I get bleeped at around 2.30am to review a patient. A Pakistani gentleman admitted with Covid19.
The lovely nurse on duty says, “He is on maximum amount of oxygen on the ward, but keeps on removing his oxygen mask and nasal cannula, very confused and is not listening to anyone.”
I arrive as soon as I can to the ward. I stare at him through the glass doors of the closed bay, while putting on my inadequate PPE.
He looks like he is drowning, he is gasping for air, flushed and eyes bulging like someone is strangling him.
I immediately introduce myself, hold his hands and he squeezes my hand pulls it close to his chest. Starts to speak in Urdu and says he doesn’t know what is going on, he cannot understand anyone and he is so scared.
I give him my Salam and start speaking to him in Urdu. His eyes fill up with tears and hope.
I explain to him he really needs to have his oxygen mask on as we are trying to make him feel better. He tells me he is suffocating with the mask and he doesn’t like the noise. I grab his arm help him sit up in his bed.
We exercise synchronizing his breathing and I put the mask and nasal cannula back on.
He asks me Doctor, am I going to die? I cannot hear the voices anymore, they don’t come to visit, everything is quiet and silent, like Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is waiting to take me to Him.
I am lost for words and tell him we are doing all we can to make him feel and get better.
He tells me he has been speaking to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), he doesn’t care for himself just his family.
I know he is scared and feels so alone. I tell him I’m here with him and am not leaving yet. I monitor his saturations and surely they come straight back up. I tell him I am going to give him medications for his temperatures and fluid in his lungs.
He agrees to take them.
He asks me why I didn’t come to see him until now, because I am his own. He says when he speaks to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) he will tell Him about me and that I am a good person and I cared for him.
I get a little choked up.
I can’t gather my thoughts before my bleep goes off again. I have to leave now though I tell him I have lots of patients who need my help. He begs me not to leave, but understands after a while and lets me go.I take off my inadequate surgical mask (PPE) before I leave the bay I look back at him to smile and he smiles back. We both wave goodbye. I can see tears rolling down his cheeks.
I don’t know how he will do, how he is now but I cannot stop thinking about him. I always assume positive outcome if I don’t get called back during the night to see the patient again. Plus it was such a busy night I had no time to stop to reflect, and I continued with a smile.
I speak fluent Bangla and my Urdu isn’t very good. But that night Urdu flawed so effortlessly out of my mouth without any hesitation and I was able to say exactly what I needed to him “SubhaanAllah”.
My heart breaks for the minority patients, with language barriers. They are fighting this battle more alone and scared than ever.
Normally, they would rely on family members to translate for them, but given the current situation they must feel helpless.
It’s not just the suffering it’s the suffering alone that pulls on my heartstrings.
إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ [البقرة: 156]
‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’ (Al-Baqarah 2:156)
When all this is over, please remember to appreciate the little things.
• Appreciate your Imaan, Islam and Tawfeeq Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has given us without any merit.
• Appreciate the freedom, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has provided us to do whatever we want.
• Appreciate all the hugs and love, we are receiving from fellow human beings.
• Appreciate whatever health,strength, money and time still in our hands.
• And just be grateful to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) to be still ALIVE to repent and please Him by obeying Him through practice Sunnah in our daily lives. (fbdrfarah)