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  • Writer's picturegauri nadkarni choudhary

The Gift

The young nurse slowly walked through the corridors. Her shift had finally ended and she could go home. The day had been exhausting, physically and emotionally. She could feel the hunger pangs and had an inexplicable urge to cry. It seemed like such a thankless job, being a nurse. Nothing seemed to be enough.

“ I am not going to go down this rabbit hole”, she thought. As she got ready to leave, she heard someone cry, a soft moaning sound that came more from despair than pain. “Let the night duty nurse deal with it, I have done my share” was her first thought but she felt this lingering need to go check on the person one last time.

She saw in the corridor, a young man, crying softly to himself. He looked exhausted, the telltale signs of sleep deprivation on his face. His clothes and his unkempt look meant he had not been home in days. He looked up at her and hastily wiped his tears.

She sat down beside him and asked him what the problem was. He sat quiet for a long time, staring at his palms. She recognized him as the son whose mother had made a complete recovery from a difficult kidney replacement surgery. She had looked up on the woman a few hours before and all was fine. “Is your mother alright”, she asked him.

“I work in the U.S”, he whispered, “in a big company. I have a six digit salary, a big house and a fancy car. Apparently I am more successful than most people my age but today I feel like a loser, like a failure when I look at all the people around me”

“The kidney that my mother got was of a young police constable. He was probably my age. He died while on duty. His wife, she barely looked 18, took the decision to donate his organs. She couldn’t even sign her name on the form. She hadn’t been to school. “, he told her as tears continued to flow.

“ I rushed my mother to the hospital for the transplant. The ambulance driver smiled at me and said that he knew my mother. His wife worked in my house as a maid. I had never acknowledged his presence in all these years. Nor of his wife for that matter. They were just nameless people whose job was to make my life comfortable. As we got into the ambulance, he told me not to worry and all will be fine. His wife came running and handed me a box. She had packed lunch for me. She told me to not worry, that she will look after my dad and the house while we were away. She even sent me food every day with her husband.”

“ As I waited outside the operation theatre, an old man sat beside me. He had old and dirty clothes. I kept thinking of hygiene and germs, but he was here to donate blood on his birthday. He had done this for last 25 years, ever since he was a young man. He laughed and told me that the doctors feel he is too old to give blood now but he still insisted.”

“Then you mam”, he said looking at the nurse. “You and your friends, bathed my mother, cleaned her, fed her and talked to her every single day. One of you even put flowers in her hair to cheer up. I remember losing my temper on you, but no one complained. You continued to look after her with a smile.”

“My mother may have received the gift of life today. She recovered from a life threatening illness but I have received a bigger gift today. The gift of humility. I have finally recovered from a more devastating illness, I have become human again! Thank you for that!”

She smiled though her tears. She hadn’t realized that she had started to cry. Whoever said she was in a thankless job!!

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