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Nerves Of Steel

After a moderate day of work in the office, I got an SMS from Shanta's brother, Rajiv, that she has been put on liquid diet from today. I visited the hospital and then went out for a quick dinner with Rajiv and Shanta's friend Mukul. Doctors say another five to seven days for the leg wound to be closed and that means being holed up in the ICU for a while. Part of the tubes from her systems have been removed but she was irritated at being shifted from a corner of the room that gave her a kind of privacy to accomodate another patient.

Apparently in cases of amputation, the wound is left open and dressed till all traces of infection and dead nerves are gone. A lot of things have to be evaluated before finally closing or stitching up the wound to avoid any complication later in life. It's not that a leg once amputated is quickly stitched up. So, some more wait and watch before Shanta's family can heave a sigh of relief. The three of us were discussing her rehabilitation. In her case, the left leg which was grafted will also have to simultaneously heal and checked how much strength it can regain. She also has to see how her upper body gathers the strength to support a new prosthetic leg. All this will probably take a year of rehabilitation and transition before she resumes normal life. But it's not the end of the world and her positive response is a sign that she will not surrender to defeat.

Mukul, one of the first friends to reach the accident site, said Shanta's presence of mind is commendable. When she found herself trapped in the wheels of the bus that hit her from behind, people were trying to push the bus. But she yelled at them to stop from doing that realising that her right leg was crushed and seeing the pieces of flesh scattered all over. She saw that if they pushed the bus further, her left leg too would be gone. So she asked for the bus to be lifted instead, which eventually was jacked up and she was pulled away. Anybody in her place, including me, would have passed out. And what's more, she took out her phone numbers and ID and handed them to the people.

Rajiv and Mukul are a little worried that she hasn't shed a tear since. Nerves of steel -- that's my friend! Read The Times of India for more on Shanta.

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