Wednesday, March 21, 2007


The room was silent and dimlight. The doors and the windows shut. She was alone.

The nurse lifted the net that hung over the bed so that I could examine her.

40% burns.
8 weeks old.

The upper body was exposed. The skin was charred. Cracking and peeling, exposing raw, oozing areas. She had no hair, eyebrows, nor nipples. Contractures were developing on her neck.pulling her lower lip,sticking it to her chin. Exposing her teeth.

Her ears were burnt out.
I called her name. She opened her eyes.
Pain, agony, loneliness and despair stared back at me. Filled her eyes and poured out as tears.
‘How are you?’ I smiled at her. ‘Slept last night?’
I was seeing her for the first time, doing my routine rounds before breaking off from night duty.

Words poured out.
“Sever pain… Itching…Cant sleep… No appetite.. I am fed up… I want to go home.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“My kids are having exams today. She started to weep.”

She was in deep despair. She needed tremendous psychological support to carry her through her despair and the deep agony that lay ahead.

I had to say something.

“Take it as a test for your resilience… your patience… your strength…”

I smiled at her again.

“ Bear it for some more time.”

She stared at me as if I had gone mad.

“Testing? Suffering? Patience? It has been nearly two months.”

“ I know, but maybe you have to suffer a little while more.”

She kept staring at me as if I didn’t know what I was talking about.

“Accept it. Amma, that is the only way. “

I smiled back softly. I felt like hell. I knew that I must sound like a supercilious bitch with superfluous advice.

True. I knew nothing about what I was talking about. I couldn’t even imagine the extent of pain, suffering, loneliness and despair that she was going through.

I didn’t even have the time, the patience or the energy to sit with her for some more time.

I had more patients to see. Finish my work fast and be home before my boys left for the exam.

My neck felt stiff and sore after the sleepless night. I had to soothe it.

My neck, which had troubled, nagged, pained, frustrated,disheartened and despaired me for the past 6 weeks.

Yes, what right did I have to talk to her about resilience, about patience ?

It was rumored that hers had been a suicide attempt.


A mother with two kids?

I couldn’t imagine it.

But what could I advice her?

After all, Who am I to judge ?