The word ‘hospitality’ and ‘hospital’ have one thing in common, hospital. But that’s where the similarity ends. While Hospitality wears a welcoming smile and has a soothing touch, the word ‘hospital’ makes you nervous. Try saying it aloud and you will feel waves of anxiety go all over you, unless, of course you work in a hospital or you are an expecting parent. A prolonged stay in a hospital is often a traumatic experience which completely transforms you as a human being.
On 20 September 2016, my father got admitted into an orthopedic ward of Delhi’s Hamdard Hospital at Tuglakabad Extension with facial injuries and a fractured thigh bone. As I already had prior experience with handling aged persons and helping them wear diapers, I volunteered to be with him till we found some assistant to take over. He needed immediate surgery, but he had to wait for 2 days as his condition was very critical. His hemoglobin level was too low and sugar and BP levels too high.
During those 2 days that I spent in the hospital with my father, I had to deal with a lot of things that I probably would have never encountered under normal circumstances.
On the first day, as soon as it was dusk, my father began worrying about how I was going to sleep that night. I hadn’t brought any bedding with me as everything had happened so suddenly with hardly any time for prior planning.
I told my father, “Don’t worry, Dad; I will borrow a white sheet and a pillow from those nurses over there and I will sleep right here on the floor just below your bed. So if you need anything, I will be there for you.”
Suddenly, a voice from behind me startled me.
“You don’t need to sleep on the floor. Just pull that stretcher here and place it next to your father’s bed. It has a white sheet on it already. Once you pull the curtains around, it will turn into a private cubicle.”
I turned around to find a young man in his 30s dressed in a patient’s uniform. His left leg was swathed in heavy plaster.
“But won’t they object? They might need a stretcher at night and I don’t want to get tossed out rudely on the floor in sleep mode.”
His face remained serious.
“No, don’t worry about that. That won’t happen. Trust me.”
I had no other choice, so I pulled the stretcher over as he suggested.
That night, I saw my father turn into a person I had never, ever imagined he would be; a weak, defenseless human being, not the strong and resilient person I was so familiar with.
That night was memorable for one more reason. I slept next to a stranger and he wasn’t my husband. Before you jump to ideas, let me hasten to add that he was the man with the broken left leg who extended a brotherly arm when I needed it the most!
Here are some pics from my stay in this hospital.
My Dad, taking rest…
My Dad, getting a blood transfusion…
Another patient, a young boy with his Mom…
Life outside the hospital always remains normal and continues undisturbed, as you can see below. It makes you feel grounded and stable…in spite of everything…