Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of Hallucinations and Hospitals

My apologies to my regular readers, the nosy busybodies, the stalkers, the Belgian and the visitor from Ouagadougou seeking “tabasco cupcakes”.

Amidst the decision to switch jobs and a health scare courtesy my father, I had little time, inclination or inspiration to blog. However, as everything seems to be settling down now and general good humour appears to have returned, here goes.

This piece is yet another about my family since every other crazy I know has taken refuge from the sweltering summer sun (or incontinent rain cloud if in Bangalore).

Dad often considers himself a poster child for Murphy’s Law – and rightly so. How else would you explain how a simple hernia surgery could land one in the ICU?

Dad caused the family and his surgeon – who is now undoubtedly questioning his career choice – some anxious moments when, while coming out of a simple hernia procedure, he suffered what they call a “cardiac event”. “Event”? These medical types are nuts. How is something like this an “event”? They might as well call it a “spectacle” and sell audience tickets and dole out refreshments. George Bush Jr. goof-ups, Halley’s comet, la Tomatina, Aerosmith live in concert, the WillKat wedding – those are “events”!

Anyhow, long story short, the hospital kept him under anesthesia for a further 48 hours while monitoring him in the ICU with all the requisite life-support systems in place. While things seemed like they could go either way for a while, Dad pulled through and came out all puns blazing. While his old ventricles took a beating, Dad’s sense of humour or more aptly, his ability to cause much mirth and amusement around him appeared stellar.

As Dad came out of his 48-hour induced nap, he gestured frantically at my sibling Scion. Still attached to the ventilator along with other tubes, it was impossible to speak. Thus began a game of dumb charades.

Dad gestured and signaled while Scion – who is not exactly the best person to have on a charades team – kept guessing. “You have digital power!” he declared. No, signaled Dad. “You feel like you have swallowed power!” Scion ventured again. No! “You feel empowered? You feel powerful? You feel invincible? You feel like Superman? You ARE the MRF Man!” No!

Finally, Scion deciphered “I swallowed a digital thermometer”. That’s right. That is exactly what Dad was trying to say. Serious.

Dad kept pointing to a spot in his stomach saying the errant digital thermometer had parked itself there. He was only convinced otherwise once the tubes were removed and the hallucinogenic effect of the various drugs administered wore off.

While I made a mental note of the episode as well as Scion’s useless guesses, it struck me. This sort of thing runs in the family. Years ago, while I recovered from an emergency appendectomy, I was convinced that the surgeon had left a pair of scissors inside. Then I decided he’d left two wads of cotton. Once I reasoned that wasn’t the case, I suspected he had robbed me of a kidney. After a recent ultrasound where my gall bladder apparently turned invisible, I am now convinced they nicked that too. I haven’t got the gall, quite literally.

So anyway, after a turbulent few weeks, things appear to be settling down. Dad says those 48 hours were like an acid trip. From being carried off in an auto rickshaw to an Indian Oil petrol bunk baring his behind in a hospital gown, being subjected to medical experiments to sitting on a bench with some old men, he had the strangest of dreams. Even the despicable Ducky put in an appearance. Dad, in his dreams, saw the fellow pottering around the ICU looking for something called “an umbilical cap” for his “wife’s hernia”, which he later triumphantly declared he found at the Meerut cantonment area.

Dad’s only regret? He couldn’t reach out far enough to hurl a bedpan at the moron.

As for the rest of us, we’re now consciously watching what we eat, steering clear of Robin Cook books and keeping a keen eye on the whereabouts of that digital thermometer at all times. And of course, we’re laughing again.


  1. oh yes! steering clear of Robin Cook novels would make a difference! & remind me, if ever we end up playing DC with your sibling, he & I are NOT on the same team! we would lose miserably!

  2. @IMM: That would be fun for the rest of us me thinks. Also, while we're on the topic of what my near-perfect sibling cannot do - hand him a skipping rope if you need a laugh ;)

  3. And pray what can I not do or do with a skipping rope? As for dumb charades, why do you think it's named so? It's for the dumb to understand each other :P

  4. You, darling, are brilliant and so brave. I can completely relate to the DC thing. I suck at it too. But this hallucination thing is really cool - my dad kept thinking he was drinking tea and coffee for an entire day post op. An aunt orchestrated a wedding (son's) and a funeral (her own). Not a happy ending there though because you know what they say, only the good die young.

  5. Hey, I'm with Scion on this one, and you know why!:D

    Also, could you get me some of that hallucigenic stuff please. Been fascinated by it ever since I saw the effects of it in some Holmes film, or was it Poirot? Hmmm....

  6. afrikaans peoplesMay 16, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    and here we thought that our random visits to your space would make you feel happy

    tsk tsk

  7. Hey Girl...Looks like you're over obsessing bout this Ducky chap. Ain't it time to get over him? Sure you'll feel better and Dad won't feel obligated to hallucinate bout flinging em bedpans...who knows Dad's aim may be lousy n the bedpan could hit you instead...aaawwww poor little you then :-p

    Cheer's got a whole lot there for you. It's you who gotta go out there and get it :-)

  8. @Scion: Well, pick up a skipping rope and I'll prove my point ;)

    @Bhumika: It would be interesting to document everyone's hallucinations under anesthesia, huh?

    @Kaotic: Go home and bite into those mushrooms you have growing around :P

    @Afrikaans people: Jambo! Chuki powa pee? ;)

  9. Hahahahahahahahahaha....

    Hey u forgot a very important event...the event where u met my sibling n of course moi... muahahahahaha....

    Oh btw u don't need a surgery to hallucinate u do that just by sniffing the air around u...

    @ KO... U hvin mushie omelet for breakfast? Count me in...whip me up one wen I get my butt there...

    @Eric... She's long over ducky n she moved on long long back...ducky tho went quacking wid his feathers shoved up his ruddy arse stripped of his manhood...some of us get such pleasure in relieving the moment of emasculation... I must say u hv lodged the image of the filled bedpan hitting bb...can't stop laughing...


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