Posted by: calloftheandes | February 24, 2012

Long Lonely Walk to the Intensive Care Unit

by Dr. Fabiola Enriques with translation by R.Kurtenbach

An August morning in Quito, and I let the silence of my office engulf me. I begin my day with thanks to the Almighty for His mercies and favors, new every day.

Suddenly Dr. Richard Douce walks in. With hardly a greeting, he says ”I need for you to follow me.” Leaving third floor administration offices at Hospital Vozandes Quito (HVQ) on weakening legs, I go as a sheep to the slaughter. My emotions reeling, questions buffet by questions: “What? Complaints so early in the day?”

Even as his long, swift steps take me somewhere downstairs I am taken to a place in my mind when I followed my father’s pace. In two years at HVQ I have never seen such a stern look from Dr. Douce, not even during tough meetings and medical audits to investigate the validity of patient complaints.

It seems a walk of miles from Administration to the Intensive Care Unit. If I recall, I didn’t greet a single person. Inside, I was listening to my own heartbeat amid the swirl of questions and those heavy and hurried footsteps before me.

“Your job is not only to deal with complaints” Dr. Douce finally says. Uff! I react inside. But regaining my composure, I walk farther into the ICU. How strange! I was directed not to a patient or doctor, but instead to the ICU utility room.

There I sense a smell of roses. Tears gently fill my eyes, freely rolling down my cheeks. Vivid colors, unique, inimitable, as only God could do. Wow! And so many flowers too, of all colors, red, white, yellow and fuchsia –even a magnificent garden would fall short. Only a paradise could offer more.

“Thank you Dr. Douce,” I say, to which he responds “Remember this when you receive your next complaint. Let this energize you by recalling these wonders of God.”

Fabiola Enríquez with Samanta Aguirre

The flowers hold my gaze for a while but then I notice the smiling faces of Nurse Samanta Aguirre, Dr. Ruperto Suárez and others sharing this joy. Nearing the bed of elderly María, I call out her name.

Not whispering mind you, I shout excitedly, “María! Jesus loves you! What beautiful roses! Wake up and smell them!” She reacts with a gesture of ease in her face, despite her endotracheal tube, as the monitor records her increased heart rate.

María, with a bleeding brain aneurysm and an uncertain prognosis not long beforehand. But thank God, she not only emerged from the ventilator; she was also discharged from the ICU and HVQ. It was María’s family who brought these beautiful flowers from their nurseries after God restored their mother’s life.

I enjoy touching the softness of those fuchsia roses. Seeing this, Dr. Suarez takes flowers from a bouquet and hands me them. Stopping by people’s offices as I return upstairs, I share these flowers, along with a hug, a few tears, an “I love you!”, and a “Thank you.”

Waking to a kiss from her husband

During a 28-day ordeal with María’s life hanging in the balance, her husband patiently waited just outside the ICU. The couple’s two sons brought the roses before they knew the final outcome on their mother’s health, showing their gratitude to the hospital staff for her care. At home again, María is now talking, walking, reading the newspaper and using a computer.

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Responses

  1. […] We are so thankful for a wonderful Villegas family [hosts at Atacames hotel]. They have been of huge help to our teams as we spent time at the northern province of Esmeraldas. They have been patients at our Hospital Vozandes. […]


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