I go down memory lane as I relate another story of our family. Shiv was about 4 at that time I think. Gautam complained of loose motion and stomach ache just as he was about to leave for office one morning. However, he got ready and lay down on the sofa for a while, before leaving home for office. I was worried and had asked him to stay back, to no avail. Anyway, I went about with my daily chores and after I returned from college, he was uppermost in my mind. We had got our landline phone sometime back then. It was not the advanced technological age at that time as it is today with mobile phones in everyone’s hands. As the evening settled in, I was moving in and out of our small balcony and drawing room in our Mandlik Nagar flat in Malad.
In the late evening the phone rang. It was Gautam on the other end. But God in heaven, what a story had he to say! It seems he had not eaten anything although his stomach upset was okay by now. From office he had gone straight to Suchak Hospital and the senior Dr. Kapoor there had detected him to have appendicitis. In fact, he needed to get operated the very next day early in the morning.
Gautam went on to say, that he had taken admission in a room where there was another bed for an attendant. He had actually phoned me to ask me to pack my bag and come over to the hospital for the night. The medicines and other required stuff had been collected from the medical shop just opposite to the hospital- the bill for which was to be paid later on. In such a situation, I also had to take Shiv along with me as I could not leave him alone in the house.
I was jolted to hear the developments of the day and was reluctant to agree with the doctor’s diagnosis. How could he come to this conclusion without any necessary tests? After collecting myself from this initial shock, I patiently asked Gautam to first come home. I thought we could all go to the hospital together later on, if need be. I quickly packed a bag to carry with me for the hospital.
When Gautam came, I kept on asking how he was feeling to which he replied in the positive. Only he felt weak and hungry, as he had eaten nothing the whole day. I served him his dinner and he was perfectly alright after eating. In the meantime, he phoned several friends and relatives including his parents in Calcutta (!) and told them about his operation early the next morning. He asked the latter to come over to Bombay as soon as they could. A friend of ours (he is no more, RIP) advised me not to agree for the operation, as Gautam had not undergone the tests to confirm the appendicitis. The friend’s advice at the opportune moment was of great support to me as I had by now decided what I would do.
Late in the night, we went, the three of us to the hospital in Malad (East). We waited for a while till the night doctor came for his round. I went up to him and explained to him that there was no need for an operation as Gautam was quite alright after having his dinner. The doctor glared at me and sharply asked “Are you a doctor to decide?”. In spite of the confrontation, I kept arguing and promised that I will bring Gautam back if he develops a problem later in the night. Stubbornly I stuck to my decision. The night doctor took it in writing that only I, wholly and solely, was responsible to take him away from the hospital at my risk.
My decision that night was right and till today Gautam never had or showed any sign of appendicitis. At the nick of the hour, I saved him from the doctor’s clutches from an unwanted operation.