… Read these first:
As the ambulance started to make its way through the crowded and congested streets of old Hyderabad (yes RTC X Roads is now old Hyderabad) the NRI in me surfaced and began to think the worst. How is an ambulance going to wade through this notoriously indisciplined and indifferent traffic?
To my surprise I saw a different side of Hyderabad that day. Vehicles stopping or moving away at the siren. Even RTC buses were making way, or stopping. Others asking non-conformists to move away. This is what runs this planet – basic human nature to care for another being. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind. How am I going to repay all these people? Then I realized – No. I just have to pay forward, you cannot pay back.
We reached the hospital in about 15 minutes. As we were pulling in, I saw Kiran bava’s car enter from the other side. Clearly he found a way to match our speed. And no he didn’t tail us.
The next hour was a blur. I think I filled out a couple of forms while dad was taken into the ER. Mummy and Shravya accompanied him. Word got around so my aunt and cousins from the area started reaching the hospital. The doctors were checking his vitals. His breathing was still labored. But at least he was stable. At least he was in the hospital. He was in good hands, skilled hands.
Meanwhile I had another task to complete. My flight was in less than 24 hours. I had to go and reschedule it. It turned out to be a simple process, thanks to the rather helpful agent in the Qatar Airways office. I blocked for Dec 10. We returned to the hospital.
Dad had slipped into unconsciousness. His lungs weren’t keeping up. His kidneys were failing. The doctors thought he had internal bleeding although they couldn’t tell where unless they looked deeper. They took him to the ICU – his most hated portion of the hospital.
The ICU is on the fourth floor of Apollo Hyderguda. There were several families like ours. The small waiting area overflowed with anxious relatives. The visiting hours were after 7pm. There was a single security person manning the glass door entrance to the unit. It was humbling and empathizing there that day. There were others in the same situation as ours. Others going through the emotions that we were going through. Others facing decisions that we were facing. Some faces hopeful, others worried and yet others scared.
Around 6:30pm I walked towards the security guard hoping to get into the ICU earlier than the 50 others waiting in line. To my surprise, he said the duty doctor wanted to talk to me anyway and let me in.
To be continued…