With Father’s Day on the horizon tomorrow, one father in Kenya received a special present — the ability to see his newborn child days before he passed away.
From Kenya comes this heartbreaking story from a doctor’s perspective of Robin, afflicted with liver cancer but holding out hope for a baby on the way:
In the terminal phase of his illness, I admitted him, both to make him comfortable and also to relieve Janet, who was now in her seventh month and exhausted, from nursing a very sick husband. Sister and I agreed to waive visiting hours for Janet.
“I can see that I am losing my husband,” she said with anguish in her voice. “Is there anyway though by which we can ease the end?” I thought she was thinking of better pain control but I was wrong.
“His illness seems to take a second place in his mind to his obsession of becoming a father.” Searching my face for any reaction, she added: “First of all, he is convinced that it’s a girl. I wonder who she will take after in her looks and her temperament, he keeps on repeating. Another time he says ‘Tell her all about me and don’t let her forget me.’ His only wish now is to see his daughter before he goes.”
With tears glistening in her eyes, she pleaded: “Is it possible for him to hold on to dear life until I deliver?”
“Well”, I stuttered, “it is difficult to predict the prognosis of a patient precisely in months and weeks.” I was pretty sure in my mind that Robin did not have two months to live. “We can only depend on his own determination to live to see his child.” Looking at her forlorn face, I added. “Needless to add that we will give all the support we can.”
We all talked to Janet and she jumped at the idea. “Nothing will make me happier than delivering our child earlier for Robin to see. It might even prolong his life,” she added.
When Dr Muchemi, Dr Agada and I took Robin to see the newborn in the “prem” unit, he kept on repeating: “I knew it was a girl and seeing her now, she looks the spit image of my mother.”
He couldn’t take his eyes off his own flesh and blood. When we took him back to the maternity wing where his wife was, he said to her: “Thank you for bringing my mum back. Let’s call her Beryl after her.”
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Two days later, Robin slipped away in his sleep, the smile of a new father still lingering on his happy face.
Read the remarkable full story here.