It’s well past 2am. It’s very quiet; even the motorcyclists who scream along the highway like demons trying to outrun time itself seem to have gone to bed. I should have been asleep ages ago, but having spent most of the past couple of days in a comatose state, I’m tired of being unconscious. My trusty Stilnox is there, waiting, but I’m not quite ready.
I’ve been here for long enough to get to know the nurses and midwives taking care of me. Without exception, they’ve been friendly and caring, willing to chat and happy to answer my questions about their lives when they’re not in uniform. Tonight, I had a long chat with Khanyisile, who hails from Vryheid, studied at Bara and whose boyfriend went to the carwash to have beer with his friends rather than spend Valentine’s with her on Sunday. Nurses are often in the news for all the wrong reasons in South Africa, so it is gratifying to report that they’ve all been wonderful.
My paintings intrigued them, so I decided to do a quick sketch to thank them all. I featured a little galloping horse – a reference to the foetal Doppler – and the baby’s face in the moon. There are butterflies and blood pressure readings and a note that reads:
To the nurses and midwives of Sunninghill Maternity Ward, thank you for having my numbers.
Special thanks go to Khanyisile as well as Colletor, Lorna and Hlengiwe, all of whom went out of their way to make me feel comfortable during my stay here. I’ll do my best to make sure that Netcare head office knows what gems they have in these wonderful women.
Thank you to all of you, and hopefully when I next see you, it will be toward the end of April, when the baby is due.