Caring for Patients Makes My Life Better
“I lost my son, but the children in this hospital are like a ray of hope for me. The more I care for them, the more I make them laugh actually makes me feel better.”
In Syria, early morning did not mean that the hospital was not busy yet. Crying children and doctors running back and forth in a hurry caused a huge commotion in the hospital. This is the only women and children hospital in the region. The hospital is overwhelmed with the amount of patient that is way beyond its capacity. We made our way through the crowd with great difficulty and went one floor below. Midwives Sabahat and Doctor Leyla were waiting for us.
After completing her midwifery studies in Beirut, Midwife Sabahat returned to her birthplace, Aleppo. One look at her and it was obvious that she was an enthusiastic person. As she looked around with her maternal instinct, she was also answering questions regarding the patients. She once said, “They call me mother in this hospital.” Two years after the war began she lost her son. Taking her son’s dead body with her, she migrated to another region. She said, “I didn’t want to leave my son behind, so I brought him here. I lost my son, but the children in this hospital have been a ray of hope for me. The more I care for them, the more I make them laugh actually makes me feel better.”She has worked together with Doctor Leyla in this hospital for many years. She added, “We are more like sisters me and Doctor Leyla. We spend most of our time together. We get on very well. We have experienced great difficulties but we overcome them together.” She suddenly stopped talking, she gulped and we quickly understood that she wanted to change the subject.
She opened the door slowly. From the way she was walking it was clear that she had been working for long hours and had hardly slept. She said, “This is where we disinfect the towels.” I went inside. This room was a sterilizing room with a few simple appliances. Towels hung out on the line to dry were visible from the tiny window in the room. As the supply of bandages was lacking in the hospital, they use towels instead. Midwife Sabahat said, “Actually, using towels is a risky method. It can cause infections in the wounds but we do not have enough bandages. We have to use towels.”
Waiting at the door, Doctor Leyla said, “Before the war, this hospital was rather calm, but now we have a lot to do here. Many patients come here. This is a big challenge for us. I consider this a favor from Allah. Bandages are extremely important. They are used once and disposed of, but because we do not have any we use towels instead. We used the towels once, wash them and use them again. Because this is a gynecology hospital we use more bandages here than other hospitals.”
It was getting late. We left the hospital so they could continue with their work. They had surgeries to perform. As I got into the car I asked myself, “How long does it take for these towels to dry, how do the towels dry in the winter, how many towels can they possibly sterilize at one time?”