From cutting birthday cake with my fingers to going under the knife in hospital | A heart-felt personal account

sanjay bahl
The writer is Sanjay Bahl, VP Connect, Broadband.

The Hush Post| I cut the cake with my finger as there was no knife around. There were claps and the birthday song by few of my loved ones standing around me. I am indeed very lucky to have so much love and blessings from my elders, my family, my children, my friends and of course my wife. Celebrating birthday in a hospital ward was a first for me. And it would have been a first for the ward as well that someone was actually celebrating.

The night before the surgery my chest was shaved at the hospital. I questioned, when that guy started shaving my legs. “Just in case” he said. Just in case what? He did not answer and I did not want to know. I was in a good mood and had absolutely no idea about what lay ahead. With clean-shaven chest I felt like Salman Khan ready to shoot for a movie. Only difference was the belly fat that I have in abundance. Salman has six-pack abs whereas I pack all my abs in one pack only.

Till now I had seen an operation theatre only on TV or in movies. But this was so real. Biggest difference was that this time it was me who was about to go under the knife.

Preparations for the surgery began in the morning. I was wheeled into a ward which was called prep OT. It was here that an additional canola needle was inserted in my arm as the attendant did not like the size of the earlier one and could not find a proper vein on the back of my hand. With canola duly inserted, I lay there on the bed waiting for my turn. I was still fine. Not too scared. Hopefully, they would sedate me before the surgery and then it will be a piece of cake. But my hopes were dashed as the second canola inserter told me that I would be given local anaesthesia and only if I experienced extreme pain, I would be sedated. Anyway, it was still going to be local anaesthesia, so it may feel only as much as my root canal. Someone called out my name loudly and a couple of attendants took me to the OT.

Overall ambience there was very similar to what I had seen in the movies till now. Till that point, I was still doing ok. I was shifted to the operation table. My hospital gown, which interestingly looked like a Japanese kimono, was lowered so that it won’t get blood stains (I was told by the attendent). How much blood was going to flow, I wanted to ask but an oxygen mask was placed on my mouth.

A couple of nurses in the room placed some thick blue sheets on my chest leaving only the surgery area open.

There was a circular white light made up of many small lights right on top of the table. It was focused on my chest and was shining bright. There I was, with plenty of blue-coloured sheets made of thick fabric, on top of me. My hands and feet were tucked in tight, so I could not move much. I had no intention of doing Samba there anyway. Intravenous antibiotic was being administered to me through one of the two canola needles that were inserted in my left arm. There were 3 to 4 people in the room manning different points giving me confidence that things were under control. One nurse was standing near my left shoulder. She was in charge of all the armoury including a couple of knives.

It seemed all set and they were all waiting for the doctor to come in. It was like a kitchen with assistants ready with preparations, waiting for the chef to come in and cut the meat. I had started to panic a little by that time because I was feeling claustrophobic.

Then suddenly I felt a couple of gloved hands on my chest. So the doctor was in and I was about to be cut open. I turned my face to my left and looked at the doctor. “You must look the other side,” he said. I just wanted to wish him luck. All my good wishes were with the doctor. After all, if he did well, I would definitely do well. But the doctor was the best in the field so I relaxed a bit.

I turned my face and the nurse placed couple of more sheets on the left side of my head so that I could turn it no longer. “I am going to administer anaesthesia. It may hurt a little”, said the doctor while he stabbed three needles in my chest to administer three injections. I sighed, believing that this pain will save me from the bigger one. Before I could relax a bit, I felt something moving on top left corner of my chest. OMG, I was under the knife finally. I closed my eyes and started to think about the plot of a story that I was planning to write. My creative juices were flowing as thick as my blood would be at that point. The story took me to another realm and for some time I lost track of what was happening over my left shoulder. Suddenly there was a feeling of something being inserted in my body. The doctor was pushing the ICD device in the pocket he had created in my chest. The pain that I experienced is unexplainable. Maybe it was pain coupled with panic. I tried to stop myself from shouting but a cry escaped my lips. Then I thought about the pain each mother experiences while bringing new life to earth. My mother and my wife had also gone through the same. I assured myself this was nothing in comparison and it would be over soon. “Stitch it up” said the doctor. I stiffened again. But this time there was no pain only the threat of pain as I could feel something moving on my skin. Finally it was all over or it seemed to be over. “Ok. Try a shock” again the doctor’s voice echoed. Before I could

sanjay bahl
Sanjay Bahl

 think of anything I was shaken by a shock in my chest. I shouted this time, which was ignored by the doctor as the surgery was successful. Since that day I have never found Havell’s MCB commercial funny. Its actually in bad taste.

Finally the thick sheets were removed. The additional canola was also removed on my request. Kimono was back on and I was shifted to post op ICU.

Things will be back to normal soon. Next birthday, definitely not in the hospital.



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