It was the morning of Diwali of 2016. It had been 3 days of us visiting emergency room of Columbia Asia every 4-6 hours. My son was 1.5 years old and was suffering with high fever and wheezing since a few days. Unfortunately, Diwali was a long weekend and doctors weren’t regular – OPD’s were closed. So, we had to go to Emergency ward even when it wasn’t an emergency. 

Doctors had said that he needs nebulization every 4 hours to start with and since his saturation level was too low, it had to be checked with every nebulization. That meant we couldn’t nebulize him at home, we had to go to the hospital every 4 hours – day or night. 

On the day of Diwali, we realized that his health is only getting worse. His fever wasn’t coming down in spite of all the strong meds that he was being given. To add to the problem, he was not eating. He had spent 3 days only on a couple of biscuits and water. He refused to take milk or any solids and puked when fed forcibly. So, that evening we raised our concern AGAIN to the doctors. This time he was advised a chest X-Ray and blood work. We came back home and my son slept off. 

It was the first Diwali after my Brother in law got married which meant it ideally was supposed to be a big celebration. I was in no mood to do anything for Diwali at all, but we still had relatives over for dinner. I hardly prepared anything and my Mother in law did all the work. I was totally disconnected. Soon after we finished dinner – my son started screaming really bad. He had fever greater than 103 degree. It was a panicky moment for us. Kapil (my husband) was in the hospital to collect his reports. Me and my in laws were quick in sponging him and managed to get his temperature under control. Meanwhile, the reports confirmed that he had lung infection – a typical case of pneumonia. 

We were keen to admit him right away after looking at his condition but hospital refused. To my surprise, the reason was that all medical staff is busy attending the Diwali emergency cases. My husband explained what he had witnessed – emergency ward of that hospital was crowded with cases where people were burnt while burning crackers. And that was just one hospital – doctors mentioned that it is same case in all hospitals every year on Diwali night. It was very disheartening to hear this. In spite of being disturbed with my son’s health, I felt extremely sad about what all pain people go through in the name of celebration. Also felt horrible for all the medical staff that is busy attending the patients on the Diwali night. 

Next day morning, my son was admitted. He was very scared and so was I. He was sleeping on my lap in the Emergency room when the doctors came in to put his IV. I was made to step away so that doctors could deal with him and curtains were drawn so that me and my son were blocked from each other. I remember my palms hurting because I had my hands clenched so tight when he started to scream. To make things worse, he started saying – “Sorry mumma, I will be a good boy!” and many things like that. In his cries, he even started reciting his favorite nursery rhymes. I was in tears standing just outside the curtains. I realized that I should never tell him that doctors give injections to bad children. I am sure he was smart enough to think that he was being given the injection (and pain) as a punishment. That moment was very difficult to go through. 

Once we moved to his ward, things started to improve. Within 24 hours, he became almost normal. The only reason that meds were not working was because he wasn’t eating. 2 units of glucose did the magic and his infection was reduced by 80% by the end of 24 hours. At the end of 36 hours, we walked out of the hospital hoping that we never have to experience something similar again. 

However, we again landed in the same state 1.5 years later after his 3rd birthday. He got lung infection again at the same spot. Well, that hospital visit is yet another story that I will write about some other time. As of now, he is 4.5 years old and the infections did not recur since last 1.5 years. Fingers crossed! Doctors suspected weak lungs by birth and I hope (pray) that this isn’t the case.

Hospital visits aren’t delightful for sure. The only time I was elated in a hospital was when my son was born and I saw him for the first time. 

Diwali is just round the corner – I really hope and pray that hospital emergency wards are not full like we saw that years.