The Hospital

Musings and snippets about a rather unexpectedly long hospital visit. They’re short but not always sweet. And they’re published like a Sunday daily – once a week, except for a few special editions in between.

1

I remember listening to a line in a movie that said that the airport is one place where a person can see different emotions at the same time. For some reason, that line stuck on. And it came back to me when I stood in a hospital corridor, outside the Operation Theatre. The OT was on the same floor as the labour ward. In that moment, the hospital mirrored the airport to me. Grief, fear, joy, anxiety and relief seemed to exist all in one place. It’s sometimes hard to believe that all these emotions could change in a split second when the doors of the OT opened. Hopefully, for the better.

***

2

I had just got off the ambulance and was waiting for some of the bags to be shifted to the ward from the Emergency Room (ER) waiting area. There were three rows of seats and not one of them was empty. I decided to stand in a corner. I wondered how many people could be facing an emergency at the same time and end up in the same place. I saw a young man give up his seat for an elderly couple limping towards him. There was another couple that was just coming out of the ER. The man had a white bandage on the side of his neck. His wife insisted he get a haircut. It would make him look and feel better, she said. He didn’t seem too impressed by the thought and was more eager to get back home. I couldn’t agree more. A few minutes there and anybody would want to. Every person there was doing only one of three things – waiting to hear an update, talking to another loved one on the phone or discussing the gravity of the situation with the person next to them.┬áIt was fascinating to see how quickly one picks up medical terms when one’s own is affected by a condition. It was a strange place with a vibe that was unsettling.

Until that moment, I knew I wasn’t particularly fond of hospitals, ambulances or emergency rooms. But after that moment, I was sure that the ER is most definitely not a place I’d visit if I was looking for a ray of hope.

***

I sat there, looking out of the window

I sat there, looking out of the window.

My head leaning against the wall

The glass pane stretching from the corner of my eye to meet the length of the door, 4 metres away.

Without any effort,

I could see the tops of trees,

Greens of different shades –

Sap, emerald, viridian and olive

Swaying to the song of the gentle breeze.

I couldn’t hear the rustle but I could see the dance,

Feeling like the deaf lad at a performance until

The sound of a blaring car horn

Shifted my gaze to the street beneath.

You could feel the Saturday morning,

No one had to be anywhere by 9,

And no one had to pack lunches before 8.

There were just a couple of cars whizzing past

And an impatient bus driver following behind,

A man on a vintage scooter calmly riding on the wrong side,

A 20-something swiping through his phone while walking on the cemented footpath

Shop shutters were going up somewhere,

A black dog lazily roamed around a parked auto,

Two men were sitting on shabby plastic chairs and talking,

I could see one of them was growing bald from the centre

A lady was holding her bag of groceries and walking past,

A bunch of straws had already piled up near the coconut vendor,

Half the day was almost over for some,

While it had just begun for the others.

I sat there, looking out of the window.

Time – a timeless mystery

My best friend recently asked me to give her a quote or proverb on time. I proudly doled out a series of them, “Time heals”, “Time and tide wait for no man”, “A stitch in time saves nine”. And she retorted, “Can you give me something positive?” And that left me speechless. Every other proverb that crossed my mind from then on was largely negative. I found it strange. I googled a bit and didn’t find anything wholly satisfying. It didn’t bother me much then but it definitely lingered on in my head. When you’re having a rough patch, such things quickly seep back into focus and tend to eat into your thoughts more than you’d want them to.

Continue reading