It was a beautiful winter Saturday afternoon. The rays of the sun peaked from the clouds as the hide and seek between the warmth and the cold continued. Breaking the dominance of the chill was the heat emanating from the aromatic masala tea. Pink Roses, orange Trumpet Creeper ( yes Google these gorgeous flowers), violet Snapdragons and green trees adorned the garden. Butterflies hopped from flowers to soil to trees while the birds flew above in search of a meal. Children played with pizza slices in hand and we adults ferried food from the kitchen to the tables outside. It was a perfect party for my nine year old angle. Everyone he wanted and everything he desired was around.
With a whining ankle secured in an ankle binder, I was having my share of fun when suddenly the bouncy collapsed. Yes it's an air filled structure, and perhaps that is the reason that there was no tragedy. From a height of at least 8 feet the deceptive monster collapsed and along with that six nine year olds were on top of me. I was on the ground, unable to breathe for the first few seconds and in the next many all I could feel was myself sinking and seeing the entire galaxy swimming in my brain. I could not react and then I heard my little angel call out to Pape Smurf; the one person even I go to for advise when in doubt. All he could say was, Papa look at her, Papa look at masi (aunty).
I don't know how long it took, but as I gathered my wits and courage I could feel the pain wrecking havoc on my left upper body. Attempting to get up, I moved my left shoulder from the ground and saw my left arm hanging as if detached from the rest of me. That's when I knew I needed a hospital immediately. Hugging my hand to my body I got up, asked for water and sugar and took in some deep breaths; this was no more a solo adventure.
PS helped me on a chair and gave me sugar water. I felt somewhat human. Sequoia came out; I have no idea about her expression but her voice was reassuring and calm. As Sequoia called the orthopedics known to her, PS boosted my courage as it was I who had walk to and sit in the car. We managed; PS, Sequoia and I. How, I don't know; but we reached the hospital with one decision, mother and father would be informed only after a conclusive medical examination.
It is amazing how the human body reacts to trauma it suffers. Except for certain movements, as long as I was seated I felt almost normal. That changed only when I went in for an x-ray and my hand was moved and then I was made to stand. At that moment I felt as if I was the deflating bouncy, ready to hit the ground and end up in an unmanageable heap. PS held me and got me a stool. Once I sat, I felt connected to planet earth again.
Well the rest of the misery is a long story best forgotten. So let's talk about my luck amidst this chaos. The x-ray suggested a humerus broken in two requiring surgery. But a straight forward surgery it would be. The doctor at the hospital we were at, was unavailable till Monday which was a good day and a half away. Luckily my orthopedic surgeon in Mumbai was available on the phone and told me that if I could get to Bombay he would patch me up on Sunday itself. Just his assurance lifted my spirits. He is an incredible soul not just a great doctor. But shipping me to Bombay, with a bone broken in two, was not an option that was the first choice. And so the family in Delhi was called for reinforcement.
All Indians have extended families and every extension comes with multiple memories. The Evergreens as I would like to call them have not changed in the last three decades. The eldest on mother's side, they have always been there for everyone. And so Mr. Evergreen was contacted. He would not hear of a transfer to Bombay. Of course he would speak to the surgeon who had done his surgery and then Noddy's and would ensure his niece was taken care of. So off PS went to have me discharged from hospital X.
The mere mention of discharge had everyone from the junior orthopedic surgeon to the HOD, trying to convince PS and Sequoia not to go to another hospital. I was a lamb that the cash machine would slaughter. Insurance companies would be sliced as well. A meaty meal, I could not be let out of the cage. Well but Sequoia being in the medical profession knew how to open the lock of the cage and have me moved to a more humane care environment. So I was a free being for a while again.
PS with his own back in pain and Sequoia leaving all her work behind, once again started to drive me. The car was going no faster than 20kmph and PS ensured all pot holes were missed. Sequoia regularly provided support to my arm, how did she do that from the backseat only she knows. She and PS were my rock of Gibraltar that day.
At the Evergreens' surgeon, Mr EG came to me. Face tense, eyes laden with concern, he put a hand on my head and said, "God what happened beta (child)". In the next instant, the tension melted into affection and the care into strength; he cradled my cheeks in his palms and said , " this too shall pass I promise". His love gave me new found strength. I was reminded of grandfather and gave in to being operated in Delhi. The surgery was scheduled for 830am on Sunday. It was 12 hours to being fixed...
Every Indian has an aunt or an uncle who has filled in for parents at some critical juncture. Another beauty of the extended family. And that's where the Everpresents come in. Older than mother, she has been there through my most celebrated illness of childhood. She detected my jaundice and cared for me for a month and a half even as Noddy made my life miserable. I had been infected with jaundice only because Noddy being naughty refused to carry water for his little sister to the skating rink. That's another story and I think my brother Noddy needs a book dedicated to his antics and theatrics. As he is lawyer, without permission, I refuse to put myself at peril.
Mrs EP and Noddy came to the hospital soon after I entered my room. While Mrs EP was concerned about my comfort and food intake, all Noddy wanted was to make me laugh. When the nursing staff of 3 could not locate a vein on my hand to draw a blood sample from, and had finished twisting my arm in every direction, Noddy very sweetly asked them," is it your first time?". His manner and candour were such that everyone, including the nurses, burst into laughter. Mrs EP and Noddy stayed on until after midnight till mother and father arrived. After that mother, or universal Florence Nightingale as the Evergreens call her, took over.
Surgery over, I was brought to the recovery room. As consciousness started to emerge I became confused. I was surrounded by everything white. Where was I ? I was freezing with teeth chattering. Had ice age really dawned on earth!? I spotted a green sphere at a distance but had no voice to call out. Eventually the green sphere started to float towards me and when it came by my bed side, reality hit me! Surgery was over and this was my doctor!
As I was wheeled back into my room, which just to list all facts was in the children's ward, I heard the Indulgents. Younger than father, Mr Indulgent fulfilled all my food cravings as a child. Mrs Indulgent to this day showers endless affection on me. I was overwhelmed. They were all here out of concern, care and compassion. What more could I ask for? In this time of pain I had so much love and so many blessings that the injury became a welcome reminder of all that I need to be thankful for.
The next three days in hospital I did not feel ill even for a minute. To start with my very own Florence Nightingale took care of all my needs. Mrs EP not only got delicious home cooked food of choice daily, but also Mr EP pampered me with home made masala tea and freshly squeezed orange juice twice a day. Mrs EG came regularly to visit with anecdotes that made me smile. The trio of sisters, father's three multi talented sisters, came to see and bless me. Each reinforced my faith that the Benevolent One is taking good care of me. Cousins came, friends did, as did those who need not have taken the pains to.
I was cocooned in a nest made of tender feathers of loving care which only got cosier at home. My two angels fed me, hugged me, drew for me and in every way demonstrated their relief that I was alright.
Back in Bombay, HP spoilt me with gorgeous white lilies and lavender. The Farmer came with the team and a bouquet of red roses. My Mini Mouse came with her husband, laden with fruits that I should eat and left with a promise of more goodies to come tomorrow.
So a week and twelve hours post a great hurdle and a painful obstacle, I am lying in my bed writing this post, and staring at the ceiling with only a constant humming in my mind -
Here you are, standing there, and loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my past in childhood
I must have done something good.
PS: the best thing that has happened to me is winning the parent lottery