Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A not so great weekend..

I was in Hyderabad. Landed Sunday morning. My cousin was getting married early hours of Monday so I wanted to come to attend that. (I used to feel really bad missing out on all these when I was in the US, so I didn't want to miss this one. Besides all my cousins excepting one were going to come so it was a good time to gang up).

I landed on Sunday morning only to find that my Dad had some serious cramps in his waist :( And he had started vomiting. We didn't think it was serious. We have him some pills etc. and were thinking he would get OK. We had to drop by Subhash's place in the afternoon so we left for the wedding intending to make that stop there. My dad was very half-hearted in coming, he said he didn't feel up to it at all but still we said lets go and see, we thought if he didn't feel well enough we could always head back.

At Subhash's place his mom gave him some medicines but that didn't seem to have any immediate effect. Plus my Dad now started insisting that he wanted to go home. So my mom took him back while i drove my sister to the wedding. Very half-hearted :( But my parents insisted that we go because someone should be there at the wedding as representation. So we went.

Apparently in the evening my Dad and Mom had to walk to the doctors because my Dad wasn't able to drive and I had a knot in my stomach because I wasn't there :( The doctor prescribed something and we were hoping all will be well.

The next morning we finished the wedding and headed back home at 5AM. My mom told us that Dad felt it was better to get admitted into a hospital and it was not a good sign at all :( My dad doesn't say that often:( We were home, and my dad wasn't any better. We got ready, waited for a few more hours, and finally decided to take him to another doctor for a second opinion. He was consulting at a hospital in KPHB and he looked at my Dad and asked him to get admitted.

I was scheduled to fly back that evening and although my mom said she could manage, I didn't have the heart to leave them and go. I wouldn't be able to live peacefully back in Bangalore. So I called Subhash and his cousin and somehow amongst the three of us, we got my ticket pushed out to Wednesday. Thank God.

Then the ordeal at this hospital began. Very hot room. I did a bunch of rounds between the home and hospital for some myriad number of things we needed but till 7 PM no diagnosis came. Status Quo. My dad wasn't feeling any better, nor did he get any worse (thank god!). I was getting a little irked about how everyone was just leaving and we were stuck in the ward not knowing what the problem was. Subhash's Dad visited us in the hospital and stayed with us for about an hour. He left after we decided that if we didn't hear anything concrete we would change hospitals.

8 PM and I called up the doctor in-charge who asked my dad to get admitted and he started in a high-pitched voice which I didn't think was called for at all, about how I should be patient and not get impatient and how he has to observe my Dad for 48 more hours before he diagnosed what it was. Another 48 hours status quo, my dad wasn't eating anything, we won't know what is wrong with him and he won't get any better. And then the high-pitched doctor was getting even higher-pitched while I patiently answered in monosyllables. And he eventually suggested what I was going to ask him myself, that if I needed hourly care and input, I should shift my dad to a better hospital. And so I asked for the discharge papers. They took one god-damn hour to get those done and even after that there was nothing. So I actually had to go down to the Reception and stand right in front of them to get it done. One of my mom's student's mom had come to visit (more about this social fabric later) and she said there was an Apollo nearby and she knew where, so I was a little more confident getting my Dad discharged when I heard that. My aunt and uncle came over when I was at the reception and once everything was settled, I drove my Dad to that Apollo and got him admitted. At least, the room was much cooler thanks to the AC. One improvement.

Apollo doctors did some prelim observations, asked his to get admitted, we hanged around till they took him to the ward and my mom stayed overnight while me and my sis came back and I finished some household chores for my mom. One of my parents' Art of Living friends dropped by and he was around till we took my dad into the ward. My aunt and uncle left later too and so did the other lady who was so nice to have stayed with us through this.

We don't have any diagnosis till now but the doctor assured us my dad would be taken care of. Its the kind of assurance you need when you are in a crisis.

Some things stand out in this whole tw0-day journey..

1) The social fabric in India. I came back for it. And I was always in doubt about how much its deteriorated in the last 7 years. And I was happy there was no conceivable difference, at least to me :) A myriad host of people called when they knew my Dad wasn't well, a whole bunch of people helped us through it. My uncle (mom's brother) who lives close by was the one that took my dad over to the doctor got him admitted etc. he is waiting on my dad this morning while my mom took time off to come home and get some more essentials. When you have people around, you feel strong. It was such a relief to see my aunt (mom's sister) in the evening at that reception desk. You automatically feel that burden shifting over to people who are around and consequently you feel much stronger. Subhash's parents too kept calling and inquiring ever so often. It was just the amount of support I got. From everyone. My mom's student's mom didn't really have to stay with us. But not only did she do that (leaving her kid and husband at home) but she also apparently packet breakfast for all of us this morning and sent it to the hospital. Maybe I was living in some other part of the world, maybe it was just my society but back in the US, I have never seen this. Never. In 7 years. Not once. People tend to become so nucleic due to automation of just about everything, that even sharing a problem with family becomes a thing we don't want to really do. Why, when we can manage on our own. But the support that you get from fully automated systems at hospitals is just not the same as you get from 100 people :) Never the same. Whether or not they actually do something, just when they ask after you, you feel better. My aunt (dad's sister) is visiting her son in Hyderabad and she wanted to come today. My cousin was volunteering to stay the night so my mom could rest. Aunt was feeling really bad she wasn't able to help. At the end of the day although it was my mom who stayed the night, and although it was us who did everything, just having the knowledge that you can reach out to someone if you are not able to do it on your own is a big big plus.

2) The trauma. I really wonder how my mom gets through this. To see my Dad in any environment that closely resembles a hospital one is a real torture for me. It reminds me of that nasty time, 13 years ago, when he suffered his first heart stroke in Bangalore while we were in Hyd. That over-night journey, that tension, the worry, that trauma is not one I will easily forget. We heard it was serious. We were told till the morning there was no guarantee. And that bus journey was probably the longest I took in my life so far. Not knowing what state I would see my Dad in the next day. My mom's been brave through it. She is a fighter. She is a true survivor. I wasn't even around when he had his second stroke, I was spared that, but my mom and sis went through that as well :( Still my mom shows amazing resilience. I am truly proud of her when it comes to this. She is almost twice as old as me and she show twice as much strength as I do as well. Without her, we would all probably all be a lost cause.

3) I realized with a slightly sad twinge how the Indian health industry is going the US way :( Insurance. HMO, PPO, yeah they are all into that now. Its really predominant too. While its good in a way that you have covered your bases for when you are sick but its bad in the way the treatment differs between people who have insurance and those that do not. People who don't have insurance will soon be neglected the way I see it going, till everyone will be mandated to have insurance just like the god-damned US system. And since its still in the process of going widespread, it has all the evils associated with a business that people have just found a way to make money out of. Unnecessary ECGs and tests for people who have insurance. My dad had his ECG taken thrice since last night and he isn't even there for cardiac problems. Maybe I am a layman, maybe ECG was needed after all but my gut says he doesn't need it thrice in < 24 hours.


Anonymous said...

I wish your dad a speedy recovery from whatever it is...Yes its a great saver to have a brave mom.
Things will be fine for you very soon:) Hope for the best!!

Anonymous said...

OMG! Its scary :--(
Hope your Dad feels better now. :--(

DivSu said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks!

Z- Thanks for the wishes. It is scary. But I feel glad that at least I am around. Long distance worries are worse :)

Anonymous said...

Hope your dad feels better soon. Once the diagnosis is out, i'd recommend going for a second opinion. It's a rule i follow at least in India becasue you have quick access to doctors and of course easy to narrow down to the better one of the lot.

DivSu said...

Thanks to all the anonymous commentors. It would help if you guys left a name, I could have thanked all of you personally.

My dad is going to be out of the hospital tomorrow and he has recovered pretty well today. Thanks to all who hoped for his speedy recovery :)

Anonymous said...

Hope your dad is feeling better now.. take care..

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