Sunday, 13 August 2017

Bed and Bear Fast

-Brian Mendonça

When we were bringing home an elder after a stint in hospital, there were a host of things we had not bargained for.

To begin with, the bed which happily accommodated him earlier could no longer do so now. Given his increased indisposition, a hospital bed was needed on which he could be raised by means of a lever. The bed also needed to have railings on the sides so he would not fall off.

As I scoured places to source such a bed, I learnt that such a bed was called a Fowler bed. There were full Fowler beds and semi-Fowler beds. 

On a tip-off, I began my search opposite Goa Medical College at the unmistakable landmark off NH 17, viz. Cafe Coffee Day.

In my quest I stepped into the inviting place called Thirsty Bear next door. The name seemed appropriate for a watering hole as it promised tasty snacks and eats. The decor left me spellbound. The wall was plastered with colourful drawings of various personalities with an inspiring quotation by them. There were Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Marilyn Monroe and several others. Many of the youth icons seemed to personify the counter culture of the 6o’s in America. When I pleaded with the person at the counter to go upstairs to see the decor, he asked me sourly to place my order first. Since most of the items were in 3 digits I said I did not want to place an order – but could I still go upstairs and have a dekho? He relented.

But this was not where they had the hospital bed. In fact when I enquired here and at CCD about one, they almost shrank back in horror as if to say ‘Woe betide you who are in the company of sufferers!

Fortunately I rang up the person who gave me the lead and I was given the number of the concerned person. The place turned out to be along the inner road going to Santacruz, about a kilometre away from GMC, also known as Kalapur. RUGNASHRAYA was the name of the facility which advertises itself as ‘Short stay and ambulance facility for patients and relatives.’ The place offers a hospital bed for a month free against a refundable deposit of Rs. 5000.  After one month the rent for the bed is Rs. 300 per month. The use of the bed is renewable after placing an application for extension. I found the energy there having an immediate calming influence on me. It had an ashram-like ambience where everyone was motivated in the service of others. They also taught yoga and other life skills.

We finally picked up a new Fowler bed from Laxmi Health Agencies, Panjim (Opposite Damro). We had to pay separately for the foam mattress, the air mattress and the side rails.

It reminded me of the story by Tolstoy, ‘How much land does a man need?’ ‘Six feet to be buried in.’

Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender,  St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 23 July 2017

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