Posts Tagged ‘experience’

Notes from a freak accident on 021117

November 7, 2017

I am going crazy repeating to every person who is enquiring, “What Actually Happened?”

Well, here it is:

I was showering at 8 am in the morning when the six-foot by five-foot glass sliding door of my shower stall broke. No clue why.The glass had been installed 13 years ago, and was not safety glass. The shards sliced a deep gash in my hip, er, well, my bum, on the left side; on my right, gashes in my elbow and wrist, and (as the surgeons told me today) several internal and external cuts on my back and sides.

I am amazed by how coolly I reacted.I saw the shards of glass with bits of my skin, fat and blood all over the shower area, and knew that it was quite a bad situation.

The sliding door with its remaining shards of glass was stuck, so I had to carefully squeeze my way out. I then realized that I was losing blood at an alarming rate from the huge gash on my hip/bottom, so I wadded a lot of toilet tissue and held the gaping wound shut.

The shock of what happened meant that I had an urgent bowel movement. So I did that neatly, too, on the throne, no poop to add to the blood all over the bathroom.

I’d just put shampoo in my hair, so I washed that out in the washbasin.

Holding the hip wound but bleeding from the gashes on my elbow, wrist and back, I went to the room where the phone was, and called my daughter (I’d just wished her a while ago for her birthday). Since she was in the gym and could not be reached, I called up my son in law and told him it was an emergency, and that he should locate her and ask her to come pronto.

I switched off the geyser, the lights around the flat, picked up my purse with cash and debit cards in readiness. I put on underclothes, and an old kaftan, as I knew it would be soon blood-soaked.

I opened the door to my daughter when she arrived. I held another wad of tissue to the hip wound while she lined the front seat of the car with newspapers. She then drove me to Fortis Hospital on Bannerghatta Road. I knew that the hospital was a money-making concern, but I felt I had the best chance of finding good surgeons to operate, so I decided to go there. Indeed the surgeons were good, though some of the nursing was pathetic, and the administration unethical in the billing (more about this later).

The wound was taped shut in Emergency, and I was generally cleaned up. I was made to wait for three hours for a room as I was told the hospital was full. Once I was moved into the room, I was not allowed to have even a drink of water (I told the nurses that I’d had nothing since dinner at 7pm the previous night) because of impending surgery. I am sure that hunger and thirst added to the shock of my accident.

Fortis then insisted on prior payment of a large sum of money (Rs. 1,50,000) (this itself seems unethical to me) and refused to carry out the surgery without it. My daughter and my friends Jayashree and Nayantara, who’d also arrived at the hsopital, organized it. Jai and Nayantara went home, but my daughter had to stay with me.

Though surgery was thus delayed, I was wheeled in at 7.20pm, and the surgery, which took a little over an hour, went very well. I returned to consciousness and was brought back to the room at about 9.30pm. Jai, who came back in the evening, stayed with me while Anjana went home to get things organized for the children for the next day, and returned by 12.45 am, when Jai went home. Though the surgeon had told me that I could have food after midnight, the nurses would not allow me to eat or drink anything until 1 am. Jai’s suggestion of a glass of Horlicks was excellent and a life-restorer.

Anjana, suffering from cold and fever, was out like a light; luckily, I was able to go to the toilet on my own, and considering the injuries, spent a reasonable night.

The other patient in my room was a gentleman who was having his knee fixed after some wire had broken in the knee replacement. For some reason, he was suffering from a lot of gas, and my night was punctuated by unmusical and loud emissions. Sleep was out of the question.

At 5 am in the morning, the nurse came and switched on all the lights, waking everyone, including my ill and exhausted daughter, for no good reason that I could see. I switched off the lights again to let my daughter sleep. I had to fend off the staff who came to sweep and then mop the room, to ask if I needed a bedpan ( an offer which I was thankful to refuse), an ECG for me, and breakfast service. I then kept awake to prevent the staff taking away the breakfast tray, as I had saved some of it for my daughter when she woke up. I also had a few friends visiting. Sleep? Rest? What are those?

At 6 am, one of the surgeons, Dr Sinha, came to see me, and pronounced that I was doing fine and could go home the same day.

The nurse told me that I could not be discharged without the main surgeon’s “discharge sheet” and the discharge summary. However, she said, the paperwork for claiming the insurance would take 3-4 hours and I could not leave until it was completed. I asked why someome else could not collect the paperwork after I went. The response to this was, “Speak to our in-charge”… a person who never appeared. I made a big fuss until I got some attention, and the main surgeon, Dr Priyadarshan visited by noon, and pronounced me fit enough to be discharged.

At 11am,Anjana had woken up, and Jai returned. I warned Anjana that the hospital bill would be padded up, and at noon, after the surgeon’s visit they both went to Billing, where, sure enough, there was overcharging to the tune of about Rs.6,000. Two and a half hours were spent on this exercise and I was finally discharged.

I am back home now, and have been told not to lift weights with my right hand as a tendon has been cut in the wrist. Other than that. It’s just been… a pain in the a**! This describes the injury, the effects of the surgery, the 6- hour delay in discharging me… and the over-billing, to the tune of several thousand rupees.

I am now facing the daunting task of downloading several forms from the insurance company’s site, filling them up when my right wrist is tightly bandaged up, and making my insurance claim.

Update on 091117

I went to get my wounds re-dressed and we asked the surgeon what the surgical mesh was that had been used. The surgeon said he had not used any mesh. This was a charge of Rs.27,6000. With the earlier overbilling the total amount overcharged was Rs.32,100. The hospital was perfectly aware of what was being done. VERY unethical.


Sidelights (FB posts):

1.The surgeons were good at Fortis, Bannerghatta Rd.. I am comfortable.. But the rest.. awful. I am now bleeding from the spot where an incompetent nurse replaced the butterfly IV port. I am told that after the doctor ( no nurse will tell me when he might reasonably be expected) the insurance papers will take 3-4 hours and I cannot leave without them( I am not joking… I asked why I can’t send someone else to collect them, and was told it can’t be done!).…aaargh. The idea seems to be to keep me long enough to bill me for another day…and another, and another….

2.The doctors do their job efficiently, and then the patient passes into the hands of that monster, the Billing Dept. Today, it took 6 hours to get discharged. Fortis tried to bill me for: half a day’s room charge, meals that were not eaten, medication that the duty nurse took away before my eyes, and my daughter and my friend Jai, alert to this, found a total of nearly Rs.6000 over-billing. (the bill was around Rs.1,50,000).If, in the protracted, painful process of a patient’s discharge, one does not notice these ‘oversights’, one is the loser, literally and figuratively.

3.I found that the hospital staff had brought the mask used for my anasthesia back to my room. I decided to bring it back home. What a bonus! K2 added it to the doctor’s kit. I’ve just had my budpeser checked, my ears and eyes peered into, my heart and bristles(don’t ask me what those are!) listened to with the steth, and ofkose, with the mask, had a whole opewation done with a pair of large yellow tweezers, where my stomach was cut open but I did not die. I then told him to give me a bill, and he brought me some torn-up kitchen tissue to pay it with. The best opewation I have ever had.

4. One butterfly that I don’t like:

click here to view

5. I like to laugh….but I really didn’t need to be in stitches in the surgical way! Embroidered all over, l yet count myself lucky when I think where those glass shards could have fallen…and what damage they could have done.

6. A doctor friend called me up and asked why I had not given him a call immediately. He asked me to remember to call at once next time. I profoundly hope and pray that there will be no next time!

Terrorists:can they be so barbaric? Yes, they can….

December 17, 2014

Obviously, I’ve been musing on this phenomenon of terrorism. War, in itself, is a form of terrorism; it’s always the innocent pawns who get slaughtered while the King and Queen look on from their safe fastnesses.

It’s interesting that we use the term “barbarism” to describe terrorists; the


according to the Wiki entry, is “a person who is perceived to be uncivilized.” but may also mean “an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.”

“Romans used the word “barbarian” for many people, such as the Berbers, Germanics, Celts, Carthaginians, Iberians, Thracians and Parthians.”

I thought the word derived from the Berber people, but apparently not.

Well…whatever it is..we thought we’d plumbed the depths of human cruelty when terrorists thought up a plan to send passenger aircraft hurtling into buildings. But to attack a school and kill children there brings our inhumanity to a new low.

One friend incredulously exclaimed:”No one can, atleast in full conscience (I feel), be so brutal and remorseless!”

Oh…but they can.

Several years ago, A was on a flight, and next to her was a woman soldier who told her she was returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The conversation was desultory (A did not want to pry into what was obviously an unpleasant experience the woman had had)…when the child in the seat across the aisle started crying.

The woman soldier immediately turned her head away and just shut her ears. And, later, explained why.

In Afghanistan, American soldiers would smile at a child that was wandering from the Afghan tents into their space,hoping to offer them sweets…and knowing this, the Afghans strapped explosives to the child’s body, and sent them to the American camps….where, at the moment when the most Americans could be killed or maimed, they would detonate the charge remotely….

One of the reasons the woman soldier was returning was that she could not any longer bear to see such scenes; she was returning for counselling for her deep disturbance. She said, “I cannot bear to LOOK at a child any more. I see only death and destruction and enemity when I see one.”

It stands to reason that the children were Afghan ones….so yes, humanity can be incredibly inhuman.

I wish I’d stayed in the Jumbo Hostel! Stockholm, 050814

August 9, 2014

As I took the bus to the Ibis Hotel (near the Arlanda airport) from Stockholm Central, I saw what I thought was a parked and exhibited Jumbo (Boeing 747).


But PC tells me otherwise. It’s a hostel!


are the details of the hostel; there are, apparently, and I am very impressed.
Facilities of STF Jumbo Stay Stockholm
Terrace, Sun Deck
Ski Storage
Media & Technology
Cable channels, Flat-screen TV
Food & Drink
Restaurant, Bar, Restaurant With Dining Menu, Snack Bar
Free! WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.
Private parking is available on site (reservation is not possible) and charges apply.
Packed Lunches, Airport Shuttle, Airport Shuttle (free), 24-Hour Front Desk, Express Check-in/Check-out, Baggage Storage, Private Check-in/Check-out, Meeting/Banquet Facilities, Business Center, Fax/Photocopying, Souvenir/Gift Shop, Honeymoon Suite
Newspapers, Non-smoking Rooms, Facilities for Disabled Guests, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, All Spaces Non-Smoking (public and private), Air Conditioning
Languages spoken
Swedish, English

Wow…for the price I paid for the Ibis Hotel, this would have been a marvellous and unique experience…wish I’d known about it in advance!

June 30, 2014

It was a wonderful experience to go to Gamla Linkoping (the old town of Linkoping), where heritage buildings have been brought in and re-built with every possible care. There are several museums, housed in these old buildings, that visitors can walk into. In the whole area, many people who are in period costumes walk about; and today, when the local newspaper was pushed into the mail slot, I found out a bit more about two musicians whom I met there.

Here’s Jacek Malisz, with his accordion:


And here’s Lasse Strom (er, that “o” should have an umlaut), with his “Strohfiol”, which is a violin with an amplifier:


And here they are, playing together.


Jacek’s accordion, he told me, was over a hundred years old. Lasse was very much more witty; he had a “spiel” of dialogue ready for the tourist that I was. He told me how the basic element of the violin had been integrated with this amplifier (it was made of aluminium) for the better carrying of the sound, in the days before microphones and loudspeakers (and, indeed, electricity) were in place.

“Do your children also play this?” I asked him. “No!” he said emphatically. “When a child learns an instrument, it’s cruel for everyone else around to hear it!” “But your parents somehow put up with the noise of *your* learning,” I laughed; and he laughed with me. “Regarding music…one of my daughters has a ear,” he said, and I nodded sagely, understanding about having a ear for music. Then, of course, he added, “The other one has TWO ears!” and laughed happily at having cracked a good joke!It was my turn to laugh with him!

I am trying to get the link to the newspaper article about them (it appears in the “Summer” supplement to the June 25/26 issue of “Linkopings Posten”). , if you could help me, I’d be very grateful, I’ve not been successful yet!

With the help of Google Translate, I’ve learnt that the two musicians have been playing at Gamla Linkoping for the past 32 years, but this is going to be stopped soon…sorry, I couldn’t wade through the entire article, typing it out on Google Translate!

The Community Laundry System, 190614

June 24, 2014

Since PC told me there was a free community washing and drying area, I’d asked him to book it for a date after I’d arrive, and show me how to do it; I could then do the laundry in my free time as long as I was visiting (my standard operating procedure whenever I sponge off someone for any length of time.)

I was very impressed by the system, and its checks and balances.

Every member of the community is given a lock bearing his/her flat name and number, with a set of 2 keys that will open that lock only.

The door to the community washroom is a master that can be opened by the house keys of each

Here is the laundry date-and-time “locking” grid, inside the community wash area:


The horizontal rows are the time slots, 6 am to 11 am, and 11am to 4pm, and the last two rows are the “parking” for the locks. the vertical columns are the days of the week.

There are two wash/dry rooms: T1 and T2. Depending on what one wants, and what is free, one can “lock” one of the slots on the grid. On that day, at that time slot, the wash/dry room that you have selected is yours for the entire 5 hours. (Five hours? Yes, there is a reason for this. Several loads are sometimes washed and dried, and so one has the exclusive use of the room for this extended period of time.)

There are two washing machines, and an electric dryer as well as a “blow” dryer…a “hot cupboard” in which clothes can be hung on a washline and have hot air blown through them. When we used the washing facilities, the electric drier did not work, and while I was waiting for the superintendent to send someone (it would only be after 9am and we had the slot from 6 am!), I hung some clothes on the aluminium poles and switched on the dryer cupboard,and it worked marvellously (and without the creases that tumbling in a hot air dryer produces.)

Washing may take a minimum of half an hour, and drying takes a minimum of two hours.During this process, one can put one’s own “laundry” lock over the room lock, and go home; no one else can them open the room. One can use the iron board or the roller press, too.

When one is done with the whole process, one comes out, and takes one’s lock home, along with the finished laundry, or uses it to “lock” another slot on the grid at a later, convenient time.

I do not know what happens if the 6 am to 11 am person is late getting out of the washing/drying room or coming to unlock it….does the next user come and wait impatiently? I hope there is a leeway for a few minutes! (Because of our problem with the dryer, our loads overshot the time, but I was there a few minutes before 11am, and requested the next user to allow me to use the dryer, which he did.)

I also do not know what happens if someone “locks” a certain slot but does not use it.

But all in all, it seems like a well-planned, organized way of ensuring both enough time for washing, drying, and ironing, and prevention of pilferage during the process!

Interesting People

June 6, 2014

I find almost everyone I meet interesting! Whether it is a random encounter or it turns out to be a long-term friendship..from one end of the spectrum to the other, I rarely meet people whom I actively dislike (though it happens, of course.)

I travelled back from Delhi to Bangalore by train recently. My co-passenger was a lady who described how and why she took a doctorate in Hindi literature…and how she decided that she would marry a medical doctor (she did so).

The coach attendant was a young man who described how financial pressure made him take on a job as a catering hey-you on the Indian Railways; twelve years later, his job is still “temporary”, but his description of it, and the people HE meets, was fascinating!

On a training program recently, I met someone disabled by polio, who found a career where, he said, his disability would not matter…he is a deep-sea diver. He told me about submarine life-forms off the coasts of South America.

So…the contact may be the brief, odd dash of pepper, or the sustained, staple rice-and-buttermilk…I find almost all people interesting, sometimes, even the ones I dislike, as I try to analyse why I find them nasty. 😀

Two “mothers” and a baby, Nandi Hills, 070214

February 7, 2014

I often notice that two, and sometimes three, female Bonnet Macaques join together to care for a baby. This morning, at the Nursery area in Nandi Hills, I watched these two females. The one on the right is the “actual” mother; you can see the afterbirth, still, around her tail.

The baby is still wet from the birth and looks quite rat-like. The two seem to be checking him out. Surprisingly, with such a tender little one to care for, they were both sitting on the ground, right out in the open. I must google whether monkeys give birth on trees or on the ground…

The experience awed me…it was one of many wonderful things we saw, Kamal and I, this morning, at Nandi Hills.

Two incidents….

May 7, 2009

After the paediatrician’s appointment (Eli is doing absolutely fine!), I decided to walk home, so I cut across Forest Park and on the way, I was accosted by a well-dressed man who looked indefinably, but definitely, Indian.

Still, I was rather taken aback when he said, “Madam, I need a favour from you.” “Yes?” I said warily. “I need to go to the University bookstore,” he said, and I replied that though I did not know exactly where the bookstore was, I could certainly guide him to the University (Wash U).

He then got out a huge map and I gave him the directions on it; he was less than ten minutes away from the campus. He thanked me, and then I tentatively asked him, “Are you an Indian?”

“Yes,” he said; “But I live in Italy. What about you?” I said I was an Indian living in Bangalore. “Oh, I studied there, at the Indian Institute of Science,” he said. “I am here for a conference.”

Smiling, we parted.

Just ten steps ahead, a portly (white) lady with in a bright red coat, with a lot of bags and huge ring of keys dangling from her arm, came up beside me, and said softly, “I am pretending to know you, though I have seen you before.” This totally zapped me, and I stopped and stared at her. “I am nervous,” she said in explanation when she saw my look. “That black man over there seems to be following me and I am worried, so I am pretending to know you.”

I smiled reassuringly at her and looked behind us. Yes, there WAS a black man behind us; but I could not see if he was following her or just happened to walk behind her. But it was obvious that she was uncomfortable. So I asked her, pleasantly, “Where would you like to go? I am in no hurry, I can go with you and drop you off wherever you like.” Because she was on foot, I knew it wouldn’t be far. “The bank,” she said. (The Pulaski Bank was just a few steps away.) So I walked her there, waved a friendly good-bye, and walked off home!

Finding your way, and worrying about safety are universal, I guess, whether you live somewhere or visiting!

friendship..and patience

February 15, 2005

A close friend was very, very rude to me a few days ago. As this was on the phone, instead of reacting, I just put down the phone. Though I felt miserable, I just kept quiet for a few days…yesterday she called up and apologized, and explained how she was very upset over something else and had vented on me.

Amazingly, I seem to have stumbled on the right way to handle these things. I would like to ensure that I always hold back from reacting, and let things cool down….a small price to pay for a long-enduring friendship.

How to ensure that I learn from this experience and be wiser in future and not let my temper get the better of me? How to control my temper? A question that has been with me for so many years…with not many answers!

Cyclist’s experiences

February 7, 2005

Several months ago, I made a resolution to cycle and walk as much as possible, and not take out the car unless absolutely necessary. This, however, has led me into all sorts of problems:

Dogs chase me as I cycle. These are NOT stray dogs but “pets”. Dog bite injections are a VERY expensive way to pay for someone else’s craving for aggression.

I inhale LOTS of fumes and smoke from vehicle exhausts, not to mention literally eating the dust of vehicles on our foully-maintained roads. My heart may be in excellent shape, but my lungs must be two sacs full of grime and benzene-compound particles. What shall it profit me to have a sound heart if I am to develop some disease of the lungs?

I am jolted unmercifully by all the potholes, and realize truly how bad the roads of Bangalore are. Four wheels, a suspension and shock absorbers really don’t tell me the reality of a pothole as two slim wheels do.

I find cyclists are perceived to be from a lower income bracket and treated in a shabby manner by everyone on the road; policemen think nothing of cuffing a young man on a cycle for some small infringement of traffic rules. I cower down, expecting to be clouted next.

In the twenty first century, a lady cyclist (no matter that I am middle-aged) is enough to draw cheap, sexist comments that I have to ignore and pretend not to hear.

There is no security for the stuff that I buy or have with me, and I am forced to take it along with me into various shops.

All that said, the pluses are:

Definitely, my cardiovascular system is in much better shape now, and my legs are developing strength.

Parking, or turning, is not a problem anymore; nor do I find myself stuck in lines of traffic.

Having struggled up the slopes, it is SUCH fun to go wheeling down them.

Once over the novelty of it, shopkeepers in the area near my home have accepted me and I am often able to leave my cycle unlocked as I go about my chores.

Cycling really opens my eyes to my surroundings in a way that I cannot do in a fast-moving car. I take in the sights and sounds, and generally enjoy them.

There is a lot of satisfaction that I am trying to counter the traffic pollution, and am actively doing something about it.

When Bangalore has better roads (not just the main ones, but the small ones too)…and encourages cyclists….I will be a happy person.