Last Monday at this time, I rushed my mother into the Emergency Coronary Care Unit Ward of a leading hospital in the city. The doctors said that I had been not a minute too late and asked me to step outside and wait. I sat along with lots of other people who had brought in their near and dear ones for treatment.
After sometime I was called and handed over my mother’s clothes in a plastic bag. Then the duty doctor apprised me of the situation and said that fluid had filled up in her chest and coupled with high BP and sugar she was in a bit of a critical stage and they would have to run tests to check if there was any history of cardiac illness. I was then asked to go to the billing section and make an initial deposit.
In tandem, the doctors and nurses were doing their tasks. I was seated outside for over four hours and I looked at the other occupants of the waiting hall. A family of four – two elderly ladies, one man in his forties and another lady his wife in her thirties; two men in their thirties, businessmen, constantly getting phone-calls and going outside the main door to talk about prices of metal, an old man, dignified and stoic in his silence. By a twist of the dice of the creator, we were all assembled there waiting for the doctors to heal our loved ones.
By about 9 PM the doctor called me in he said, “Don’t worry for now, we have pumped out the fluid that had filled up in the chest, we need to stabilize her, run more tests and keep her under observation.” I got a glimpse of my mother connected to a number of tubes and wires and the proverbial oxygen mask pumping in the precious elixir of life.
Called up relatives, informed a few friends and am thankful to all the friends who sent prayers, asked me to stay strong, thank you. Need to really thank Ganesh who despite his busy schedule kept checking on the status of my mother and offered his inputs. Sai who offered inputs as well and Viji – someone whom I befriended recently, a mere thanks is not sufficient for the amount of support you offered, I will remain indebted to you for your words of motivation. Veena Amma, Avis Sir, BP, Sindhu, Shilpa, Salesh, Shashi sir, Sundari, Aravind Anna and Vinod who kept in touch, family across the country who kept asking for updates, colleagues at work who asked me not to worry; thanks everyone!
Did not sleep at all that night, I kept walking through the hall, the attendant asked me to get medicines at about 11:30 PM and some disposables as well. Night progressed, the sounds of the city’s traffic went silent, the few attendants of the patients who remained were lost deep in fatigued sleep. The security guards smiled at me as I paced about the hall, the massive wooden idol of Maha Ganapathi seemed to offer strength. As the sky turned from pitch black, to a shade of orange-pink and then white and blue, the hospital buzzed back to life like a gigantic machine! Staff came in and set about their tasks and a fresh set of patients also started coming into the hospital.
I finally received an update that my mother is stable and would be moved to the general ward by evening! This update came late into the afternoon of Tuesday, I smiled inwardly, thanked all the Gods, the doctors, the driver who drove us down and sat down on the chair and closed my eyes and went into a deep sleep. This was a powerful nap – an hour of deep sleep! I woke up with a start from a nightmare wherein I was aboard a burning ship that was being swallowed in a whirlpool, I woke up with a fit, saw that I had perspired profusely. Got up went to the bathroom and washed, returned to the CCU and checked with the attendant, she said, “By 7:00 PM we will shift sir!”
When the shifting happened, we were given a double room, wherein one room would be shared by two patients and their respective attendants. Our co-occupant was a lady who had just had her bypass-surgery. She was being looked after by her daughter. The lady aged 65, same as my mother called me and asked me to sit by her side. She asked slowly about who I was, why my mother was admitted, why I wasn’t married, the long list of questions. Then she said, – “I have four children – three boys and one girl, this little girl is the one who nurses me. My sons are married, their wives have forced their ideas on my sons, I and this poor girl stay alone!” The poor girl was extremely embarrassed as this narration happened. The lady then told me – “Thambi, Amma va kai vitudadhinga, nalla paathukonga!”
The room had a TV set. The 8 PM Sun TV serial was played and I had the joy of narrating the proceedings to my Amma as well as the other lady in the room. Her attendant had gone to eat dinner, it was a strange friendship, I did not ask the girl’s name, nor did she ask mine, as usual, I got called Anna and I called her sister. She finished dinner and came and then sat patiently as I went up to finish my dinner.
The next day we had more visits by the doctor, dietician, nutritionist, nurses, everyone came and spoke to my mother. My mother had taken a liking to a particular nurse and at the rate words were being exchanged for one moment, I thought my mother would ask the nurse for her nakshatram, gothram and rashi!!! Jokes apart early evening on Wednesday Amma was discharged. Strict medication and diet and we need to return after 30 days for a detailed review and check-up!
The journey continues… rather than calling it a struggle, this is a test, a moment in time as orchestrated by the director above in the heavens who pulls all the strings…
- Keep the medical records of your family members easily accessible.
- However many cards you carry, the importance of ready cash in hand is paramount!
- Befriend cab-drivers in your locality, it helps, trust me; you never know when an emergency may arrive.
- Learn to pack, super-quick, learn to cook, when you have to nurse others and have no support, it is critical that you know how to cook.
- Stay strong, be calm, though lots of people may spread negativity and not care two hoots about our troubles, there would be a small group of friends who really care for your good will. Remove the negative elements in your life and stick with the people who spread light and joy in your life.
Till we meet again, signing off, goodbye, good night and may God bless us all!