Dr. Chetasi Amjad
The next day was my birthday. I had planned a small celebration in operation theatre with the OT staff as usual and a family dinner at night. I was really looking forward to it.
The day was going to be hectic and consuming as we had three planned heart surgeries. Three surgeries in a row mean, we hardly can squeeze in time for food or a phone call at home.
We all are used to this type of scenario and most of us are trained for those mad skills. Our OT army was braced for the day. We all resolved to start the day early. I was all set with my plan in place.
My birthday started with a phone call from my maid informing her inability to come. With that short notice, I could just prepare the breakfast and did some arrangements for lunch. Hurriedly, got my daughter ready for school, promised her to go outside for the dinner, little did I know, promises are hard to keep. I took a quick bath and saw in the clock, I was behind the schedule, for sure. I decided to have my breakfast in the car and left home. Those who live in Mumbai, know very well, being late by 10 minutes means you are neck-deep in trouble and have no control over circumstances.
On the road, as usual, it was all chaos. The traffic was maddening. I could see from the distance; the crowd had gathered. I lowered the glass window to take a good look, somebody uttered accident. The doctor in me got curious. I got down from the car to see if I could be of any help to the poor fellow. I told the mob that I am a doctor and they immediately made away.
It was a bike accident. The young biker’s helmet was lying next to him. He definitely had hit his head, as the scalp was bleeding and he was unconscious. His breathing was labored. Possibly, he would survive if immediate actions were taken. With the help of traffic police and a handful of people, we immediately shifted him to a nearby hospital.
The morning was turning eventful. I tried to focus and stay aligned. I reached to hospital, of course, late. The moment I reached, I asked the OT staff to take the patient inside the OT and changed into OT scrubs. As I entered the OT, I greeted the patient. Her eyes communicated that she is scared and intimidated by the environment inside the OT. I assured her; she became somewhat calm. Forgetting my not-so routine morning, I started my work mechanically. Thankfully, the surgery was uneventful.
As the first surgery was nearing the end, we started preparing to take the second patient but instead got the news from cath-lab -where angiographies and angioplasties are done, that there is a patient who had to be taken for emergency surgery. The emergency always poses unique problems and risks. we have to deal with it, like blood reservation, a fasting period of patient, chances of more bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia and surgery come as a surprise package.
With some hiccups, the overall surgery went well but it took a long time. The images of the young biker kept flashing in between. I completely concentrated on the patients undergoing surgery which could be once in a lifetime phenomenon for them and can be potentially traumatic if I remain unattentive. I was so immersed in the work that I completely forgot, it was my birthday. The kind OT staff reminded me of their warm wishes.
I was dead tired at the end of the day. My dinner with the family was also canceled which I was planning for days and eagerly waiting for. I reached home really late.
Late that night, I came to know that the boy had to undergo emergency brain surgery and survived. The doctors treating him are hopeful. All my tiredness, exhaustion of that particular day vanished in a second, I thanked the Almighty. All the efforts in that frenetic day took a shape of hope. What more I could get to celebrate life!
Sometimes we are all set, we hear, “on your marks, get, set and go”. We start the journey, obstacles come our way, at some fine point, we realize, we are not the one who has a plan in place, someone else has got the master plan and we are just following it..but there is a “catch”, how do you follow the path, constructs your life and holds substantial value.
The most important thing becomes your conduct in those unannounced, overwhelming moments and that makes you the unique “YOU”.
On my birthday, I surrender myself, my ego, selfdom to this master-planner, the supreme being, the creator, and the sustainer. I bow my head with complete gratitude, for giving me the life worth living and accompanying me on my way to find its purpose…