Sunday, September 6, 2015

The bed next to mine

The sound of talking woke me up. It came from the bed next to mine. The girl there was called Aku. She got more visitors than anyone else in our ward. Maybe it was because her case was the worst. I heard some nurses discuss her condition while she was asleep before. They said it couldn't be helped. Her cancer was detected pretty late. Someway somehow I preferred her situation, not the dying part obviously but the fact that they knew exactly what was wrong with her. Me on the other hand it seemed the doctors were not sure what I had. Several tests had proved negative. I didn't want to die but my hope of surviving seemed slimmer every single day.

"Let's pray. Fafa would you join us? "Aku's mother said looking at me." No thank you." I said. I noticed the disappointment in her face but I didn't care. She just nodded and turned to her daughter. Aku's older brother held her hand and they begun to pray. They did this everytime they visited her. I wondered why they even bothered. after that they showed her messages and presents from family and friends. Aku seemed to enjoy all of this. Even though she was in a lot of pain and other times a bit too high on morphine she managed to smile and giggle at most of them. That day for some reason she laughed more and even spoke more than she usually did. It was almost like she was getting better. Maybe the nurses gave her the perfect dose of morphine.
When visiting hours were over her family gave her their usual hugs and kisses and left. Then the room became normal again. I must say I preferred it like that. No one to blurb about unrealistic hope from God. Just the silence to allow a bunch of dying people count the remaining seconds they had left. That's what Aku had that night, a number of seconds left but she didn't spend it doing a countdown.

"Fafa, are you asleep?" Aku asked. I turned to look at her and told her I was awake. She smiled at me. She was one of the few people in our ward that actually smiled. For some reason I couldn't help but smile back. "What is it?" I asked her. She had a question for me. She wanted to know why I refused to pray with her family anytime they asked me to join them. I shrugged. It had happened 2 times. The first time I pretended to be asleep but today I didn't think there was a point pretending. "God doesn't listen to us." I said. I wasn't really in the mood to talk but then again I was curious as to where she was going with her questions. "Oh but he does." Abu said sharply. She went on further to talk about how God loved everyone. I stopped her by asking her why God would leave us here to die. She was silent for a moment and then said something I will never forget. "You know micro organisms right?" She asked. I nodded with the most confused look on my face. "Do you think bacteria understands algebra? That's how we are with God. There is no way we can understand him but if we trust him we will see his love for us." she said with the warmest smile. She was right. I never thought about it that way before but she was right.

Aku passed away that night in her sleep. Tears rolled down my cheeks when the nurses came for her body. She was such a lovely person and just when my hard heart was softening she left me. Her mother came to collect her things and walked over to my bed when she had packed everything. I had no idea why she would come to me. She stretched her hand and gave me an envelope. "Aku asked me to give this to you." She said. Her eyes were red from either lack of sleep or constant crying. It was probably both. She formed a weak smile and turned to leave. I called her back and said "Don't worry, we will see her again." She nodded and smiled again but this time with less pain in her eyes. I saw where Aku got her warm smile from.

When I opened the envelope with my wobbly hands I saw a little note in it that said, "God does everything for a good reason." It's like she read my mind. After her parting words the night before I had been asking God why he put us in such a situation. My eyes watered again. I closed my eyes and for the first time in a long while I prayed to God. If I was going to die I wanted to go peaceful like Aku did. Her mother said goodbye to me and immediately she left a bunch of doctors walked into the ward. They walked to Aku's bed and called a nurse when they say it was empty. There was one foreign doctor among them. A skinny white man. The Ghanaian doctor expressed some amount of anger towards one of the nurses. I heard him whisper "you should have told us that she had passed away. We've brought him all the way from the conference room for nothing" in Twi. Just before they turned to leave the Ghanaian doctor turned to me and to his fellows. "Doctor Bainbridge I'm sorry, the patient with Leukemia passed away last night, unfortunately. Perhaps you can take a look at this case we have been battling with?  I know this type of cancer is not your speilciality but how about we look at it?" He said. The white doctor nodded and they all turned to look at me.

After a brief inspection, a few tests just like magic Doctor Bainbridge knew how to save me. It wasn't cheap but he gave my family contacts to a few NGOs in his country that he thought could help us. He was right and after 2 surgeries and some physiotherapy I was back to normal. The whole thing seemed completely surreal. Aku was right. God did listen to my prayer. I decided to set up and NGO in Ghana that would help the sick build their faith in God. Just like how God turned my life around, I wanted to share this with others too.There was just one name I had in my head and that's why I named it, The Aku Foundation.