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Showing posts from September, 2010

Spring

The weather is warming up and the days are bright and sunny save for a few short spurts of rain. But it is a happy day for me and Lolo as the doctors came with the blood count chart and cited a significant rise in the numbers after yesterday. We could not stop smiling for hours as we were left to ourselves. The damned neutrophils rose to .4. But as one doctor said, hopefully it is not a blip in the system and the rise continues. We hope not as the platelets rose to 22 on its own, unassisted. It has happened for the first time in three months. No wonder Lolo was teary-eyed when he saw the figures yesterday.
And for the first time, the doctor said we can take a walk outside the room, with masks of course, for some fresh air and coffee, perhaps. But I have decided not to take that risk on this first day of jubilation. Maybe tomorrow we will take the lift down to the first floor and have coffee with all the other people around - our first exposure to normal life in so many weeks.
When I loo…

Hopscotch

You think of the word anaemia and you think of somebody who is underfed. You are told about aplastic anaemia and you think of someone who is doubly underfed. Of course, they mean none of these.They all have to do with the level of blood in your body and how much the bone marrow is producing all the important components of blood. The marrow needs to start producing the components for the body to get back to normal. The only problem is that the marrow is one hell of a stubborn creature. It takes its own time to kickstart its normal functions.
Bit of a waiting game for us. I feel helpless and there is nothing I can do from my side to ease the pain. But in all this I keeping a positive frame of mind, which is so important for the two of us, the two of us who are so united in our pain, our happiness and everything that life has to offer.
The road to recovery is fraught with so many small battles. It seems you are surrounded by tiny enemies all around who wait to strike when all is calm. And …

Faux Pas

The inquisitive Indian in me will, perhaps, never die. So two faux pas as a result of it. A new patient admitted to Room No 11 adjacent to ours for one day yesterday was the object of my curioisty. And why? Because throughout the day she had a minimum of ten visitors, of all ages and sizes. I wondered what her ethnic background was because the noise and visitors surrounding her room reminded me of my compatriots. Elsewhere around, the hospital is one of quietness and few visitors.
So I was trying to chit chat the nurse. "Hmmmm.. new patient?" Yes, she replied, "A lot to do. Running around and forgetting things." I asked, "What is her problem?" She politely answered, "Oh I haven't looked at her file." And then just after she left Lolo told me that the rule of privacy is such that you don't ask a nurse about someone else nor are they authorised to tell you. Of course, that should be the decorum. What was I thinking? Heck, my curiosity got t…

Sleep

There is a thin line between sleep and wakefulness in a hospital. The constant rounds of the nurse every few hours make it impossible to have a straight seven to eight hours sleep.It is like being in an airport. You might find a spot to nap but you long for home. When you are outside your home and sleep deprived, nothing brings as much comfort as the thought of your own bed.
Lolo manages cat naps. I keep awake. Sleep is last on my mind. In our room, we have a small DVD player, plenty of movies and a book of crosswords too. There is plenty to do but little energy. Lolo watched a movie today and I finished a book. In between, we took turns at crossword, something we normally do when one of us gets stuck! Would have been so much easier if we could relieve physical pains together, that ways it is collective onus.
But there is one reason why hospitals are hospitals. It is a place where you expect the unexpected. Sometimes there could be three or four hours of no tension and one moment, a fev…

Hope

My friend Sareeta flew from Sydney to be with me this weekend. God bless her heart! This morning my favourite trio Jules, JJ and Fred came home with lots of food and a bottle of wine. And Lolo says time I recharge my batteries and do some shopping. I don't feel up to it but he made me do it in the pretext of buying him some DVDs and trackpants. I don't feel like leaving the hospital. Everytime I walk out, I feel I am leaving my heart behind.
The haemaglobin count today is 95 and platelet 17,000. Positive signs say the doctor but nothing to be excited about as the neutrophils are still at zero. I guess with the body in such a state of shock after the therapy, it will take its time to shoot up. That I am positive about but this wait is painful as the body tires easily. 
I wonder what is going on in Lolo's mind sometimes as he stares blankly at everything. He can be reticent when he wants to but I see his eyes and they tell a thousand thoughts. Sometimes I am accurate. But I do…

Rainbow

It is the 14th day today at the hospital. The nurses are becoming more than familiar faces but they do change quite often. I miss Heather the old nurse who generally comes in the morning. I think she is taking a break as I haven't seen her for a few days.

There is so much activity in the room. Liquids after liquids are infused into the vein. I have stopped taking a note of what all is being given after the first few days of inquisitiveness. Then the machine beeps after every refill. Every ten minutes, pulse rate, temperature, and blood pressure is monitored. "No aches, no pains, no nausea?", the nurse asks. You say, "No". She replies, "All good." You heave a sigh of relief.

I have discovered good tea at the hospital. I look forward to the volunteers who go round with a trolley of tea, coffee and soft drinks and knock at the door. They always come in with a smile. There are times when every smile, even from strangers, feel so warm in the heart.

At the lif…

Unarmed

When the doctors said there was a low count of neutrophils in the body, I was wondering what the hell they were. Why couldn't they just say white blood cells for mortals like me to understand. In school, I studied about white blood corpuscles and red blood corpuscles and that the white corpuscles protect the body from all illnesses. Little learning was not dangerous then. Today, that knowledge is enhanced and the more aware I have become, the more worried I am. That is a perilous state of mind.
When the body's platelet or blood count reduces, there are instant solutions. Platelet and blood from donors can be infused into a patient to at least level it up to a safe degree. In simple terms, platelets are clotting devices in the blood and if you have little platelet you increase your risk of bleeding even from a simple cut. And low level of red blood cells of course reduces the haemoglobin and other things - you tire easily as the oxygen supply in the body is reduced. Now, white b…

Of People & Emotions...

My phone does not stop ringing. In the evenings, I have visitors. I feel blessed in a way that family, friends care for me. Lolo says I have become a star and that I get more phone calls than him. I tell him that in India, if a neighbour does not call on you if there is a news of ill health or suffering in the family, you wonder why the person has not turned up. It is unusual for people not ask about the other.
Such is the common participation in grief or joy that anyone from far and near will come and partake. When my friend Natasha's grandmother passed away, she found herself over-working in the kitchen catering to all the guests who had come. When she went to look for her two new helpers, she found them standing amid the crowd. They were busy crying.
This cultural thing, is very amusing to Lolo. Here people are so worried about intruding on the other's privacy that even if they are near your door, they will first call up and ask if it is Ok to drop by. I am not used to that, …

Austin Dairy

Ward 9A, Room No 12 has an amazing view of Melbourne's scenic northern suburbs. I look out of the window. A thousand thoughts cross my mind, interspersed by a prayer every now and again. The chain is broken by the creaking of the door and the bright smile of a nurse, who comes to check the blood pressure, body temperature and fluid flow from the high tech machine that is connected to the wafer thin pipes inserted from the arm to near the heart. The pipe is called a Picc. That, I am told, is the safest intravenous injection into the body.

Modern medical sciences amaze me. Imagine what the world was like when none of these were invented. Sometimes all these science fiction movies come to the mind too and I think all those creative imaginations have a base somewhere in reality.

The floor I am in bustles with activity. It is almost an isolation ward. But the irony of the situation is that those in isolation are the ones who need the utmost care and loads of  tender loving care. And t…

From Rosanna To Austin

I had the sweetest request today. Lolo wants me to blog about my visits to the famous Austin Hospital. The thought did cross my mind but I was in no frame of mind to open my computer these past ten days. My blog, I realise, will now be kept open, for Lolo to read the ramblings of someone, for whom the word hospital has become synomous to home. For a short while, I hope. I pray.
Austin is 20 mins walk from home. It is a huge, big hospital, almost the size of AIIMS. One could easily get lost and it takes a few visits to familiarise oneself with one part of the building. I am especially enamoured by the big cafe and mini shops on level 1. I grab a coffee each time and have learnt to stress on 'very hot' after the first time I was served a lukewarm latte. I grab a newspaper too and take the lift to level 9, my destination.
Why I am at the hospital is a long story but to cut a long story short, let's just say - in the journey of life, there are detours and the hospital is just on…