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  • Writer's picturekwankew

“Like Moths to a Flame”

Last night I reverted to doing night duty. With deaths and discharges, the census was down. The ambulance crew does not go out on Sundays. There are rumors that there has been a decrease in Ebola cases in Liberia but it happened once before a few months ago when resurgence occurred. It only takes one case of unsuspecting Ebola infection to cause an outbreak.

Alfred’s mother, Watta, returned to be readmitted, the cause was minor, a headache without a fever. She was the only patient in the eerie Suspected Ward, unable to sleep as the light in all patients’ rooms are kept on all day and night.

There were 14 patients in the Confirmed Ward, one of them, Siah, was critically ill. The PA and I went into the ward twice in the early evening and before dawn to check on her. She had been vigorously hydrated. At dawn we found her in a pool of loose stool, completely soaked and shivering with a high fever. She was only arousable and groaned with sternal pressure. Her mother, Tewah was across the hall, upon hearing us fussing over her, wanted to know how she was doing. She herself was struggling with a painful distended abdomen and in the early morning hours began to have bloody stool. She lost her son, Morris a week ago and I fear she will also lose her daughter soon.

Satta the three-year-old crawled into bed to sleep with Christine. A number of the youngsters had bounced back, including Munyah, albeit slowly.

During the night we tried to cat-nap on top of tables pushed together, a few mosquitoes tried to take advantage of our vulnerable bed-net less situation. Loud conversations continued deep into the night with blaring Liberian movies making me wish I had ear plugs. The nationals were speaking in Liberian English and yet I did not understand a word of it. There was scarce intonation or modulation in their speech pattern and often I thought they were speaking in their local dialect.

There are so many varieties of moths here; it is an entomologist’s field day. In the early dawn, carcasses of dead insects lie scattered all over the surfaces around the energy saving bulbs. Our critically ill patients seemingly are drawn to DEATH “like moths to a flame”.


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