My Visit to the OT – Hemambika Varma, Kerala

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imagesWhen I was advised by my treating doctor to write about my visit to the O.T., I was surprised by his faith in me .After all he had known me for only about two weeks and he wanted me to write something about the hospital to ‘put things in a different perspective’- in his very words. I then thought,  Why not?’. That’s how this piece of writing emerged. To start at the beginning, I was feeling quite out of sorts and decided to get myself checked by my family doctor, whose opinion I value greatly. I was asked to have an x-ray and some tests. I had them taken without delay and appeared before him. Meanwhile I had a good look at the pictures which were most probably of my chest and so I had every right to see it .Trying my luck at deciphering this was extremely nonsense as I couldn’t make the head nor tail out of it .My doctor took one look at them and asked me to visit his friend who was a renowned personality in this field. At his insistence I arrived at this fancy hospital which I would not like to name. The new doctor as I came to know later on was a pleasant person who asked me more about my literary activities than my x-ray. At first surprised, I later guessed that this little piece of news must have flashed out of my cousin’s mouth who is also a doctor there. Not only a doctor but a pretty harassed one, as many of my family members make it a point to go to him whenever in doubt. So this must have been one of his tricks , landing me, activities and all on an unassuming new chap.

Here too a list of activities awaited me. Blood-tests for a thousand organs, scan of yet other parts, x-rays again. I am immensely pleased to say here that I learnt my Biology well The scan procedure was equally interesting. I was made to dress up in a loose fitting garment worn probably by many more before me so may be categorized as a relic. The nurse enquired politely if I was allergic to any kind of medication .Having being self-medicated throughout my life with various kinds of medicines, I assured her very assertively that I was quite a safe phenomenon in that matter. Satisfied, she informed me that she was going to pour a vial of something into me which was going to be quite painful. Poised for pain, I watched stupefied as she opened a bottle of some bluish-violet liquid which looked like poison to me .I called out to all the Gods in my pantheon in their proper order lest they should shie away from taking up my challenge. I was then asked to follow instructions and breathe in and out when asked for .Then what happened deceives all imagination. I was slowly pushed into a circular giant and instructions poured out in a nasalized tone through some microphone. The language and the tone were different and at first I couldn’t understand what was going on. The syllables for all the instructions being spoken with the same rhythm that I couldn’t make out one from the other. I did all sorts of actions at regular intervals hoping that it was what I was supposed to do.

I tried to decipher the scan report by myself, unfortunately these are not meant for us to read .I couldn’t even understand which organ they were aiming at. The doctor was pretty much dissatisfied too and then proceeded to examine me from all possible angles. He was adamant that he would either capture a growth or die in the process fighting. Nothing needed, I had that wee little bit which saved his life. The best part was that till he crumpled me up, I never even knew there was something of this sort hiding deep within me. He became jubilant and asked me to get ready for surgery and also to send off a piece of my growth for analysis. I checked out with all the people I knew who assured me that under local anesthesia a little bit might be taken with   a needle. Anyway I felt sorry for the growth as it had been a part of me till then knowingly or unknowingly and now I was about to sever it away. The very next day I reached the hospital for my ‘operation’ as I’d like to call it. I was admitted to a room and prepared for the same by some nurses hovering above me. Anything I brought with me from outside had to be scrubbed, they said, as they started their grueling session of removing all my make-up even my nail polish. What I could not understand was when I myself was entering from outside to invade their domain, why should they bother about something so trivial as a nail polish?

I walked into the O.T. with as much courage as I could muster. All the other patients were in a semi-conscious   or diseased state. I had great fun watching their activity there. The patients were either sitting or lying down. Nurses were flocking from one to the other. Masked doctors and nurses often crowded around patients so much so that I thought they would die of asphyxiation. There was one particular patient who was having respiratory problems assigned to a North Indian doctor or so who was   finding it difficult to know even the details. The poor man was gasping for life and the doctor asked him something to which he answered something else in an inaudible voice.    As I was the only sort of healthy patient around, I  even thought of acting as an interpreter for a change. That would certainly be doing something good for them till my turn came. I was warded off to an internal room were a hooded doctor approached.   I was at first scared lest the wrong doctor came for me, there being so many patients in the outer room. The doctor removed his mask and having satisfied myself that he was the same doctor treating me, I obliged him by placing various parts of my body as he and the nurses there told me to do.  I was an injection, supposed   make me inactive or so and the doctor went about his business scraping and cutting. I have got to give the doctor credit that I didn’t feel a thing but by the looks on his face, and the constant call for lights and the instruments that he picked up;  I was constantly on my edge. I could sense that he was prodding me and cutting me up. He then finally said” I’m going to remove the growth” I merely consented for I couldn’t do a thing lying there on my back when he had already decided things for me. The growth was constantly trying to avoid his hands as though it was reluctant to be taken away so.  Ultimately, I again prayed to all my Gods in proper order so that the evading little demon could be caught.  Finally in one glorious shout of joy the doctor shouted “got it”. I WAS RELIEVED.

I then walked out of the inner sanctum with great ease. The nurses there were crowding around patients, taking a break from duties, chatting with doctors, deep in discussion etc. I sat patiently to be told what to do next. Suddenly a woman with a wheel chair appeared before me to take me to my room. I explained to her that I could walk, simply because I could do so and also because I didn’t want to sit in a vehicle driven by some other hands. The female was adamant. I resigned myself and sat looking as mild as possible even as she pushed me about as though I was some commodity. We had to go through a corridor, then a lift, then another corridor and a second lift. As I was in a wheel chair, I could only pray to God and close my eyes on close proximity with others like me coming the other way round. As we were waiting for a second lift a hospital guy was heard enquiring” where to?” To which the good lady replied” f-ward” then the question “doesn’t this one move?” I wanted to  turn back and explain “ look brother, I can walk, talk, move, run and do everything you can but this sister here asserts that I remain like a corpse for the benefit of this good place” however I did not want to incur the wrath of the lady and the gent in concern, least they push me into the lift hole and I merely remain seated like an angel. The journey to the room had tired the good soul pushing me and when we finally reached its precincts, she enquired quite tamely if I could walk to my bed.  I had a good mind to answer in the negative and make her drag me all the way but good sense prevailed and I assented but not without a jibe “I could have walked all the way, only you forced me  to sit  on this contraption”.  One thing needs to be mentioned. The sister who was with me in my room was a very loving and  a very cheerful one. I must say the hospital authorities must take up more of them, even possibly a pay-hike for her would be recommended from me. Anyway for now I am pretty well-settled till the doctors make up their minds as to the next entertainment concerning  me. I have high hopes that I will be a pleasure to treat, what with my continuous writing about the same. I apologize if this writing may cause grief to anyone concerned but being a writer, I must write for I know not otherwise.

 

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