Bed No. 12

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I laid on the stretcher hours after operation of perianal abscess. When 300 bedded hospital complex came up in Thimphu everyone shared their experiences of confusion and seemingly getting lost at different floors. I had seen the building many times from distance owing to its massive structure and height. I had not stepped inside to see a newborn of my friends or for the dying relatives. I wanted to see if the online concerns of elevators breaking down during the defect liability period or gypsum ceiling melting down from central heating pipes were true. I wanted to get lost among many partition of walls and wanted to ask a cute white-coat nurse for the direction to let me out from the building. I wanted to see if the service delivery had become efficient after getting billions from the Government of India.

And when I finally got a chance to step in I was not able to see what I was aching to see so far.

The appointment was quick. It told me to report to surgical ward at 9 A.M., fasting. Empty stomach I headed to the hospital one hour before. On the way I facetiously called up my brothers of the operation I had to undergo. They were shocked to hear the word operation. It was a minor operation but to keep them strained I did not explain the details and acted nervous on the phone. I risked the idea of them being angry when they knew the truth but I too had the plan to be agonistically true. They never stepped to my house which I thought they had denounced me from their lives. I started to keep the will and narrated few minutes of testament if anything happened to me. I knew they did not like it. And I knew I would be alright since it was just a minor operation with not much of sedation to induce in my body. I wished them luck and hopefully hoped to see them by chance, jestingly.

I asked a man for the surgical ward who happened to be a kindhearted Samaritan. He took me to the elevator and dropped me at third floor. I registered my name and waited in the corridor for 3 hours. There was not a waiting room and I did not have the slightest idea with what wisdom it could have been ignored. I waited until my body started to languish, stomach growled and limps trembled. And there were many like me. Having to wait had the purpose, I thought. The limited surgeons, emergencies and many critical cases must be given the top priority. In CMC, Vellore, when patients could wait from dawn to dusk spending fortune of assets and wealth and labeling doctors to gods, it should not be any impossible to wait few hours in JDWNRH. So I waited smiling to whoever was waiting with me. A smile could be a real matchmaker; we became friends, learned our diseases, shared our symptoms, knew our native places, knew few people in common to us and cracked lots of jokes.

In group our names were called and I was shoved to change the dress. I could not expect a trial room but I managed in the bathroom, stripped off everything, put on green gown and moved to second floor. As I was escorted to the operation theatre, I felt like Mike Tyson escorting to a ring. I had nobody to knockout and no spectators to see the swing of my fist. Still I felt very much tensed with so many eyes looking at me. Basically I was tensed to expose my buttock rump. Once inside the operation room and when I was surrounded by all those lovely nurses with masks on their faces, I simply had to wish a calamity to happen. I was made to sit on the operation bed under the brightest surgical lights. Under that illumination of light I knew I was a helpless animal sure to knock me down.

Few questions asked on my personal profiles, put the anesthetic injection, slid my legs wide open in a delivery position and I could not move my toes.

The surgical light went off and I was done. Lower part of my body was numb and paralyzed. I could not look at their faces. They were true professionals; I admired them, searched for their names in the cards and tried to remember few for the gratitude I got to pay them. And I was transferred to another stretcher and shoved along the corridor to my bed. When I saw the ceiling lights moving back and people giving way to my stretcher, I figured filmy with a heroine shouting for doctors and me becoming a wounded hero with lots vindictive plans cropping in the mind.

Another transfer to my bed no. 12 and I stayed another few hours until I started to get sensation in my lower body. A beautiful mid-wife nurse came to me announcing I had to stay in the ward. I took out the book P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern and started from chapter one. When I reached chapter seven, I was dozing off, put the book aside the pillow and slept for few hours.

When I woke up, I saw my cousins with me, had my dinner and by the time they left it was almost passed the dusk. I checked my cell phone and saw few text sms sent from friends wishing for early recovery out of which few were from nopkin members. I could easily smile and thanked them for the wishes and continued from chapter seven.

Chapter ten, it was almost midnight. I saw one attendant using laptop and smiling at me. We talked for few minutes and asked the permission to let me use his laptop. He brought it to me and I started the first ever live reporting article to be published here. Thanked for his kindness, and after last round of check up, I switched off the light, hoping for the dawn to discharge me from the ward.


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