Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Journey to the ICU and back...

Beware! Lengthy post ahead...

The feel of being pushed wakes me up from the slumber as i hastily try to grope what is happening around me. Sleep pulls my eyelids like a lady love on a shopping spree and i try to hang on to sense like a lovelorn teen hanging on to his wallet. Lovelorn teen won momentarily as a nurse clad in green scrub looms into my vision. She is animatedly talking to someone and i crane my neck to see who it is. A male hospital attender in white. Sparks were flying between the two and i could see cupid with his bow floating near the ceiling. Well, so i have died and on the way to the Pearly Gates, i think. I get to meet St Peter at the gates, no big deal. Happy at the prospect of seeing the Holy Saint, i close my eyes.

Just as i drift, i hear the attender saying- " Indhamma konjam ganam. Epdi thaniya thookurathu..." ( "This woman is huge, how to lift her alone?") How dare he? He may be a Guard at the Gates, how could he talk of my slightly(!) overweight torso? I try to speak, words go gurgling and all i could do was wag my index finger weakly at him, hazy if it was index or middle finger, now, though. 

This time as i stir, the sound of eerie shrill beeps rent the air. So, i must have come to some oven kind of thing, i muse. Sure, technology has touched God too. Instead of conventional pots and fry pans, He has updated to convection! That is sweet. As my eyes close, i notice the oxygen mask plastered to my nose. Oh, now they do critical care in Hell too? And then do i notice the pungent smell of anesthesia. Good Lord, now i am going to throw up. I try to send a signal to someone, my hands flail and i do the despicable thing. Throw up. With that little adventure, i sleep again. 
Image courtesy-
I wake up again to the beeps that are now rhythmic. I try to call someone and end up saying a "ga ga ga" that sends a nurse scurrying to me and i note the scores of beds nearby. Hallelujah! I am alive. Too happy, i mentally do a jig. That is when i hear the loud aaaaaaahhhh from the bed near by. A senior citizen in his eighties, the gentleman moans in pain. I wish the ICU had more space. Breathing in to the face of the other patient isn't healthy. The nurse comes, holds my hand, checks the pulse and looks at me pensively as i mutter meekly- " What is the time?" She looks at me incredulously, rolls her eye upward and says- "nine o'clock". 

Heavens! It's been three hours! Now i really want to see my beloved. As if God heard my prayers, he walks in, comes to me with his brilliant killer smile, holds my hand and says- " You are alright, dear. The surgery is over, they removed the tissues. But it was a little bigger than what they had thought. So they removed a larger chunk." 

And he leaves with a nod. Excuse me? Larger chunk? God! I ain't Angelina Jolie scared of BRCA1. Still the sample was for biopsy, not a mastectomy, right? I try to look down at me. All i could see was the hospital gown. Funny gowns. I try to count in vain the red checks in it. May be they should give us gowns with flowers printed in it or landscapes. My choice would be a Tom, Jerry or even angry birds...And few XL size gowns would always save us patients some grace!

I count from one to one thousand, tell my 8th table twice..( wrong as usual...the 7 eights and 9 eights always confuse me and put me to sleep). Sleep still eludes me. I motion for the nurse again and ask the million dollar question- " When are you shifting me out of ICU?" Impatient now, she barks, "eleven o' clock" and turns away. Now i was getting all itchy. I felt like going to the loo and i even felt like getting up and walking out. My limbs definitely wouldn't budge. 

The nurses attend other patients' calls and this time i summon the nurse again. "What?" she yells and i ask for water. " No water. You have IV running." She turns on heel to walk away. No madam, i think fast- i ain't finished with you, yet. " I want to go to the loo", i say weakly. She moves on as if she didn't hear me. "What was that?", she is inquired by her colleague and she says loudly- " That biopsy case is a trouble". dare she? I got a name, girl, i say to myself. The beeps, the moans, intermittent yells all continue, as i lie wide awake waiting for my Prince to rescue me. He came twice, was promptly told they too were trying their best to send me out. I blink at him, make faces from inside the ICU as he stands, watching me acting like a caged monkey in the zoo.

Finally, help arrives, the attendants wheel me out of the ICU. The nurses heave a sound of relief and look a bit amused at my wave and wink. They must have thought, 'they operated on her brains?' Whatever, the journey back was uneventful- except that i fought with the hospital attenders and front office for outsourcing food, for not supplying essentials on time, for delaying discharge summary and for not giving clean linen. By the time i walked out of the hospital, the entire crew said- " Hallelujah". And i too- the biopsy was normal- " Hallelujah!"

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Of biryani, booze and one thousand rupees...

This was one long hiatus- agreed and guilty as charged. This break has taught me few valuable lessons in life. Lessons I have learnt the hard way- fellow railway men are the best teachers I have encountered in these thirty five odd years of surviving in this planet. Our Union secret ballot elections for recognition have taught me that biryani and booze are far more valuable than ideologies and morals. That salaried class people can stoop so low in selling their votes for booze, biryani and one thousand rupees has struck us all hard- slaps on our faces.
Campaign of our dead CM for a union- he must be turning in his grave now!

We people who have been championing the cause of the less fortunate ones have been kicked out onto the platform. The Comrades who had braved the summer and campaign heat are dejected at the outcome, most of them gone into hiding. I wish I could have gone too. So here I am, seeking refuge. Every defeat is devastating. But losing to money power and ‘musli’ power ( I mean muscle power, as spelt by one of our rivals;) ) can make you go sleepless for ages. Not only the husband, everyone on road now looks at me as some kind of bubonic plague virus.
That is another poster..Poster wars have left us panting and wanting more ;)
Ladies in the office where so intent in laughing their cute backs off looking at me that someone really forgot her clasps dangling, playing peekaboo! And it was fun watching the tasmac brimming to full with rival union’s money and fellow railway ‘citizens’ oozing with booze. What is more- the ‘commoner’ who did not wish to sideline himself with any union made hay when the sun shone brightest- the day before elections. Watches, pots, suitcases…everything was traded for votes. The booth slips were distributed with secret folds- containing crisp thousand rupee note.

There were some who were given only three hundred rupees, the unlucky ones. And there was another rival union who were distributing umbrellas, pots and two hundred rupees. In all it rained gifts that day. As usual our Red Comrades were forbidden from doing anything that stupid and we hit the campaign trail with renewed vengeance. Every office we visited, I pulled up a stool, stood on it and gave my well-practised speech on not selling the votes. The tragedy of it- balancing on a squeaking stool, yelling at the top of your lungs, remembering your lines and smiling at everyone, all the time careful of your salwar- now that you can call multitasking!

Our team treaded over hitherto unchartered territories garnering votes, whilst our rivals sat back cool and relaxed. We spent our money on petrol and food, braving the sun and heat while those lucky fellas stretched and relaxed in ac rooms. We worked for months and they worked just one day! That one day work was worth all the effort we put in. Those currency notes that they distributed will sneak back to the rightful owners aka the trade unionists, in this year’s Diwali bonus- lock, stock and barrel.

Therefore gentlemen and lovely ladies, lessons learnt during this break are-
1.    Even if you don’t blog for few months, you won’t die ;) In fact people can have a breather when you don’t share your post link in Facebook and ask them comment pleeeej :P
2.    You can sleep in peace rather than raking your brains thinking what to write next ;)
3.    You can snore at ten pm, gone are your nocturnal stints…
4.    All said and done, people just want biryani, quarter and a thousand rupee note. To hell with ideals and morals…