Mixed bag

Since my mood was spoiled by the washing machine disaster this morning, I didn’t feel like blogging.. Now that I finished the chores of the day and still have another 2 hours before fetching kids from school, I thought I might as well do something productive.

First of all the answer to the question I had asked earlier about viewing yeast cells under a microscope.. Use Methylene blue ( can be found in the Aquarium supply store) in the yeast solution.. it stains the cells .

I had always thought that I sucked in Maths and I always believed that it was the way they taught Maths in school. For 23 years I have not touched Maths( Physics calculations during pre-degree excluded).
Since September kids have been going for Kumon Maths and surprisingly I still remember my maths. I don’t need to use the answer booklet to mark their work books. Yaya is in doing level F which I think is grade 8 and I remember how much I hated Maths in grade 8, 9 and 10. I also remember how much I hated Leela Kochamma, who was my maths teacher.
The thing is, if I haven’t touched Maths for 2 decades and I still remember how to do it, then I certainly had the best teacher on earth.

So this is to Leela Kochamma. Thank you for teaching me. I am sorry for hating you all these years!!!!

Now who wants to bake some chocolate chip muffin??

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Chocolate chips
3/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1 t spn baking powder
1/2 t spn baking soda
a pinch of salt.
1 t spn vanilla
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees
Mix all of the above ingredients with a spoon, pour in to muffin cups. bake for about 30 minutes.

Hope you all will have a wonderful weekend..
See ya all on Monday

Ah! the lemons

My washing machine conked out.
It is pointless to buy another machine when I am leaving in a few months time. ( And the cost of repair is more than the cost of the machine)
I honestly can’t picture myself whiling away my time at a Laundromat.
That too doing three different sets of laundry. black, mixed and white!
Right now I am so angry and I really had enough of making lemonades every time life throws me a lemon!

Sometimes silence speaks more than actual words. In those few seconds I saw something I never saw in his eyes.
He didn’t say a word. but I could see a mixture of respect, admiration and pride in his eyes. For me it felt good because I didn’t try to learn to take the BP not to satisfy Dr. Bhatti. I did it for myself.
“Have you had something to eat?” He asked
“No sir” I replied.
I realized that except for 2 cups of tea yesterday evening and a cup of tea this morning, I didn’t have anything to eat. The breakfast this morning was oil soaked poori and my appetite had vanished as soon as I saw it. So I only had a cup of tea.
“Would you like to join me for lunch?” He checked his watch and spoke. “There may not be anything to eat at the canteen at this time, but we can always ask the operator to make something”
Oh. I would have loved to spend some time with Dr. Bhatti. But the thing was I had no money with me and I didn’t want him to pay for my lunch.
Now that thought was weird. Every time Arjun and I had meals outside though most of the time we split the bill, there were so occasions he paid the bills and it didn’t really bother me.
I wondered why it never bothered me.
I felt guilty for treating Arjun so badly. He didn’t deserve it.
Dr. Bhatti was looking at me
“Sorry sir, I have theory classes this afternoon. I am already late” I spoke. “I will see you in the evening Sir” I said my bye to Mariamma and bolted out of the ward.

Part happy, part guilty. That is how I felt.
I never wanted to hurt anyone.
I knew I hurt Arjun.
I knew I had to fix it.

By the time I came back to the campus, I was 45 minutes late for the first lecture. I looked through the window to see who was teaching. One of the junior lecturer from Microbiology dept. I didn’t even know the guy’s name.
Obviously I have bunked every single one of his lectures. I hoped someone gave a proxy attendance for me.
I remembered my botany teacher at BCM college. Her classes were on Friday afternoon. BCM college had religious education on Friday( Compulsory for Christians) and I had skipped it by telling the Malayalam section that I was at the English section and vice versa at the English section.
There were only two lectures on Friday afternoon. Botany and French. There was no French teacher at the college, so those who took French as a second language never had language classes during college hours. And I had a whole afternoon free and no one knew!
That lasted till I went with Amma for shopping and she met a friend of friend at Seematti.
Amma introduced me and the lady asked me
“Where do you study?”
“BCM” I replied
“BCM?” She looked at me and I should have known that I was just about to be roasted alive. But I didn’t. I nodded my head and said Yes.
“What division?”
“B2” I replied.
I knew something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
“I teach B2 division Botany”
And I wanted the earth to open and swallow me. There was no escape. I didn’t even know who taught my class Botany!!

Did I ever learn a lesson?

Nah! Same old, same old!

I made a mental note ‘not to skip lectures ever!’

I sat down on the stairs and waited for the lecturer to come out of the class.
The next lecture was Pharmacology and it was supposed to be taught by the Prof. I generally avoided skipping lectures by the Prof.
Little while later the door opened and the microbiology lecturer came out. As soon as he left the hallway I walked towards the main door and almost bumped in to few of the North Indian boys who were leaving the class. Arjun was with them.
“Prof has gone for a seminar” One of them told me.
Oh! Now that was an interesting piece of information. If the Prof isn’t available, then one of the junior lectures would be taking the class and somehow I completely forgot about the resolution that I took a few minutes ago and started to walk with them
“Arjun, you have a minute?” I asked
“Oooo” The chorus started
“Shut up” I told the guys.
“Arjun looked at me and asked
“What do you want?”
“Can I talk to you privately?”
“Ooooo” Chorus was a little more louder and longer.
“Shut up” I stared at the guys.
“Ok, Ok We will leave you love birds alone” Rupesh raised his hands in surrender and spoke.
“Run, the lecturer is coming” Someone shouted. All of us ran to the other side of the gallery. We waited until the lecturer entered the class.
“I am going to the hostel” Rupesh spoke.
“me too” Someone else spoke.
Soon Arjun and I were alone. He didn’t say anything. He just simply stared at the road in front of us.
“I am sorry” I spoke.
“I am really sorry.”
I looked at him. He looked so sad.
I had no right to make him sad. He did so much for me.
“Please forgive me” I begged.
“Do you want to go for a ride?” finally he asked
“Yeah” I replied.

I woke up hearing Suprabatham.
I knew Aparna must have had her shower and is now doing her morning pooja.
MS was singing
Sri-venkatachalapate! tava suprabhatam. (May this morning be an auspicious dawn for you Lord Venketachala)
I wondered how could any God have an auspicious morning after what happened last night. I wondered what would happen to the lady who lost her husband last night? How would she survive? Who would be there for her and her son? Would she have any family support? or would her family kick her out now that her husband is dead?
‘Give her strength, lord” I prayed silently.
‘No, Don’t. You put her in that place, you took her husband’s life. I take back my request’.

I was angry with myself, because much as I tried to understand, life made no sense, Neither my life, nor the life of those around me.
My mind was so restless. I needed to calm my mind.
For once Suprabatham didn’t work. I waited impatiently for Aparna to turn off the tape.
I knew I had to read. Dr. Bhatti would surely be asking more question about Ascitis. I didn’t feel like getting up from the bed and get the notes from my table.
So I did the next best thing.
I closed my eyes and visualized my notes.
I went through every point in my notes, Including those points I wrote with an Astrix in the margin.
I knew I didn’t miss out anything. How could I miss anything when I can see every single line in my note?

As I walked in to the hospital, it was exactly the same way I had left yesterday afternoon. No crowd there pushing and shoving each other. No one was crying. It was as though nothing happened yesterday evening. And if it wasn’t for the patient on bed 12, I would have thought I was dreaming.
Mariamma was sitting on her bed and as soon as she saw me, she greeted
“Good morning Dr. Ma”
“Good morning Mariamma, how are you?” I asked her.
“I am fine, Dr. Ma” She grinned
She looked healthy and happy and I was really happy for her. I considered asking her to lay down, so I could check her abdomen’ But she was sitting down and I knew Dr. Bhatti is going to ask her to lay down when he examines her. Why hassle her unnecessarily? I thought.
I went through her case notes, making sure I checked the temperature chart. I didn’t want to give Dr. Bhatti a chance to find fault with me. I wanted to be through in my work.
I noticed the temperature spike.
I looked at Mariamma. She didn’t look toxic.
Temperature must have been taken by a student nurse! I was sure.
I heard Dr. Bhatti’s voice and I quickly walked towards the ward entrance. Ramesh was standing right next to Dr. Bhatti.
I am not going to deny that I wasn’t jealous.
Why I was jealous, I don’t know. Common sense tells me that I am a good student. But jealousy and common sense have no mutual understanding. Right?
I looked at Dr. Bhatti wondering how he felt this morning. He looked just fine, as though nothing happened yesterday.
All of us followed him to Bed 1.
“So Mariamma, did my assistant take good care of you after I left yesterday?” He asked her while looking at me.
“Yes Dr” Mariamma was grinning.
Dr. Bhatti asked me to explain the procedure to my batch mates and I did. Starting from getting the consent form signed. I wasn’t one bit nervous. I knew my stuff.
“Did you check her BP after the procedure?” He asked me
“No sir” I mumbled. My confident voice suddenly disappeared.
I could see all my bathc mates staring at me as though I committed the biggest crime to Mankind.
“Because I don’t know how to take BP sir”
Come on, I am only a second year student and no one taught us how to take BP yet.
“And?” Dr. Bhatti was looking at me
And what? What does he mean by and? I looked at him to see what he was asking.
After a few seconds that felt like a life time, he asked
” And did you try to learn how to take BP yesterday?”
Yesterday? Did he not see that I was at the ward till 8.45 Pm? When did I have time?
“No, sir” I replied. My voice quivered.
I just wanted to cry.
“Madam, only Issac Newton can sit and wait for the apple to fall on his head to learn something. You are going to be a doctor, You are responsible for someone’s life. You can’t afford to wait for someone to teach you. You are in control here. You don’t know something, you take the initiative and learn it. You don’t have the luxury to wait. Lives of people depend on your skills and ability.”

Mariamma was looking at me and at Dr. Bhatti. I knew all the patients, including the one on bed 12 would have heard me getting yelled at. They must think that I am the worst student on planet earth.
I knew for sure Dr. Bhatti was being unfair. I was so angry with him. I decided not to follow him for the evening rounds. I don’t want to do anything with medicine. I will specialize in community medicine, where I only have worry about advantages and Disadvantages between Indian and western toilet! Ha

“Did you meassure her abdomen this morning?” He asked
“No sir”
He gave me that one look that kind of said ‘did you purposely dug your own grave this morning or what?’
“Lay down Mariamma” Dr. Bhatti asked her.
He checked her abdomen and I noticed it looked bloated just like how it was before we did the tapping. How can it be? We drained almost 2 lit of fluid.
“So what do you think?” Dr. Bhatti pointed to Mariamma’s abdomen.
What do I think? Would I be wrong if I said that it looked just the same as yesterday? Is it because my vision is skewed that I am seeing it like that? If I had measured, then I would have surely known the answer. My own stupidity.
Hesitantly I answered.” It looks the same as yesterday Sir”
I looked down, waiting for the verbal assault. He didn’t say anything.
“When can I go home” Mariamma asked
I looked up to see Dr. Bhatti tapping her shoulder.
“Soon”. Dr, Bhatti told her.

Rest of the rounds, I only answered when Dr. Bhatti specifically asked me a question, though I knew the answers for all the questions. I was still angry with him. I was still going to do PG in community medicine.
After the rounds got over, as I was leaving the ward, I noticed the BP apparatus on the nurses station counter.
I knew I would never have to worry about checking BP if I was going to specialize in Community medicine.
I looked at the apparatus.
I don’t really need to learn.
I was wasting my time
I was hungry.
All my batch mates were already leaving.
I picked the damn apparatus and found an intern who was writing a discharge sheet for someone.
“Hey, you have few minutes?” I asked him
“What do you want?”
“Can you teach me how to take BP?”
Why? Because I don’t know how to take BP, you idiot. I thought of telling him.
“I want to learn” I smiled the sweetest smile while speaking in my gentlest voice.
“Can you write the discharge summary for me?” He asked
“I don’t know how to write discharge summary”
“Oh, it is pretty easy. You write whatever is in this sheets”, he pointed three sheets ” in to the discharge sheet”
“Sit down” He pointed to the chair.
He showed me how to tie the cuff and how to listen for the sound using the steth.
“Ok, that is all you need to do. Here, you can write the summary” He passed the patient’s file to me. As he was walking out, I heard another intern asking him
“You finished your work already?”
“Oh yeah. She is dong it” He pointed to me
“Macha, how did you manage that?”
“Because I am smart” He replied. He explained the deal and both the interns were looking at me and laughing.
I thought of taking the chart and smacking both of them on their head.

It took me 45 minutes to write the summary. At the end of it, I wasn’t sure if there was one person I wasn’t angry with.

As I was leaving, I noticed that there were no medicos in the ward. It was my opportunity to try taking BP. I quickly grabbed the BP apparatus and went to Mariamma’s bed. She was eating her lunch.
She looked at me
“What Dr. Ma?” Mariamma asked
“I want to check your BP ma, you eat first, I will wait”
Mariamma was gobbling down the food.
“Mariamma eat slowly, I am not in a rush” I told her.
She still continued to eat fast. I felt bad for rushing her.
She quickly finished eating and went to wash her hand.
She came back and lie down on the bed.
I took her left arm, wrapped the cuff on the upper arm and checked her BP. It was a thrill to be able to hear the systolic thumping sound. As I was taking the cuff off Mariamma’s arm, I noticed her looking at something at the foot of her bed and I turned to look.
Dr. Bhatti was standing there holding some medicines. ( Physician samples)
He looked at me and I looked at him.
He grinned and my desire to do PG in Community medicine disappeared in to thin air.

In the evening when I walked in to the ward there was a huge crowd outside and inside and people were screaming and crying. I was getting pushed by the crowd and the security guard saw me and came to my rescue
“What happened?” I asked him
“Bus accident Ma, 7 dead!” He spoke
“7?” I looked at him
He nodded.
Must have been a major accident.
“Where did it happen?” I asked him
“Near Hosur road Ma?” He helped me get inside the ward.
I saw Dr. Bhatti shouting directions to one of the interns . Common sense told me to run before him seeing me. I stood there may be a two seconds trying to see what I should do when Dr. Bahtti turned around.
“You are here. Come, come come” He called
“Yes sir” I walked to him
“Go and do the dressings for bed 12. After you finish, take him to the x-ray room and get an x-ray done on the right leg.
I walked to bed 12. The patient was probably 18 or 19 years old. He appeared to be in so much pain. There was blood all over his pants. His shirt was torn. There were few people standing next to him and when they saw me, they moved to the side a bit. Then out of nowhere an old man came charging to me.
“How long does it take you to attend to my son. Just because we are poor, you don’t want to take care of him ah?” He was about to hit me and I ducked my head.
One of the hospital Attendant saw the commotion and came running to my aid.
“Get out” He held the old man’s shirt and started to pull him out.
Both of them were screaming at each other. I knew why the father was reacting that way and I felt bad the way the attendant was holding his shirt and dragging him.
I looked at the patient. There was anger and pain in his eyes.
I wanted to tell him that his financial situation was least of my concern. But I didn’t think he would understand that not every Doctor out there is only there for the money.
“What is your name?” I asked the patient
“Kumar” He replied hesitantly
Hey, I am here to help you. So knock down your attitude, I thought of telling him.
“Where does it hurt?” I asked him
“Everywhere?” He answered.
I thought of telling him to F&^% off and walk away. I didn’t need to take this crap. I moved to the right side of the bed, knowing very well that Dr. Bhatti asked me to get the x- ray of the right leg and pushed the the pant up.
Patient started to howl.
His relatives were staring at me. I ignored them and I ignored the howling.
Then I rolled up the pant from the left leg. there was 2 gaping wounds on both legs. I wore my gloves and opened the dressing pack.
The patient on the right side of the bed suddenly started to develop complications. Couple of the interns were trying to do a cut down to find a vein.
Someone was running to the blood lab to match and get the blood. I didn’t want to even watch the procedure.
“Internal bleeding” I heard someone saying
Dr. Bhatti came rushing in
“Shift to OT” He screamed
“OT is not free sir” The nurse told him.
There was a manic rush to save the life of that patient. I concentrated on the wound in front of me, half wondering when is this kid’s blood pressure going to drop? Is this kids going to die? He is so young and I didn’t want him to die.

It was not easy to clean open wounds and each time the patient cried I cringed. I could feel the pain and I really wanted to take the pain away. My hands started to shake, but I still continued to clean and bandage the wounds.

I wanted to go home.
I even thought of sneaking out. No one would notice my absence. I was sure of it.
But I couldn’t quit.
Why did I ever want to do medicine? I asked myself a million times that evening. Cursing my own stupidity.
“Can I practice giving Intra cardiac adrenaline?” One of the intern asked Dr. Bhatti
“Sure” Dr. Bhatti answered
I knew right away that the patient died.
I was angry with the whole system. I knew if the OT was available, then they could have found out where he was bleeding from and stopped it.
It was so unfair. Someone up there gets to decide who gets to live and who doesn’t.
“Finished?” Dr. Bhatti asked me
I couldn’t find my voice. So I nodded my head.
“Good. Send him for x-ray”
I called the ward boy and asked him to take the patient for the x-ray. I saw Dr. Bhatti leaving the ward and I decided to bolt before he comes back again. Just as I was leaving the ward, I saw Dr. Bhatti talking to a lady holding the hand of a kid who perhaps was about 12 or 13 years old followed by hysteric screaming. I knew she might be the wife of the patient who just died. She was pulling her hair out and screaming. Seeing the mother’s crying, her son started to cry too.
I didn’t cry.
I couldn’t.
I was frozen to feel anything.
“Going back?” Dr. Bhatti asked me. I didn’t know when he noticed me standing there.
I nodded my head and walked out. I could hear that woman’s screaming all the way back to my hostel. It just kept playing in my head.
By the time I came back to the hostel it was 9 pm.. I was exhausted. I went to the washroom to take a quick shower. As I took my clothes off, I noticed that there were blood stains all over my salwar. I felt so yucky. I took the salwar top off carefully by holding the edges without letting it touch my face and my hair and dropped it to the ground. Then I noticed there were blood stains on my arm. I had worn gloves and I had washed my hands before leaving the hospital. I may not have washed my arm well.
I opened the tap and washed my hand quickly. I scrubbed and scrubbed my arm till I saw the wealts appearing. I checked my body to see if there was dried blood anywhere else. Then I noticed my salwar still on the floor. I didn’t want to touch it, so I kicked it to the corner. I didn’t want my salwar to get dirty when I take my shower.
It was pointless.
My salwar was already dirty. There were blood stains all over it. And it was already on the bathroom floor. I never even kept my shampoo bottle on the floor and now salwar was on the floor.
I couldn’t take anymore and I started to cry.
Was I crying because my salwar was dirty?
Was I crying because I couldn’t take the pain from the teenager whose wound I cleaned earlier?
Was I crying because 7 people died that evening?
Was I crying for that one patient who simply ran out of luck?
Was I crying because I finally learned that medicine is not just about the status and power and money?
I don’t know.

I finally managed to get a copy of Jeffrey Archer’s prisoner of birth yesterday..
My head is full of Danny and Beth..
Will update the blog on Monday.
Wishing you all a jolly good weekend.

There are no words to explain how it feels to do something on your own successfully. In a way I was glad that the head nurse wasn’t around. I completed the procedure only because I had no choice.
I was proud of myself.
I also loved Mariamma.
My first real patient.
I checked her pulse and it was within the normal range. I didn’t know how to take blood pressure, so I decided to let the the nurses do that.
Mariamma’s daughter was waiting for her as we came out of the treatment room. She smiled at me and looked at me questioningly.
“Everything is going to be alright” I told her
We drained almost 2 liters of peritoneal fluid and Mariamma’s abdomen didn’t look bloated. I knew it is only a matter of days before Mariamma gets discharged. I was happy for her. I was happy for myself.
“Bye Mariamma, I will see you this evening” I told her.
I nodded my head and smiled at her daughter before leaving.
I bumped in to the head nurse near the entrance.
She looked at me and I just glanced at her and walked off with my head held high.
I knew I could handle anything now.
Emergency medicine, I think I would specialize in Emergency medicine. I told myself.

By the time I reached back at the campus I was already late. So I chose to skip my lunch. Professor Murthy was taking attendance when I walked in to the class. He looked at me and before he could ask I answered.
“I was at the hospital assisting Dr. Bhatti”
“Ok” He nodded.
Arjun was looking at me.
I ignored him.
Why I ignored him, I really didn’t know.
Perhaps in hindsight, I could say, May be it was my moment of success and I didn’t want to share it with anyone. I just wanted to ruminate.
Taking that needle off was my Jacob’s ladder to success. It showed me my own strength.

My stomach was growling by the time the afternoon lectures got over. By right I should have waited for Arjun outside the class. Something he would have done had he been the first to leave the class. I knew I was wrong for leaving home without telling him. But I was hungry. I walked straight to the hostel, knowing very well that Arjun would wait for me in the canteen.
I never knew why I do things the way I do. Nevertheless I still do crazy things and then spend the rest of my life with regrets.

Regret Nina like Regret Iyer !

Unlike Mr. Iyer, who keeps trying, I was walking away from troubles.
‘Not walking away, running away’ Sensible one corrected me.
‘Whatever’ I replied.
I had two cups of tea at the mess. I was still hungry. I should go to the canteen and grab something to eat. I didn’t want to face Arjun.
So I went back to my room.
“Heard you and Ramesh were assisting Dr. Bhatti today” Shylaja spoke
“Yeah” I replied
I was not in a mood to talk to anyone.
I sat on my bed thinking what I should do.
I couldn’t think of anything.
“Shylaja, can you wake me up in an hour?” I asked her

I wanted to sleep. I kept seeing Mariamma’s face, her swollen abdomen, Dr. Bhatti demonstrating the shifting dullness, inserting the needle, Getthanjali….
Quiet, I told my brain.
I tried to close my eyes.
Nothing worked.
My life was a total failure.

I lost the guy I loved and I knew there is no one like him . My life would never be the same. I can turn my life in to anything, but there would always be something that is missing.

‘Time heals’ Sensible one spoke.
I wondered why she is been nice to me.
But the thing was I didn’t want time to heal. I wanted the embers to burn..I wanted to remember what we had and what I lost. I didn’t want to heal. Because if it healed, then I would never know what true love was.

I wanted to talk to Mariamma. But what do I tell her? How do I establish the same rapport she had with Dr. Bhatti?
Until now I was pretty sure, if I knew my theory I will be a good doctor. But now I was no longer sure. I knew every single thing about Ascitis and paracentesis( Ascitis tap), What I didn’t know was how to handle a patient.
I looked at Mariamma. she was staring at the ceiling. I pictured myself in her position. Alone in a strange room with a junior doctor who couldn’t even speak Kannada. Don’t forget the needle in her belly.
No wonder she is staring at the ceiling! I told myself. I too would have done the same had I been in her place.
“How many children do you have Mariamma?” I asked her in Tamil
“5” Then she looked at me and said “You speak Tamil Dr. Ma?” She was staring at me
“Of course”
“Where did you learn Dr. Ma? I thought you are from Kerala” Mariamma spoke Rolling the word Kerala in a typical Kannadiga style.
That was a long story and I knew Mariamma wouldn’t understand. So I told her the twisted truth
“I have friends who speak Tamil and I learned from them”
” Do you watch Tamil movies Dr. Ma?”
“Of course. I even watch Telugu movies” I told her
“You speak Telugu also?”
“No, Ma. I like watching movies”
I remembered watching Geethanjali in a bed bug infested theater.
It felt like another life time.
I missed him.
Tears started to well up my eyes. I looked away, So Mariamma won’t see me crying.
Some where at the back of my head Tracy Huang was singing Crying in the rain.
I knew I f *#@#$ up big time, that I deserve this.
But hope was eternal. No?
‘No’ Sensible one spoke
‘Shut up’ I hissed.
‘You deserve to be miserable. You broke his heart’ She spoke
I thought of asking what about my heart? Does she not see that it too was broken?
“How many brothers and sisters you have Doctor Ma?”
“3 Sisters. No brothers”
It felt weird not having a brother. I never knew how it was to have a brother.
An older brother.
The brother who could have stood up to Appa and gave him a piece of his mind. The brother who could have told Chechy off. The brother who would have held my family together.
“Are they all Doctors?”
“No Ma. I am the only one.” I replied
I was like he ugly duckling among the beautiful swans. I was so different from my sisters. I had nothing in common with them. It was as though I really had a different set of parents. I remembered all those times Amma told Chechy that I was bought from the market in lieu of 5 kilo thavidu. (Every time Chechy compared how fairer I was compared to herself, Amma had consoled her by saying that I was bought from the market)
Did they really buy me from the market? I wondered
Nah. Don’t be silly. I told myself. I still had the same birthmark Appa has on his hands.
May be my sisters were bought from the market! I am the real McCoy. smiled thinking about it.
I looked at the bottle and noticed that not much of fluid was draining.
Should I stop the procedure? I wasn’t sure and I really didn’t want to harm Mariamma.
“I will be back in a minute Ma” I told Mariamma and walked out quickly.
I walked to the nurses station. The head nurse was writing something in a book while talking on the phone. I stood right in front of her across the counter.
I knew she could see me.
She pretended she didn’t see me.
She continued to talk on the phone.
“edi aa kadayil vinayaka discount undayirrunnu.. Nee arinjilley? Njan 3 saree vangichu. Oru plain neelaa, oru pachayum pinkum printed saree, oru oranjum neelayum colour printed. Nee evidunna a peacock blue saree vangichaey? Kazhinjazhcha palliyil uduthathu?”
I had enough of listening to shopping expedition.
“Excuse me” I spoke
The nurse looked at me.
Edi, oru minuttey” She covered the mouth piece with her right hand and was staring at me.
“What do you want?” She asked me
“I want help with the patient in the Day treatment room”
“You go, I will come” She took her hand off the mouth piece and continued to talk on the phone.
I walked back to the day treatment room. Mariamma looked at me as soon as I entered the room.
I could see that she looked tired.
I sat down on the stool and waited.
There were hardly any fluid coming down the tube. I knew the procedure was complete. After waiting what felt like eternity, I walked back to the nurses counter.
Only a nursing student was there.
“Where is the head nurse?” I asked her
“She has gone to the supply room”
“Where is the supply room?”
“Near the hostel”
oh perfect. it is in the other end of the hospital.
I should have never trusted that stupid woman.
“Do you know anything about Ascitis tap?” I asked
“No. Dr” She shook her head.
Idiot. how could she know anything about Ascitis tap? She is only a nursing student. I scolded myself.
I walked to the day treatment room.
My heart was pounding.
My hands were shaking.
I did a mental check of the procedure.
“Mariamma, i am going to take the needle out” I wanted to sound confident. But my voice quivered.
Mariamma looked at me.
I smiled. Hoping that my smile will show her that I was confident.
I clamped the tube, took the needle out and bandaged the area.
I took a deep breath and smiled.
I did it!

Dr. Bhatti kept talking to the Mariamma as he cleaned her abdomen with Iodine. It was as though both of them have known each other for years. Mariamma was laughing and at one time when Dr. Bhatti spoke about Rajkumar, Mariamma was giggling and I was sure had she been fairer, I could have seen her blushing.
Ramesh and I were just spectators, watching yet not belonging.

It was something I wanted to learn. To make a patient comfortable. I wondered if I would ever be as successful as Dr. Bhatti. I knew the key word here was not If I would be, it was I will be.

After he did the procedure and the fluid started to drain in to the bottle, he spoke to Mariamma
“This will take another 30 to 45 minutes. You don’t have to do anything but lay down. You can sleep if you want to.”
Then he looked at me
“You can do the rest of the procedure” And walked out.
Excuse me. do rest of what procedure? I wanted to ask him. But he was already out of the day treatment room. I looked at the nurse and she smiled.
I thought of telling her, i don’t want your damn smile, tell me what I should do. Instead she handed me the patients chart and walked out.
I looked at Ramesh.
My friend, my ally.
He checked his watch. “I think I will go back to the hostel” He spoke
I didn’t want him to leave me alone and go. I was so angry with him 30 minutes ago and right now I would have done anything for him to stay back with me. Nah, not everything, but at least I would tell him the next time I was invited to watch a procedure.
I didn’t want to beg.
I couldn’t beg.
“Bye Nina” Ramesh spoke
“Bye” I mumbled.
He closed the door after him and I felt so alone.
I looked at Mariamma and noticed that she was looking at me. I could see that she was worried.
i was pretty sure, She was wondering if this junior doctor was going to kill me.
I wanted to convince Mariamma that her life is safe with me. But the thing is, I wasn’t so sure myself.
It was not easy to play with a patient’s life.
I felt suffocated.
I looked around the room. There was a window by the side of the room and I walked towards it and opened the window. There were so many people waiting outside the hospital, all waiting for the door to be opened for the morning visiting time. Down the road, I saw a larger crowd in front of the ugly old building that I have always avoided. I knew what was going on. Anytime you see a large crowd near the mortuary, you know it was yet another repeat of life’s cycle.

I quickly closed the curtain, so I don’t have to see what was going on.

Doctors and death are interlinked. Both started with the letter D.

I didn’t want to deal with Death. not yet.

Besides Mariamma was not going to die. She was hail and healthy. I turned around and walked towards Mariamma and sat on the silver round stool, making sure it was not turned to the very top. Because the last thing I wanted was to fall down from the chair in front of Mariamma.

Does anyone here knows how to fix yeast cells on a slide? Yaya is doing a science fair project on yeast.