Saturday, October 03, 2015

My Dad's head injury and my stay at the hospital

Two weeks ago Saturday on September 19 my Dad who recently was having mild vertigo had a head injury after he slipped in the bathroom and hit his head on the sink.

(I now realize this is kinda similar to what happened to Doc Brown before he came up with the idea for the Flux Capacitor).

Anyways, after knocking and banging the bathroom door open after few attempts, I almost pulled my back as I struggled to lift my unconscious Dad. I couldn't do it.

Never did I feel so disappointed about my physical limitations and especially of my skinny built. And while I was helpless, the ambulance service was incompetent.

People always joke that we can get pizza delivered here under 30 mins but emergency services will not respond or arrive in time when needed the most and this time I got to witness that.

HUGE thanks to my cousin Roshan Baliga who arrived quickly at the scene and helped me to take my Dad to the hospital, also thanks to Rajesh Baliga, their office staff Suresh and my Uncle Prabhakar Bhat who all arrived at the house and helped with the process.

Though I am grateful to all the doctors, nurses and staff at the KMC Hospital in Jyothi who did their part in my Dad's recovery, I gotta say overall the hospital itself is a dump especially when compared to the some of the other hospitals in town who are charging similar prices or even lower.

I know KMC is a reputable hospital and I've friends & relatives who have studied in the KMC colleges and later on worked at these hospitals. Maybe it's great for doctors, but the KMC hospital at least the one in Jyothi area is pretty sub-par for patients and their families. Yet people arrive in droves to this hospital, guess it has to do something with its brand name being embedded in public consciousness. And being familiar with some of the known doctors there leads most of us to go to that hospital as the default option.

15 years ago in September 2000 after battling with pneumonia for 3 months, my mother passed away in the same hospital. So maybe I'm little biased, but my state of being disgruntled is pretty much based only on my current experience.

Right from their lousy parking system to the way the unprofessional emergency respond team were struggling to get my Dad out from the car to the emergency room, my list of complaints including about the lousy rooms and bathroom is endless.

He was admitted to ICU on day 1 and then transferred to the general ward room the following day. Doctors sometimes were not around when I wanted to talk to them despite waiting during the hours when they were scheduled to arrive. The doctors made cameo appearances shorter in duration than what Stan Lee did in Marvel movies.

On the plus side, after the initial MRI scan they said there is no need for surgery despite there being some internal bleeding and that he will be on injections and medication while being kept under observation. He had a huge bump on the left side of his forehead, couple of stitches near his right eye lid and his right eye was bloody red due to the impact. He also bit the side of his tongue during the fall and hence suffered some bleeding in the mouth.

My Dad struggled with his memories and recognizing people in the initial couple of days, which was expected in these scenarios.

One of the things I did remind my Dad was that I was not married, else the next thing I know he might be asking me 'Where are the grand kids?'

The patient who was admitted on the other side of our room was having a heart condition and was diabetic. He was an old man always shouting and complaining in pain to his grown up kids.

A day later he had to get his leg amputated, after the surgery his agony and howls at night were more frequent. And he kept telling his daughter that he wanted to smoke a beedi. Power of addiction.

Every time I took a stroll across the hospital was a depressing situation. Sometimes I would notice someone quietly sobbing outside their room for their family member. I was there in the hospital only for 5 days and it was plenty for me.

I was scheduled to leave to US on October 1 and was going to book my flights last week but had to cancel my trip for now. The plan was to attend the wedding of my friends Sandip and Lydia on the east coast, visit few other cities and then reach LA by Oct 20 for the Back to the Future 30th Anniversary event - We're Going Back. Most people close to me know I have been waiting for the October 2015 BTTF celebration since I was 16 years old when I saw BTTF trilogy for the first time later in the 90s. Besides some of my family and relatives, my Dad later on also told me that I should continue with my trip.

My Dad is a yoga therapist by profession and takes utmost care of his health and diet, he is 64 and actually healthier than me. So this was the first time in about 20 years he has been admitted to the hospital due to his mild vertigo striking unexpectedly and had this accident.

Every time I shudder thinking what would have happened if this accident took place while he was riding his scooter or while I was traveling to US, no one would notice him in the bathroom for days.

My Dad is feeling much better now and after being discharged from the hospital he has been staying with my uncle (his younger brother) and aunt. He will be there for few weeks. He has a second brain scan scheduled for next week. Thanks to all our family members, relatives, friends, and all my Dad's yoga students who reached out to us offering their wishes and support.

This incident and visit at the hospital made me realize that I need to always remain fit and healthy. But as with many things this sense of realization is very temporary for me, so I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Cause the following is bound to happen sooner. I will be like "Oh look, a new fast food joint".