Sometime back an iron rod fell on my toe. It was quite painful but there was no visible injuries. I have this penchant since childhood of ignoring injuries leading to various complications and last minute rush to hospitals. This time too I ignored the toe and the pain lessened in a few days. But my toe looked greenish blue and yesterday when I trimmed my toe nails, a gush of pus and blood came out from underneath the nail. It wouldn’t stop and every time I walked the nail would spurt some more liquidy stuff from the nail bed. The nail drained out and the then the needle like pain began. I finally showed it to my brother and he rushed me to hospital. I was taken into the Outpatient Ward and made to lie down.
There were other beds too in the ward cordoned off by curtains. In the next bed a lot of activity was going on. Nurses were rushing around. Since there was no one to attend to me, I lay there listening to the noise and sounds of the ward. Hospitals have always intimidated me and the reassuring sight of a doctor was always a welcome relief. But the doctors on duty were also busy attending to the patient in the next bed. From the conversation of the nurses I could make out that the patient had tried to commit suicide. The nurses worked very efficiently joking amongst themselves. There was no anxiety or tension in the room like they show in those American Medical Serials. The patient’s stomach was cleaned and she was stabilized. Her mom in Burqa hovered close by in shock. A young man with tears in his eyes kept coming in to check on the patient only to be shooed away.
By this time my brother panicked and came to see what the delay was all about. He was told to buy syringes and bandages and medicines and thought that it was something serious. Besides there was no one inside to advice him about me. He walked in to check on me and was relived to see me chatting with the nurse who was bandaging me. He was a little annoyed at the lack of information. That is when I told him of the suicide attemptee in the next bed. He parted the curtains and peeped in a saw a young girl. I saw her later and she looked like an angel sleeping on the hospital bed. She was frail and looked so cute and vulnerable. I couldn’t imagine why someone so young would want to end here life. Later my brother stuck up conversation with the men in the girl’s family and learnt that she had failed in her 12th standard exams.
As they wheeled me out I heard the doctor telling the family that they needed to find out what it was that the girl had ingested, which meant tests. I don’t know what happened after that.
A doctor who is a family friend tells us that for every reported suicide attempts there are several that go unreported. This year during school results time the cops were patrolling areas where students generally try to commit suicides. But they could not prevent the record number of suicides. Instead of patrolling lakes and railway lines and high rise buildings, wouldn’t it be more prudent to revise the education system that has long outlived it’s utility and is now putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the students?