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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Switching of Pain....!!

It might be around 1pm. The Sun was on its peak and whole atmosphere was like a hot furnace. As usual I was sitting with two of my team members under the Peepal tree in-front of cancer hospital, AIIMS surrounded with patients. It was really getting hotter and we all decided to sit somewhere where its comparatively cooler. We got shifted near the main gate of IRCH(Indian Rotary Cancer Hospital-AIIMS) where they keep stature and wheel chairs for needy cancer patients. We were just settling down on our folding chairs, exactly then I saw a lean & thin old man was moaning on a stature few steps away from our chairs.

 I went there, asked him "What happened Baba ji?" He tried to say something in signs but I could not understand much. A weak, fragile, wounded and aching soul, breathing in almost a dead existence. Only thing covering lower part of his weak body was a thin checked cotton cloth, we often call Lungi. I looked around and asked if anybody is there with this Baba ji but nobody came forward. Some said that they were seeing him since 8.30am and he was there all alone for almost 5 hours. I was surprised that they were seeing him in this condition for 5 hours and still they were just seeing him.

 I do understand that everybody there, has their own cancer patients to look after but somewhere I feel it should make them more sensitive. May be their sensitivity was limited to sympathize from distance. Water in my bottle was almost finished, I looked around with demanding eyes and an old south Indian guard offered his bottle. I assumed myself, may be he needs water as his mouth was dry and he was sweating badly. With one hand I held his head and started poring water in his mouth. He drank but I was sure there was something more he wanted to convey. I felt a strong feeling of helplessness. My heart was full but I was holding on. He was again and again pointing out towards his thighs, and finally I could notice that urine bag attached to him was full and could be burst any time.

Now what to do???? Me and two of my team members were all puzzled as he had not even a single paper or thing with him to ensure his identity. If we go to the Doctor, what to say? which patient? what illness? I felt like taking a chance. I went to the room number 15, explained the situation to a Nurse in brief and she agreed to send somebody to at least empty his urine bag. I was a bit relieved but still puzzled. If we would take him to emergency, then too for enrollment we need identity of the patient. Our team decided to inform chief security officer of AIIMS so that he can inform Delhi Police about him and further action can be taken keeping his well-being in account.

We informed the security. And while I was bringing somebody to empty his urine bag, there appeared a young man of 22-23 years old claiming that the old man is his father. He told us that they are from Kolkata and today morning only came to AIIMS. His father is suffering from Multiple Myeloma( Cancer of Plasma cell ) and only two of them are in the family. The son was looking tired, and got anxious  because of the sudden flood of questions like "where was he since morning and why had he left the father alone?" etc. He was almost speechless. For a moment I felt he might collapse. I arranged some juice and biscuits for the son of the old man. Our team diverted the people around and we took the patient inside the corridor. Now major question was not where was the son since morning but what can we do for the moaning patient now?

Patient was very restless with high fever. He was again and again trying to say something in his own language with signs, which at least I was not able to comprehend. His son told he wanted to take a side. We all helped him to change side and we were shocked. Whole back and lower area was full of bed sores and was unbearably smelly. Now I could understand what Baba ji was asking me long before. Because of the bed sores he was not able to lie down on his back. Mean while one more senior member of our team joined us and her presence was a feeling of relief to all of us. She consulted a doctor over phone and decided to send the patient for primary medication first before admitting him in AIIMS, to that all of agree. My team arranged  the ambulance and send to a hospice for immediate pain relief and asked his son to come IRCH next day for systematic admission of his sick father.

Now, I was a bit relaxed and thought to call another patient's  mother to check the status. Cell phone was not in the pocket where usually I used to keep it in my hand-bag. I didn't get panic as now a days I am becoming forgetful. I checked in another pocket, then another and another, whole bag !! But cell phone was not there. I was still relaxed that may be one of my team members would have kept it, seeing that I was busy with Baba ji. They were smiling mischievously so I guessed they are playing with me.

Suddenly they all were serious as cell phone was not with them too. They dialed my number and it was switched off. Now my heart skipped so many heart beats all together. Just few moments before I was totally engrossed with that old moaning soul and now all I was worried about was my missing cell phone. I was worried about the thousands contacts I have lost, which I had collected over a long period of time and lost in few seconds. Mean while I have no idea when ambulance came and took the patient for primary care to hospice with the passionate support of my team members.

After an hour I got little settled and felt a strange feeling of guilt for sudden change of my feelings of pain from a moaning human being to loss of a non-living object. I was one of those selfish Human Beings, I was cursing few minutes back. Some time ago my eyes were filled with emotions for that old man and now my entire thought process was worried about the lost contacts.

I dropped few tears for identifying myself as another helpless selfish Human Being who could switch her feeling of pain from a human being to an object.