Isaac reaches up to double check the respirator and isolation gown, being extra careful because of the decreased sense of touch through the latex gloves. He might be dedicated enough to volunteer for humanitarian work, but a good nurse doesn’t take any chances with such a deadly infection. At least the victims in this ward had been lucky enough to get injections of the anti-viral and had a better chance of pulling through. Not like the poor souls in Ward C.
Pushing open the swinging door, the experienced nurse carefully keeps his grip on the back of the gown to be sure the negative air pressure doesn’t dislodge any of the contact protection it offered. Most of the room is quiet except for the occasional ping of monitors or the hiss of air from the few advanced cases requiring mechanical ventilation. A few moans of discomfort occasionally break the silence as Isaac crosses to the monitoring station and nods to Aletta, motioning for her to take her break.
A faint clatter from the storage locker at the far end of the room draws his attention as Isaac notices bed eight is empty. Quickly crossing the ward, the nurse finds one of the patients on her knees digging through the lower levels of the locker used to store patient’s belongings during their treatment. The gaunt Indian woman is frantically rummaging through a pile of clothing, tossing garments aside in her haste to find something.
“You need to return to bed, miss”, Isaac says with authority. “Everything will be safe in here until you’re ready to go home.”
The woman’s sunken brown eyes briefly turn toward the nurse, the instructions clearly not registering.
“No. I have to find it. It’s here somewhere.”
Isaac reaches down to take the gaunt figure by the upper arm to gently lift her to her feet. The woman tries to pull away and keep searching, but lacks the strength to resist the nurse’s grip.
“It’s ok, miss. Your belongings are safe here. They’ll be here when you’re better.”
“No. You don’t understand”, the woman’s voice is too flat and weak to convey much, but Isaac can hear a hint of desperation in her voice. “I need it now. I feel like I’m dying.”
That’s because you are dying…
“I know, but you need to rest now. The medicine can’t work if you are wasting your energy instead of resting.”
She continues struggling feebly in the nurse’s grip, each movement weaker than the last.
“No… need… one more…”
The struggles stop as she goes limp and sags to the floor. Isaac quickly catches her and tries to rouse her but gets no response. He begins checking for her pulse and breathing as he slaps the emergency call tag on his badge.
“Code Blue, Ward A, bed eight. Code Blue, Ward A, bed eight. Kode Blou, Ward A, bed agt.”
Doctor Williams straightens up from the bed, dropping the defibrillator paddles onto the vomit-stained sheets. The small dark man brushes a dreadlock from his sweaty face.
“Ok, mon. Everybody breathe easy. I’ma calling it.”
“An so di ting set… Time of death, fifteen forty seven.”