Twin-sharing or single?
What’s the cost?
She told me.
Twin-sharing it is.
Our first room was on the 8th floor. The beds, cabinets, IV stands, tubes & switches were separate – marble floor, dress drawers, bathroom we shared. A thin, laced curtain demarcated individual spaces and disease. I sulked because they got the window displaying the sea and sun outside.
The first co-patient was a young Kutchi-Gujarati with his wife accompanying him. He was due for surgery, same as his wife – the conversations ranged in English from my end and Kutchi from the other side. The man was too racked by his thyroid operation the next day – conversations were none.
The next day was op – so we shifted to ICU. Post op, they shifted dad there. The bed was raised, so was the air-conditioning. Constant bell and whistling sounds emerged from machines, nurses and doctors kept constant vigil, just like the scenic bridge over the sea outside the window. They didn’t let me visit or stay for long. My dad lay inside, I stayed at a friend’s.
The next day it was again sharing – this time we got a Muslim man doing his chemo rounds. The same age as my father, both men racked by age and reckoning were more relaxed somehow next to each other.
The young man accompanying the neighbour was his relative, a friendly chap who said he didn’t want to disturb us and then spoke at all hours on his mobile in the room. While leaving, the old man smiled at my dad and raised his thumb. Or so I would like to think as I was fast asleep when he went.
Around nighttime, they wheeled in another man. Again, I missed it as I was returning from an errand. This time they were South Indian too, but from Karnataka. The man wasn’t as old as my father, still …
His wife took the lead – from laying the bed, to instructing the son, to handling the staff to adjusting the speed of the fan. She did it all. I had still not seen the man’s face clearly. But she spoke to me – I charged her phone. My dad, in too much pain, didn’t care.
We were promised a discharge today. The lady shared they were to be discharged yesterday, but some complications had arisen. Diabetes, for one, I heard in passing. But she held herself strong.
I pray that I don’t have to share another bed – not for any other reason, but we never get the window to the sea. And now I like the curtains drawn.