Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Every dog has a day. Today, of course, seems to be my day. I have been in this bed for the last seventeen days, after a fatal fall from the stairs of the apartment, hopelessly trying hard to come back to my good old life. My eyelids were heavy, hands were numb and legs were cold but my heart was beating faster than usual, as I could clearly hear the piercing but soft voice of Mr. Srivastava, the famous Neurosurgeon, who performed numerous surgeries on my head in the past few days’ time, talking to someone near the bedside, confirming that, the “Patient is brain dead, there is not much to hope for”.
Suddenly I tried to remember my name, but failed, and felt sorry about the amazing memory power I was once very proud about, thanks to last seventeen days, during which I have been called as a ‘Patient’, occasionally addressed as a ‘Case’ and ,most frequently referred by a number ‘1975705’.
I realized that, the prolonged stay in the ventilator, the tubes and wires passing through my throat and mouth, the bleeps of the machines through which I am breathing , the freezing cold of the surgical ICU , the whiff of chemicals and medicines, whispering sounds of nurses which outstrips the incessant beep-beeps of monitors, had created a turmoil in my head, affected my thoughts and wrecked my mind.
I could scarcely remember, the days during which I had worked for the same hospital in its legal department, silently witnessing the bargains between the doctors and the management for better cuts, hopelessly listening to the MRI and CT scan targets that are being assigned to doctors by the management, unwillingly but knowingly executing many agreements for drug trails on poor patients, perceiving the unholy tie ups with insurance companies to fill the beds to improve the EBITDA targets of the hospital, numbly realizing the greed reflecting in the eyes of the medical professionals on getting a new patient as their next prey to meet their ICU targets, staying senseless in front of the famous cardiac surgeon who had fixed low quality stent on his patients and then convinced the management to charge high rates, keeping my calm while negotiating with the relatives of the patients for arriving at better settlement terms who had lost their dear and near ones due to medical negligence, striving to do away with direct eye contacts with the patients who had visited my cabin for getting some discounts on the huge and hefty bills imposed on them and then finally attending the board room stupidness to witness the justification in the name of ‘Service to Humanity’!.
But today, I will repay with interest, the price for the inertness and numbness and suffer for the irresponsibility I had shown towards the ill-fated patients, who were the innocent scapegoats of the management’s boundless greed, when my beloved doctor is pulling off the plug of the ventilator to leave me to the darkness of the death.
I wanted to scream that I am alive, I could sense, I could hear, I could feel and I am not dead but no words were coming out of my mouth. I heard few footsteps approaching, talking to each other, of which one voice seems to be very familiar to me. The familiar voice, in soft tone, checked the remaining insurance cover on my medical policy and advised his team to explore the possibilities to retain the patient for some more days in the same condition, till the policy limit gets fully exhausted. With lot of pain I realized that the said familiar voice is of the Chairman of the prestigious multi-specialty hospital, with whom I had maintained a very cordial relationship throughout my life. Though the said voice had infused lot of pain on me, with an overwhelming and joyous mind I suddenly realized that, my life in this planet had got extended by few more days, till my insurance cover gets fully exhausted!
For the first time in my life, I wholeheartedly thanked the insurance agent who advised me to take a high end policy to get protection from medical bills, though I had cursed him many times for the high premium I had payed without any reason.
Yes, though it is very late, I could confirm and reaffirm that, it is not narcotics but healthcare is the dirty business.
The Dead Man
Photo Courtesy :Lucifer Movie Poster