That night many years ago, while tossing in bed unable to sleep, he received 2 calls. First, a text message from Miriam. “Ken’s going to call you, it’s about our son. Something’s wrong with him.”
He was ready and about to step into the car when he received the second call. The nurse from the delivery ward called, stating that Dr Kenneth requested his consultation regarding an infant that was not responding to light.
Being an angel and hence being able to read his mind, I’m thus able to confidently tell you that that very night he was a pot-pourri of emotions: worry, concern, confusion, and certainly, guilt. He was praying fervently, words all tied together in one huge mumbo jumbo as his car slowly rolled down Hospital Avenue. In essence, God, forgive me for my past and my sins.
His car halted right beside Ken’s parking slot, and the same thought flashed through his mind, just like every other morning when he got out of his car to work. If only things were like before.
“How were things before?” I’m sure you are wondering. Well, before Miriam came along, they were best of friends from secondary school all the way to med school. They were competitive and edged each other in different areas: Ken was the musician, James the athlete. They complimented each other accordingly, and in studies and work, they worked well together. They even specialized in ophthalmology. Together.
By now you’d have figured out that things changed when Miriam came into the picture. She always had a soft spot for people who could charm her with music. And of course, James had an ego that simply could not be defeated.
James reached the delivery ward. Ken got up from his leaning position, a posture indicating his thinking or worried state; a state which nurses and associates in Avenue feared. He leaned when he had no answer, no solution, or no hope. “Dr Ken, you paged me?”
The conversation was as cold as ice, and though the tears were welling up in Dr Ken’s eyes, while guilt and concern swarmed every corner of Dr James’ soul, they still refused to look each other in the eyes.
An infant boy is not responding to light. No pupil dilation, no reflex or reactions to movement and light.
Both men walked quickly and gently into the nursery, hurriedly but not wanting to wake any mothers or newborns. A few nurses nodded in acknowledgment as the men passed by. They found the newborn, and Ken passed him to James.
“Strong grip,” James commented lightly as he moved his index finger into the tiny palm of the boy. “What’s his name?”
Michael. “Hello Mister Mike,” James cooed. “Sorry for waking you up… How are you feeling hmm?”
The newborn gargled his saliva and curled up in his arms. From his pocket James drew out a tiny pen torch. Lifting up the baby’s eyelids, he quickly flashed the lights near his iris. “You’re right, no responses whatsoever.”
Is it normal? Ken asked softly, as if he was scared the baby might hear them speaking.
Ken smiled weakly. “You know, I am desperate and vulnerable at this point of time, but I believe that you will not hold a patient, my son, against me. That’s why I paged you.”