When blood spills from the mouth,
the heart feels scared. The doctor’s radar reads
the history of the disease. The X-ray reports.
The pocket feels the pressure,
CT scan, Pulmonary function tests,
Ultrasound, Pleural fluid analysis,
Culture report and time goes on.
‘Decortication of the lungs’ is required.
But then the surgery is inevitable?
Who can answer? The best hospital?
Let’s join the queue, a very long queue.
Somehow, with ‘inside help’, the doctor sees,
Again – ECG, Pre Anesthetic check-up,
Immunology, Microbiology, Biochemistry
Fibre Optic Bronchoscopy, Cytology, BAL reports…
Man feels like a machine’s experiment.
And time goes on, weeks pass by,
the blood keeps coming – the good thing is
that he has learnt that it’s called Hemoptysis.
Finally, the surgery has to be done.
It’s inevitable now. But the wait is long.
Another hospital, the best surgeon. no chances.
Recur, all the tests, the high-cost
and the limited insurance.
costs a lifetime’s provident fund,
for the seven-hour-long surgery.
Praying family members, awake and tensed,
The news – operation went successfully. Ahoy!
But two hundred squats, with all the pipes in
the bladder and the lungs. The lung has to expand.
The more the squats, upstairs and downstairs,
running on the treadmill – with the pipe and bottle
sucking out the pleural fluid of the man
who never had exercised in his life before.
Eventually, the healing happens.
The pipe gets removed. The man feels relieved.
Blood stops coming. And time goes on.
When the brave old man returned home,
all that people could see was the
long cut marks on the side of the ribcage
from where the sutures were removed.
Himanshu Ranjan lives in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. He is a poet and a Young India Fellow. His anthology is titled ’36 Love Stories’.