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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

On Death n' Dying...

Strange it is that my very first blog to go online had to wait nearly three months to see the light of the day.

Penned after four long hours of tormentous bed tossings in the night  of the very day this incident occurred, something there was that had made me put it on hold.
What was it really? Ethical prickings that one man’s tragedy be fodder for this particular piece? Or the fear that in today’s world of political correctness,dramatisation of a tragedy of this magnitude may not go down well with those even remotely connected to the incident??

Whatever it was – guilt/shame/fear, stands suitably mellowed down with time.. and the “piece” is now being presented to the disinterested reader in all its raw originality..

The deceptive calm of the EMERGENCY was shaken by the frantic rumble of stretcher wheels, which, as every medic will vouch, invariably results in universal tachycardia in anticipation of the worst imagined..

Today, was no different.

Her pink dupatta lay carelessly stuffed by the side of her head, giving not the slightest indication of being the brute responsible for those ugly marks on her neck.. 

Over her face lay a calmness almost ethereal, her lovely big eyes glued together in a slumber so deep that even the coziest of blankets in the chilliest of winters fail to invoke.. 

Peace as was hers now, is rare. In life.

The eyes nonetheless, were made to open by the harsh interruption of an indifferent medic.. and an equally indifferent torch threw the full strength of its beam into her eyes.. "pupils bilaterally dilated, 4mm, fixed. not reacting to light," noted the hurried voice from somewhere within the white coat of the hand that held the torch..

Three fingers belonging to another hand lazed over her carotids, trying to pick up even the slightest of vibrations.. "NP"  (non-palpable) was the note that was to be made later in the li'l white OPD slip with the funny  orange letterings..

Even as the defibrillator was wheeled by her side,ardent ears were trying their best to pick up the faintest of sounds, the brand new Soft Touch Chestpiece master cardio littmann stethoscope applanted firmly to her chest..

Well trained to the exercise, another pair of hands with the ambu had already begun forcing air into her lungs.. the littmann was rather unceremoniously brushed aside as hands clasped together, one over the other, fingers locked, to begin the arduous ritual of CPR..

The nurses too, had left the newspaper open at the page of  bollywood's latest scandals and were busy pumping adrenaline, efcorlin,and calcium gluconate, the latter, much to the satisfaction of another doc of  anaesthesia, who kept urging them to infuse calcium chloride, calcium chloride....  

The defibrillator paddles were brought into place, the eeky wet and cold jelly bridging the electrical gap between skin and machine... defib charging...charged...3..2..1.. THUD!!! 

The ritual was to be repeated atleast 3 times in the next few minutes.. Why did the physician have to break the rules of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th edition (with eerie green electron microscopic images of dirty microbes strewn over its front cover).. Oh the point.. since when was an asystole heard to respond to even mega joules of energy?? 

For that matter, when had the tired pupils of the departed known to react to light? Or the silent arteries bounded for the satisfaction of the hopeful fingers? The heart, that had so longingly beat for the one who was to betray it, when would it have quenched the expectant thirst of the littmann, having once fallen silent...???


The “???” was where i had to stop. I could go no further. The emotional blind-end of an alley that i had reached may leave the occasional reader with the same rotten feeling as does a torn-off last page of a suspense novel. Or the reader may care no less. ‘cause there was no suspense involved. Never ever. Only a tiny mountain creek of emotions that was checked well before it could burst into the threatening fury of a bountiful monsoon..

I’m yet to figure out whether it is good fortune or bad to be part of a  profession which constantly exposes you to emotions so profound, and whether it be possible to remain detached, unaffected and yet be a part of all that happens around you. Whether the efforts to remain indifferent make u any less human, or the failure to do so make u a weakling...

It is this predicament that we wake up to each single day of our lives...and it is with this with which we close our eyes for the night.  

May God give rest to the departed soul. Amen.


  1. "part of a profession which constantly exposes you to emotions so profound, and whether it be possible to remain detached, unaffected and yet be a part of all that happens around you" :)

  2. "The heart, that had once so longingly beat for the one who was to betray it, when would it have quenched the hopeful thirst of the littmann, having once fallen silent...?"
    really touching swami..

  3. "Penned after four long hours of tormentous bed tossings in the night of the very day this incident occurred"

    if u can come up with this in 4 hrs then may i suggest that u take a month long sabbatical and surprise us with ur first novel.loved ur narration.

  4. Chandrashekhar Pandey (bhaiya)17 March 2012 at 23:11

    Simply superb dear! I knew that you were great in expressing your feelings/thoughts in writings but still each new article of yours further strenghthens my such belief! Great work! Continue writing... & Congratulations on your 'First' blog. Cheers! ...Shekhar bhaiya.

  5. Wow! Great work Doc! Really heart touching and true to the word.
    Not many careers are simultaneously soul destroying and life affirming as medicine or nursing.Even as a student, I found it so hard to cope initially and my initial weeks of clinical posting were spent quietly crying in my mind on my way home from the hospital and being dumbfounded so as to how cruel and sad fates could befall innocent beings in the form of medical conditions and various critical illness.
    Even today as an RN in an ICU, when I face families of dying patients, I find it hard to muster enough strength to not shed a tear when the relatives break down.Every element of my workplace is laced with terrors of loved ones having to hear the news that their dad or mum or brother is in a critical condition and mere feelings of helplessness that we feel at that time.
    Rationalisation and logical analysis play no part in this nonsensical world. I can never fully seem to understand why death stealthily treads upon few people's path, presenting them with life threatening medical disorders or surgical interventions,no matter how much time I have spent in pondering it. Therefore I have found distraction and professional distance great enablers in allowing me to carry out my work.Great comfort can be derived when staff choose to busy themselves with tasks at hand, turning their minds to the banal and blessedly boring.Trying to have aloof feelings is not because of bluntness or cruelty but has arisen out of the need to self preserve. A smart tactical move in ICU as battlefield;necessary for not only our survival but our longevity too.
    But like all things in life,there is a balance;the horrid aspects of the job are somewhat balanced by the best parts of humanity.Everyday astounding moments happen;tender moments that make all the emotional baggage of the job worthwhile.Seeing a sick patient's eyes come to life when you talk reassuringly or a smile on a long ailing patient's face when you give tender loving care.The trump card is that inevitable moment when a patient replaces her silent and fearful stare with a flicker of recogniton and a smile when you walk into her room.There is surely nothing better than that. That's my endnote to your blog.
    Remember I have always told that you should attempt to take up writing, as a side career.High time that you gave some serious thought to that. Sure..looks like you have got talent. Keep writing!
    And if you happen to publish your first book,I don't mind you acknowleding me in the Courtesy section for being an inspiration.:)
    Waiting for your next blog!

  6. Good Attempt !!!!!!!!!!! Keep it up

  7. keep it up Pandey. You are the same person now also it seems Harikrishnan

  8. My most heartfelt thanks to all the readers.. for their time, appreciation and criticism alike..
    i do hope to be able to write again sometime soon...
    thank u one and all...

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