Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adversity Ninjas

Friday, +/- 10:00am

Any normal 16 year old would be at school.
This young lady was sitting across from me in the EC.
She had a 7 cm gash in her head, that was sending bright red rivulets of blood down her exquisitely beautiful face. It was, in a Quentin Tarantino way, quite a striking scene.
Luckily there was no underlying skull fracture.
I knew this because I stuck my finger in the wound and rubbed it carefully along her bony skull to check.

She was talking, had walked into the room, and was not vomiting on my shoes.
So far so good.  Danger signs covered, I could start taking a proper history.
"So my dear, how did you end up here with me today instead of learning about trigonometry?"

And then she said something I haven't heard in my 7 years of being a doctor:

"My grandmother beat me on the head with a thick piece of iron."

Her grandmother has escorted her into the room and was sitting in the chair next to the consulting bed.

"WHAT IN THE HELL!?" I glared at the grandmother, forgetting that I am supposed to be calm and collected.

" No, no doctor!"  The grandmother pleaded. "I am the mother of her father, it was the other grandmother, the mother of her mother who beat her."

Oh. Right. Ok. Excuse me.
I apologised, continued with the interview and started the procedure of suturing up her head.

Turns out, exquisitely beautiful 16 year old had found out that Evil Granny was using the social support grant she was getting from the government to buy alcohol, instead of food.  So when exquisitely beautiful 16 year old decided to go and live with Good Granny, Evil granny lost her alcoholic mind and tried to beat some sense into her.

But exquisitely beautiful 16 year old was already very sensible.

So sensible that, despite losing her dad in a gang shoot-out when she was 8 years old, and losing her mum to AIDS when she was 14, she was still doing well at school.

Doing so well that she was performing at the top of her class in grade 11, and had big plans to become a microbiologist so that she could learn about the virus that killed her mother.

This is not a movie script, people.

Luckily she couldn't see my eyes well up because she was face down on the bed to give me access to the wound on the top of her head.

So, ja.

I told her she was my hero and that I thought she was an amazing human being and ninja.

She said she didn't know what a ninja was but thanked me anyway.

I wanted to tell her that she was the best kind of ninja, a ninja that had kicked the shit out of adversity.
Instead I just let Good Granny take her home and was simultaneously impressed and enraged, at what our children must endure to practice their basic human right to education.

I am in awe.

I hope she ninjas the shit out of her microbiology degree too.

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