During this time of isolation and, for many families, loss, Africa Legal co-founder Scott Cowan reflects on the importance of prayer and hope. Four years ago Scott spent three weeks in a coma and, he writes, it was only through hope and the love and kindness of others that he survived.
This is a very personal post from me this morning, and one I have been debating with myself about sharing with you all in these uncertain times.
I was watching a BBC news clip recently on the intensive care unit in a London hospital and became overwhelmed with emotion when I realised this was the very ward where I had spent three weeks in a coma, cared for by the same staff I was watching on TV.
About four years ago I became incredibly ill with what was thought to be a very aggressive type of e-coli. I went to the local hospital and was admitted. The situation deteriorated and soon I was being transferred in an ambulance to the University College Hospital London (UCHL) - the very hospital mentioned on the news. I had a seizure in transit and remember nothing of the next three weeks. Wendy, my partner and, co-founder of Africa Legal, was there through it all.
I am told I was in a room attended by five staff around the clock. My children had to endure seeing their father linked up to so many tubes and machines they didn’t recognise me.
My first recollection of that time was waking up in the same ward that was on the BBC clip, and not being able to move a muscle or communicate, but being aware of the bleeps and noises of machines. It was a very very frightening experience and one I would wish no one ever to have to go through.
While lying there, being treated with such compassion, I prayed and those conversations with God - which were very personal and at times confrontational - will remain with me for the rest of my life.
Hope is a word we all have wondered about at points in our life, whether it is because of our health, as in my case, or for financial, work or family reasons etc. We can all relate to having hope or wanting to hope and it is this that has made me write this today.
No matter what we go through in life, and there will be those of us who will have experiences like I did or know people going through Covid-19, we must always have hope.
My motivation to learn to walk and talk and do the basic things after my coma experience were my three children, James, Harvey and Millie, my family, and Wendy. What had I put them through and why did they have to see someone they loved in such a vulnerable position? These are questions I continue to ask God every day.
My story ends with another driver for me to rely on prayer and hope and that is my passion for Africa Legal, and a passion to bring together a pan Africa legal community that can work together and collaborate and make law accessible to all, including the very ill and vulnerable.
But we must realise, through these times, that life is precious and we are all vulnerable and never fully in control of what is ahead of us.
Our businesses will return, our finances will return, but does that really matter? What is important here is our support for each other and our legal community.
We must pull together and become a symbol of hope for everyone in our lives. We must pray that those who are ill will return to their families safe and well and with the same rejuvenating experience I had after my illness.
This is happening all over the globe and we salute all those remarkable doctors and nurses and health staff everywhere. As a community we pray for their protection and strength in doing what really matters, saving lives.
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