Abeiku was one of the best cardiologists in the country. He loved his profession with a passion. He was excellent at what he did not mainly because he had a sharp brain but because of the motivation he had for being a cardiologist in the first place-how he had lost his mother and only surviving parent. She was suffering from arrhythmia-abnormal heart rhythm. He was nine. She suffered a crisis one day and was rushed to the hospital but the doctor who could attend to her was unavailable. He was contacted and he informed them he was on his way.
Abeiku still remembered the look on his mother’s face as she laid there dying. She used her last breath to urge him not to cry but be strong. She knew he would have a bright future and was sad that she wouldn’t be around to see him shine. Abeiku rarely cried but that fateful day, he cried like a baby. Even when her hands turned cold, he held on to them with his life, hoping the heat in his body would somehow warm hers and keep her soul in hibernation till the doctor arrived. But no matter how hard he clenched her hand and how fervently he prayed with all the promises he could think of, she still didn’t make it.
The doctor came in not too long after. He had been called in to do a consult at another hospital. He was devastated that he couldn’t arrive in time. Abeiku was mad at everyone, at the doctor for being away, at his mother for giving up too early and at God for snatching his mother away from him. That was the last time he prayed or thought about God. As he watched his mother’s casket being lowered into the ground and soil being poured onto it, he buried his faith along with her. He had always served him faithfully but he had failed him at the moment he needed him the most. What was the point if he couldn’t be there for him at his greatest point of need?
That was when he decided to be a cardiologist. He vowed to be at his very best so other young children wouldn’t be rendered helpless orphans. Whenever he opened up a patient on the operating table, he would picture his mother’s face and the determination to save him/her would fill him up. So far, his success rate has been impressive which made him wonder why thousands of people still trooped to churches to seek miracles when people of science like him could help them out.
A couple came to see him with their daughter who had a congenital heart disease. Her case was quite peculiar but Abeiku was confident he could help. He relayed his confidence to his parents. Instead of acknowledging his success rates and expertise, they mentioned that they knew God was in control and would save their daughter. He wanted to tell them it was going to be him in the OR and not God but he restrained himself. They looked very religious. They reminded him of his mother who was now dust and bones underground. He suddenly felt angry. Why was God taking the credit for the job he would be doing by himself on his feet for hours?
On the day slated for the surgery, he looked on as the parents held their daughter’s hand praying that God’s presence fill the OR and direct the doctor’s hand as he works. He walked out before they ended the prayer. If it weren’t for the fact that he wanted to keep his record impressive, he would have let them feel what he felt years ago just to prove to them that God didn’t care about people. But he brushed the thought aside. He had pledged to save people and not kill them.
He heaved a sigh like he always did before a surgery. Then he said in his head, ‘Stay out of my OR, God. This is my kingdom and I’m not sharing the throne.’ He then cut into the flesh with the scalpel.
It was going well until he found out that he had accidentally nicked a blood vessel. He began to panic when he felt a shivering cold run through his body. It reminded him of his mother’s cold hands.
No, not again. I won’t let you take her away, he thought gingerly as he raced against time to save the young girl. When the danger passed, he sighed. I won, he thought triumphantly.
When he informed the parents that the surgery had gone well, the first thing the parents did was thank God. All the exhilaration he felt evaporated at the moment. He told them in a straightforward tone that it would be nice for them to acknowledge his efforts before walking off. The parents were confused at first but went on thanking God for the life of their daughter.
Abeiku was still stewing over the parents’ reaction when a nurse rushed in. The girl’s heart was failing.
How was that possible? He asked as he raced past the bewildered parents back to the OR.
He was at a loss at what to do. He knew that if he didn’t do something fast, the girl would soon join his mother.
Mum, please help me save her. She is too young to join you, he prayed. But he felt nothing. His mind was totally blank as every procedure in the textbook didn’t seem to be working. His mother couldn’t help him. She was flat-lining and there was nothing more he could do.
God, help me. He didn’t know how it happened and but he had just asked God for help without thinking about it. The nurses were staring at him, wondering if he could work his magic one more time. But they didn’t look hopeful.
He suddenly felt a presence around the bed and a soothing peace in his heart-one he hadn’t felt in a long time. He knew God was there. A few minutes later, the girl’s heart started beating again. Everyone in the OR sighed in relief.
Thank you God, he said aloud. It felt strange coming out of his lips. But he felt at peace for saying it.
When he came out, he could see the fright in the eyes of the parents. He nodded.
God saved your daughter, he admitted to them. They hugged each other in relief. Abeiku walked on to his office.
He took the framed photo of his mother on his desk and stared at it.
Let’s go to church, Abe. He could hear his mother’s voice in his ears as audibly as if she was standing next to him.
Weeks after the girl was discharged, Abeiku went to church wearing all white. The girl’s parents had invited him and he accepted. He was in a thanksgiving mood. He sang along and danced. A part of him missed this. His heart stirred within him throughout the sermon. So when the preacher made the altar call, he found himself walking to the front.
He came out of the church a new man. A lady chatting with a friend caught his eye. He had been looking for a wife for a while now. Could she be the one?
Walk with me and you will find out, he heard in his ears.
Jesus take the wheel, he told himself.
© Josephine Amoako 2017
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