Monday, October 29, 2012

The stitches came off!

The stitches and surgical dressing came off today. I am relieved. My profound sympathies for those suffering from surgical and post-surgical trauma. God bless you all. Thanks for your words of comfort which really helped in my recovery. Now I am back with greater resolve.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Hospital Experience - Masked Figures Wearing Military Green

Now here it is, for those who have not been under the round shadow-less lights, lying supine for your surgeon to poke their sharp blades into your innards. Not for the queasy, I warn you. 

First, when you are admitted for surgery they do a plethora of tests: Xrays, blood test (oh! the blood suckers with their metal pincers!), sonography, and umpteen other tests you lose count of. How can you remember everything when you have been reduced to a piece of meat by these nurses, doctors and ward boys. One of my worst nightmares was when the ward boy came to shave me. Shave? I don't need a shave. "No your abdomen, including, um, private parts, and thighs have to be shaved. Shock. I am not going to allow it, I say. "Better do, doctor only suggested it." I scream bloody horror and ask for the nurse. The cute girl from Kerala (her first job) says it has to be done for every surgery. Can't they do without it in my case? No. So I endure this very ticklish issue, though my body revolted at it. What a job the ward boy has, isn't he offended by the sight of unsighly naked flesh? Who would do such a job.

Then I am taken to the operation theatre as a lamb to slaughter wearing a long tunic and nothing else. I haven't had anything to eat or drink, not even water. The first sight of the theatre intimidates with its giant lights, the round orbs like some futuristic dinosaur waiting to devour. Then I am made to lie down on a narrow bed, extend my arms. They, mysterious masked figures wearing dark-green military-fatigue-like shrouds connect me to all sorts of tubes while I stare at the light overhead. Then the friendly surgeon appears and asks me how I am. I say, in my most cheerful voice, which is now a croak, I am okay. He explains the procedure which makes me nearly panic and get up and run. He smiles and assures me there is nothing to worry and that he has done hundreds of such surgeries. So, I trust him.

Then a chirpy lady, the anaesthetist, comes and tells me that she will administer an injection, "two pin pricks" which will freeze me from waist down. I feel these pin pricks, and by now can't do anything, as I am a mere piece of meat to them. Of course, I would have presented a funny picture lying there supine, arms spread out, naked, while the machines beeped and burred. "There is this device that measures your blood pressure that will tighten every five minutes. It won't make you uncomfortable no?" She says. No, I manage to croak. I calibrate the progress with this machine. I divide the one hour of surgery by how many times the machine's tube tightens itself around my arm. Twelve five-hour contractions, i.e., one hour, and I am done. Not a big deal.

Then I find that my entire bottom part, waist down, is numb and dismiss the prospect of getting up and bolting as a distant possibility, only to be attempted if an earthquake or nuclear war strikes. Then the chirpy lady covers my eyes and I can only hear them talking about their last vacation in Kerala and some other technical mumbo-jumbo. I can feel the pressure of the doctor's hands on my stomach. I desperately count the contractions of the blood pressure monitor, five, six, and only six more to go. Then eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve.

Then I can feel his hands stitch me up and a sigh escapes my lips. I have lived through it to tell my tale. It's a tale of valour and courage on my part. Well done! 

"Have you been to Kerala?" the surgeon asks.

"Doctor I am from Kerala, a true-blue Mallu, who loves his fish curry" I say.

"Oh, I could guess as much from your calm. Your blood pressure was constant throughout."

"Yeah, we are a very calm people. Sort of...." He didn't get my sarcasm.

I don't tell him about the instinct I had to get up and bolt. No, that would shock him. They uncover my eyes as the dressing is put on and the necessary injection of pain-killers given. I don't feel much pain, only a vague heaviness around the stomach, and my legs feel like it belongs to some other hairy animal. 

"You can move your legs in one hour, don't worry. You shouldn't get out of bed for one day. Only liquid food should be eaten." The doctor says. 

Oh God! I didn't know it was so complicated. However, there were no earthquakes or nuclear strikes. I am safe. I remember the days when I was looking after my dad in hospital. These sort of instructions were given then too. How the years have passed and I am a patient now and my son is looking after me. It's nearly a decade since the time I spent anxious hours by my dad's bed. I remember feeling sad, loney and bereft. None of my four siblings came to help me look after my dad. The nurses were blase and careless newcomers who had paid the hospital to learn nursing and were fulfilling the cumpulsory service they were required to do. 

I was lucky to get a good and cheerful doctor to whom I am grateful. I was not made to feel like a helpless victim, His good cheer made me feel good and saw me through my recovery. Now here I am fully recovering and marching towards full rejuvenation. Thanks be to God! 

Life is but a transient journey in which we all are a mere breaths of wind. Here today gone tomorrow. If you are reading this, dear reader, you might have a similar experience some time in life. When you do, be courageous, fill your mind with good thoughts and treat your doctor as your friend who wants to do good things to you and wishes you well. That's half the job done.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My small Amitabh beard

Right now it is a straggling beard. Hope to make it a luxuriant one like that of Amitabh's. Hope he doesn't trademark his beard. It was earlier called Bulganin after the Russian revolutionary. Speaking of which, I detest the term Goatee. What me goat? No, forget it buddy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This plant gladdened my heart

The long serrated leaves, the stark contrast with the backdrop caught my eye. Whipped out my mobile and clicked this. I had to. What to do?

Breakfast of fluffy idlis

Today's breakfast consists of these fluffy idlis and green chutney. It's Sunday so everything moves glacially.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Went for a walk!

Went for a walk today. Could feel the muscular tendons creaking after the long hiatus of inactivity. But now I am more reconciled to my slowness, deliberately, I must say. Got to increase my place slowly so that recovery is complete. As i often say, not a problem.

Book Review: "Red House" by Mark Haddon

An unemployed, depressed neuroradiologist, his wife and three children go on a vacation to mamma's brother, his second wife, and his step children in a Red House in Herefordshire. Things turn out not as they expected the vacation to be. Mamma learns that she hardly knows her brother. They keep up appearances but something goes awry, throwing up irreconcilable differences. 

Mark Haddon's narrative pulls along at a very leisurely pace, his words are pithy and laconic, e.g., "He flushed the toilet and washed his hands. Bed." Another innovative use of language is in the dialogue which also display a tendency towards taciturnity. Short. Telegraphic. Modern texting teenagers would approve.

When style is visibly displayed it becomes a distraction, so the narrative ambles along at its own pace. However, a good read on a rainy day, when you have nothing else besides hot coffee.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Watching Television, Hibernating towards Recovery

When you have surgery it's the recovery that is annoying, taking too long. Also the regimen of not moving to much - jerks can affect the wound - the medicines that follow, the palliatives, which I feel is my doctor being overcautious. I considered myself a healthy human being before surgery and now feel I am a bit wobbly. Just a little bit. May be, it will go a way as it has come. Now I am spending long hours in the swing on the terrace, hardly able to work. When I am on the net, it is on Facebook and Twitter. Now I wonder what I would have done without them.

I played around a bit on my guitar, but the notes all came out wonky. What was gained must have diminished in quality without practice. Damn! That reminds me. I mostly watch travel channels these days. I don't have the patience for movies. I heard a presenter on Travelxp channel saying, "the view is so damn beautiful." How can a view be damned and beautiful? That shows we use words without thinking, without weighing them. Earlier I saw the same presenter waving, literally brandishing, a knife at the person she was interviewing. She was in the process of eating a meal. Flash. Flash. Doesn't she know   it is bad manners to wave cutlery? I got scared viewing the programme.  

Today is the cricket T20 final. West Indies plays Sri Lanka. I am supporting Sri Lanka because I have visited the country and like its friendly people. I hope they win. So, cheer up people of Serendip, my favourite Indian Ocean island, I am with you Chris Gayle or no Chris Gayle!

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Petals Lit by the Sun

I had pruned this plant and am joyed to see new leaves shooting out in the sun.

Plastic Chair

Recovery is a slow process, the tissues have to build muscles have to join, blood has to flow. Read yesterday that Vitamin D is present in light sunlight of early morning. So,  I sunned myself and it felt good. That a man who takes every precaution to be healthy is also vulnerable points to the stridency of modern life. I used to walk 3 kms, stretch, yoga, and lift weights didn't deter illness. Thanks for all your good wishes, it really  matters that you care. Mua... mua....

Friday, October 05, 2012

Recuperating, Revising, Reinventing

John P. Matthew
On the swing on the terrace.
Recharging, remodelling, rejuvenating, but never daring to give up. That's me. Thanks readers for being such a lovely audience. I am now in the tenth year of continuous blogging. Love you for your continued support!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ah! To Be Back Again!

A miracle happened. I went in for surgery fearing a lot of things. I am on the wrong side of fifty,and I have a few other problems which could complicate things. Mercifully nothing happened. What happened inside the operation theatre was miraculous. Doctor said my blood pressure was constant throughout, I never gave them any trouble and I didn't get afraid of their big machines. You know, you can get a fright from walking into an operating theatre: the big lights, the doctors in masks, some unknown language being spoken, the sound of huge machines monitoring pressure, the intense concentration of the doctors. Well, such like. And you lay supine, helpless, completely at the mercy of the men and women in masks. 

However, the doctor who did my surgery Dr. Vijay Kumar and the anaesthetist Dr. Lovina Bhatia talked -- and you won't believe this, joked -- about their vacation to Kerala. Ah, now Kerala is a favourite destination, being a denizen of that tiny state. So, I joined in the conversation when they were operating me (I was under local anaesthesia.). "Have you been to Munnar, lovely place." That was how light it was.

It was a miracle. Yes, miracles do happen. Now the dressing was checked yesterday and the doctor said I am progressing well and will be able to go back to my duties from Monday. I praise and thank the Lord for this. My wife and son stood by me like a rock and I am lucky to have good doctors, who laugh and joke through a surgery. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.