Unforgettable Experience

My Most Unforgettable Experience

Being a senior consultant anesthesiologist did not offer him any immunity to coronary blocks, rather it proved to be a major contributor towards sudden epigastric discomfort coupled with scapular and interscapular pain, which suddenly developed one fateful evening. Knowing fully well, the emergency handling routines of his own hospital as well as some other neighboring hospitals, he suffered in silence for hours, till sleep overwhelmed and peace engulfed him. The next morning all was well, except the pricking memory of the pain and discomfort of yesterday. He took some time out of busy OR schedule and went to emergency for an ECG. The trace was unremarkable, but he never put a glance at it. Was it really his heart, who was at trouble? Not finding the cardiologist in his office, he returned to operating rooms to continue his routine anesthesia and pain management duties. An attempt to trace the desired cardiologist by phone failed again, so he visited cardiology OPD by himself. He must see the cardiologist soon. The cardiologist greeted him and escorted him for an ETT. ETT could not be completed due to long procedural rituals. He developed perspiration, epigastric discomfort and dizziness. Felt like lying down. At this point the cardiologist entered the ETT room, saw his condition and asked the attendant to escort him to CCU, which he did. The echo was normal but trop-T test suggested immediate angiography was needed. From hereafter, the time took up a lightening pace. He was shifted to a cardiac cath lab, angiography done, the blockades identified, coronary stents offered and passed in the same sitting. Shifted back to his old CCU. Observation period started only to be interrupted occasionally by staff nurse who came for automated BP and pulse check. His wife brought him some tea and snacks. A crowd of sympathetic colleagues and co-workers paid him a visit, for which he was more than grateful. The deep concern shown by them touched his heart. It was like being a character in a drama, a drama in real life. He was filled with satisfaction. He was in expert hands.

The bed to his right side was occupied by an old aged male with a white beard. He guessed he must had had diabetes in addition to cardiac disease, as his grandson of about 12 years of age, who accompanied him as an attendant, had to bring in a plastic urinal every two hours or so, help him pass his water and took the urinal to some toilet outside CCU for disposal. The boy also brought lunch and dinner for his grandfather from the cafeteria and helped him with the food. The NIBP arm band and SpO2 probe were conveniently removed by the boy to allow unrestricted feeding by the old man. All these rituals were performed free from any outside interference as the nursing staff seemed quite pleased with the routine. A middle aged lady occupied a bed in front of him. Two attendants remained at the bedside to take care of her. The melodious mobile phone ring tones filled the space of the CCU time and again, perhaps to soothe the nerves of all. Some outdoor cardiac patients narrated their long stories as they were being interviewed by the doctors at the nursing station. He slept heartily after a disturbed night a day before due to having to lie down still in supine position for hours.

At about 4 am in the morning, he needed to go to toilet. He rose up and put on his slippers. The lone male nurse was fast asleep cuddled up and wrapped up in white sheets by joining two easy chairs at their front side. The central monitor on the nursing station displayed coloured graphic lines continuously moving. He went to the toilet without disturbing the male nurse. He opened the door and hustled back almost fainting off the stinking smell, slamming the door shut behind him. He went to the other toilet. Left unlocked by mistake, it was meant for the staff use; was also filled with foul smell but with less ferocity. He pressed the switch to put on the exhaust fan, but it refused to obey. He forcefully spinned it and it came to life. He was so gratified to see the toilet seat broken and repaired with the sticking plaster (often called ‘amrit dhara’, as it is used to bond all broken things or to seal every hole in operating rooms). The drain pipe of the wash basin was broken and leaking and the lock of the door almost prolapsed out of its socket. Perhaps someone had forgotten to use the sticking plaster over there, or perhaps this commodity was also in short supply.

The night passed and the male nurse hurried to dress the things up before the medical staff arrived. He was kind enough to fetch him a cup of hot tea from the hospital cafeteria before leaving. The time ticked and he wished he was sent home as early as possible. He was told that he will be discharged on return of the specialist who was busy performing an angiography. Someone advised him to collect his discharge certificate later on and to go home and take regular exercise. He was so happy to see that the discharge certificate bore his actual age and not the usual 110 years or 0 years.

Quoted to Khadim Hussain