Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, December 12, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (80)

“Doctor will be so glad you’re here, ’Bu,” said the receptionist, as Ramani enquired of her son. “Can you confirm what your blood type is?” “B negative. Now where is my boy? I must see him. Now,” she insisted, a little too assertively. “Of course,” the other woman, slightly put out, agreed. Without adding to their exchange, the pair then swished through the doors that led to the ward, while the old man who had accompanied her up to this point, seeming to know his place, sat dumbly on a plastic chair beside a couple sat like bookends.

Ramani could barely recognise the figure to which she was led. It must be a mistake. That’s not Anath… He’s… he’s not… not pale, like that. Not that colour… And indeed, as a result of the oxygen mask, the wires that criss-crossed all around him and – not least – his deathly pallour, this mother could be forgiven for not recognising her own son, such was his dramatic transformation from a healthy young man into a waif clinging to life in a place that had only reluctantly admitted him for treatment. Ramani suddenly gasped as the realisation that this was, after all, her boy finally hit her.

“He’s going to be OK,” said the receptionist, noticing. “The worst is over,” she further reassured her, placing a hand on her arm. “Now, we need some of your blood, ’Bu: quite a lot, in fact” – a statement that produced the merest of nods in response, as Ramani slumped into a chair beside Anath’s bed, her hand still covering her mouth in shock.

By now, the boy had been lying immobile for several hours; the optimism the receptionist expressed more an attempt to lighten the mood than something that was based on medical prognosis. But such was their bond that from somewhere deep inside him, the flicker of a smile began twitching around the corners of the boy’s mouth, as he somehow sensed the presence of his mother, close by. Perhaps it was the fact that his father had never been around that had led to the development of this near-psychic attachment between the two; but whatever, her being there seemed to provide an instant filip, as if this alone boosted his chances of survival.

“Ah, you must be the mother,” said the Doctor, as he suddenly swept into the ward to cast his eyes upon Ramani for the first time. “We’re going to need some blood from you, Ibu… Ibu–” “Ramani. It’s Ramani. And you can take all you like,” she replied. “Only bring the equipment here: I want to stay with my boy.” Turning, the Doctor could not help but take a second look at her: still stunning, despite the years.

Pushing along a trolley upon which the requisite equipment was housed, he returned with an orderly to find that the boy had woken properly for the first time since his admission, a stream of bile dangling from one corner of his mouth, while the mask had been roughly pulled to one side. Ramani was standing over Anath, supporting his head as the convulsions rippled through his upper body. The lad retched heavily as the Doctor approached, sending out a shower of sputum that spattered his mother’s legs. “Nurse!” the Doctor called out, to no-one who was listening.

Anath’s throat was sore: parched. “Ma?” he rasped, as his eyes at last began to focus. “S-sorr–” “Shhh…” she responded, now laying the back of her hand on his forehead. God, I’m thirsty, Anath now realised. As if by telepathy, Ramani rose to search for water, while the Doctor placed a hand on her shoulder with perhaps a little too much familiarity, gesturing for her to remain seated for the transfusion. Making conversation, he then began to relate his prognosis of the boy’s condition: “You’ll probably find this difficult to believe, but your boy’s been lucky.” Neither mother nor son responded. “The bullet almost passed right through him. We found it just under the skin at the back of his shoulder.” Smiling, the Doctor held up a petri dish containing the offending item. “Can’t let him keep it, I’m afraid,” he said, shaking it around. “The police will no doubt want it to try and identify the gun.” He tucked the covered dish back into the front pocket of his gown. “The good news is that it missed everything. Miraculous, really: no major artery, muscle or anything else was impacted or torn. We’ve thoroughly cleaned and sealed the wound and, apart from some bruising and pain as it heals inside, he’ll feel very little ill-effect.”

But mother and son were ignoring the Doctor’s monologue, staring quietly instead into each other’s eyes. “Ma,” the young man began again, his voice cracking with the dryness of his throat. “How did… you know? What made you come here?” “Just call it a mother’s instinct,” Ramani softly replied.

posted by Kirk at 11:57 pm  

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