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Patient recently on a holiday in Africa, Typhus fever suspected, Widal test already requested. Patient put on a dextrose drip. Patient prepped and ready on the examination table, awaiting your directions sir” I said to the doctor. I was in the doctor’s room briefing him on the patient he was supposed to examine next. “Good work,” said the physician, “You didn’t mention any pain killers though” I smiled and explained to him the request the patient had made earlier. “Patient says no painkillers should be administered to her, apparently her faith says pain is punishment for some misdeeds and that she wishes to suffer it and dedicate it to some cause.” The physician smiled back, “We are under obligation to respect her wishes, but make sure you clearly explain to her that the option still remains open, whenever she feels ready.” The Physician had finished prepping himself and was heading to the observation room with me in tow. The patient’s situation had not changed and was the same as I had left it three minutes earlier. The lab technician walked in with the preliminary results, which confirmed my earlier suspicions: the patient had typhus fever. I left the physician with the attending nurse as I proceeded to prepare the next patient on the roll, which is the normal routine in my line of work. I am a Registered Nurse (RN) serving as an Emergency Room (ER) assistant to one of the physicians at my local hospital. This was the beginning of my fifteen-hour shift and I was feeling quite energetic. I checked on a previous patient who was on the way to the wards and proceeded into the adjourning examination room. By midday, I had attended to seven patients and since there were no patients in the ER, I sat at my desk organizing notes from earlier in the day. I ate a sandwich I had brought in from home, and downed it with coffee. After the light meal, I filed the notes and placed the files in the desk drawer and with nothing much to do, I started recalling the long and taxing journey that had brought me to the nursing profession. It all started on one chilly morning when I was in grade Five. My friend Pat and I had been playing on the slippery grass in the school compound. Full of energy as any kid my age would be, we were playing a contact game which involved a lot of chasing and grabbing. Caught up in the excitement, I pulled Pat a little too hard and she tumbled down hard and screamed in pain. She grabbed at her leg and upon having a closer look, I saw that her foot was bent at a very unnatural angle. She was howling at the top of her voice and I could not help crying when I imagined the pain I had inflicted on my friend. The safety officer came to the rescue immediately and he carried Pat swiftly to the school’s Health Unit. I sat with her comforting her, and what happened next changed my life forever. The head nurse, in a pristine white uniform came over and examined my friend. She retreated into the inner office and when she came back, she had a dangerous looking hypodermic on her hand and was filling a syringe from a container. She reached for my friend’s foot and soothingly caressed her backside. My friend was still crying in pain and I was not sure she if knew what was going on. The nurse with a quick and practiced move injected the needle into my friend’s muscle, and Pat let out a high pitched howl. I hated the nurse; my young brain could not comprehend how somebody could inflict more pain on someone who was already in insufferable pain. I blamed
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