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Published:  2016-02-13 Views:  716
Author:  karelnel
Published in:  Health/Gesondheid
The Pain Woman

                                The Pain Woman.

Allow me to take you to her. We’ll find her in a small white room in the Medicross clinic close-by. Perhaps you can still call her human. You can still vaguely  recognize the  prominent features of her face, but she is  little more than a bundle of skin and bones - a mere shadow of the person she once was. She does not move, or talk or even open her eyes. But when you compassionately whisper her name, mysteriously a tear will roll from one of her totally lifeless eyes.

Louise worked for me as my secretary about 30 years ago, but only for 6 months, and then, unknowingly she fell into the hands of a savage, merciless butcher. She was referred to hospital for a hysterectomy operation, but unfortunately she did not know of the small talk about the specialist. In town they say that his hands are not steady on Monday mornings, and many poor people have suffered  because of that. That Monday morning his razor sharp  scalpel nicked a vital bundle of nerves deep within her abdomen ,which, in healing caused the growth of a  traumatic neuroma - a growth  that would be sending intense pain signals to her brain for the rest of her miserable life.

I still remember her clearly. She was no beauty - but she had a heart of gold. She was a simple mom of two kids, and prepared to give everything for them. She was a faithful worker. But her friendliness and  evergreen  smile made her so special that she was loved by all. While delivering the mail around the office she would chat with all, bringing a smile on everyone’s faces.

She recovered from the operation, but were within a few days confronted with an excruciating pain in her abdomen. Every second, every minute, every day the pain  was tearing  her tender personality apart. Not one moment would the pain cease. Returning to the specialist, he ordered another operation whereafter he explained  to her the cause of her misery : There were some internal tissue growths that he had removed , and that she would be well, but within a few days the killer pain was back.

She even went back to him a third time, and he operated again, only to give other reasons for the pain. But the pain remained. She was trapped in the most inhumane  prison of pain, out of which there was no escape. No pain-killer could still the pain. Only tranquilizing drugs and  sleeping drugs could put her  consciousness away from the scourge that had come over her life.

Later he changed his story. The pain was only in her head - there was medically no reason for it, and she had to see a psychologist. After several sessions of therapy there was still no improvement in her life quality, and she had to face the inevitable. The pain was there to stay.

She came back to work for a  few short months, but by this time her world only consisted  of one reality : PAIN. She could not do any work. She could not stand, nor sit to type a letter, and many times I entered her office to find her lying on the floor in tears. Conversation with her became unbearable - from the moment she entered your office till she left, she only spoke of one thing : Pain - Pain - Pain !

Frantically she  started to run from doctor to doctor and from clinic to clinic to find a cure, and they  tried all type of pain relieving instruments on her. Nothing was effective. The last that they tried was a thin stainless steel tube implanted into the spinal cord by which a drug like  morphine could be injected  directly at the root of the  offending nerve, but due to infections this tube frequently blocked up, and had to be replaced by  an operation.

After one such an operation a doctor injected a strong dose of tranquilizer into the spinal cord, but he did not notice that she  suffered a cardiac arrest on the recovery table. He discovered her predicament only after more than 10 minutes, and resuscitated her although she had already suffered irreversible  brain damage, and rushed her to the intensive care ward of a nearby hospital. She was in a deep coma, and they kept her for about two weeks. They then placed her in a  intermediate - care unit, but when her medical aid scheme was finally exhausted , she was expelled  from the hospital, and had to go to the state hospital where she was kept under the poor conditions, that we know do exist in these hospitals  today. They thought that the last friend of the comatose patient, namely pneumonia,  would quickly come to fetch her, but Louise lived on stubbornly, as if protesting with her whole existence, against this terrible injustice that had been done to a human being - worse even than murder.

In passing through the hospital  passages and portals you cannot help to  note the luxury of the pink tiles and the exquisite pictures on the walls. You can still see the name of the butcher on the  billboard at the lift. You see the luxurious cars that he drives under the awnings of the hospital, and you hear the small talk about him.. Then you remember her - so utterly ruined, her family so desperately destroyed..

In turning your back on the tender figure on the bed, one shivers with horror, wondering whether the coma is not the final cage where she is kept, not able to move or communicate, but finally totally at mercy of the brutal pain..

 

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KPJ Nel

2016-02-12

 


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