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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 they have a family lounge too where people can snack and have their tea and coffee.

You debug before you get anywhere - into the room, on to the lift and on on your way out. Well, you just swish a lotion on to your hands and make sure you dont carry any germs. I did not know about this concept of debugging and it's surprising how people do it religiously and conscientously. In this country, things like basic manners are so ingrained in people. So you don't walk into a lift and not hold the door for someone. Or, you just don't jump the queue anywhere even if you are in a tearing hurry. You wait. You thank. You apologise when you brush past someone even when walking.

Inside the room, stream of doctors pour in assessing the patient. Every now and again, the nurse pops her head into the room. "Are you alright?" is her ready question. Ten minutes later, another one pops in. "Just checking," she says, adding, "I am hanging around like a bad smell." You smile and warm up instantly.

It is a slow path to recovery. So slow that with each hour you light a hope in the heart that another day has gone by. Outside the window, the sun is setting and covers the landscape in all hues of grey. But my heart is not grey and the light of hope burns. Always.


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