When moment of pleasure becomes life-threatening

Doctor holding a patient hand. PHOTO| Shutterstock

here are many reasons why the December holidays are important. Even those who do not believe in Christmas look forward to this time as a moment for families to get together after a long year. 
This was the case for Danny* who worked over 500 kilometres away from his family. The contract with his employer allowed him time away from work twice a year; he would get two weeks off in June and then three weeks off over the Christmas season. He could not wait to get home to his wife and son. It was going to be a jolly good time! 
Priscilla* was just as excited to see her husband. She slaughtered her fattened rooster and prepared her husband a meal fit for a king. Her three-year-old son Ryan* spent the whole day camped at the gate waiting for daddy to arrive. 
Like any dad coming home after a long time, Danny showed up laden with gifts for his loved ones. He dropped his bags and hugged his son tightly, crushing him against his chest with so much emotion, his eyes getting moist. 
After a hot family dinner, Ryan finally dropped off to sleep and his dad tucked him into bed before the couple turned in for the night. The two were excited to finally be able to hold each other after such a prolonged separation. Nothing could hold back the crashing waves of passion, like a storm in the desert after months of drought. 
It was way past midnight when the couple sat in front of me, in the crazy emergency room swarming with patients on stretchers, wheelchairs, or seated on the benches at the waiting bay. Priscilla was wheeled in by an extremely desolate-looking Danny. The sheet she lay on was soaked in blood. The nurse accompanying her was reciting her vital signs which weren’t looking good. She was already on two concurrent intravenous drips running into her forearms. 
I jumped off my seat and donned a pair of gloves as I started doing a quick exam while asking Danny for a history of the events leading up to this. He confirmed that his wife was not pregnant as stated by Priscilla herself. Blood samples had been taken for tests, including the pregnancy test. But Danny was struggling to explain what exactly happened. His eyes were darting all over the place while he mumbled incoherently. I asked the nurse to step out of the room for a minute and asked the couple to spit it out.
The story came out in bits from both of them, gathering more confidence as they went on. They explained that while caught up in the heat of the moment, letting their passion soar, Priscilla let out a blood-curdling scream. This brought Danny back to his senses and they fumbled to find out what had caused her such excruciating pain. 
That is when the blood began to flow and just wouldn’t stop. The speed of loss may have slowed down but she was still bleeding. That’s all I needed to know. A full examination revealed that Priscilla had suffered a traumatic posterior vaginal wall perforation, a tearing of the extreme end of the vaginal recess, stretching through into the abdomen. It was not possible to examine the extent of the tear into the abdomen but one thing was clear, Priscilla urgently needed surgery. 
Within 30 minutes, she was transferred to the operating room for a surgery that lasted three long hours. 
The injury she sustained involved the support structures of the uterus, ripping through large volume blood vessels that were bleeding heavily. The left ovary was also injured but was repaired. She was transfused three units of blood during surgery to stabilise her. Priscilla was extremely lucky the tear had missed the uterine arteries. It had also spared her uterus. Despite such injuries being common in cases of sexual assault, 1 per cent of them do occur during consensual sex.
These were the longest three hours of Danny’s life. He spent them pacing outside the operating room, waiting for news. He was too scared to even call anyone else in the family because he did not know how to explain what had happened. He blamed himself for hurting his wife and kept muttering to God to save her. He could not imagine how the ultimate gift of love was the reason why his wife was fighting for her life at that moment. He was willing to remain celibate for the rest of his life if that was the price to pay to have his wife back.
When Priscilla was finally wheeled out of surgery, dawn was beginning to break over the city skyline. Danny wept with joy when Priscilla called his name. He walked beside her stretcher, holding her hand, as she was wheeled to the ward. His prayer turned to one of thanksgiving. 
Priscilla went home three days later, excited to see her son again. She was in time to celebrate the new year with her family. Her recovery was smooth and uncomplicated as confirmed in her follow-up clinic. 
Convincing her husband to make love to her again was going to the ultimate challenge!

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