It started post midnight. I was wrapping up with TV viewing and a cricket match and settled on to some net browsing when she came and said she was worried. I said "Can we wait till morning?". She said call the Doctor its not stopping. It was 12:30 and Dusserah had already begun. I did not realize the celebration but who could guess the almighty designs.
I gave in and SMSed the doctor but no reply, she came back and asked "Did you call?". I did then and there. There was a calm Hello from other side as I explained How sorry I was to be disturbing this late in night. The second part of explanantion involved about who the patient was. It was Saturday night and we had met the Doctor on Friday morning but still the memory can get weak with age.
She said Oh She, I said Yes, Can you talk to her? Both of them talked for 25 seconds long and Doctor said pass the phone to your husband. She did and she said "Please take her to hospital". There bag was not ready. You know the preparation kit when you are rushed to hospital at odd hours in case something starts. We managed to put the Hospital files into a single polythene bag and sat in the car. Only the dogs and few cabs were enjoying the traffic free night streets of Bangalore. The driver was enjoying the cool winds, unaware of what HE was planning.
Quick shift to the labor room as the night duty doctor started composing the report with the same series of questions that we have been answering in every visit. The duty doctor sent him to admission with a slip admitting to labor room.
The guy went to the admissions and the poor girl was sleeping there who was there for the night shift. She adjusted her hair, put on her clip, got up floor and turned around to open the glass door and the door hit her feet as she winced in pain. He showed apologetic face and she said "Theres no patient so I slept , I am sorry". She sent to billing section to pay.
The guy was all ready with devotional music and switched on computer and said 20K advance, no charges for cash, extra 1.5% for credit card payment. He wondered, even the small saree shops take credit card payment with no extra charge and this huge hospital is extracting money on card payment too. Sagar hospitals , an erstwhile Sagar Apollo has designed more ingenuity into commercializing child birth care. They charge 50% extra if your child decides to get born on Sundays or other public holidays. The doctor consultations are different by almost 40% as you move from general ward to semi private to private rooms for post delivery care. What does Doctor's fee do with type of room you choose to take? Who has time to argue or figure out when your wife is in labor and you give in and move on?
He went in search of ICU lounge where the on duty doctor promised a place to relax. He went to admissions, the girl slept again, woke up again, hurt her feet and directed to billing. The billing had disappeared by now. He went back to girl who was you know the same admission story. He insisted that he be helped with ICU Lounge. The girl decided to walk and reached billing and in fact the guy was not around. She found his mobile around and said he would be here only as his mobile was left there. He knew not what to say and said thank you and quietly sat on iron chair.
The billing guy did appear alongside security and murmuring "payment is done, what does he want now?". He uttered ICU Lounge and he said there are airplane like seating on fourth floor and if you like it then you can come and pay 100 for same. He did go up. The security was sleeping in the lift, not the first time. He pressed 4 and came out of lift, searching for VIP Lounge, and found a narrow alley leading to Toilet and Lounge. His heart was thumping as he knew not what would spring up. Yuck, it smelled medicines, the room was dark and indeed the seating was airline style and there was noone. He quickly went back to the solace of lift and went downstairs and walked past the billing glasses. The guy was settling into his slumber and seeing me thought to make his 100 bugs, I quickly waved NO NO, and went on the other side where there was empty sofa where he tried to settle down and catch some sleep. The night duty doctor and sisters had taken his mobile number and promised to call him. He really believed them.
The smell of hospital returned in the close area with no AC and no circulation and he chose to walk out to his car parked outside before the next wave of nausea struck. He pulled back the driver seat and the dogs barked outside, his heart went thumping as he could not close his eyes properly. He dreamnt that his car would be hit from behind or thugs would crash in or ... He got out and saw a Maruti Van on the other side with open doors, slowing waiting for two young guys in white kurta get in, the driver stared at him.
He quickly locked the door and went back to inside of hospital and settled on an open wooden bench with iron clad arms and tried to settle below the moving clouds, the stench still remained but he ignored.
It was about 4 and he was uncomfortable with his idea of catching a wink and went and stood in front of labor room, peeped in, there was no one, a sister came out and he asked about her and she said she is taken inside and baby's heartbeat was being monitored in NSD?? and she had lost 3 cm of fluid. She went away in rush. He knew not what he heard but settled on a chair . Another sister or probably Doctor came out to collect breakfast for somebody and seeing him asked him to wait outside.
He went out and after a while a male doctor entered. He kept on sitting on stairs. The gyneac came and he wondered what was going. He just went back to his clouds, all the side benches had people sleeping and there were some on floor too. Even some sisters slept with their hands down. He did not know that when most world was sleeping she would be in labor pains. She endured and delivered and his heart quickened and anxious. The Doctor was generous to allow inside and have a peak at her, she has withstood the nature's pain and the baby was being tossed around by paediatric. The doctor was betting on her weight.