8:20am
My most intense procedure of the day had just begun…
I’d made Burr holes in the skull, cut out the bone flap, folded up the dura, and i was placing in the retractor…
It wasn’t a time for talk, or for reading notes…

The whole OR was silent… Save for Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ playing in the background.

I knew this tumour was bad….
‘But I’ve got this….’ I kept saying to myself.

When the nurse walked in with a note for me, I almost cursed her out! Why would she walk in here in the middle of this just to bring me a note?

“Doc… its an emergency!”

Everything was an emergency lately…

“Leave it on my desk… I’ll take care of it!!”

I had three other major procedures….

It was 7:23pm when I finally got to my office… A salami sandwich and a can of coke sat there…. And there was that note too….
Biting into the sandwich, I opened it up…

‘I think I miscarried! I’m in C9 on the East Wing. Both Sam and I have been trying to reach you… I need you here… Please come!’ S

S? That had to be Sydney
But Sydney wasn’t pregnant! Was she? How far along was she?
What??
My heart was thudding hard in my chest…
My wife was not pregnant!

Had I been so engrossed in my work that I didn’t notice that my wife was with child?
I knew I’d neglected her many times….

But I swore an oath…. To save lives

‘You said vows, to love and to cherish her!’

I looked for my cell and tried to dial her number…. She’d tried me eighteen times…
I rushed out to the east wing…. C9…. Where was C9??

No answer….
I kept dialling…

What has been going on in her mind all this while??
She’d always been a strong woman… So strong…. And I took that for granted!

Oh Lord!

I went by Sam’s office, it was locked….
I tried his line… Off
Where in this east wing was C9?

When I finally found it, I barged right into it, startling both Syd and the nurse attending to her…. She looked straight at me with such pained eyes, I wanted to breakdown…
I watched as the nurse walked out, and I sat next to her on the bed….
I felt like I’d failed….

“She was almost four months old, I was gonna call her Charlene….
I didn’t want to bother you much, luckily I didn’t have many symptoms… Morning sickness lasted just about two weeks, and you were often at the office by then….”

She paused to wipe a tear.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her cry…

‘Sam knew, but I asked him not to discuss it with you… He assumed you knew too of course. When I woke up this morning, there was blood everywhere, and I was in a hell of pain….”

More tears.

“I knew Charlene was gone back home… ”
It’s sad you never got to know her…

She kicked a lot when I was in the shower… Or when it got really cold at night… That explains the second duvet I got…
She had this light tickling thing she did whenever I was full…. And I think she liked oysters, cos I’ve been craving and eating oysters since I noticed her….
She would probably have had your eyes, and that annoying half smile you have sometimes. And my hair, and my cute nose of course…. ”

I had tears running down my face… I’d missed one of the most important joys of life…. All because of work….
I’d failed my wife, neglected my vows, and lost my little Charlene….

I lost my diamond while I was busy picking up stones….

R.S Hughes (M.D)

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