Lutheran Hospital, El Deols, Anthanna.
Tom watched in disgust as Sheila ran up the stairs in the direction of the Intensive Care Unit. He wondered why she was so excited about a total stranger and his wellbeing. He had never supported keeping the stranger on life support and discouraged her everyday, giving her strong reasons of how the hospital bills were taking so much of her money. He had refused when she asked for his assistance in taking care of the bills and she summoned the courage to take it all up by herself without asking help from anyone else.
Sheila was the only daughter of a successful Businessman, a billionaire named Emery Jack. But even with her father’s wealth, she was hardworking and had made so much for herself at a very young age. She was a business owner herself, running a consulting firm and also a website where she gives information about small business opportunities and ideas, and also mentors others.
Tom was the second son of Emery Jack’s friend, Harry Wills who was another successful Businessman. The friendship of their fathers made he and Sheila friends since childhood. He also did well in his own field but still worked in his father’s organization.
Sheila opened the door noisily and barged into the ward without announcement, making the eyes of Doctor and Nurse turn to her. For some reason, she couldn’t move further, it seemed like her hand got glued to knob of the door and she stared at the man who had been “dead” for four months. The man in the hospital bed was the last to look up at her but he looked away immediately as if he saw no one and returned his focus to the doctor who was administering some injections to him.
Tom joined Sheila at the entrance and stopped beside her. He glanced at her face before fixing his gaze on the man being attended to by the nurse and the Doctor.
It was confirmed now that he was truly out of danger. He had been taken off the medical ventilator and was now sitting and moving parts of his body in response to the doctor.
Sheila advanced slowly in contrast to the manner at which she got to the entrance. She kept her eyes on the face of the man who did not even seem to notice she was coming towards him. Tom followed behind and they stopped when they got to the leg side of the bed.
“Congratulations Miss Sheila, he’s finally out of danger.” The doctor let out a smile.
Sheila responded with a smile and looked at the patient’s face again. The patient glanced at her for a moment and then looked away, the expression on his face was unwelcoming.
“I came as soon as I got the message,” Sheila replied pleasantly, taking a brief look at the doctor’s face. “I hope everything is well with him.”
“Yeah…” The doctor answered, dragging the word a little more than usual. He finished administering the injection into the patient’s arm and dropped the used syringe into the container held by the nurse. He took in a breath and faced Sheila. “He’s fine and totally out of danger now, we’d have to change his ward soon,” the Doctor began to take slow steps away from his position. He stopped beside Sheila and spoke in low tones, but still loud enough for Tom to hear. “I told you after you brought him that he had a brain injury that he must have gotten from the use of weapons on his head.”
The colour on Sheila’s face changed and she seemed worried at the news. She looked at the patient’s face again and noticed that his eyes were now on her.
“So what’s the implication of that?” Her eyes turned back to the doctor’s face.
“He has amnesia,” he replied.
“So he doesn’t remember anything at all?” She asked the doctor, staring back into the eyes of the man who was staring at her.
“Well, it’s retrograde amnesia. He’s able to create new memories but may find it difficult to recall the past, he may only have flashes of episodic memories,” the doctor replied in a sad tone.
There was silence for a moment until Sheila heard a sigh from behind her, she turned to look at Tom.
“This was all a waste of time,” he murmured with a sigh.
“You call this a waste of time?” Sheila raised her brows at him.
“Yes, I mean after all the troubles done to get him back alive, he doesn’t have his memory intact. How would he go back to his life? Or would he continue to remain a liability after footing his medical bill?” Tom insisted.
Sheila turned to the doctor, “Are there any chances he would regain his memory?”
“Well, the chances are very slim.” The doctor stated. “But you two can help him in different ways…”
“How are we going to help him doctor? We don’t even know who he is,” Tom argued.
“Doctor, please tell us ways we can help him.” Sheila asked the doctor, deciding to ignore Tom’s negative remarks.
“Very simple techniques,” the doctor replied. He allowed for the nurse to walk pass him and out of the ward before he continued in low tones. He glanced again at the patient briefly. “What he needs for now is care and attention, he needs to be helped to be confident and he needs to trust you completely. He has greater chances of regaining his memory if he’s exposed to things of the past and if you help him recreate some memories.”
Sheila closed her eyes and drew in air deeply.
“It’s a total waste of time, we don’t even know him, we don’t know his past, we only found him in a body bag and took him to a clinic before having to bring him here.” Tom grated out, deciding not to hide his feelings in anyway.
“Shhhh…” The doctor hushed him and took a quick glance at the patient to see if he was listening to them. “You should not be saying such things in front of him,” he cautioned, disappointed at Tom for speaking so harshly even when he could see the patient’s eyes were focused on them.
“I ain’t got time for all this really,” Tom replied nonchalantly. He turned to Sheila, “I remember I promised that if he comes out of coma I would pay off the medical bill. I’ll stick to that promise, and pay everything.” He said with so much arrogance in his voice.
“I don’t need your money Tom,” Sheila replied him angrily.
“I’m sticking to my promise,” Tom insisted and patted her gently on the cheek with his right hand. “I’ll be outside waiting for you.”
Sheila heaved a sigh of frustration and turned as she watched Tom walk out of the ward.
“Please, talk with him. He has to be patient, the sick man is just recovering and would need a lot of care to help him.” The doctor whispered to Sheila before he began to walk towards the door. He stopped and turned briefly to say something. “Some nurses would join you in a moment, they are coming to move him to the new ward.”
Sheila watched the doctor go until he got out and closed the door. She suddenly felt an uneasiness as she realized she was alone with the strange man whom they had found few months ago. It wasn’t her first time of being with strangers or traumatized people, so she wondered why this felt so different.
What was she going to say to him? And would he respond to her well or with coldness? The look she had seen on his face when she stepped into the room was not encouraging. She turned to face him and met him staring at her.
He blinked as his eyes met hers. He didn’t know who she was or how she knew him but he was sure of one thing, and that was that she wanted him to be well. He couldn’t even remember who he himself was, talk more of remembering someone else. He had watched the doctor discuss with her and the other man. He did not hear most of what was said especially the doctor and the lady but he heard the other man’s words and got to discover that none of them also knew him, even though they were the ones footing his medical bill. Perhaps, they had found him somewhere and picked him up, he thought. He knew one thing for sure, the man who spoke out loud did not like him.
“Hi, how are you?” Sheila put on a smile as pleasantly as she could and moved closer to him.
“I’m fine,” he replied in a calm voice. A look of surprise appeared on his face but it soon faded away and his face became expressionless.
Sheila noticed he was handsome, even with the scar on his forehead, his cuteness did not fade. The tubes and lines connected to his body were now all gone and the machine by the side of the bed was no longer functioning for him.
“I’m glad you’re fine now,” Sheila said. “My name is Sheila, what’s your name?”
“She…ila…” He muttered slowly and repeatedly under his breath for some seconds and looked down, a frown appeared on his face like that of a person who had just recalled a terrible nightmare. He looked up again and stared at Sheila’s face with confusion written all over his face.
“Oh!” Sheila gasped, she realized that he was trying hard to remember his name and she felt sorry for asking him. “Don’t…”
“Do I have a name?” He interrupted her statement.
“Never mind,” she said with a pleasant smile. She reached for his hand and squeezed his palm in hers gently. She saw him staring at her hand as if to ask what she was doing with his hand. She felt he was uncomfortable and released his palm. He took a sharp look at her face and there was an awkward silence for a moment, he reached slowly for her hand and took it in his, encouraging her to squeeze it again like she did before.
“I’ll call you Henry,” she said with a smile. “I’m your friend and I’ll be here for you every time you need me.”
Henry did not know how to respond to her but a faint smile appeared on his face.”Henry…” He muttered. He didn’t know what it meant but it sounded nice to him. “I like Henry,” he said, his smile broadened.
Sheila smiled more pleasantly and she stared at his face. He looked like a hard man with his well developed muscles and a tough body but he looked soft and more handsome when he smiled.
His smile disappeared immediately as he remembered something. Henry was a new name given to him by Sheila, if he was Henry now, who was he before? He thought to himself.
“Sheila,” he called softly and she stared at his face, wondering what he wanted to talk about. “Who am I?”