This is a true story that I would like to share with you. The moral of this story is never to doubt you gut feeling. I hope you find it interesting.
A Mother’s Intuition
I stood with the doctor in the long corridor of the children’s ward. My daughter lay in the narrow hospital bed sleeping fitfully a few feet away. Earlier that evening it had taken two nurses to hold her down to give her an injection to help ease the excruciating pain she was in. Four days, three doctors, no answers, I was running scared. Was my daughter going to die? Was Jesus going to take her to heaven after all?
That weekend my five-year-old daughter had spent the weekend at my Mom’s. When I went by that Sunday she had greeted me excitedly. “Mommy, mommy I saw Jesus last night,” she said.
“You dreamt Jesus,” I said.
“Yes,” she replied, her face beaming. “He came to take me to heaven.”
The muscles in my stomach clenched. “What happened?” I asked cautiously.
“He didn’t bother,” she said.
The muscles in my stomach relaxed and relief flooded my body. Her fingers clutched at my hand. What does that mean Mommy?” I looked down at her small unturned face, her innocent eyes questioning. “It means that everything is going to be okay,” I told her. That was what I had thought at the time but now I was worried sick. Was everything really going to be okay?
Doctor Okeke standing next to me had examined a few minutes ago, before she fell asleep. The two doctors who had seen her since she fell ill on Tuesday and the one who had examined her when she arrived at the hospital didn’t know what was wrong. I hoped Dr. Okeke did.
“What do you think it is Doctor?” I asked.
“Worms,” he said.
For a moment, I thought I had heard him wrong. “Worms,” I repeated feeling somewhat bewildered.
“Yes,” he said and nodded. “I think it’s worms.”
I shook my head. “It’s not worms,” I told him.
“Why,” he asked.
“Because worms can’t cause so much pain,” I told him.
“Yes it can,” he said. “It can cause that amount of pain.”
I shook my head.
“Yes it can,” he insisted.
“I don’t think it is worms,” I repeated. “Maybe you ought to do an X-Ray.”
He took aversion to that. His entire body stiffened. “Are you trying to tell me how to do my job?” he asked in a brusque tone.
“No,” I told him. “But my daughter is sick and you obviously don’t know what is wrong, maybe if you do an X-Ray it will show up something.
“I am telling you it is worms,” he insisted. “I have had many cases like this before. It is worm.”
I looked him dead in the eyes. “I don’t care how many cases like this you have seen before,” I told him. “This is not one of them.”
He went silent. We stood on the empty corridor me, him and the heavy silence that had fallen between us. Finally he spoke. “I understand,” he said. “You are a mother and you are worried about your daughter. I know I am right but here’s what I am going to do. I am going to ask Dr. Gordon to examine her. He is the head doctor here. Let’s see what he thinks.”
Hope surged within me. I knew Dr. Gordon well. He was a good Doctor maybe he would able to find something that the others hand missed. I thanked him profusely. “I would really appreciate you doing that,” I told him.
As promised Dr. Gordon turned up on the ward to examine my daughter that Saturday. The excruciating pain she had been in since Tuesday had abated a bit but only because of the pain meds they were giving her. Dr. Gordon a short thick-set man wearing a long white jacket greeting both of us warmly when he came. Sitting in a chair by the bedside I watched as he examined her. He ruled out everything that the other doctor had already ruled it, it wasn’t her appendix… there was no pain or tenderness in that area. He ruled out her stomach and gastroenteritis… there was no vomiting or diarrhea. He could not find anything wrong.
Concluding his examination he looked at me and said, “Dr. Okeke is right it’s worm. I felt as if someone had taken a pan of ice-cold water and dumped it over my head. Dr. Gordon had been my last hope and now it felt as if that hope was gone. I could barely find my voice to mumble ok and watched him leave. Doctor Okeke came by a few minutes later to find out what Dr. Gordon had said. I told him he said it was worms.
“See I told you it was worms,” he said. “I didn’t bother to argue with him, what would have been the point.
I was feeling depressed when I left the hospital that day. A little girl who had fallen out of a tree and was admitted the day before my daughter had died. Friday night I had listened to her cries of pain as she lay in bed with one leg and one of her hand in casts. How could one die from a broken arm and leg? I wondered as they wheeled her lifeless body out of the ward. It sharply brought home the question of mortality. Children died too. I clung to my daughter’s dream. Jesus hadn’t bothered to take her to heaven so that meant she wasn’t going to die didn’t it? I felt however whatever was wrong could eventually kill her and it was up to me to figure out what it was.
By now my entire family was worried sick; my daughter was not getting any better. I went to hospital early Sunday morning before everyone else. She lay curled up on her side under the white hospital sheet. She was still in pain but managed a smile when she saw me. I pulled back the covers told her to lie and her back. I had made the decision before coming to the hospital that I was going to do my own examination. I prayed before I started. It was just a simply prayer asking God to reveal to me what was wrong so I could tell the doctors.
I ruled out everything the doctor had already ruled out and then I asked myself what other organ is in the lower abdominal area. I sat there pondering and then it hit me like a bolt of lightning… her bladder. When I touched that area she winced in pain and not only that she had not peed since coming into the hospital nor could she remember the last time she had peed when I questioned her. I was sure I had found my answer.
I looked up for my daughter’s bed and as if in answer to my prayers there was Dr Okeke. He was three beds away talking with a nurse. I rushed over to them. “Excuse me,” I said. “Doctor I think it’s her bladder she hasn’t peed in days. Do you think it could be that?”
His eyes widened and he nodded. “Yes it could be that,” he said.
Finally I thought. I had gotten his attention; he was ready to explore another diagnosis other than his own. A few minutes later at the doctor’s instruction the nurse inserted a catheter and we stood watching bright, orange-colored looking urine flowing into a bag. My daughter’s pain disappeared like magic as soon as her bladder was emptied and she was smiling cheerfully. She was her old self again.
Dr. Okeke turned to me. “You are a doctor,” he said, perhaps trying to make sense of how I could have picked up on something they had all missed.
“No I am not a doctor,” I told him. He looked at me with something akin to concern in his eyes. “What happened,” he asked. “Did you drop out of med school?”
I couldn’t help the soft chuckle, “Never been there,” I told him. “You mean you have no medical training?” His voice held a ring of disbelief.
“None at all I told him.” I didn’t spend years in med school. I didn’t have their medical training. What I possessed was my mother’s intuition. It was it that saved my daughter. My mind flashed back to the dream. I was right after all; Jesus hadn’t taken her to heaven everything was going to be okay.
This is a true story. I was that Mom.
*The doctor names have been changed to protect their identity.