Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stories from the IMCU

The doctors each have different opinions. There’s my father’s primary care physician, his diabetologist, his neurologist, and the duty doctors at the IMCU. They are yet to reach a consensus on whether he will make it.

Meanwhile we wait outside, in case my father were to wake up or we are needed to pay bills or procure a drug unavailable at the hospital pharmacy.

Waiting outside the IMCU, is exhausting on many levels.

Yesterday someone really young died inside. The relatives outside cried and one of them went into loud, screaming, hysterical fits that went on for a while, until a nurse came by and sedated her.

Someone else was rushed inside last evening after a suicide attempt. The man apparently objected to his son marrying outside his religion and in true Bollywood style, tried to kill himself, by eating the fruit of a poisonous tree. When he vomited after the first attempt, he went back to the tree and ate two more fruit.
His son’s upcoming out-of-caste marriage is now on hold. It looks like the blackmail attempt worked. The relatives outside blame the son, for making the mistake of falling in love with someone outside his religious sect. I feel sorry for the son.

A 68-year-old woman waits with us. She holds a rosary and looks as if she is near-collapse herself. Her husband has advanced COPD. Pneumonia has complicated his case and he is struggling for every breath. She has no children and no relatives or friends to support her. All she has is her husband and she is afraid she will lose him.
And so she waits endless hours outside, muttering prayers, hoping her husband will be all right. I tell her she needs to sleep some, in order to conserve her energy.

Another elderly lady sits next to us. She has four sons and two daughters. But none of them are here with her. She tells me her husband has had a massive stroke and heart failure. He is struggling for survival. He has no insurance.
Most hospitals in this country require an advance payment at the pharmacy and at the IMCU every single day. She managed to pay for his care for the first three days. After that she ran out of money.
“Every day I have to beg my children to give me some money,” she wept. “We sacrificed so much to bring them up and educate them. What is the point? They are not here in our time of need.” Her grown children are still fighting amongst themselves about who should pay and how much, apparently.


Ashley said...

Poornima, I am thinking of you in your time of sadness and uncertainty (that amazingly still comes with unnatural eloquence).

Much love to you.


Abby said...

What a hard place to be. Do you get any breaks? Or do you sit there all day, every day?

Princess Karamiri said...

Hi Abby,We are paying for a full time attender whose only job is to sit outside 24/7 and notify us in case the doctors are trying to reach us. However we as a family take turns sitting outside the IMCU as well. It makes us feel somewhat useful and somewhat closer to dad...
Thanks Ashley.