Last Monday my aunt died of Liver Cancer at the age of 75. She died quickly and painlesslessly within months of diagnosis. She was an amazing human being. Born into a family of six sisters her Dad was the first Indian Collector of some district. She wrote stories for little kids, which appeared regularly in Deccan Herald. Each of the sisters is accomplished in their own way. For her funeral mass all the sisters got together and put up one of the best choral performances I have ever seen. One of her sisters even sang a lovely solo at the funeral service.
Her last days were spent at St. Johns Hospital Bangalore. An institution I have grown to love over the years. In fact the place was like a second home some time back because my brother would invariably get admitted for broken limbs, back strain and once even a minor bike accident. I have numeorus cousins working here besides my brother's friends here, which means that we never had to get in the queue for anything and everything was taken care of by his doctor/Intern friends. The hospital has grown as wing after wing have been constructed to accommodate the growing number of people coming here for good medical treatment at reasonable rates. This hospital is also the last stop for people who have tried their hands at the Manipals and Mallya’s. The good doctors here can always be relied on for anything.
A few years back my brother got admitted here for a Sinus problem. The Professor who is friend of the family wanted to some procedure under anesthesia before deciding on surgery. The previous day my brother and his Intern friends got together in his hospital room and had a gala time playing cards and drinking. Somewhere along the way they lost count of the drinks and it was 2 am !!! The procedure was scheduled at 6 am or so. It was then that the ‘doctors’ realized that they had a potential career disaster in their hands. In their inexperience they didn’t realize that the anesthesia would not work after imbibing alcohol. Beside the Prof. knew that these guys were my brother’s friends. So a plan was hatched and my brother was told to bear up the pain and keep quite.
Of course things are not that simple and after many an 'ouch’ and 'aargh’ from my brother under the Prof's examinations the Prof. demanded an explanation and on being given one in bits and pieces by the really scared Interns proceeded to tongue lash the Interns and the wide awake ‘patient’ in the surgery room right in front of other staff. Later he told my Dad that he went to his cubicle and laughed like never before in his career!!
My brother even knows a way in after visiting hours. It is slightly complicated but even the Security people don’t know this flaw in their ‘airtight’ system. This hospital has many sad- sweet memories for me. The sad memories include holding my friends Mom while she went to identify her body. My friend who was riding pillion was hit from behind by a Sumo when her friend who was driving the bike jammed the brakes suddenly. It was not the Sumo driver’s fault and he even bought her to St. Johns where she breathed her last. Last week was my friend’s third death anniversary. She was an only daughter with two brothers like me. May your soul rest in peace S.