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The sound of Silence

A short story by Hamdan Ali Khan, 1st Year MBBS

The old man sat on the beach, barefooted and alone. Silence reigned everywhere except the occasional thrashing of waves which disturbed the acoustic equilibrium. Night it was, the sky filled with a million lanterns, the birds dozing off quietly and the sea like an old pirate sang a silent shanty. Oh! He missed his youth, when he could swim to the Black Rock without drowning, when he could shout at the vast ocean, his resonant voice fading upon the edges of horizon. But all good things come to an end, the voice that once resonated; now a husky whisper. The man who was the fastest swimmer; now an ancient remainder of time and its echoes. The doctors said he had terminal cancer that he would die in a week. He didn’t fear death, he had no family, nothing to lose except maybe the sight when someone would break his 50 years old record. The silence of the calm sea nurtured in him a desire to swim to the Black Rock once again, one last time. He …

His Last Bow [An Excerpt from the diary of Dr. John E. Hall]

[Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead is purely intentional and must not be reported].
How often has it been said: “The departure of a good friend is like the departure of one’s soul. One cannot live without a friend!”
Ah! He was more than a friend to me. A mentor, chum, buddy and peer, G. was a person like no other. The void that has been created by his death is vaster, and perhaps of more serious significance than the ASD which haply mars the life of so many flowers in the prime of youth.
My mind, full of grief, remembers the events as if they happened yesternight. Receiving an emergency pager from him, I rushed at once in an ambulance, honking madly at the cars that blocked by way. Knew they not that a person’s life was at stake, and I was supposed to be the savior?!
When I reached him, he was in a state of syncope, surrounded by a pool of thrombosed blood. I checked his vital signs. It was clear that he had lost much blood and was in a state of hypovolemia: the shock had led to a dramatically low arterial pressure which I noted as I checked his pulse. Rushing back to the ambulance, I took out my 3 lead ECG machine and checked his rhythm strip: the results, I am afraid to say, did not present a favorable prospect. He was suffering from a conduction block, which, exacerbated by an occlusion of the coronaries, had led to ventricular fibrillation. I gave his a 360 DC cardioversion shock, but alas! In vain we toil when God’s will has been proclaimed. He only got worse. I hastily inserted a CVP line via the subclavian route, praying to God against any unseemingly malicious complications that might arise, and infused 0.9% saline. He got better temporarily and I tried to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but after a few minutes he got worse again. I watched, hopeless, as he lay there, in a state of refractory irreversible shock, fresh blood still oozing out from his body. Conceiving an idea, I tried to stop the bleeding, but a stir from him excited my attention, and I rushed to hear as he mumbled something, the last words I would ever hear from him. All I got around to hearing was: “Tell Hall to finish this one.”
Tears blinded my eyes, as I held the hand that was steadily growing colder. What would my world be without the man around whom my life revolved!
G. was not simply a person. He was a phenomenon, an observatory of the processes that happen in us all the time and about which we are blissfully unaware. It is true that in life he was thwarted by his peers, but his final answer to them stands alone, like the glimmering lonely star that so seldom adorns the dark abysmal night.
Words fail me, for my pen has shed now all its tears and will write no more. G. will always be remembered as a candle that shines in the dark and illumines the lonely author writing a compendium on Physiology for the generations to come.
John E. Hall
April 27, 2003   
[Disclaimer: The purpose of this piece is only to evoke light humor and not to stultify the memory and respect of any living or deceased person.]

Written by: Muhammad Mohsin Ali Dynamo


  1. Was G. a man or a women because from the look of it I guess they were PRETTY CLOSE....... /S
    It was Nice Mohsin. (y) I think this sign doesn't work in here but you know what I mean.... :-)

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