Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Holi and the Hospital

 Holi, the biggest paint fest ever!! Wills t-shirt was white! Holi kicked off the afternoon before the family color wars with a Rangoli competition.
This was my favorite:

Cricket is huge at the moment - I feel I am almost on first name terms with Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and the rest. After India beat Australia the firecrackers were popping 3 minutes later and on into the night. Semi-final against Pakistan.....can't wait. To be in India, when Indian hosts and India could happen!!

So Sunday morning armed with paint powder, buckets and water guns, attired in old clothes, young and old headed for the clubhouse and in the nicest possible way, game on!!
As I wasn't actually there, more on that later, so have borrowed someone else's pics. So, to see my boys you have to look carefully! With hands full of paint powder you greet your neighbors, wipe their faces with color and wish them "Happy Holi" - bindi's gone wild!!, or you fill your buckets and water guns with your favorite non-washable color and go for it!!
So how did I miss Holi... My Dad visiting from the UK was taken sick. He arrived with a cold and then got a bit of a chesty cough and then what we thought was conjunctivitis. However, after the antibiotics were taking no effect, the eye situation deteriorating, we decided we need further attention. Shubha got on the case and via her doctor (also the niece of our landlord) got us an urgent appointment at the Manipal hospital with a consultant. On registering at the hospital we were told Dr Ravi was not available - asked Shubha's doctor to speak to registration and "Sorry Mam, Dr Ravi is available", same story at the desk in his department. Dr Ravi returns mid-rounds to see us and refers us to the eye consultant. Again a cell phone call and we are being called in, feeling guilty by-passing a full waiting room. It's all who you know in India, and luckily we know people who know!! Then, my Dad is admitted with acute Glaucoma. Next stop customer relations to pick our room (based on payment, of course) and then up to the plush 11th floor.  After, we leave my Dad that evening, there is some drama when he either falls out of bed, tumbles on the way to bathroom in the dark, or......... but ends up butting his head on the lower rails of the bed when he's trying to find the bell. Result - black eyes, cut nose and bruised forehead.
Either lack of sleep, loss of confidence (he is 80), poor appetite, or original cough renders him very weak. I spend one night at the hospital, Sweetie the next and then we are released. Due to his weakened state I enlist the help of the customer relations lady on the 11th floor and one of the boys (aids/orderly) who has been helping my Dad get to the bathroom etc., comes home with us for 60 hours -for the princely sum of $16 every 24 hours. So the household has temporarily increased!
So now we are 6 people by night (the 4 of us, my Dad and Kodappa) and 8 by day (incl. Sweetie and Karthik, and the kids who are on spring break). My Dad is set up with a bell and Kodappa sleeping on a bedpad outside the bedroom door. With Kodappa having very little English there was a lot of gesturing, but we managed very well (charades here I come!)
The one night Kodappa had to go back to the hospital, we had a problem finding another boy for the night shift (by this time more for my peace of mind than for my Dad) -apparently none of the possible boys could get off shift (this was the night India played Australia.....) After numerous texts - Kodappa to Karthik, Karthik having translated to me, at about 9.30pm Manju is on his way in a rick. Phone rings - rick driver no english, so I run in the dark up to security so they can translate. Run back home, phone rings again, rick driver no english, this time I see Surya on his balcony across the street and call him down to help. At about 10.00pm, Manju arrives. With gestures, I convey what he needs to do (which is very little). He lies down on the bedpad. At 5.50am, I wake him up, pay him, send him back to the hospital for his shift, without a spoken word passing between us.......what a pantomine!!!
However, we are now a week on from the hospital, had a checkup - all good and my Dad has picked up strength and appetite.
I have to say the Manipal and its Doctors, nurses, infact all the staff couldn't have been better. If we need to go there again, which I sincerely hope we don't, I will have some idea what to expect and how to make it work!!


  1. Pei pa koa is pretty decent cough medicine (from herbal as I remembered), great non alcoholic medicine, some western cough medicine are more effective, but this is non drowsy.

    You can access info online @

  2. I suppose that one way to get around the hassles in India is to delegate where possible since labor is cheap. Another is to know connected people and you seem to have that.