It was last year. I don’t remember the exact date.
As I walked toward the emergency-room I knew something was up. Two girls in their twenties and an older woman were standing near the glass door. They tried to peer inside through the part that was not opaque; their eyes red. A bearded man stood at a side talking to someone over phone excitedly. I walked in to the ER. Inside, a nurse held on to a bag valve mask as the EMO Nahid vai was giving CPR to a man. His shirt sleeves rolled up, drops of perspiration on his forehead even in the air conditioned ER. So this has been going on for some time! He beckoned me towards him. As I reached his side he stopped and said, “Push 15 times then 2 breaths, start”.
Fuc…I started CPR before I could finish my thought. He waited a few seconds to correct my hands and then went over to the EMO’s desk to slump in the chair behind. As my hands pushed against the chest I observed the patient. He is a man in his late sixties with long white beard and balding head. He is wearing a Panzabi, a common cheap cotton panzabi, the kind worn by older Muslim men. On his forehead a blotch formed by years of five times of prayer a day.
Push 15 times then 2 breaths… The monitor by his head was showing a beat every time I pushed; the frail zigzag line of his heartbeat. His chest heaved as the nurse squeezed precious air through the ambu bag into his lungs. One of the girls came in, a phone pressed to her ear. The other nurses rushed to her, urging her to stay outside. She stole a glance at the old man as she was led outside. “Grandfather is alright,” I heard her telling someone over the phone. My hands ache.
Faisal vai rushed in with a defibrillator machine. With a pair of scissors he cut the panzabi. Small pops of the shock being administered and then silence followed.
A man, one of the attendants of the patient was called in. Three of us sat with him in the ER. Nahid vai broke the news of death. He nodded solemnly. As they were talking I looked back at the glass doors of ER. The girl with the phone was back, peering through the glass at the curtained bed.
Was it a good death, I wonder? As the air fills with wails and sobs I take my leave.
إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
P.S. I think this is a thematic continuation of a previous post about death, All the Funerals and Deaths. I have another in mind for this series.