Thank you November 8, 2007Posted by Aella in Bahrain, Life, Manama.
When I finally found her in the ward my eyes fell on her small face through the window on the door. I could only see her brown eyes and the side of her cheeks. The rest was hiding behind a white mask and it broke my heart once again to see the scared and worried look in her eyes. She had been admitted the day before but was still in an observation room in the emergency unit due to shortage of beds in the ward she was supposed to be in. The nosy doctor in front of me kept talking, asking me where I was from, how long she had been with us, where I was working and so on but all I could focus on was the small woman behind the door. I didn’t want to talk to him and he had no reason to ask all these questions. I held the large, red and white plastic bag I had brought, in a firm grip with my left hand and I was resting my other hand on the small red suitcase next to me. He took a quick look at her x-ray pictures and went on to say that it must be a headache for me with this sickness and it seemed to be a bad case. I replied that I was told it was not a serious case even if it wasn’t great that she had it in the first place.
When he finally left after having wished me luck, a nurse handed me a paper mask to cover my face with and I put it on feeling kind of uncomfortable having to wear it. I pushed the door open and as our eyes met I felt my eyes tear and a I wanted to cry. I felt bad for her. So far away from her loved ones, unwell and stranded in an unfriendly place. I wanted to greet her in a calm and confident manner. In a manner that would make her feel that all would be alright. That at least I was in control of things. But all I could say as I entered was a muffled “hi” that would have lead to me crying had I said it louder.
I sat down on the edge of her bed. The room was more like a cleaning cupboard than anything else. It was small and it hadn’t been painted for some time. A wet mop stood next to a bucket by the sink. The tap was dripping drip,drip, drip into the empty metal sink. A mirror was placed behind her bed. A strange place for a mirror I thought later. She was still wearing her jeans and the striped long sleeved blue and white top she had worn when she left the day before. Her legs were covered in a pink, old blanket. She sat up as I had entered the room.
I took a deep breath and asked her how she was and how she had been. We started talking. She explained that she had no reception on her mobile from this room and that she had been eating sandwiches that they had given her, that it had been noisy at night and she hadn’t been able to sleep much. Other than that she was just fine she assured me. I took her mobile and went outside to let it send and receive the messages that had been waiting to come and go and then returned to the room again. I asked her to look in the bags i brought to make sure she had everything that she needed for her stay. I told her that she would have to stay in the hospital for two weeks and that she had to go back to her country for treatment after that. I had been informed that she could not stay here since the treatment would take up to six months.
It had broken my heart the night before to find this out and I had cried like a child. I had grown attached to her the months that she had been with us and the thought of her leaving already made me weep. Perhaps it was irrational but this is how I felt.
Time passed as we spoke about her family, how and when she would go back and what hospitals were like in her country. How everything would be fine by the end of the day but it would take some time. I looked at the clock on my mobile and realised I had to go. I explained that she would probably be moved to another ward soon and that it would hopefully be a lot better. By now I was used to the white mask covering my nose and mouth even though I had been fidgeting with it all through the visit. I told her I had to leave and as I looked at her, tears welled up in her eyes. I swallowed and bit my lip. I felt so bad. So bad. We exchanged a few more words and I asked her not to cry. I told her I would come back the next day and to call me if she needed anything or if she was moved. Her eyes were staring at the wall in front of her and it hurt me to see her like this. I stroke her dark hair and asked her not to cry again. I said good bye, grabbed my bag and walked towards the door. I wanted to be calm. I didn’t want her to see how I felt so I didn’t look at her. The door closed behind my back and I turned a last time. Tears were falling down her cheeks.
I walked through the emergency unit and out to the car park. I passed by the ambulances lined up outside as I was rummaging through my bag for the car key. I got in the car and sat down. I stared at the cars in front of me. My heart was heavy and my tears would not stop falling.