Friday, March 31, 2006

St. Hope

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.


quills said...

That was a very moving post..sweet and sad the same time.

Mind Curry said...

that was very touching. i am lost for words when faced with situations like this.

its funny and sad, that hospitals and in some ways docs are ultimately associated with grief, loss, pain, disfigurement etc. its kind of tough to go through all these for docs themselves, and over the training years they are taught to dissociate, but still be sensitive.

Alexis Leon said...

My condolences. May her soul rest in peace.

Hospitals can be places of bad and good memories. That is the irony and beauty of it.

Nice post. Your aunt was lucky. Painless and sudden death after a fruitful life without being too much trouble to our loved one's and relatives is a blessing only very few people get. There is a slokha in Sanskrit to this effect; but I can't remember it.

Jagan said...

This post reminds me when I was admitted for bike accident (was in ICU ) and also the many times I had been ther for broken/cut parts ....dont have sad memories tho.

silverine said...

@quills: It was heart rending to see the parents :(
@mindcurry: Thankfully a doc is a reassuring sight for me. But I do feel that they have a tough job trying to be professional in a sea of emotions.
@Alexis:She was lucky indeed. And such a lovely lady, never a harsh word or criticism of others.
@Jagan: So you too went thru the routine like my brother!! :)

Dr. Pissed said...


Just go to the gate where the college staff enter and tell them that you are going to church to pray. Almost always get you through without a pass.

My folks were like the 4th and 7th staff members at Johns. Small world.

silverine said...

@dr pissed:Thanks for the tip :)Small world indeed!!

Matter of Choice said...

moving writeup...a life well lived is one which makes all of us (who are just starting our lives!) hope for something similar!

sorry to hear about S

silverine said...

@MoC: It was a life well lived indeed. She was a gifted writer.One of her sons is a priest and another a big shot in a big bank abroad.

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

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.

While I don't grudge you your privilege, you must realise that this causes unnecessary delay for others, and in a place like a hospital, for a poor person with no contacts of any kind, in a serious case, it could mean disaster.

You probably don't do it all the time I suppose, but you said you made frequent visits,so I thought I should bring it up. I, for one, have always become restless in hospital queues. Once my brother was admitted with a serious condition in a well-known hospital, and we had to wait in a long queue to see the doctor, as is the case in all these big private hospitals. That was agonising enough, but every now and again we'd see some splendidly clad people just slip in through a second door. If I weren't so worried about his health, I might've smashed someone's head to smithereens that day.

silverine said...

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan: This hospital is one of a kind! You won't get teated like that. It is one of the few hospitals that still run like a non profit organization.