Tuesday, November 28, 2006

icu to ccu

from the delhi heart and lung institute...

the distances in time seemed uncannily similar...the same hour n half from home to wockhardt and now bombay to delhi! it takes the same 35min from vasant vihar to wockhardt or from iit to panchkuian road...

haven't settled in here as yet...don't know what qns to ask of the docs. the monitors at meeka's bedside v similar to those beside anil. just that her heartbeat is kinda normal and bp too. we're all hoping she remains stable n gets discharged in a day or two.

back in bombay, gopa (a friend of ours from dubai) is having an angiography done in sion even as i write...will someone up there tell me what IS going on??

the only bad part about being an icu/ccu patient's relative is that you can't listen to music in your ears!...they call for you...sometimes...though, you hope that they'll call to say that your patient is being shifted to a room...some of us are lucky...others luckier!...while we lesser mortals are left behind to seek "closure".

to access to good medical care in this country, you got to have money - lots of it, but to get the best, you need to know someone - doctors, directors, surgeons, owners, head nurse...its scary, i'd just rather die!...or maybe, when we have more n know more, we get even more insecure...

and just when you've convinced yourself that you've indeed got the best, there comes someone along who thinks we'll get better elsewhere!...the hunt for the snark continues...even here!...

so srk is going to host kbc3 and yes i got a call...and me, i didn't say no...c!'s been down with severe stomach pain since we got here. hope to do some tests in a day or two. she, like her mum deserves a break from docs n medicines...

i no longer know where i wake up...could sleep some more...missed anil last afternoon a lot as i walked appa in some crisp afternoon winter sun. i did say goodnight to anil, go in peace...but i just didn't want him to go...mercifully, i didn't have to see a hole in the ground eat him up...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

two one nine!

they don't call out that number no more...they don't wake you mid sleep anymore. the last time they did that was on the 23rd around 2am to say that 219 has had a cardiac arrest while on dialysis...and to please inform his family...

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Up and down.
But in the end its only round and round.

All that is now
All that is gone
All thats to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

goodmorning parrots!

woke up one morning to loud squaking by the window...these two were going nuts to find another parrot in the mirror...they'd look over the edge, not find the reflection, peer back into the mirror n go SQUREECH! for a full 30mins!!...such a good morning it was!


what is it to lose something/someone?

last month i lost my laptop bag with passport, laptop, ipod, money, etc. i wept then coz it felt i had lost "everything"...so many weeks later...after so many days in the icu-patients' relatives waiting room, that loss seems just so so insignificant.

ashes you were and unto ashes will you return...so they say in the bible!

aaah my head reels...what, where, why, how, when...tell me more!!

suddenly one night, my sister asks me how much i remember of the night dad died. only being bundled off to the neighbour's place to sleep, i recall. i'm 6 n she 15...so much anger she felt then...about not being told anything, about not having anything explained to her, about needing to look after 3younger brothers...we hugged each other to sleep...swiftly perished the thought of wishing i had the camera!! don't know when i'll ever finish my film...

here's looking at you - death!!

...it's almost a month now that my bro-in-law's been in the icu...fellow patients' relatives become friends and enormous pillars of strength...but today was the worst day...one such pillar's husband lost the battle. he'd been up n down but never better... his wife and my sister bonded thick n kept each other's spirits up on this roller coaster. her husband fighting excessive uric acid deposits in his body...

this evening, his heartbeat blip went flat...

outside, in the waiting room, the dams burst. they'd been springing leaks all week. try as you might...steel yourself...but when the moment comes, something deep inside just crumbles...his 8yr old son on seeing the white coloured nutrition anil (b-in-law) was receiving, excitedly tells his mum, "they're giving uncle lassi!"

he'd just discovered scrabble two days ago, when i had pulled out the game to distract my sister's very preoccupied mind...

images from bergmans's seventh seal flash by...how much time can we really buy?... while we keep praying that anil wins this round of chess.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

you live n you learn

lille- france seems like a distant dream now...been in n out of hospital, keeping my sister company as my brother-in-law fights a hugely enlarged pancreas that is eating itself to death...a condition called necrotising acute pancreatitis - a condition doctors dread coz there's so little they can do.

it's been three weeks now since he walked to a nearby hospital complaining of severe a stomach ache. the sonograph that morning revealed a serious life-threatening condition. Pancreas comes from the Greek pankreas (a combination of pan and kreas) which means 'all meat'. Kreas in Homeric literature meant edible animal flesh!!

but, acute pancreatitis is a rapidly-onset inflammation of the pancreas. Depending on its severity, it can have severe complications and high mortality despite treatment.

and necrotising acute pancreatitis is when the pancreas auto-digests, killing itself due to the very corrosive nature of the enzymes it secretes. My bro-in-law's pancreas is 70% necrotised now. And we are praying v hard that infection does not set in...that can be fatal...n you pray too!

the icu-patients' relatives waiting room is one of life's worst waiting rooms. cellphones buzzing constantly, seldom a smiling face, bursts of tense action, frequent breaking downs, nervous twitches, restless fingers, swollen glassy vacant eyes, bed numbers being beckoned urgently, cold...

the icu itself solemn, cold, same-sized mallu nurses dart purposefully between beds, the pings n dings of life-support gear denying death his feared knock, lcd screens displaying all vital indications...day in n day out...three weeks later, my bro-in-law seems to have lost a sense of date n time. We got him a 2-in-1 last evening so that he can listen to his fav music.

he patiently slowly scribbles what he wants to say or ask one letter at a time on my palm..."no place like home"! he says when i say he's being looked after really well here at wockhardt. "index"? he asks me...index i ask back, only to realise he wants to know how the stock market is doing!! I want to hug him...

he dreamed of sitting down watch the sun go down behind the hills beyond the lake sipping his rum n cola...not even a drop of alcohol now on! my sister didn't know what hit her on the second day, when the doc asked us to call his relatives down. that was the hardest part for me - calling each one of them, repeating the same thing over...making it feel even more impending then.

he's pulled through until now and we hope he'll pull right through. his lung doctor (yes, this is the orbit of super speciality) is not happy with the condition of his lungs. his pancreas doc is happy no infection has set in...will keep you posted. until then blow some good winds his way...

Friday, November 03, 2006

I piss on brussels

it was just about a month ago, on my way back to lille after visiting my uncle in cologne...changing trains at brussels midi, had over an hour to kill and so loitered around the station (cardinal sin #1)...looking for (what else?) waffles!! it had been over a year since i'd had one...the memory was tempting enough. backpack still on back i put my laptop bag down (cardinal sin #2) to look up to see which platform my train was going to come and check out the waffles on offer.

out of nowhere came this north african early twenties guy facing me on my right. "amsterdam? amsterdam?" he asked me twice...i was tired, it was a long day n my shoulders were aching...i turned around to look down...but it was gone! fucking shit! felt all the oxygen sucked out of my body...my laptop bag was stolen. looking down in sheer disbelief..closed n opened my eyes just in case they were tricking me!!fuck! i kicked myself! the classic distraction trick...mouth still open, i ran around as if they'd still be around! noooo i cursed myself, how could i let them!

perfect timing! thanksgiving weekend, crowded train station...i was a wreck...looked around some more...had wandered around the station enough to know where exactly the cop station was..."stand back!" growled some white beef in blue...quickly try to bring my heartrate down...lick my lips in a desperate attempt to help words form. "my laptop bag has just be stolen" i blurt out.
"my passport went too...that was my ID!"
"sorry there's nothing I can do for you"
"but...." i stutter...
"you'll have to go to your embassy, i can't help you"

as incredulous as it sounded to me, i walked out in complete disbelief...but i need a police complaint before i go to my embassy, i reasoned in my head ...walking...thinking, i find two security gaurds, repeat my story. they're more compassionate n take me to another cop stn just outside the train stn. there charlie one speaks to tango two and i'm sent back to the train stn cop stn. This time white beef in blue motions me to wait as he is busy. i sit alone...very alone...most calming...

c! won't take her phone, i get my uncle's answering machine...god-cursed!...sms the breaking news...c! still won't answer her phone...more panic-struck just-been-robbed weepies join me...in an hour, we're five!! i shake my head...they shake theirs.

finally, white beef calls for me...i'm upset n angry but calmer by now. i protest immediately about him not having me helped me n worse kept me waiting for an hour now (cardinal sin #3)...white turned to red and my internal alarm blew furiously. quickly climbing down, i apologise and say ya, my laptop bag with my passport's been stolen, what do i need to do? how can you help me? now he tells me that yes he'd give me a letter that i need to get endorsed from my embassy that i am indeed their citizen, then i can come back n he or his colleagues would take my statement! phew! he explained that anyone could walk in n say they'd lost their passport n jump boat...true, i agree, we shake hands n i leave with that cyclostyled piece of paper.

by now, i just had a lil over 20 euros in my wallet (down from the 400odd i had in my laptop bag (cardinal sin#4)...a slow local train tic was all i could afford. my shoulders did feel lighter, i must admit...and settled in to the longest 2hr train ride in my life (the eurostar does it in 40mins!!)