The Boy who cheated death


Episode 1

When Uduak’s phone rang that fateful day, she had no idea she was about to face the most critical test of her faith. She left the kitchen to the sitting room to get her phone, “Hello,” she spoke into the phone.

“Hello, Mrs Etuk; we are calling from Aloha Academy.”

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“There has been an accident involving Daniel; please meet us at your family clinic immediately.”

“Daniel! What happened to him?”

“He fell and hit his head.”

“Oh my God, is he alright?”

“He is in a critical state, we are on our way to the hospital, Ma’am; please meet us there.”

“All right, I’ll be on my way.” She dashed to get her car keys and dialled her husband’s number.

“Honey, Daniel…” she was so nervous, she couldn’t complete her sentence.

“Please calm down and tell me what happened to Daniel?”

“I just got a call from his school saying he fell and hit his head; they’re taking him to the family clinic right now as we speak”

Uduak’s eyes welled up with tears as she spoke. “What will I do if anything happens to Daniel?”

“Don’t say that; nothing bad will happen to him; where are you?”

“At home, I’m getting ready to leave for the hospital.”

“Please stay Calm, honey; he’ll be fine; I will meet you at the hospital, and please drive safely.”

“OK,” she said as she hung up the phone and got into her car to drive to the hospital.

Daniel was already receiving treatment when they arrived at the hospital. The school representative attempted to explain what happened and express their regrets, but all Uduak wanted to hear was that her son was fine. Daniel was having an MRI scan done so they couldn’t see him immediately.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the Etuk, the Medical Director came out and invited them to His office. He addressed them and said, “Mr and Mrs Etuk, as you are aware, Daniel fell from a three-story building and landed on his head. He is bleeding internally, and we must stop the bleeding immediately. We need to get a neurosurgeon in as soon as possible to operate on him.”

“Can you assure us that he will be fine after the surgery?”

“It’s a delicate surgery, as is any brain surgery, but rest assured, we have the best neurosurgeon. I need you to decide because we don’t have much time.”

“Doctor, what are his chances if we choose not to have the surgery?” Mrs Etuk asked.

“He might never wake up from coma.” Husband and wife exchanged glances and agreed.

“Please go ahead and make the necessary arrangements?” said Mr Etuk.

The doctors carried out the surgery, and it was successful; the bleeding stopped, but Daniel remained in a coma for days. The doctors invited the parents to another meeting after another round of tests and scans.

“We have bad news; we noticed something after the surgery and decided to carry out some more tests; our investigation revealed that Daniel is brain dead.”

“Brain, what?” exclaimed Mrs Etuk. “What do you mean Brain dead?” Mr Etuk inquired, holding his wife’s hand.

“Let me explain,” the doctor said, “brain dead is death. It means that his brain has stopped working. The injury has caused swelling in the brain; though we were able to stop the bleeding, blood flow in the brain has stopped, and without blood to oxygenate the cells, the tissue dies.”

“Are you saying there’s nothing you can do?”

“We can’t do anything to bring Daniel back; his condition is irreversible. You see, the brain performs a wide range of functions, including thought, movement, and all of the neurological functions that allow the body to maintain blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, hormones, breathing, and so on. When a person dies from brain death, the entire body shuts down. You cannot breathe, your heart is unable to beat, and your body cannot function. The patient can only breathe through the machine, as your son is doing now.”

“How certain are you?”

“The tests performed on Daniel confirm that he has no verbal or visual command response; he is flaccid, and his pupils are unreactive and fixed. He has no corneal reflexes and no spontaneous respiration.”

“My God, this cannot be happening to us.”

“I am sorry, Mr and Mrs Etuk, but you must make a decision; there is no point in keeping him on life support and accumulating bills because his condition is irreversible. I recommend that you say your goodbyes; we’ll give you some time to do so.”

To be continued.
Jumie Naths

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