Sunday, March 4, 2012

Struck By Stroke


I was moving towards bed no. 8.

Half of his body was motionless, while the other half showed futile movements. With one eye open and the other eye partly closed, saliva drooling from his mouth, he lay there. Clung to the railing on the bed was a lady of similar age. Her hair was totally unkempt and her face showed trails of the dried tears. One look at this scene and I already knew the probable diagnosis and the prognosis. 

He had no bigger aim in life. He spent his day working hard and making little money. Evenings, he would spend most of it on liquor and smoke. He always went home drunk. Every day he would curse his wife and inflicted physical torture on her. But she loved him very much. She always remembered how in the early days of their marriage, he was full of love for her. Slowly he had drifted into the slavery of alcoholism and his characters had changed. But she still had hope. She hoped that her strong love would win him back.

On that tragic day, the news was told to her that her husband fell unconscious in his work place and was taken to the nearby govt. hospital. She rushed to hospital as fast as she could. She wasted no time in reaching there only to be stopped by the security men who stood by the gate. She was refused entry. She stood there and cried almost half an hour to win the gate keeper’s mercy. Finally she entered the hospital and found her husband unattended to. She fell on his feet and cried. She went around, begging the doctors there to help. She was just told that nothing much could be done for her husband and they would admit him for a week and then discharge him after a few tests. Further enquiries from her were not welcome.

He was shifted to the ward from the emergency department. 

I could see hidden emotions on his motionless figure. He wanted to embrace his wife but his hands wouldn't obey. He wanted to wipe away her tears but was helpless. He wanted to tell her that he loved her so much, but at every attempt, only strange gibberish came out of his mouth. All that he could do was to cry and that he did silently. As I moved closer to him to send his samples, she came and held my hands and cried. She was asking me a few questions but I was not listening to her. My eyes were already reading the expressions in his ‘mask like facies’. My eyes were fixed on his eyes. I was seeing more than that shine on his eyes, caused by continual flow of tears.

I stood there. One half of me was instructing me to just do my work and move on. You are a doctor and you can’t empathize with every patient of yours, it said within me. However, the other half paralyzed me and pleaded with me to help them in some way possible. Soon realizing that nothing much could be done by me, this half of me had already started pleading with God in humble prayer. I stood there and two drops of tears had already left my eyes. I stood there motionless. 

I stood there, STRUCK BY STROKE.