Ade’s mother was just putting the key in the door after a hard day’s work when she was startled by her mobile. She looked at the number and though it was not familiar to her, she decided that she needed to answer it.
She answered with an air of suspicion, wondering who could be calling and it was at this point that she noticed that Ade was not in the house.
“Mrs Okorie, this is Vincent Kelly from St Joseph’s. I’m very sorry to be ringing you in such circumstances, but Ade is in hospital, he was found unconscious by the school’s caretaker about an hour ago and was rushed to hospital.”
Saremi grabbed the banister of the stairs as she struggled for air, wanting to ask questions, but unable to find the words.
“Mrs Okorie, are you there?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes, I’m here….What happened? Did he fall? Did he have some type of fit? Oh Ade! Tell me he is okay.”
“We are still not sure what happened, but it does look like he was involved in a fight and I’m afraid Mrs Okorie that it is quite serious.”
She put her hands over her face, barely hearing Mr Kelly’s last words, “We are all praying that he pulls through.”
She hung up the phone and raced out the door, running as fast as she could towards Mr Miller’s house, which was at the corner of the estate. She knocked furiously on the front door and a confused looking Mr Miller opened, wondering what all the commotion was about.
“Saremi, is everything okay?”
“I need to get to the hospital staright away. It’s Ade, it’s Ade, he’s been rushed to hospital.”
Mr Miller didn’t respond but turned around and grabbed his coat from inside the door, before calmly adding, “well we better get moving then hadn’t we?”
Mr Miller was a retired teacher and had been very good to Ade and his mother since they arrived in the estate. He had been the first to call around with a cake to welcome them and because of his generosity and kindness, others had come around to the idea of an African family living in their all-Irish estate.
Mr Miller had spent some time travelling the African continent as a young man and believed that everyone was the same regardless of race, religion or creed. Unfortunately, not all of the neighbours were of the same ilk, but the Okories were glad of Mr Miller’s presence.
“So what happened?” he enquired softly, aware of Saremi’s agitated state.
“I, I, I don’t know, I got a call to say that Ade was rushed to hospital, the caretaker found him, he was unconscious and Mr Kelly said that they were praying that he would pull through, he’s all I’ve got, I can’t lose him, I just can’t lose my beautiful little boy.”
And with that the wailing began and Mr Miller, who was totally out of his depth in these situations just kept repeating, ‘come on, everything will be fine, Ade is a big strong boy.”
The secretary at reception sent them down the hall to ICU, which was not a good sign and from there, they were greeted by Dr Bannon, who explained that Ade was in a coma, after suffering blunt force trauma to his brain from what they expected was a kick or a series of punches. They were going to do a series of scans in the coming hours to determine the extent of the injuries but for now, he was being classed as ‘critical.’
“Mrs Okorie, I assure you we will do everything in our power to help your son, but at the minute the next twenty-four hours are critical.”
Saremi shook violently as she sat in the waiting room, while Mr Miller awkwardly placed a hand on her shoulder for support. The poor woman, he thought, she had no one in the whole world at that moment, her only son was lying in a coma and not a friend or family member to help her. He decided that he would have to stay with her for the evening. He rang his wife to explain what had happened and she told him that she would call down to the hospital later that evening with tea and sandwiches, as it was going to be a long night.
To be continued…