Tuesday, 25th October, 2011
I have a brief black-out when I get up to go to the bathroom. I’m feeling exhausted and barely able to walk even. My sister, N advises me to see a doctor. I haven’t seen a doctor in years except for my Gynaecologist and so I’ve no idea whom to go to. She recommends her classmate who consults at a nearby hospital. When J calls to make an appointment, he is told to come by 10.30am. At the hospital, we find that we have to take a token and wait for our turn (and I thought that practise was extinct!). The doctor hasn’t come yet and the OPD (Out Patient Department) is quite full. She finally arrives at 11am. I’ve been already waiting for a half hour and starting to get extremely tired and restless. All efforts of trying to jump the line using my sister’s name go in vain and finally after an hour, it’s my turn.
In her neatly pleated and pinned sari, a fair rotund face with large lotus eyes, Dr. S looks like one of the South Indian TV actresses, the ones likely to play the role of Goddess in the umpteen mythological TV series. Only the crown and jewels are missing. She even has a soft-spoken voice to match, but with a confident and self- assuring tone.
After the customary auscultation and routine check of BP, temperature and pulse, she announces that my BP is very low and thinks I should be admitted to the hospital. For some reason, I’m reminded of our ex- Finance Minister, Mr C, who used to proclaim the fate of our nation in honey-laced tones, and made us all believe that he can do no wrong. I wonder if a similar fate awaits me….
But then she pauses, looks at me pityingly and decides to send me home if I promise to drink plenty of fluids. She also prescribes a different anti-pyretic to relieve the pain, an antibiotic and a blood test.
Under the threat of hospitalisation, I start drinking ORS (oral rehydration solution) with a vengeance and guzzle down 3 litres by night-time. The blood report is ready by evening. A lot of parameters are out of range. The one that jumps out is the platelet count which is 84,000(the normal range is 150,000 to 450,000). I call my sis,N. She suspects it’s dengue due to the hallmark symptoms of low BP and low platelet count and suggests hospitalisation. She decides to call Dr S and then get back to me. She calls back shortly to inform that Dr S has called me for another blood test the next morning.
By then, my older son A is also running a fever.