For almost a month Holy Family hospital, New Delhi, was our home. With sugar and BP levels fluctuating we thought it best to stay put after what we thought was 'a few days rest' on 30 December 2010.
Sounds of Christmas carols resounded in the mornings after 6.30 a.m. Mass in the Holy Family chapel. Everywhere you could see cribs and the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the stable. Decorations gave the hospital a festive look.
Our doctor Shaila Kamra decided to go for the 'C' on 14 January - just into the 35th week - after looking at the medical reports. A safe delivery and week on, I am thinking about how we spent those hospital days.
The Holy Family staff was scrupulous to the core. There is great transparency about billing and everything is itemized right down to a rupee. This is one of the few hospitals where needy patients are given emergency treatment and allowed to pay later. The nurses discharge their duties with a smile and a gentle bedside manner. They do everything to keep the patient comfortable. It is the hospital's policy not to accept money by way of tips or otherwise. As a result the staff work without any expectation of reward, in the true spirit of the verse from the Bhagavad Gita.
One gets to hear a steady chatter of Malayalam as most of the nurses are from Kerala. The NICU (Nursery ICU) on the second floor has two rooms. We noticed a marked contrast in the attitude of the nurses in Room 206 as compared with those in 208 next door. Some nurses in 206 were unhelpful, and at times caustic, as mama tried, for the first itme, to breastfeed baby. Nurses in 208 were encouraging and positive and managed to get nursing, on the road, for us.
We came by a nurse from Nagaland, I think, who always managed to calm baby's cries - by speaking to him in lovingly in Nagamese! It seemed like an all-India effort to take us through those anxious moments. A nutritionist visits twice a day and hot meals are served to the caregiver who stays in the room as well. One can opt for a choice of Continental or Indian food, veg or non-veg. A physiotherapist visited post-delivery to brief us on the exercises to be carried out on the road to healing.
Monitoring used to be round the clock, but the day usually used to start at 6 with a cheery 'Good Morning'. 6.30 was Holy Mass after which Fr George used to come around the hospital to give communion to those who asked for it. At 8 breakfast used to to served, which we used to eat, in natural light, while the bed was made and the room was spruced up. Before that, I used to do my yoga. From room number 212 on the second floor, I used to love watching the sun make its journey from East to West.
We got our discharge on 20 January 2011, after a beaming Dr Kamra (in photo above) wrote 'Home 20th' on our medical file. Visits by well-wishers uplifted our spirits. Strangers came forward to help while those we had banked on didn't so much as show their face. It was a period of great learnings, about the mysterious stirrings of life, and how a lot of life is touch and go. It had been a long journey, sometimes tense, always hopeful, trusting in the mercy of the Lord, and we came through it stronger.