Not very often does the ‘unplanned’ pop into my well planned life. I take great pride in planning my days thoroughly at least a week in advance so that I can set my priorities right and get the tasks completed on time. Of course there have been times when things don’t always go as per schedule and some unplanned events like bumping into a friend at school and having a quick cup of coffee, are always welcome, but when one sudden event upsets your whole day or in this case most part of the following three months, then it comes under the ‘what you can’t change just enjoy’ label.
It started off like a normal, routine day, a Monday which I usually keep free to finish off the household shopping or doing some errands. That particular day I had planned to go to Ikea to pick up some long needed kitchen stuff. After having dropped off the kids to their respective schools I hurried back home to prepare lunch so that I could leave home as quickly as possible. I had decided to prepare my favourite pumpkin and carrot soup which besides being healthy is the quickest soup in the world to make, except for this tiny part of peeling the pumpkin skin. Today however I was planning to use my brand new knife, bought just the day before, thinking that it would make the peeling task easier and quicker. It did, except that along with the pumpkin skin, I managed to dig the knife into a sizeable part of my thumb.
I drew my breath as I realised that this was not a small cut and quickly put my finger under the running tap to stop the bleeding. It took more than fifteen minutes and a good amount of turmeric powder (age old remedy for cuts) and ice to do so after which I rummaged around the drawers for some kind of a bandage and finished the job in the best possible manner I could. Now my mind was back on the soup and since the water was already boiling with the other ingredients I somehow managed to finish peeling the rest of the pumpkin and made the soup ready. However I had lost a lot of time and by then the Ikea excitement had died down so I just rested till it was time to pick up my son.
Queen Mary, a public hospital, besides being very close to my house, is well known for its team of excellent doctors and its capability to handle the most difficult of cases. But what it is also known for and which is why I wasn’t too keen on going there in the first place is it’s ‘customer friendliness!’ From the time I registered myself at the emergency reception, I became a number to them amongst all others waiting around me. A number that is given according to the priority of cases that day. Mine was given priority no. 3, which wasn’t so bad since the first two were reserved for almost fatal cases. So after the initial check-up by the first-aid medics, where they gave my story an incredulous look (can’t blame them I did sound lame with the cutting of my own finger story), they asked me to wait for the doctor. Thankfully two of my friends had come over to give me company so waiting together in a room full of strangers speaking a strange language wasn’t that bad. Finally when I thought my name was called out, pronounced in a way I could barely understand, I walked over to the nurses counter. Luckily the call was for me. I was made to show my thumb to a doctor who looked like she had just turned sixteen and who asked me the same set of questions as before. I volunteered happily thinking that now she would realise the gravity of the situation and would ask me to go lead me to the operation room, but without a word she just re-dressed my thumb, spoke something to the nurse and asked me to go and wait! I started telling her that the tendons needed to be sutured urgently as I had already crossed my 8-hour mark. I also asked her how long would I have to wait, that I did not want to spend the night in the hospital…….all my questions were met with an icy stare from the nurse, since the doctor had already started walking away. “Waiting, waiting!” was all the nurse said and impatiently showed me the waiting room in case I had forgotten where it was! Now I do understand that the staff in an emergency ward of a public hospital are mighty busy but can they not smile or give a reassuring look to a patient or answer a few basic questions?
After another 30 minutes a staff person came by and asked us to accompany her. We were brought to the female ward of the in-patients department where I was handed over a gown and showed to a ‘cot’ not a bed in a shared room. “No place for a bed she said.” Now I was really losing patience. I walked up to the nurse at the reception telling her in no uncertain terms that I could not and will not spend the night in the hospital and certainly not in the shared room! “Do you have a private room?” one of my friends asked to which she got a prompt reply, “Go to a private hospital!” Well, since anger wasn’t working I changed tactic and I pleaded “I have two little children at home and I do not have a helper. I need to go back after the surgery,” only to be told “Send your friend home to your children, why are they waiting here, it is not allowed!” The nurses attitude, the dismal looking shared ward and no forthcoming information all made me a bit nervous and I called up my neurosurgeon uncle back home in Mumbai to take his advice on whether it was OK to wait for one more day for the operation. My uncle after listening to my symptoms advised me to get it done as soon as possible. Having no other choice the three of us just waited in the corridor.
|Splint put on the next day after the surgery