Monday, 10 September 2012

3 men

Last Wednesday 3 men were in the ICU of a top-notch hospital here in Thane.

5 days later all 3 have left the ICU.

But in what different states.

We had rushed to the hospital when we heard that uncle Melville - the elderly father of Doris Jayakar - had suffered a massive heart attack.  Having been admitted to the hospital for malaria a few days earlier, he was doing so well on that Wednesday morning that it looked likely he would be discharged that day.

Then at 6 PM he had a massive heart attack.  His son-in-law Rolly was with him and immediately called the nurse and managed to get Uncle's treating doctor - who was just leaving the hospital - to come up for emergency.  She took one look at him and immediately shifted him to the ICU where he was put on a ventilator.  Uncle's bed was literally rolled out of his room, over to the lift and down to the ICU where he was put on life-support.  Any delay could have been fatal.

When we saw him at 9 PM that night he was bloated and very very sick.  I wondered if uncle would survive the night.

Sheba had already been in the ICU a number of times in the previous 3 days.  An elderly man was admitted. And then they found out he was HIV positive.  Sheba had been called to give advice - and he was started on TB treatment but was very sick.

While I was in the ICU I saw a well known undertaker in the room.  It didn't click then, but as soon as I left the ICU I observed an orderly getting a trolley ready.  I then knew what was taking place.  One of the ICU patients had expired.

Later, while we were uncle's daughter Doris and granddaughter Junie downstairs, the trolley was wheeled by us.  A white sheet covered the body.  One of the 3 men left the ICU that night.  But not alive.  While we prayed fervently for Uncle Melville that night I could not help but wonder whether it was his turn next - or the turn of the elderly man with HIV.

None of us know when our time will come.

Over the last few days we have had the joyful news of Uncle Melville regaining consciousness, and then being weaned off the ventilator, and then today being shifted out of the ICU.

Sheba was called to see her patient again today - so I tagged along to see Uncle Melville.  As I walked in there was a huge smile on his face.  He is still very weak - with a heart that is hardly functioning - but as Doris says 'each day is a blessing... we will take every day, one day at a time.'

While I was with Uncle, Sheba was meeting her patient who was also shifted out of the ICU.  The contrast could not be starker.  The man is out of the most immediate danger - but is so angry and agitated.  In the meantime his elderly wife has been tested and also found to be HIV positive.  At the age of 62.  A white-haired grandmother.  The man has improved physically, but his mind and soul are far from cured.

Uncle Melville is a man at peace.  Even if things take another unexpected dip and he does not leave the hospital alive - the contentment and joy in him is something to behold.

And it looks like he is really on the mend.

Grace upon grace.

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