I Am Not Well (Part 3).

Okay, so given how much time has passed, I should really be calling this, I Was Not Well, but too late now. Oh...well.

Right, so I packed my stuff for hospital. Here is a reference in case you too ever need to be rushed off.

1. Pyjamas which I didn't need because they gave me a terrible prickly hospital gown - more on that later.
So actually, come to think of it, a pair of pyjamas is something you won't need to pack.

2. A book that I'd been attempting to read for three and a half years, but couldn't, because I don't understand half the words, and because, by the time I get to the next page, I forget what I've just read. It's Ayesha Jalal's Partisans of Allah.
Anyway, I suppose this is another lesson on what-not-to-pack. If you haven't read it in three years, three days in hospital won't cut it.

3. A bag of mixed berries. Because it was the only food in the house apart from two day Chinese leftovers (predictable). I also got people to smuggle food in. This is the only thing I did right.

4. ....

Okay, so I travel light.

Anyway, my aunt and uncle took me back to Vikram Hospital. By this time, I felt like a regular visitor. It was almost comforting. Or so I told myself valiantly, as I pictured days spent in a hospital bed stretching endlessly out before; my lone companion, a sick, elderly person who would die in the night. (Speaking of which...)

They hooked me up to an IV again in Emergency, but just as I was drifting up, a nurse came up to me and made me move to a side-room. Because apparently my situation wasn't as urgent as the person I was making way for. (It wasn't, but the nurse didn't have to make it so clear.)

And then I had to pee in a cup.

So the story around this is hilarious, so utterly hilarious, but given the subject matter, I think I shall, for once, give this one a miss.

Man, you're so missing out though.

And then finally, after hours of my aunt and uncle running around getting the admission procedure done, while I dozed happily, I was wheeled up to my room.

"I don't need a wheel chair," I said incredulously when they brought it to me. "I can walk."

"But you have to, Ma'am,"

"No, no. Not necessary."

"It's procedure, Ma'am."

I begged. I actually begged. I couldn't imagine anything more humiliating than being wheeled through waiting rooms, with my hair defying gravity and my glasses hanging off my face, which was bright red and peeling off, and I was clutching my bag with a bag of berries sticking out of it, but I didn't have to imagine it, because I was lucky (haha) enough to pass a mirror on my way out.

"I don't need IV drips, I need plastic surgery," I said out loud, but as usual, I was ignored.

So I get to the room, Room 306, and I had the bed by the door. It wasn't bad, actually, it was rather nice. There was a big window at the far end that let in a lot of light. We were relatively high up, so there were no windows blocking the sky. The floors were wooden. And each bed had curtains that left enough space to make a little private room.

The other bed, at the far end of the room, was occupied by an old lady.


But she had her daughter with her throughout, and during the 24 hours she was there, people kept dropping in to visit her, which was comforting somehow.

I think it's because, a few months ago, I went to visit a friend of S,'s called Pog. Pog had been admitted to Fortis, a hospital close by and incidentally one of my clients, and he shared his room with an old man. An old lady, presumably his wife, was his attendant. No one visited them. She had to sleep on that uncomfortable bed. She sort of sat there, next to him, and you kind of got the impression they were both alone in the world. It was the sort of thing that just gives you a little ache, you know?


I got into bed (my aunt and uncle were still getting all the tedious stuff done), and I played with remote control a bit. Up, down, up down. I then took a moment to appreciate the rare and blessed feeling of clean sheets, but I was disturbed by a nurse who came in with the dreaded pyjamas.

Funnily enough, they weren't too bad. It wasn't a tunic, it was in two pieces, and it didn't leave your butt hanging out, and it was pink. The pink was unexpectedly cheerful.

Then, predictably, the IV and the sleep.

I haven't mentioned my mother yet, but she'd been quite busy. She'd intended to come down that day, that evening, but later in the afternoon, I got a frantic phone call.


"Hi," I said apprehensively, because I'm always apprehensive when she talks in capital letters.




I ask you, what can you say to that?


A part of me momentarily wished that she had made the realisation when she got to the airport, but I dismissed the thought as an unworthy one.

"There there," I said to her. "I'll see you tomorrow. Don't worry."


I had a theory on how it could have happened, more than one in fact, but I chose not to share them with her.

S. stayed the night - all hospital rooms have little side beds for 'attendents'. The night was horrible. I was itching all over, it was agony, and the medicine they gave me wasn't helping either. And now we come to the old lady - my god, that woman could snore. I have come across snorers before - my grandmother and my father were experts at the art - but this was like...I can't think of a parallel, but at some point, I was very close to tears, because the night seemed to have paused. I didn't see how the snoring and the itching would ever go away, I felt as if I was trapped in that situation forever, that maybe I'd died and this was my hell, and my punishment, for all the selfish things I've done and all the mean things I've said to people.

But then I called one of the night nurses, and she gave me a beautiful little pill (that I'd demand more than once, more on that later), and all of a sudden, poof, I'd shut down for the night.

To be continued.

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