This Too Shall Pass

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He knows every star in the sky

Every single tear that you cry

His love is here, faithful and alive

I know that this world can be cold

In His arms you’re never alone

That’s His promise to you and I

Plus One’s The Promise was on repeat as I lay uncomfortably in the cold bed at the Ridge Hospital. Sigh. I needed all the motivation I could get. The extra level of meticulousness I’d had to exercise for the past two weeks was enough to make my head throb.

I’d always dreamed of being a medical doctor. I’d been passionate about saving lives ever since I’d saved my friend’s way back in class six. I still remember the details as if it were yesterday:

We’d been studying in the uncompleted building close to my house – my friends and I – when we heard a pained scream. We’d rushed out and seen Anna on the floor, crying loudly. She’d accidentally fallen on a rotting piece of wood and was quickly losing blood through the resulting gash on her right thigh. While my friends panicked, I’d impulsively ripped off the left sleeve of my shirt, tied up the wound and continued to apply pressure to the wound to minimize the bleeding – something I’d learnt from Grey’s Anatomy. Eventually, the paramedics had shown up and commended me for that action. Apparently, Anna would have died if I hadn’t controlled the blood loss.

Currently a fourth-year medical student, I was getting closer to my life’s dream. And though it hadn’t been easy, I’d been expecting virtually everything that had come so far – the extra hours of studies, the lack of a social life, the instances where you’d have to drop everything to see to emergencies, the extremely bloody scenes and the occasional loss of patients. Grey’s Anatomy had done a very good job of preparing me for everything.

Everything but this.

Covid-19 was unlike anything we’d ever seen or heard of. It was too crazy. Unfortunately, many of us had been taking it for granted until it was too late and the number of confirmed cases had started growing exponentially. The mode of spread of the infection was even scarier. It therefore didn’t surprise me when my mother objected to my decision to volunteer to help the medical officers at the isolation centre at Ridge.

“Absolutely not! Don’t even think of it again!” she’d said.

I couldn’t blame her. It had taken a lot of thinking and soul searching for me to come to that decision myself.

But she’d agreed eventually, upon the reluctant persuasion of my father and two of my elder brothers. And as I’d walked into the centre on the first day, the reality of the matter hit me all over again. Even the protocol for handling the patients there was different. There were Veronica buckets of water and soap as well as alcohol-based sanitizers at so many vantage points. All health personnel were clad in Personal Protective Equipment they were clearly uncomfortable with it. Dr, Erasmus Koranteng, the leader of the team had handed me a set at the entrance to the center.

“It’ll grow on you, in say… 5 to 10 years,” he’d said.

I’d smiled at his weak attempt at humour. The young doctor had deep circles around his eyes and he was developing a heat rash on his neck. I also couldn’t help but notice the shiny wedding band on his finger. God, these people must be going through so much. I’d said a silent prayer.

“A penny for your thoughts,” the voice of Nigel, my colleague, startled me.

“Not much,” I sat up in the bed and paused my music. “I’m just hoping this would be over soon enough,”

He smiled. “Don’t we all? You’re up.”

“Yes please, thanks” I replied. Getting off the bed, I went to the washroom, carefully washed my hands with soap and water while singing “Happy birthday” twice and then proceeded to the changing room to get into my PPE.

I sighed again. This too shall pass.

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