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Baabe opened his eyes drowsily. To his greatest surprise, he was still alive. He looked around ...

Baabe opened his eyes drowsily. To his greatest surprise, he was still alive. He looked around and saw dead people being carted away. He had been terribly sick the previous day that he was certain he would not make another day. A man clad in white overall protective gear stood beside him. From his stature he could tell that it was not Dr. Dennis. “Good morning Baabe,” the new doctor said. “I am doctor Isidangi. I will be looking after you for now.” “Where is the other doctor?” Baabe asked. Dr. Isidangi said nothing for a while. With all the protective gear, Baabe could not read the expression on his face, but the silence spoke volumes. “He contracted Ebola virus,” he finally said jadedly. “Is he going to make it?” Baabe’s voice was filled with concern. He had built up a good rapport with Dr. Dennis over the past few weeks. “We can’t say. We take things one day at a time. It is a miracle that you are alive though. Everyone expected you to pass away yesterday, but to our greatest surprise, you are still here. Very few people have made it thus far after going down with Ebola virus disease. We are moving you to a more secluded hospital this morning. We think you are on the path to recovery now.” “You mean I won’t die?” “Yes, that is very likely.” “Will Dr. Dennis die?” “We don’t know. We are doing all we can to save him, but with this disease, it is hard to say.”

“There is someone here to see you Dr. Dennis. We have told him that no one is allowed to come in but he insists on seeing you. He has been sitting at the lobby all day waiting to see you. We don’t know what to do with him,” the nurse said. She was fully protected in a medical armory against the dreaded virus. There were patches of wounds and bleeding on Denis’ face. He spoke weakly. “Did he say what his name is?” “Yes. He said his name is Daniel.” “Daniel who?” “He did not say that sir.” “Kit him up and have him come in please,” Dennis said. Soon, a tall young man carefully wrapped in masks and overalls stood before him. He spoke gently from behind the gear. “Good to see you Dennis.” He recognized the voice immediately. “What are you doing here Daniel?” He asked feebly. “I wanted to see you. As soon as I heard of the Ebola outbreak in this division and the way it was spreading, I knew right away that you’d be in the middle of. You always wanted to help others. When I traced the hospital where you were treating Ebola patients, I was told you had gone down with the virus yourself, so I came looking for you.”

Dennis looked at him. He smiled despite the marauding pains running through his body. He had not seen his brother Daniel in years. He wanted to jump out of bed and hug him. He wondered who he looked like without the masks and gears. “Are you going to die?” Daniel asked. He had tears on his face. Dennis could not see them well, but he could tell from his voice that he was crying. “I will be alright. I will be alright Danny!” “Really?” “Yes. Some people have managed to beat the virus. One of my patients just walked out of the Ebola isolation unit having beaten the virus, I am told. I will be fine…somehow. Are you crying?” “I don’t want you to die Dennis.” “I will make it by God’s grace. I will make it Danny.” “Is there anything I can do for you?” Daniel asked. “You have made my day Danny. It is so good to see you even though I can’t get a good look at you. I am glad you came. I missed you all these years.” “I missed you too. I promise to make things up to you after you are out of here,” Daniel said. “I will hold you by your word Danny, because I intend o get out of here alive.” “I will be delighted to keep my word.”

“Do you remember when we used to climb the mango tree in front of our house Dennis?” Daniel asked. “Of course, I do. We’d pluck the mangoes and run to eh hill behind our farm and hide out on the other side of it and munch the mangoes. Mom and dad would be looking for us everywhere.” “We used to strive to beat each other out of bed to be the first to hop onto the mango tree.” They both reminisced on their childhood. “I remember the day I ran into a snake up in the tree. I was so scared. I shouted out to you for help and you went and called our neighbor, Mr. Dumbi. He stood there and asked me to jump. I did and he caught me. You always looked after me Danny. Too bad things turned sour between us along the line.” “I am sorry Denny. I allowed selfishness to get in our way. I left you to take care of our parents alone. I am really sorry. I am here now…please forgive me. I will do anything I can to help Denny. I don’t want to lose you.” “I forgave you already. Just pray for me. If for any reason I don’t get out here alive, please do know that I love you Daniel.” “I love you too Dennis.”

“Nurse, please can I come in. I need to see Dr. Dennis,” He said. “He has been very ill sir. I am not sure you will be able to see him tonight.” “I have to see him nurse. Even if he can’t talk, I just want to see him briefly. He looked after me when I was ill. You see, I had Ebola too. I was only released from hospital two days ago. Look,” Baabe said, showing the nurse his sores and remnants of his rashes. “He looked after me. He gave me the faith and courage to believe…to hang in there and beat this evil sickness. I need to offer my encouragement to him too. Please grant me just a few minutes.” “Okay sir. Please make it brief. Come let me get you kitted up.” Baabe looked at him with pity. When he opened his eyes, he was not sure who it was. “Danny,” he said thinking it was his brother. “It is me Baabe.” “Baabe! You came to see me. I was told you made it.” “Your words and loving care gave me the courage to hang in there…Hang in there doctor. You can survive this. Let the desire to see your brother again…to reconcile with him keep you going doctor.” “My brother is in town Baabe. He came to see me. I want to hug him again…I need to hug him again. I missed him a lot. I hope to beat this thing.” “Yes my child. Don’t give up. God will see you through. Let your mind be strong and at peace…you will make it!” “Thank you Baabe. Thanks for coming to see me. I could not forget what you did for me. You were there for me. It felt god to hold my children in my arms again and hug my dear wife. I miss my late brother and his family, but I can focus on what is left and be thankful for it!” “I will keep that in mind. Take care of your family. Now leave, we don’t want you back in here again!” “I will keep you in my prayers. Stay strong!”

After days of grueling sickness, a new batch of the anti-Ebola drug reached the division and Dr. Dennis was lucky to receive the drug. Less than forty eight hours afterwards, he was on his feet. Finally, he was able to wrap his arms around his brother Daniel. He was eager to return to the wards to offer his help and care to the numerous patients who were piling up in the isolation units. “Take a few days off Denny. I wanted to let you know that I am a father now.” “What?” “It was not planned. My girlfriend took in and we chose to have the baby and plan the wedding afterwards. I want to go see her parents. I can’t go without you…and mom. I want to beg her forgiveness. Please will you come with me?” “Of course. When do we leave?” “Thanks Dennis. Your heart has always been large!” “Thanks, but your large-heartedness when we were growing up thought me to try to treat other with kindness.” “You are being nice to me. I am a horrible and selfish person.” “You were at some point. Before that, you were an amazing brother. I remember that…and that is the real you. Let’s forget what happened. Shall we go to the city to see my future sister in-law?”

Their Mother was thrilled to see them both and Daniel’s girlfriend and their baby. She was quick to forgive and take Daniel back in her arms. “If only your father were here to witness this,” she said. There was a moment of silence as they thought of him. “There are very few days that go by that I don’t think about him,’ she added. “I miss him too mom!” Dennis said. “I…I…have been carrying the pain of not being there for him when he was ill. I thought I had enough time to attend to other things and then come back and see him. I have been carrying that guilt in me daily…the guilt of not being there when he and you all needed me the most. I let him down. I let you all down. I wish there was a way I could look him in the eye again and tell him how sorry I am and how much I truly loved him. He never really held anything back from us. He gave his all to fend for us…I…I live with that searing guilt every day.” “It is okay my child. He forgave you before he died. He told me that by his bedside before he took his last breath. He was such a loving man. He could not cross over to the other side with that heavy burden…the unforgiveness hanging on his shoulders. He let it all go my child. Now, you should let yours go too,” their mother said. She walked over to him and put her arms around his shoulders as they all shed tears.

Months later, Dennis took time off from work to be the best man at Daniel’s wedding. Baabe was there with his family. He and Dennis had become good friends afterwards. He made a toast at the wedding. “This is truly the happiest day of my life. This is because I have come to value and cherish live more than ever before. I was close to death but God saw me through it. Most of all, I was able to reconnect with my brother through that time. He had an immense influence on me as a child; to see him beaming with smiles today fills my heart with gladness. To see the smile on the face of my mother and to know that I am uncle…that I have an opportunity to influence the life of my brother’s son gives me a whole new perspective on life. Let’s toast to a life of joy, connectedness, family ties and deeper bonds. Let’s toast to love and oneness, friendship and kindness…the willingness to stretch beyond our reach to help the other person. May these be the blocks upon which this marriage is built,” Dennis said. Glasses clinked as the guests happily clicked glasses of wine in the air. Baabe smiled. Deep within, he fought back the pain of not having his brother and his family around. He stroked the hair of his youngest son and pulled his wife closer to him as he strove to keep the pains at bay.


Written by:
Victor Chinoo

Poster source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

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