MY LOVE STORIES WITH NURSES

Hospital has never been a place that people love to stay in or even want to hear the word in their ears. It is place which has always created panic in the hearts and minds of people. But just imagine about those terminally ill people who have no other options than to stay in the hospital or visit it regularly… I am one of them, ironically. But I had some beautiful memories associated with all those hospitals wherever I had stayed and I am going to share all that with you today…

In 1978, when I underwent my first surgery in CMC Vellore, I sparsely remember one incident which I love to explain. I was almost three years old then and there was another kid in the ward who used scared of me… Why??? 😛

A nurse gifted me a yellow paper mask which I used to wear and walk around the ward. And when I face that boy, he used too scream looking at me and cry. So my Mom and the beloved nurse used to take that lovely gift from me and then I used to start yelling at the top of my voice. This is how my love story with nurses started and I still cherish that love gift, that yellow paper mask in my memory.

I don’t remember the year exactly but between the year 1980-82, I had a small surgery for urinary tract infection in Kalunga Catholic Hospital. I was admitted there for two days only. But I fell in love with a kind hearted nurse who used to take me with her for rounds. She gave me chocolates and a toy as well… I don’t remember much. I was hardly 7 years old. I wept so much missing her when I came back home. You won’t believe she had come to our quarter one or two times as well afterwards. Probably, she fell in love too with the kiddo me. 😛

In the year 2001 on 20th of February I had my second surgery in Manipal Heart Foundation, Bangalore. This was the best ever experience I have in a hospital. I have some awesome memories associated with a couple of nurses during that stay in the hospital. I got discharged on 27th February 2001 from the hospital. But I made my home there in that ward, as we both Shyam (a patient) and me walked around with the nurses, meeting all the patients, sometimes encouraging them, sometimes translating from their language to English for the nurses. We had so much fun.

When I got discharged I asked my cousin to bring few packets of Cadbury Dairy Milk . There were 31 nurses in the tenth floor ward. I gave all of them one packet each. The head of the nurses, sister Patricia asked, “why did you spend so much ?”. My answer was “the service and care I received from you people is more expensive than what I spent for you, thanks a lot.” I waved my hands and came out of the hospital with my mom and cousin with a sense of victory given to me by God.

All the time if I expect love and care from the nurses then it’s definitely not possible. And when I fell severely sick in 2005, I was admitted in one of the hospitals at Kolkata. I literally had to shout at them to get their love and attention… while my health went on deteriorating.

Finally, I was taken to Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore where nurses were professional and know how to take care of people like me. I remember there was one young girl, who used to walk around taking care of patients including me as well. She was a fresher but her hands were steady like any other experienced nurses. She never used to look gloomy while taking care of us. But one day she was looking down. When she held my hand to check my pulses, BP etc., as routine check up… I asked her, “Hey, what happened to you… Looks like your boss is too irritating and shouting on you unnecessarily.” She smiled and said nodded in agreement to what I said.

And this cute little girl never stayed gloomy afterwards till I got discharged from the hospital. Her service and smile was her gift to me and in return I gave her that warmth even if I was just a patient like any other for her in that hospital.

When I suffered with Dengue in 2017 September, I was in a private room for better care and attention of those beautiful nurses in Kolkata. The doctor under whom I was admitted once asked the nurses, I don’t think you will be having any problems taking care of this jovial and handsome patient!?” They just smiled and kept quiet without replying anything.

If you would have marked, throughout this article I have highlighted the word – nurse(s) because from the very childhood they have been a part of my life and might be there in future as well. I was admitted in the hospital more times than the times I’ve mentioned here and I have a greater sense of love, respect and honour for the nurses. May God always bless them for what they do.

I hope you all enjoyed my love stories with those beautiful nurses… Keep reading and keep leaving your valuable feedback…

Stay blessed!!!

FIRST TIME I DREADED HOSPITAL

You must be thinking why did I give such a heading to this article. This is because of the simple reason that earlier when I was admitted to the hospital (twice) was for the best reason- birth of my two sons.  Before that when I was hospitalized, I was too young to remember, which I already mentioned in “Who Was That Guy”.

Visits to the hospital with my elder son, Arjun, wasn’t new to me as he has gone through staples, stitches, fracture, etc. Yeah! Quite an adventurous life he witnessed already before the age of 5. 

But this time it was different. He got high fever which refused to go even after giving Paracetamol. His pediatrician suggested to get his blood tests done as Dengue fever was on outbreak. However, his body showed no symptoms of of Dengue except high fever, so my husband and I were keeping calm and positive. The blood test reports however proved us wrong. His platelets were 1.2 lakhs and Dengue NS1 Antigen came out positive. The pediatrician suggested us to admit him to the hospital straight away so that his platelets could be monitored. 

Arjun dreads going to the doctor, even though he hardly cried on getting immunization shots. Breaking down this news to him was very difficult. As we started packing up the basic stuff for going to the hospital, I couldn’t control my tears and started crying. Just the thought of watching my son getting admitted scared me. Gathering myself, I got determined to stay strong so that my son could stay that way. 

As we got into the car, we told Arjun that we were going to a different doctor and as we entered the hospital, he started questioning hysterically- “ Why are we here? Is the doctor here? But, shouldn’t he be in the clinic? Am I getting another blood test? “

We calmly told him that he had got Dengue, which was a serious illness if not taken care of. So, for better care, we were at the hospital, assuring his mumma being next to him all the time. 

We were taken to the emergency ward where some blood test samples were to be taken. As we waited, we saw a serious case where the patient was being put on a ventilator. My heart sank as I was hearing the sounds and talks of the nurses, doctors and the attendants. I immediately wanted to leave that area. 

Soon, Arjun was taken to ICU. Electrodes were pasted on his chest for monitoring heart and a Cannula was to be injected in his veins, before which, the nurses asked me to wait outside to which Arjun immediately shouted- “No, mumma will stay with me.” I smiled and told the nurses to go ahead with the insertion, while I held my son tightly. 

The blood samples were needed every morning and evening. Every time the blood was taken out, Arjun would hold me tight and hide his face, while l just watched the vials of blood being filled. 

Since the time he was admitted, there was only one question in my son’s head- “When will we go home? “ And with that question, he lost his smile. His favourite books, games or even mobile videos failed to lift up his mood. 

Every two hours his blood pressure and temperature was observed, thankfully both remained in limits. 

The doctor strictly told my son to drink lots and lots of water if he wanted to get discharged soon, which Arjun religiously followed. 

For the next two days, we stayed in the hospital and the third day my son smiled because he was getting discharged as his platelets showed improvement. 

Getting back to home was nothing less than a celebration. Those two days proved to be very long for both of us. While my son was full of joy as he entered the house, I thanked God for embracing him. 

THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD WHERE WE WANT THINGS TO BE NEGATIVE…

During my childhood, the hospital was almost like my second home. I never had fear for hospitals, nor I am scared of visiting one. I have good memories associated with hospitals. As an 8-year-old girl, I used to go alone to take my vaccination. Of course, my parents used to be waiting outside the room, as I always insisted on going through the process of injections alone. For almost 3 years in a row, when I was 12, I had typhoid. Trust me when I say this, I always had the most severe attacks of typhoid. Even a spoonful of water intake resulted in vomiting. So, I had 3 weeks of hospitalization once, and I still remember how I used to enjoy my stay there. My parents were working full time in an organization that also owned hospitals for employees. They have to go to work ( I understand that), and I had so much fun with the hospital staff. Hours of time on IV fluids restricted to bed, refusing to eat the deadly idly (that is south Indian comfort food), reading my school books to pass the time in the night – Ah, lot of memories.

Recently my visits to the hospital have become very frequent. I am on diagnosis for symptoms that are pointing towards a weak heart. It all started 3 years ago, during a trek, when I experienced a very high heart rate. Not that I was climbing too fast, but I had discomfort breathing. As always, I thought I may have been too tired, or as my body is not adapted to exercise for some time then, maybe it wasn’t able to cope up climbing the height. This happened two more times, and that’s the much-needed alarm to schedule an appointment. Echocardiograms and blood tests showed PAH (Pulmonary Artery Hypertension), and that is something that won’t show up on the Blood Pressure readings. It is almost a year, I am going through several tests that really have not given conclusive results. I have lapses of dizziness, shortness of breath, and pain – so, there are symptoms. Doctors say I have a weak heart ( I wonder how ??) and should be careful. There are no blocks as such, but I am on the higher side of the risk factors of my heart giving up. Does that scare me? Of course. Who wants to die early? But, the bright side of it is I am aware of the shortcomings of my heart. All the diagnosis is only possible because there are hospitals.

Okay, so that’s about diagnosis what about emergencies? Few months back, I had very severe pain in the abdomen while I was at work. Post lunch I started having sharp pain in the right side, which was only increasing exponentially. By the time I reached home, I felt so weak, helpless and my whole body started sweating. I was out of energy when the cab arrived. The cab driver was very supportive to leave me till the emergency section. The pain was so excruciating that I could not even lay on the bed in one position. I suspected it might be appendicitis, but the pain was too much to bear. After several rounds of pain killers and my screams in the emergency room, the pain subsided 7 hours later. Until then the doctors could not perform CT because I am unable to stay still. An hour later, I underwent CT and ultrasound, which depicted a stone in the kidney. When I was going through this trauma, I had no idea whom to talk to. The nurses were very caring and supportive. Maybe, I should write a dedicated article describing how scared I was. I was in so much fear until I knew what the problem was. The only relief was I am in the hospital and for anything that happens there are doctors around. So, for emergencies also, we are helpless but to visit a hospital. 

The very word ‘hospital’ scares a lot of people, but I feel that is the place that gives us solace. Hospital is not always for bad. How many mothers go for birthing to live those happy moments holding their newborn. How many families feel relieved when they get to know their loved ones are completely healthy when they suspected something wasn’t right. How many people with chronic illnesses are getting better only with the help of hospitals? We are scared because of what’s happening in our bodies. We are scared when we are unaware of what it is. We are scared to learn something that may not be right, but hospitals are the go-to places to recover. I have massive respect towards doctors, lab technicians, the nurses, and, most importantly,  researchers who are in the constant quest to understand human anatomy. Without them, the hospital would have been a really scary place to be.

SHE WOKE UP AND ASKED FOR “SOUPS”

The word, “hospital” itself scares everyone to the core. But at some point of our life, we all come face to face with this word, at least once in our life time. So did we…

In March of 1992, my husband and I heard the most terrifying news. Our precious 2 year old daughter had a tumor growing behind her right eye. A biopsy had to be done as soon as possible.

The day of the surgery, we arrived early in the morning and were assigned a room. I had packed a bag for both myself and my little girl. There was no way I was leaving her alone. As I changed her into that little hospital gown, I prayed: “Dear Lord, please watch over my little girl as they operate on her. Guide the hands of all who will be involved.”

As we waited, one by one, all those who would be a part of the surgery came in and talked to my husband and I. The surgical nurse and the anesthesiologist came in last, greeted us and then focused on our daughter Amber. We walked to the waiting area, my husband carrying her. The nurse went to make sure everything was ready. Finally, the anesthesiologist said it was time and held out his arms to our daughter. She smiled and went with him with no fuss.

Now the waiting began. Friends and family joined us during our vigil. I don’t remember exactly how long the surgery was but I do remember the nurse came out at least 4 times to keep us updated on how she was doing. She was so very kind and patient, answering any questions we had. Other nurses came around asking if we needed anything. 

Finally the nurse came out one last time to let us know that Amber was being taken to recovery. As we sat there in that quiet room, waiting for her to wake up, I was surprised to see the anesthesiologist walk in just to “check on her.” 

Within the hour, Amber woke up and asked for “soups”. And that time we realized we were now out of the soup. 

I will never forget the kindness and patience that the staff showed us on that nightmarish day. They kept our spirits up and made sure that we were as comfortable as possible. 

Incidents like this, always remind us of the God, who fits everything and everyone around us as our helps when we needed the most.

I am sure you all will have many such interesting and touchy incidents or experiences concerning hospitals in your life. My co-writers will be sharing their stories in subsequent days and if you have such hospital related stories, you can also share them all in the comment sections to encourage and motivate others.  

GLASS – HANDLE WITH CARE

I had always felt very sad and incomplete on seeing other children going to school while, I was at home all day, dreaming. I was a 10 year old boy, sitting at home with an imaginary tagline on my forehead – “Glass – Handle with Care“. I could only dream at that time, to be a big man one day, sitting on a table and working on a computer. But how would I reach that state of my life was nothing more than just a mirage for me at that point of time.

Finally, when the time came for me to step out of the house and enter into a school campus, my joys were leaps and bounds. I couldn’t contain them. I was admitted to the school directly into the fourth standard. It all happened because of my aunt (my mom’s elder sister). She convinced my all-possessive maternal grandfather to allow me to go to the school where she was working as a teacher. I was a thin timid boy with no courage at all, bearing the same imaginary tagline – “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Years later, when I passed out of my school and it was time for me to get admitted into a college the tension arose in the minds of my local guardians. But I joined. The day I went for the admission I saw a senior student carrying a sword along with all his friends, protesting against the government during the Mondal Commission issue in 1992. This time, carrying the imaginary tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” by myself, I was trembling in fear looking at the rowdy students out there. This is how my first time at college started with a serious jolt down my spines.

In 1997 after my graduation, I wanted to taste freedom and fortunately, my aunt stood by my side trying to convince my grandfather to allow me to study away from them at Bhubaneswar in Utkal University for my post-graduation. My father’s elder brother was the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University. I stayed at my cousin’s to complete my PG in Utkal University. But I was strictly instructed to carry my tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care” without fail.

That imaginary tagline was the chain which put me under its bondage at every ‘First Step’ I took at different stages of my life. But I could breathe free with my lungs inhaling the fresh air of freedom for the first time when I came to Kolkata, my first out of state stay. I sensed, the tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” disappearing for the first time after many years in my life. I felt God’s promise of “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go“, real and evident.

Have I become very strong? Am I free from all the sufferings? Don’t I have any weaknesses anymore? No, not at all… I have become more weak and slower. But I definitely am free from that all-encompassing negative tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Never enjoy stagnancy but always be ready for the first time adventures relying on His divine strength.

Stay Blessed!

MY FIRST DAY AS A FREE BIRD

“My First” is an interesting topic. I have had a few interesting encounters but I’ll mention a funny incident.

A college is a new beginning in any students’ life. After the much-disciplined life of schools there comes the college. We suddenly start thinking that we are actually grown up wand that now we can do anything we want. We feel like a free bird. After 12 years of studying in Girls’ Convent school, and 2 years of +2 in a women’s college, I got admission in Ravenshaw University for pursuing higher education. I had so many emotions running through me because for the first time I was about to step into a co-education institution. I had so many things on my mind, from what I was going to wear to how to figure out where the class would be located at. But I was not alone, three friends of +2 had also taken admission in the same university, which was sort of a relief for me. 

Finally, the day arrived when I stepped in Ravenshaw University. One of my friends had accompanied me in a rickshaw. After reaching near the gate, we waited for the other two friends. After they arrived, we exchanged some gleeful glances and entered the campus. It was huge! I call it the “Red Empire”. There is a big lawn, spherical in shape with antic street lamps neatly fitted. The buildings were red in color. And my favorite color is red! The scenic beauty, the neatness, the entire atmosphere inside the campus had won my heart. To the right-hand side of the lawn, was a big digital board which read “Welcome to Ravenshaw University”. But without wasting much time we headed for the inaugural lecture. It was to be held in Gallery No. 2. We asked a few students and made our way through the crowd to the Gallery. After walking for about 5 minutes, we could see the word “Gallery”. We smiled at each other and rushed towards it. But when we reached near the entrance door, the Gallery was nearly full and the class had begun. We exchanged “oh-no-we-are-late” looks and one of us told, “Ma’am may we come in?” The class which was totally hooked to madam’s lecture was startled by our interruption. We could even see backbenchers giggling among themselves. I felt really embarrassed. But then it was mentioned in the time table that the inaugural lecture was supposed to commence at 11 am. We are only 5 minutes late. Madam looked at us, she didn’t question, she glanced at her watch and told “okay class, we will continue tomorrow” and she got up to leave. We four exchanged puzzled looks. “Get inside”, madam said and left. 

We four got inside, but we were greeted by startled looks, “who-are-you-what-are-you-doing-here” looks. We four settled in and looked left and right to see many familiar faces. Finally, I spotted a familiar face and waved my hand. She was my school senior, she too noticed me and waved back. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “Di, actually I,..”, before I could complete, another madam entered the class. “Settle down class, we have to cover two important topics today,” she said in an urgent tone. Without any delay, she started taking attendance (Ravenshaw University is still strict regarding attendance). After finishing with the left block, she signaled the right block for attendance. We four exchanged nervous glances because we didn’t have identity cards or roll numbers!

Meanwhile, it was our turn. “Yes, your roll number”, she asked my friend. “Ma’am I don’t know”, my friend replied in a feeble voice. “What do you mean by I don’t know? Anyways yes, next”, said madam in a hurried tone. “Ma’am I don’t know my roll no”, another friend of mine replied. “What? And you?”  Madam signaled me. “You too don’t know your roll number,” she asked sharply. “No ma’am” I replied. “You all are from which department? Where are your identity cards? Wait a minute, are you all freshers??” She asked us, nearly getting up from her seat. “Yes ma’am”, four of us replied. We could hear indistinct chatter and feeble giggles from behind. “My my”, madam exclaimed. “This is the Second year, English Hons. Class, your lecture is in the Gallery No. 2 and this is Gallery No.3. Common hurry up, you guys are late.” Madam signaled us to leave and showed us the correct place. After we left the room, we could hear laughter and indistinct chatters all through the stairs. Before we could catch our breath, madam had asked an office staff to accompany us to the destination. Had he not accompanied, we would have never reached the Gallery. Because we were new there and the campus was huge and lots of short-cut paths and ways puzzled us. 

Finally, we reached the Gallery No. 2. It was 11:30am. We missed some parts of the inaugural session. But we got our identity cards, roll number, library card, and the syllabus. After nearly 40 minutes, the inaugural session ended. We met with a few familiar people, friends of friends. After that, we headed for the canteen, for a quick refreshment.  We had a hearty laugh, with what just happened. Then two of my friends left. I and my friend took a walk around the campus and then headed home. Thus, the eventful day came to an end. My first day in Ravenshaw University is truly memorable. 

SPECIAL FIRST TIMES!!!

First times are always special because they make you either confident in continuing what we want to do or they make us really scared to go ahead in that venture. There are many things that have gone well for me when I think of my first times. Although there have been goof-ups too, sometimes because of me and other times not. 

The very first memory that I have of a goof-up is when I was going to the school in Dehradun for the first time. I was born in Gujrat and my parents had been staying there for almost 18 years. When I was 6 years old, my father got transferred to Dehradun and we packed our bags to come to this new city which was quite different. My father and one of his colleagues had got the transfer together and hence we were travelling together. I was 6 ready to go in 1st standard and my sister was 13 ready to go in 9th standard. And the other family also had two kids – elder one going to go in 4th standard and younger one was my age. 

We had shifted mid-session so getting admissions in the school was a challenge. Somehow we managed to get admission in a school named Scholar’s Home which had 3 branches. The farthest branch was quite far off where my sister was supposed to go since she was going to High School. The first branch was quite a big school but we did not get admission there, we younger ones got the admission in the second branch which was only the Primary school. The schools were quite far off from our home and there was a school bus that would take us there. 

I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember being dead scared. It was a brand new city, new school and away from home. I don’t know if I cried but I know that the only relief I had was that I was not alone going to that school. So, the goof-up happened when the bus conductor got confused about which branch he is supposed to drop us at. There were no mobile phones or landlines at that time. My sister was on the other bus. We three kids got dropped at the first branch which was not the school we were supposed to be at. I remember kept telling the bus conductor that I don’t think this is where we are supposed to be, but who takes a 6-year-old seriously? 

As soon as we came in, the teachers were surprised to see us as we weren’t even expected. I started crying and so did the other two kids with me. We spent the whole day sitting in the Principal’s office. There was no way they could get the confirmation from anywhere either our parents or the other school. We did not know which bus to take us back home, so we waited for long 6 hours or so for the school to get over. Once the school got over, we were escorted to the school bus. The bus was waiting there and I was so relieved to see my sister on the bus. I remember telling her the whole story and then repeating it for my parents multiple times about what really happened. I don’t know how scared or worried they got. 

Now as a parent, I feel that it was a pretty bad goof-up. We could have been lost and I can imagine the state of my parents once they came to know what really happened. Later on, till the time I was at that school – it was a pretty funny story to tell other kids that how I got dropped at the wrong school.

The first-time event isn’t always goof ups. They are also memories for a lifetime. And there is one more first time that I would like to share which was rather special – it was the first time I travelled abroad. It was an official trip to the US and I was just 22 years of age. That opportunity was rather an unexpected one but I was quite thrilled that I got a chance to stay there for 3 months. During the journey, I kept listening to the song from the movie Chak de – “Badal pe paon hai”. It did feel like I am cloud 9 and everything around was so very exciting. The first experience of explaining a Mc Donald’s cashier that I wanted to have a vegetarian burger was quite funny. After a while, I asked them if they could make a burger without meat and the lady looked at me as if I had asked for all the trash in the restaurant. Just by her look, I left the place after having fries and coke. 

At the Denver airport, I was quite nervous at the security check for a simple reason that I had to take a domestic flight now. I had heard quite a lot about their security checks. I did the regular drill of taking off the shoes, socks, coat, specs, etc. Unfortunately, my mobile was still in my pocket. So when I went through the metal detector, it beeped. And I realized that those guys take the metal detector beeps way seriously than I had ever seen. The security personnel there looked quite scary and he asked me to step back. In all my nervousness, I did not understand him at all. He had to say this thrice for me to get it and my eyes were fixated on the gun that he had taken out because I wasn’t listening to him. Of course, once I stepped back they checked me thoroughly only to find a harmless innocent mobile in my pocket and then they let go of me. I was trembling by the time all this got over, but now I knew how to handle the security there. The more nervous you are, the more trouble you are in.

We were a group of Indians working together on a project while my first stay in the US. Our project manager was an old American lady who was a workaholic. She once came to me and said – “Prabhjot, I have trouble communicating with some of our colleagues”. I was a bit puzzled if my friends were in some trouble. 

She said “Every time I ask a question to Anand, he always nods his head sideways. I cannot make out if he is saying a Yes or a No. What does it really mean?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. She was sincerely quite embarrassed in asking this question and it was her first time working with Indians. I told her it is not just you, we Indians also get confused with each other. And then I had to tell my manager to sensitize the team to not use nods and communicate very clearly in Yes or No. 

Well, first times are special. Not just first time events but also the first time objects are super special – like first salary, first address of your own, first house, first car, first pet and the list goes own. My husband gets quite frustrated every time we cross the ATM where I withdrew my first salary from – because I always remind him that this is the ATM where I saw so much money in my account for the first time and what a thrill it was.