A Storm Over An Earring

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Sometimes trivial problems turn into medical emergencies. An earring, stuck because of a hardened plastic stopper, got me admitted into a Hospital Emergency recently!

A few months ago, I began wearing a pair of gold earrings with an unusual design. They had a very thin gold chain running through each of the studs and the chain remained hanging from the ear. They were my favorite earrings because of their light weight and elegant look. I wore them all the time, since they went well with every dress, both in office and outside.

Last week, I felt an itching sensation on my ear lobes. When I touched them with my finger, I found an accumulation of wax around the studs. So I decided that it was high time I removed the earrings and cleaned my ears thoroughly.  I managed to remove the right earring, but the left one remained stuck. I pushed and pulled several times, but all in vain. Every time I tugged at it, I felt a shooting kind of pain going through my temple. Both my husband and my daughter tried to help, but the pain was simply too much. That was when I decided that I would get this earring removed in a hospital. But before that, I had to go to the office. Several colleagues asked me why I was wearing just one earring. I joked about it and said, “This is my latest style statement!”

Just before I headed for the hospital, an office friend very confidently offered to remove it for me. I said, “‘Alright, let’s make one last try.”

While she tugged and pulled, she muttered, “Waheguru” several times. But the earring remained subbornly intact and my pain was simply too unbearable. My ear also became red and swollen. So she gave up and I decided that that was it.

I stepped out and went straightaway to DDU (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya) Hospital at Hari Nagar, since it’s very close to my office. It’s a government hospital, but its Emergency Department is super efficient. I know this from past experience. That was when my daughter was 3 and got a severe cut on her forehead after slipping from a swing. She bled profusely on our way to the hospital and we were really frightened. We wondered if her eyes were injured too. It was a Sunday evening and no private doctor was available. So we took her to DDUH’s Emergency. Their response was prompt and timely and it was over in just one hour. She got 7 stitches that day.

DDUH staff is quite well-trained and well-experienced. They receive a lot of patients daily from the nearby Tihar Jail too, often in a severely battered condition. Tihar Jail houses some of India’s deadliest criminals.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised to find the hospital looking much cleaner and more orderly than before. The Security staff  was not only present in much bigger numbers, but they were also much smarter, better-looking, more polite, and more helpful. Gone are the days, it seems, of just a few surly ex-servicemen with outdated rifles making feeble attempts to control hundreds of unruly patients and their attendants. The patients who moved around in the corridors that day included a few handcuffed prisoners being herded around by policemen from Tihar.  That’s quite a usual sight here.

Once the entry formalities were done, they reassured me by saying, “Don’t worry. If your ear gets cut or torn during pulling, we will stitch it.”

My heart began beating fast in terror as they got their instruments ready. A minute later, they got me seated on a stool.

The doctor said, “Get me the forceps.”

I kept my eyes shut, prepared for the worst with prayers on my lips.

“Place some cotton wool.”

“There’s no cotton wool.”

“Alright. Put the forceps here and pull gently.”

I felt that shooting pain again, but it was not as intense as it was at home. There was a ‘cut’ sound at that instant and I let out a muffled shriek.

“It’s over now,” the doctor said.

Slowly and gently, she pulled the plastic stopper of the earring over the chain and handed it over to me with a smile.

“There you go. Happy now?”

The doctor’s assistant rubbed some antiseptic on my ear and that was the end of my ordeal. Finally, when I came out of the hospital, I felt extremely happy and relieved. The best part of it was that my only expenditure was on bus fare from office to hospital and back (Rs.10 only!) I didn’t have to pay a single penny for my treatment.

A shop nearby was running a special sale of night wear. I gifted myself a pair of nighties that day.

Here are some more pics. As you can see, Delhi Government seems to be making huge efforts to ensure that the poorest of the poor get basic health care and there seems to be greater transparency these days. A smiling face of Delhi’s Chief Minister Kejriwal gazes reassuringly at the public thronging around from the huge banners hung all over the premises.

Another interesting thing I saw was the rainwater harvesting tank. This is part of the government’s determination to conserve water and ensure water security for Delhiites. It really felt great! For a change, our government seems to be working at the micro level too. Keep it up! That’s all I can say at this juncture.

I noticed this lovely Bougainvillea just before entering the hospital premises.

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New potted plants were arriving that day as part of government’s drive to make the premises look better. A gardener looks curiously at me while I try to click his picture discreetly from my mobile phone!

 

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Take a look at these Government Smileys! These posters are spreading this message in Hindi, “Medicines prescribed by doctors in this hospital are completely free. If you don’t get any medicine, sms on 8745051111. This has been made possible because of honest governance.”

 

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The signboard below indicates that all services are complementary. This has been done to prevent corruption.

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The Hospital Security Staff…

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Isn’t that lovely? This Rain Water Harvesting Tank? It fills me with hope and joy

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DDU Hospital & Tihar Jail Coordination

DDUH houses a little police station which coordinates between Tihar Jail and Hospital to ensure treatment for the Tihar prisoners. The Jail ambulance keeps coming and going.

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Prisoners being taken by policemen from Hospital Police Station to DDU Hospital for treatment and back…

 

And here I am, on my way back to the office, with empty ear lobes, feeling happy and light…

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And here are those flowery dresses that I bought for myself…

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—Jasbir Chatterjee

14 May 2016

 

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