Met a lady, a by- stander of a patient at the hospital. The patient is a young girl who has delivered a pre-term baby. The baby is now in the incubator, on life support. Tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny… so tiny you could hold her in the palm of your hands… but clinging on to life tenaciously... The family waits outside the NICU unit, a large family obviously, as the vigil is a long one and I don’t seem to see the same face very often. But one person is there every day, the center of the little group, holding forth, sending people on errands, talking to the doctors as they complete their rounds, asking about the condition of the little one… Intrigued, I ask her who she is... she’s the great grand mother of the little one. I stare at her absolutely perplexed for she can’t be much more than 50 years old. I do the math. She must have got married at 17, and so must her daughter and granddaughter. I visit the mother in her hospital room; she’s small and slight in build and looks anaemic. Confused by all the attention she is getting. I am not surprised that the baby is preterm. The mother looks like she is hardly out of school herself.
I go to see the baby at least twice a day, I really don’t know why, maybe just to see if she is still breathing. She will be fine; it’s usually the girls who are the survivors.
I’d love to meet the great grand mother in another 18 years time.