We chose to go walking; it would take us ten minutes to reach, I was dreading this visit already. We entered the premises of the hospital; it had a little sit out area and a pharmacy at the entrance where lots of patients with their innumerable relatives camped out.
From where I come, getting admitted in the hospital is a big deal, and unfortunately if it’s something serious, all the more merry. Distant long lost cousins become self proclaimed doctors in the various streams of medicines- ayurveda, homeopathy or the new age internet diagnostics. An unending stream of relatives will visit home, making it the new gossip centre about their families, people in their neighborhood, work colleagues and movie stars.
As soon as I walk in, the distinct smell of iodine wafting through the halls hit me.
Oh! How I hate hospitals.
We made our way up the stairs reaching the fifth floor; the lift was unavailable since it was over cramped with people in wheel chairs.
We found two seats amidst a sea of patients. Everywhere that I looked, I could patients, some of them coughing, sleeping, and complaining. Their dull morose faces all aimed at the TV hanging on the opposite wall that advertised of the latest technology (foreign borrowed) that the hospital got and its endless list of super qualified doctors. The attendants and receptionists of the various doctors who had their cabins in the corridor looked bored and uninterested, a part of their daily lives.
He looked at me, my face lined with tension, nervousness and worry; squeezing my hand, he whispered, all would be fine. I thought of what could be the cause of this sudden chest pain, smoking and problems associated with lungs were out of the picture, heart problems were highly unlikely and even the internet betrayed me, from citing heart murmur to hole in the heart, it added to my already-in-a-mess state of confusion.
Our token number got called to receive the lab reports; I was now petrified and unable to move, he got up to get the files. I was anxious to have a look at them while simultaneously hoping that it would go into self destruct mode and burn itself. He didn’t let me have a look, said that it was medical jargon and I wouldn’t understand it anyway.
Impatient now, I counted the time that had passed while we were waiting, already half an hour down and no sign of the doctor. I tried to distract myself by making nonchalant conversations with him, playing games on the phone and visiting the loo.
Finally the moment arrived, our number was called out. My body froze and I could feel the trail of sweat running down my back. My brain refused to command my legs to stand up. Somehow I mustered all my courage and walked behind him into the doctor’s cabin. Within a matter of seconds, I had transformed from the gutsy girl into a timid elf.
The doctor asked us to be seated and frowned while going through the reports. I had already expected the worst and clutched his hand. The room was white and barely had anything excepting for a bed with a white sheet *Yikes*, a table and a chair on which she was seated, 2 more chairs for patients and a blue almirah. The doctor herself looked like the angel of death in the white overcoat.
She looked up to face us, I dug my nails deep. Nothing to be worried about, just a muscle strain, the doctor told.
I heaved a sigh of relief, finally a solution to the chest pain that he was having and an end to my harrowing experience of being the patient’s attendee.