’Tis 4 o'clock—at the Hospital's Gate
A crowd of visitors, in long queues, wait
Admittance to the many Wards that be,
On missions full of tender charity.
The gate is opened!—and they surge in, fast.
The last becomes the first—the first the last:
Each to a ward, in anxious haste, depart,
To tell a tale of home—and of the heart!—
A tale to charm the sick man on his bed,
And ease the fever in an aching head!
A smile would often ripple down a face;
That seemed so altered by the sick man's case,
Where deepened lines of pain in furrows show,
What he endured and suffered, here, below!
Beneath yon sheets and coverlet of green,
Stretches a weakened body spectre-lean,
With truant hope yet beaming in sad eyes
That lose their lustre as the fevers rise;
Or grow still dimmer as the pulse-beats fail,
As though man's help may prove of no avail!
The Nurses, ever quick to mark a change,
As quick the necessary things arrange.
The startled visitors are asked to go,
And diverse orders in succession flow.
Hot-water bottles and hot-pads appear;
And artificial oxygen is there,
While glittering in a square enamel tray,
Surgical instruments are in array.
Screens are pulled round the bed for privacy,
Such the procedure in emergency.
The Doctor, summoned, hastens to the scene,
And tense the lagging moments pass between
The drama o'er the bed where burns a light,
And men with death in mortal combat fight.
Under the breath, the Doctor's orders go;
And, silently, the Nurses, to and fro.
The perspiration covers his fine face.
As steadily he battles with the case.
Sometimes, there is a silence that appals,
That is only broken when a forceps falls
Into the tray with a metallic sound,
Or when some foot-step shuffles on the ground.
At least, the Doctor smiles—a sign of hope,
And tests the patient with his Stethoscope …
He bathes his hands, looks at the patient's face,
And satisfied, walks slowly from the place!
Such scenes like these, in Korle Bu, each day
And treated as routine in their own way.