Photograph courtesy of, Unsplash

“It is impossible to describe exactly what I learn, though I know it lies somewhere between science and art. It is all about the smallest details and understanding how they make the biggest difference.”  Christie Watson, The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story

Anjum wrote me that she’d penned this some years ago. It was originally published in the Pakistan Times. She’s dusted it off in light of the current COVID-19 travesties and the heroism of nurses in response. I value her wish to honor those compassionate health care providers who are putting themselves in harms way for the greater good. / J.D.

The day is near its ending
The sun is slowly sinking,
The black veil of night is spreading,
Covering the day’s golden gown

Air outside is cold, but she is ready
With her cap, cape and coat,
Pen and red pencil, her pockets hold,
Pips and buttons shine like gold

For duty she is bound,
To the ward, she makes her way,
To look after the sick in the dark hours
As they rest and sleep till day

Alone, as midnight strikes, she goes
To give patients the medicine due,
Two gulps of a “mixture’
A ‘capsule’ or ‘tablets’ two

Awake alert ready she will be
To ease the pain and all misery
Never tired never with a frown
Comforting all in painful recovery

Darkness gently slips away
Silence prevails, peaceful and holy
Her duty done, she leaves the ward
As dawn approaches, slowly, slowly

Nurse on Duty

One night as I was about to drop off to sleep a sharp pain in my armpit shook me. I almost screamed. I put my hand where I was feeling the pain and my heart missed a beat. There was a hard lump there. 

Terrified, I felt a shiver run down my spine. I realized I was running a fever. Should I wake my mom who was dead tired after a heavy days work.? No, wait, the inner voice said. I don’t remember how I spent the night, my pillow was wet with tears of pain and  fear.  In the morning I was taken to the hospital, a military hospital.  Upon evaluation, surgery was recommended and then followed the most unforgettable eleven days of my life.

On that first day, I was struck by the smiles on the nurses faces, a welcoming smiles, reassuring comforting. “No need to worry all will be well,” said Captain Maryam as she tucked me in. I put my head on the white pillow and noted the red blanket that covered the bed. Red was the official color of the blankets of the military hospital. They gave me a sedative and the nurses smiles were a warming touch as I succumbed to a deep oblivion.

The next day the Operation Theatre Nursing Officer: quick, efficient, deft in her handling,  prepared me by helping me put on the gown and suddenly  I was on the operating table.  Presently in came the Surgeon. Then another man walked in with a mask on his face, the nurse held my hand: “Count till ten” . . .  and at  3 … 4……5…I fell asleep.

Four hours later I came to myself and the same tall nursing officer was leaning over me putting plaster across my chest. She covered me with another red blanket. I felt myself being lifted and carried on a stretcher. The ambulance moved slowly I dozed in and out of consciousness. I  vomited from the anesthesia …lost consciousness and later woke up again vomiting. Dozed again and so it went until . . . I don’t know how many hours passed by.

And so it was the care of the nursing officers of that Military Hospital where I spent eleven days and recovered from my critical operation. I was lucky to have a benign tumor but I was more lucky to be under the loving responsible care of the Nursing Angels who gave me the emotional physical and medical care I needed most.

I wrote a poem for them which I wish  to share. Here I would like to Dedicate this story to all the Brave Nurses of the World in this Pandemic time. Day and night they doing  their duty courageously, risking their lives and I will never forget my time of need.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.

Jamie Dedes:

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