Thursday, June 21, 2012

Going Under the Knife

Except for a greenish gown that has seen better days, which the hospital provided, she wore nothing underneath. As she was wheeled into the Operation Theatre (OT) on a gurney, she looked so vulnerable. I have never seen this side of her personality. She looked tiny, naked and vulnerable. For the first time in our twelve years of married life, I realised how tiny and frightened she looked. My heart went out to her. My wife was going under the knife for some minor surgery.
Gone is the iron lady that rules with an iron fist at home. Our children do not lovingly call her “The Hitler Mom” for no reason. Behind her back of course! I know it because they know that sometimes even I come in her line of fire and they share with me. But there is no sign of such lady here. In her place was a rather pale looking, scared little lady with a “what next” look, that immediately drew sympathy from me like never before. Even I was apprehensive and the attempt by her doctor to console us goes in vain.  The fact that I signed a risk undertaking, a day prior, made things a bit scary.  But I tried my best not to show this apprehension on my face and I failed miserably.  With an ensuring peck on her forehead to calm her down and a “don’t worry, things are going to be fine” in her ears I retraced my steps into the corridor from the threshold of the OT.
       In spite of the assurance from family and friends that things are going to be fine, the apprehension mounts. Waiting seems endless. Family and friends have gathered to see us through this ordeal. All of us wait at the exit of the OT, from where the patients are warded off post operation. Having people around you lend a lot of emotional support.  As time passes tension mounts.  One friend tries to lighten the mood with a joke to which everyone breaks out laughing, except me.  His words sounded hollow and empty to me.  Even my own attempt to convince myself that everything is going to be fine fails miserably.  I realise, however one tries to console the person in grief, these are only the empty words of the unaffected.  Nobody will really know the pain that person is going through.  All sorts of creepy thoughts occupy my mind.  It becomes a panorama of scenes, one uglier and grimmer than the other.  One’s mind can imagine so much!
       The first thing that I imagine is of her lying on the cold antiseptic table with those monstrous looking lights shining over her, the surgeon and his team milling around, talking and laughing amongst themselves.  Suddenly I see her naked body laying on a cold table her unseeing lifeless eyes staring upwards.  Then the scene is replaced by another gruesome one that I saw in a horror movie, of a mortuary, which I don’t even want to describe here.  God forbid should such thing ever happen!  Then I see her being wheeled out, her face smiling at me, which is quickly replaced by yet another scene that is not at all pleasant.  As other patients, some of whom went in later than her, are wheeled out from the OT, I started getting frantic.  Why is it taking so much of time?  Wasn’t it supposed to be a minor surgery?  Then I remember the doctor telling us about the possibility of having to do a bigger operation should he detect any other problems that have not been diagnosed so far.  Could that be the cause of the delay?  All sorts of thoughts pass my mind as I stand there waiting.  Human minds can conjure up so many things, if only we could use this ability for some positive things.  I am brought back to reality by a pat on my back. Turning back I saw it was a friend trying to draw my attention to what he was saying.  Though he tried to say so many things I did not hear or understand a single thing.  I nodded my head lest he felt insulted.
       Finally, after a grueling two hours, her name was called out, signaling me, her attendant, to come in to shift her from one gurney to another to be wheeled back to her cabin.  A big sigh of relief escaped my almost dry mouth.  I really can’t express how I felt but it felt good.  As I went into the outer room of the OT I saw her on the gurney, wrapped up in a dark green blanket.  Only her face was visible.  She looked calm and composed and her face did not look that pale, as I imagined.  Some traces of anesthesia that was administered to her were still visible.  She was in a trance like state that these drugs are supposed to induce.  I am an emotional person and emotions got the better of me.  In spite of my effort not to, I cried.  Tears rolled down my cheeks.  I could not help myself.  I think I saw tears in some of my friends’ eyes too.  May be my tears induced tears into their eyes too.  I tried to call her name but no sound would come out due to a big lump that has formed in my throat.  It was tears of joy I shed.  And why not, it was the happiest moment of my life.  That moment I realised how much I loved her, the mother of my children.
       Basically I am not that pessimist a person but this time pessimism got the better of me.  Only someone who has gone through all these will understand me and what I mean to convey.  It was the most taxing, grueling and worrying two hours of my life so far.  It felt like ages and I felt aged many years.  I was sapped of all energy.  Only after she came back to her senses and started talking normal did I realise that I was starving.  Then only did I remember that I haven’t had my breakfast that day and it was already four pm in the afternoon.  She may have gone under the knife, but the pain that I felt was beyond words.  I experienced the pain of going under the knife many times over.

29 May, 2012

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