the reception with the two men he’d seen with her last night, each man seated either side of her side. Unlike the men, Kamiye was still dressed in the same clothes as the previous day. He could tell she’d been here all through the night and probably had not even batted a lid. Kamiye jumped to her feet on sighting him. Her kids were nowhere in sight
“Good morning doctor. I heard my husband is awake,” she said as he approached her. A half smile crossed her lips as she spoke.
“So I’m told,” Dominic answered.
“Please, can I see him?” she begged.
“Can you please hold on for a few minutes?”
Her smile dropped in disappointment.
Dominic ventured into a more detailed explanation as to why she could not see him just yet.” I need to see how he is doing.”
She managed a smile in full understanding as she sat. “Please tell him I’m here.”
Dominic nodded, and took his white coat from a nurse’s extended arm, threw it on, before receiving a file she handed him. He excused himself and scanned the report as he went up to the third floor. Tobi had been transferred to a private ward. He would see him first, then his sister.
The patient was awake, quietly watching with a degree of alertness, as the nurse propped his splint-covered leg on a pillow. The man was visibly tired, and groggy, but definitely a far cry from how he was the previous day. Tobi eyed the doctor with interest as he walked into the room, an expectant look on his face.
Dominic slipped into his professional cool smile. “Good morning Mr. Tobi Longe. I’m Doctor Dominic” he introduced himself
“Good morning,” Tobi responded in a somewhat hoarse voice.
“How do you feel?”
Tobi yawned as if to explain just how he felt. “I feel weak, tired, and sleepy.”
Dominic nodded in understanding “It’s the drugs. You’ll be better.” he assured him
Tobi winced in pain and discomfort “Everywhere hurts.”
“I know. You’ll be better. You only sustained a non-displaced tibial shaft fracture. Recovery wouldn’t take so long. ”
Tobi smiled at the doctor’s description of his injury. Doctors and their big words. He nodded in understanding, his gaze on his injured leg. He had garnered enough from the orthopedist to know he had a fracture. When he raised his face, he had a look of worry in it. “Yes, that’s what Dr. Kunle said, and he also said healing would take about three months?” he was staring down at his splint again.
“Yes.” Dominic agreed.
“That’s long,” Tobi growled in frustration
Dominic smiled “I’d say you were lucky, Mr. Longe.”
Dominic inspected Tobi’s split. His leg was still visibly swollen underneath. He would be dressed in a cast probably later in the day when the swelling had subsided.
The next few minutes were spent running checks; his heartbeat, and blood pressure, all of which Dominic penned in Tobi’s file. From Dr. Tayo’s overnight report and now, a slight improvement could be noticed. Dominic inspected the stitch on Tobi’s arm. It was good. Penning a prescription of drugs and injections, he handed the file to the nurse behind him.
“Doctor, how is my sister doing? I heard she also had surgery.”
Dominic stared at his patient, deciding how best to fill his patient on her state. “Yes, the surgery was necessary, and your wife signed for it. It went well, and your sister is presently in intensive care. I haven’t seen her this morning, but I was told she is still unconscious. “
“How bad is she?” Tobi inquired.
Dominic answered, telling the truth, but as subtly as he could. “Apart from the open fracture on her arm, she also sustained a head injury which we hope would get better.”
Tobi’s eyes widened in fear. “Will she be fine?” Dominic could hear the panic in Tobi’s voice.
“Let’s hope and pray. We are trying our best.” Dominic changed the topic, intentionally steering his attention from his sister. “Your wife has been here all night. If you want, I’ll let her see you for just a couple of minutes, because you still need a lot of rest”.
Tobi nodded and shot his eyes painfully.
Dominic could imagine the man’s thought. He knew guilt when he saw it, and that is what he had seen in the man’s face. Tobi was sure blaming himself for the accident. Dominic’s heart drew to the man. He wished he could comfort him but he restrained from having to make promises he could not be sure to keep. Only God has the power to heal. Man only does his best and wait.
Dominic whispered a few instructions to the nurse, before heading to the ICU, followed by Claire. Except for the familiar buzz and whirs of the respirator and machines, the room was quiet. From Dr. Tayo’s night report, her organs were okay. There was no internal injury as feared. She had survived the night; she had scaled through an ordeal. Pelumi’s head was wrapped in a fresh bandage, the tip of her braids peaking from the top, her injured arm, propped on a pillow to keep it elevated, was bound in a splint. A couple of minutes passed, as Dominic and Claire watched in silence the quiet rise, and fall of her chest.
“I hope she gets well soon,” Claire said.
Both stared at Pelumi’s motionless body a couple of minutes longer. Dominic shut the door quietly behind as they left. He would see Dr. Alex, to confirm her brain status.
Dominic went on with his activity for the remainder of the day. His patient with the kidney transplant finally got discharged after two months of close observation. The little man was so joyful on his release, that he hugged Dominic so tightly Dominic had thought his back was going to snap. Another teenager who had broken a leg in an accident had also been discharged. He was leaving with a cast and crutches; a souvenir of his drunk driving. It was certain he’d learnt from his ordeal. A girl who had her appendix taken out a couple of days back was well and fit for release. The joy in his patients’ faces during and after recovery, was more than enough victory for him.
By the time he checked on Tobi in the afternoon, he was asleep. His wife was also asleep on the sofa at the corner. She had obviously had a shower, and a change of clothes, he noticed.
Dominic finally got to see Dr. Alfred. According to him, the swelling in Pelumi’s cerebrum had not subsided yet. Nothing could be done about it unless staying put and allowing nature to run its course. Dominic offered a silent prayer like he had in the past eighteen hours. Their conversation was cut short by the blaring noise from the speaker.
“All doctors to the ICU”
It was Pelumi. She had fallen into a coma.