Hospital Adventures

After Amma’s demise in May 2019, I have struggled a lot in keeping my mind calm and going about with my day-to-day activities. Since October 2019, I have had a strange health condition that was not diagnosed properly despite meeting different specialists. There was a presence of blood in my saliva/mucous and I would keep worrying that something terrible was happening to me from inside. As Amma had lot of issues with her heart and lungs, my first fear was that something was wrong with my lungs or the bronchial tracts might have developed a tear. This was what the pulmonologist also felt and he prescribed medicines. Things would seem fine for a few days but again the problem would resume. The pulmonologist put me on strong medication and this would impact my sleep-cycles. It reached a stage where going to office would be a struggle as I would not be able to get up in the morning on time. Chest x-ray, CT-scan, blood-tests, everything would turn up negative, but there would be no end to the episodes of blood in the mucous. Eventually, I decided to quit my job and left to visit my sister in Feb 2020. We visited an ENT specialist in Nagpur and she conducted a laryngoscopy in the hope that there might be some issue in the throat. That too turned out fine and she prescribed some medicines related to prevention of acid-reflux and for about ten days there was no issue. I was under the assumption that whatever was plaguing me had healed. With a national lockdown eminent at any time, I returned to Chennai. The day I landed here, I again started to expel blood.

Despite consulting so many people, I found no solution to the crisis. My good friends Dr. Ganesh Puttu and Dr. Sai Sriram, said not to worry and it could be some minor ulcer and not to risk any serious surgery as the Corona crisis was at its peak. In the interim, my entire sleep pattern went for a toss. I was not able to sleep till 2 AM. Then I would get up by 10:30 or 11 in the morning and hurry on with trying to sign-in on time and work-from-home. It was at this time that I decided to get in touch with Dr. Krithika Iyer, whom I had met as part of a book-group on Facebook. She listened to me patiently and asked me to do some basic blood tests and referred me to an ENT specialist Dr. Shankar Kumar.

When I visited Shankar sir – he conducted a nasal endoscopy and asked me to do PNS CT-scan. The diagnosis was clear – I had a deviated nasal septum and a nasal polyp, which was causing all the troubles. Improper diagnosis had led to the polyp growing in size, and he recommended that I opt for surgery at the earliest. When I spoke to my uncle and aunt and my sister and brother-in-law they asked me to handle the situation carefully. Dr. Ganesh and Dr. Sai also said that I could wait for a couple of months for the situation to improve as we might get a vaccine for Covid by December and things would be safer. In the interim, I managed to sign-up for employee insurance through office. I then underwent the pre-operative tests that included the HIV and Covid-tests and thankfully everything seemed fine and I received a date of admission to the hospital from my doctor.

Bragadeesh was of great support and he was my attendant in the hospital. We took a cab from home and reached the hospital by 7:45 AM. After some basic tests by the nurse, we were allotted a room on the fifth floor. The room was spacious and we were informed that by 10 AM – I would be shifted into the operation theatre. I was asked to change into the hospital gown and made to wear an underwear made out of polyester.

I was given a tetanus shot. An ECG was also taken to ensure that the basic parameters were fine. Then I was wheeled into the operation theatre and given anaesthesia. They shaved a portion of my hand where the IV-drip would be connected to the vein. It pained a bit, in less than five minutes I was out cold. Before anaesthesia, Shankar sir said that the surgery would go fine and I was not to worry. Bragadeesh said, that they called him once the polyp was removed and they showed it to him. Doctor said that polyp was non-malignant and that was a big relief. Somewhere around 1:30, I was moved back to the room and I was conscious but extremely drowsy and my throat had gone dry. I was to be given water only after 4:30 PM. It was crucial that I spent the time safely without vomiting or displaying any other signs of discomfort. Plus they had packed my nose with some special bandage and I felt there was a huge weight on my nose. My voice completely changed and I was struggling to sound audible. Was drifting in and out of sleep. At 4:30 PM – I got vegetable soup. Then I drank some water. I was recovering fine. Bragadeesh said he had chicken biriyani for lunch. When I sat erect there would be fluid discharge from the nose and I got really scared. Doctor and nurse said that this was normal and I should not worry.

For dinner, I had idlies and I really savoured them – as I was eating something solid after nearly 18 hours. We were watching the IPL match at night in the room. Then fell asleep. Woke up some time around  2 AM. Bragadeesh was in deep sleep and he seemed extremely exhausted. I was awake – some time around 4 AM duty nurse came and checked. They wanted to introduce Paracetamol via the IV-drip- but I said my hand was hurting and the nurse removed it. Breakfast was again idlies. Doctor sir came by about 8:15 AM – he said I was making good progress and removed the nasal pack. It felt that a great weight had been removed from my nose. Doctor said that I would be discharged in the afternoon.

The hospital sent the bill details to my insurer and by 5:45 PM they received clearance. I had to pay about Rs 21,000 from my pocket for elements not covered in the bill. By about 6:30 PM we had departed the hospital. By 8, we were home. Bhanu Amma made chappatis and dal and sent it to me for dinner through Bragadeesh. I was exhausted – ate and just slept. Bloody CSK lost the match – is what I learned in the morning. Recovering now – there is mild discomfort in the nasal region and this should heal as the course of medicine ends. I am hoping sleep patterns will get corrected soon.

This is a gratitude post – thanking Bragadeesh, Bhanu Amma, Dr. Krithika, Dr. Shankar. Dr. Ganesh, and Dr.Sai for their support and guidance.

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