Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Lone Woman and her Son

Her head rested on the on a make-shift pillow of a bag of clothes. Her eyes silently stared out, watching helplessly, knowing that right now, she has done all she could. Her son silently lay on the hospital bed. A needle protruded from his vein and an IV drip was connected to it. For the time being, he was asleep. A large plastic bag hung from the bed railing with a pipe connected to his body. She would have to call the hospital workers to empty it soon. 

Taking care of her adult son made her realise how old she was. The grey strands of hair were pulled back on her head and always felt like they were just there, but all this worry, all this hassle seemed to be taking a toll on her age. Gautam, that was the name she gave her poor fool. Once, what seemed ages ago, he had plenty of friends. Then, in time, from an occasional alcoholic to a constant one, he pushed people away from him and now only she remained. 

His liver was weak, crushed by the constant alcohol. Every night, she lay in a room that was dominated by men. The patients were men and the ones who stayed overnight were men. My husband would have never allowed me to do this. A memory of handsome man came to her mind.  He would be disappointed in his son, maybe in her too for the way things turned out. Then, she recollect, ‘the sins of our children are not our own, it is theirs alone’. Was it that man from AA who told her that? She failed to remember. 

Gautam was her son and she was all he had. No one would come to help up, but she would always be there, she promised herself. 

“Aaaaa...”, he began softly moaning as his eyes flicked out from his sleep. The pain was back. Her feet swung off the bench she lay on and she stepped towards him. Her thumb jabbed down the button, calling a nurse, but she knew that was useless. Until the dialysis was done, her son would be in pain.  

As both of them waited, the mother opened her mouth and softly began humming a tune. Perhaps a tune will reach out to him and ease his sufferings. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The old man in the Hospital

The needle was stuck in his arm for three days and through it drugs and medication was pumped in. Even now a pipe was stuck in the needle and liquid poured forth, pushing inside his vein and entering his blood stream.  Just like blood thickens to stop the bleeding of an open wound, so did the same thing happen and now the old man could not move his wrist without pain shooting through his arm. The doctors came and went, barely speaking to him. Always their stethoscope  hung around their neck and like some ritual they learnt in school, all of them would do the same thing.

The cold metal would press against his chest and back, and then they would ask him to breath. They would mutter a few words, speak to the nurse and vanish. 

Being bedridden the whole day was, without a doubt, a waste of time, a waste of a week. The fields back home awaited him and that’s where he deserved to be; labouring with the sickle, digging the mud, planting the seeds and chopping of the weeds. 

Yet, for no reason at all, he was tied here, drugs being pumped into his body. 

The food that is the worst part of a hospital, the moment he lifted that gruel to his mouth, he just knew it. Nutrition is the most important to getting better, but how can one get better if the food is tasteless, saltless and just plain unappetising. The hospital food was just plain horrible. Sometimes, for the old man, it was just so bad that his stomach rejected it and threatened to vomit it out. 

Imagine, eating the same dal four days in a row, day and night, that was the hospital food. 

The drip was almost over. His fingers crawled to the switch near his head and pressed it. From the open door, his ears picked up the blaring of the alarm at the nurse’s station. Soon enough, one of them entered the room, turned a knob on the pipe and pulled it out. 

The nurses here were the only ones who were worth a damn, but even they did not always respond promptly to the ring. They too were at times over burdened with the number of patients in the hospital.