Never had I imagined in my life that I will have to rush my wife (Monica) to a hospital in an emergency. Complaining of severe abdomen pain and unable to even breathe, I rushed her to one of the best hospitals, Indraprastha Apollo in New Delhi. The hospital is not only closer to home but I had also experienced the quality of treatment earlier when we visited some doctors for routine health checks.
Apollo has a large building with more than 600 beds and 24 hr emergency facilities capable of treating any kind of emergency. I don’t even know what type of emergencies there could be. Driving into the main gate, the emergency unit is just to the right. A guard comes over, I request for a wheel chair. Within seconds there is a wheel chair and my wife is taken in, and made to lie down on a bed. Doctor attends, inquires, investigates and suggests some quick remedies to nurse. If I recollect right, there were around 3 people from the hospital attending Monica. I waited with my two daughters, younger one being carried by me and elder one holding my hand tightly, nervous and worrying for her mom.
Monica faints due to pain while on bed, Doctor suggests X-ray, ultrasound, and injects pain killer into the saline that rushed into her blood as if flood waters were released to an otherwise dehydrated, de-energized body. Things seemed to be under control after 30 minutes. Nurse politely requests me to make payment at the counter, for blood test and X-ray. Doctor on duty, calls up his colleague may be a more senior doctor; he interrogates Monica about her situation and then prefers to restrict the tests to X-ray and blood test. He decides to defer the ultrasound.
By 3 am, hospital staff hypothesizing a gastro problem expected my wife to leave. As per them she was fit enough to be discharged. With every 30 min a new emergency coming-in (high or low), they had limitations of bed. These are harsh realities of life in a country like India where good health services are scarce.
By 5 am on Aug 27 2010, Monica sensed a bearable pain that seemed to be reducing by every hour. May be 3 bottles of saline already injected into her body gave her more courage to go back home. Also may be like every mother, she prioritized convenience and comfort of her family over her own pains.
Till August 27 afternoon my kids had been feeding themselves on packed juices and muffins bought from hospital canteens. I consider myself very fortunate when I realized that my younger one (1.5 years old) had learnt to sip using a straw just 2 days back. It seemed God had timed if perfectly for her.
Doctors in emergency had prescribed visiting OPD the next day, with a name of doctor specified. We could not get him on Saturday (Aug 28 2010). But we tried for appointment with others. I called-up customer care, finding only one doctor in Gastroenterology department with available slots. The website of the hospital lists availability slots of the doctors over the next week.
Waiting for 3 hours in OPD, we get to see the doctor who calls me in and suggests re-admission for Monica in emergency for investigating the reason for pain. He was clear in his mind that the ache was not related to gastro problem. Surprise, worry and panic were the ` 6temotions within me. I was surprised since I never expected doctors at emergency a day before, failing to diagnose the correct cause of pain. I worried for Monica, kids and money. Did I have enough in my bank account?
Statement of doctor shocked me when he said, “I am trying hard for a bed. Be patient and something will be worked out by 8 pm in the evening.” It was 2.5 hours to 8 pm. Monica like a visitor comforted herself at the chairs outside the emergency. Meantime I made calls to my parents briefing about the situation and telling them to plan to come to Delhi. Doctor himself visits the emergency and helps Monica get a narrow bed (more of a stretcher with wheeled legs). Treatment starts. With both kids bothering me and elder kid crying as she had not wanted to re-visit the hospital. Her questions- Do we need to stay in hospital even today; when will mummy be fine? ; What happened to her? ; What will I eat? ; Where will I sleep? She cried to be home as soon as possible.
Around midnight Monica was shifted to ward. Aug 29 2010 was our 11th marriage anniversary and we had never expected to be in hospital. By evening of August 29 2010, I had no idea of what the treatment was being done. What I could only sense was Monica’s condition deteriorating with every passing hour. However, ensuring her more comfort and with my parents already in Delhi, I decided to take them home. At least Monica will get some sleep.
Aug 29 2010 8:00 pm I received a call from hospital asking me to rush to hospital as Monica had to be operated due to severe internal bleeding. Monica called us twice while I somehow drove through Delhi’s traffic to reach the hospital. I had a sense of urgency but could not drive fast, could not walk fast. Reaching the hospital, Monica was almost readied for the surgery was being taken to operation theatre. I could only give her a thumbs-up sign and then was lost into signing some green colour papers with some text printed on them. The font size at that instant seemed to be smaller than the font size used by credit card companies. Some words into my ears on the situation being critical, anything can happen, we will take care, do not worry, just sign etc. etc. only made me to panic even more. Call from billing counter to deposit money fast as he was receiving confirmation calls of payment from operation theatre.
We buy properties, cars but do not sign at so many places as when we sign in times of emergency at hospitals. I am very sure of this unless proved otherwise. Operation lasted for 3 hours and every minute of it was like an hour with ears goaled on announcement for attendants of Monica. Prayed to our sarkar, committed him visits, wished a visit to Golden temple, promises, threats, requests, pleads to almighty to save Monica. My friend, Pushpal in the meantime got some news from operation theatre. I remember him saying, “Called a phone no. in operation theatre, the operation is almost over and patient is fine is what they say”. “Oh! My god thanks a lot, aapka karam hain sarkar” is what I said within and with that came the tears rushing out of my eyes. I failed to realize that I was also a father, a son and cried with my kids around. Pushpal in his typical style, scolded me for being soft and emotional. Somehow I just regained the strength and waited to hear the call of Doctor.
Doctor who had operated stated, “She was in severe condition. By god’s grace she is back and will now be fine soon.” Situation had become tense late that night when blood pressure of Monica was dipping. Being shifted to ICU, she gradually with every passing hour recovered while I was at home dealing with weaning problem of my younger daughter. Despite my mother and mother-in-law being around, she cried for me and asked for her mother. After long hours of consoling I managed to get her some sleep. She cried in sleep as well.
September 3 2010 Monica returned home. Since then she is with me and recovering faster and stronger despite the complication of thrombosis because of which is injected twice a day.
I know she will be fine and will be with us and for us. Thanks Monica and Thanks God.