yet another work day

Suman looked at her wrist watch 8:00 am, it was time to take the blood samples of the patient in 105. She was 4 hours into her work day. Nursing was more of an obvious choice for her, given the job prospects and the affordability of fees. Over the last 5 years, she was drawn into the profession with each passing day. She was assigned to the neo-natal section of one of the fashionable maternity homes in Bangalore. Her shift started at 4:00 am, this meant waking up at 2:00 am and getting meals ready for her family, while not waking her 6 month old.

As she went to meet her patient in 105, it was a sense of Deja-vu. The little boy was all of 20 hours and his condition had been deteriorating. Bilirubin levels were way beyond normal range of 15 and had shown no sign of improvement after the first 8 hours of phototherapy. This was the second round of tests. The small bundle squeaked and wailed as she carefully took his sample. His mother cried inconsolably, while the father tried to put a brave face.

She could feel her blood pressure soar as she took the samples to the lab. If the tests showed no improvement the child would have to be moved to a super-specialty hospital. Giggles ringed in her ear. The scenes from 4 years ago flashed back in her head. She was still a novice and had to attend an emergency. The child was wrapped in blue, carefully placed in a blue glass case. A thousand wires went into and around it. Her arms had the first prick and a drip on already. It was a similar case of new-born emergency and there the child had to be shifted within an hour of her birth. The child was being wheeled, Meena her colleague too was alongside.

Meena was bubbling with energy it was her birthday and she was getting engaged the very next day. Being a natural at it, Meena continued with her gestured discussion as they passed on. The child’s father was in tears. Her mother was not even aware of the fact that the child was critical. To top it the driveway was blocked with a supplies van. The ambulance was made to wait while this vehicle made way. Every second was precious and the father lost his cool. Meena had yet not stopped giggling and Suman too had joined the conversation. It was at that instant that Suman made note of the father’s situation. For a multi-specialty birth care hospital-staff it was yet another day of work. But for him it was indeed a matter of life or death.

Suman shuddered at her insensible behavior as the lab assistant’s call brought her back to reality. The reports showed improvement. Tears swelled down her cheeks as she went to tell the duty doctor about the reports. She too was a mother now, with a wound left open somewhere deep inside, making her view every pain as one being inflicted upon her own kin. She knew though that this was yet another work day, and her wound would perhaps only grow deeper, making her resolve to help them all the more stronger…

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