Showing posts with label Nurse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nurse. Show all posts

10 August 2015

From the Hospital Bed

Sitting on the stool next to the bed and sleeping on the bed itself are two completely different perspectives in life. I have been in the hospital one too many times, mostly to attend to the sick, sitting on the tall uncomfortable stool.

For a change in perspective, I have always wanted to look at life from the hospital bed once, like taking a vacation from life, but without much pain. I wanted to lie there without a worry in the world. I wanted to take along my laptop and edit my stories, write blogs and contemplate over life.

I know a time will come when I am there on the hospital bed never to return home, to wait for the ultimate end, in pain, without hope, and with only past to look back on. But like a trial run, right now, from the middle of my life and I wanted to do a midlife review when there's still hope, time and energy, so that I could change the way I live the gap between this first review and the final review of my life on earth.

There I was on the hospital bed without any pain and feeling a bit amused. I had an overdue surgery from years ago and this time I had my vacation to finally dare it. When I was admitted I carried my beddings and walked in. The security guard asked if I had a new admission. I said yes. Where? Here! Even he was amused.

My son Jigme, who was supposed to attend to me looked like a patient. He finished few packets of chips before collapsing on the next bed. The nurses were confused every time they came on rounds. In the morning he was the last person to rise. It was kind of a trial run for him too...

It was from 10 pm that things stopped being amusing because I was to start fasting. They started feeding me from my veins. I was experiencing all these for the first time; sleeping on hospital bed, getting an IV, fasting... thank god I had good experience as an attendant to understand whatever was going on. But I couldn't help wonder how a man could be fed from a pinhole on the skin, while throughout our lives we ran after satisfying our expandable mouth.

And the heartbreaking irony was seeing your friends and family come and fill your bedside with loads of edibles when all you could do was to switch your gaze between the IV bottle and the riches on the bedside table.

But to my disappointment I couldn't even open my laptop. It was going to look very rude not to be in pain when rest of your roommates were. It was going to look like another office day. Besides the inspiration you would have while siting on the stool won't come when you were lying on the bed. And soon my mouth parched for a sip of water. I knew if I stayed awake any longer I would land up drinking something and that would result in termination of my surgery. So there went my romantic ideas of writing on the hospital bed.

Next morning I was made to wear the green gown that showed my back to the world. I had to be very careful because my daughter was following me mischievously and I could trust her to embarrass me. I was like a curious science student wanting to see how things worked inside the operation theatre. But before long I was put to deep sleep, literally dead for the time being.

I was handed back to my family after three hours and the moment I heard their voices I made a subconscious attempt to show them Thumbs Up. I could feel them dragging my bed on a rough surface. It was hours later that I could ask for water but my wife would only wet my lips with few drops. I could feel my nostrils loaded and nose plastered. My daughter and niece found me like their cartoon character Oggy.

There after I could see people coming and going like in dreams and all I was thinking about was when would they remove the packing from my nostrils. I didn't want to remain awake and feel suffocated. I went on sleeping. Nurses came often to give me doses of medicine, which I didn't need a day ago. I was officially ill now. I needed support to sit up. I wished if I could pee in my bed. It's then I realised the real difference between sitting on the stool and lying on the bed.

After what seemed like ages, which was actually the next day, my nostrils were cleared but there was another hard plastic support which had to stay for another few days. I was discharged after that and here am I enjoying my third day of rest. My wife, sister and brother in-law are pampering me like a little child.

My nose hasn't resumed its job yet, my spine and neck are aching and I can't swallow solid food easily. But I hope these are prices I am paying for a better nose. I asked for it.

As for the bigger question on reflecting on life I realised that I don't need a hospital bed to take vacation from life. This one trial run is enough to make me realise that whatever I have to do must be rushed before I reach the hospital bed because the world in there has its own problem to solve.

P:S: Knowing it was a simple surgery I didn't want to bother anybody but many of you showed up and I must tell you it feels so good to see people when you are on hospital bed. I will always remember this. 

03 August 2012

Florence Nightingale in Punakha Hospital: Golden Gift from Burma

That wasn't my first encounter with rude nurses, I have seen enough of them before. But after coming to Bajothang everything changed. I shared intimate relationship with people in our hospital. They have their children studying in my school and some of them studied here themselves, that made all the difference and I was soon pampered. It made me think that all the rude nurses have either changed or have disappeared.
But last four days gave me the chance to wake up from my fairy tale and see the unchanged reality and untamed nurses. My mother in-law had her womb prolapsed  and was due to undergo a surgery to remove it. But an ulcer somewhere on her cervix needs to be healed first. She needs dressing and packing on daily basis and I could think of no place better than Bajo.
I was waiting outside the hospital and my wife was taking forever. When she finally came out she was almost crying. She said the surgeon would pay any attention, though she presented all the document from Thimphu. The Dressing room nurses send her to ward, and ward nurses send her back. She had to walk the length of hospital several times with her sick mother. She could finally get it done at the ward, though they kept mentioning that it wasn't their job. We thought things are settled but the same ordeal continued the next day and the next. I then understood how ordinary patients are struggling everyday. I noticed that there were many new faces and sadly wondered why do we have to know each other to receive good treatment when their only job is the nurse the sick. On the fourth day the nurse who knew how to do packing wouldn't look at us. She was free but angry with us. She directed two first-timers to deal with it and despite their best effort they landed up bleeding my mother in-law.
That's what took us to Punakha Hospital. The gynecologist there wasn't a Bhutanese either but the moment we saw her it felt like we were breathing fresh air after a long time. She is a Burmese and speaks soft English. It was afternoon when we met her but she was full of energy and smile, something very new to us. That morning she had conducted two Cesareans and if there is anyone who has to be tired and frustrated it's her but she was ready for more. That makes Punakha Hospital the safest place for giving birth.
She took in my mother in-law and educated my wife on all aspects of the problem, which was when my wife got to understand the disease for the first time. The Burmese then instructed my wife to come with plastic bangle - the one we used to on our wrist in high school- so that she could device a way to hold up the womb in its place, by which not only infection could be prevented but also quicken the natural healing of the ulcer. Seeing my wife confused, the lady came out of her chamber and check every visitors' hand, laughing and apologizing, to find a sample and she succeeded. She took my mother in-law in and used the ring.
Florence Nightingale
In Bhutan we are never used to so much attention and care, unless we are related or connected or special. And the Burmese changed my mindset all together; we don't have to be special to be cared for. She knows we come there to seek her help and she helps with whole her heart. I always thought Florence Nightingale was fairy tale character but she made me believe that it's possible to have such people. She herself is a living Florence Nightingale, a golden gift from Burma.
She is the second woman I know from Burma, first one being Aung San Suu Kyi, whom I honour so much for doing their job so well. Thank you so much for coming to Bhutan.
Aung San Suu Kyi, only lady I knew from Burma until I met Ms. Swe Swe

Update 8th August 2012: The kind lady from Burma is Ms. Swe Swe. Her contract with Bhutan will end this year. I only wish if our health ministry could request her to stay for some more year. She is an extraordinarily dedicated expert who has attained greatness beyond rudeness and frustration at work. Please Stay.