Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Reaching out - 2
“You know..?” I was stunned..!
“Hhhmmm.. Yes.. Got it done myself.. Had a doubt..” he wouldn’t look at me.
I remembered the sister who had cared for the boy that night.. The attendant who had cleaned his wounds..
In spite of repeated instructions the staff forgot to take precautions when they were busy.. “What if one of them was infected..?”
Anger was rising in molten waves..
“Why didnt u tell..?” My tone was sharp..
He flinched.. Just sat there.. with his body bent.. Wouldn’t look at me..
I knew why he had kept quiet.. He had been scared if he would be chucked out of the hospital
Many HIV positive patients kept quiet out of fear .
I was responsible if something happened I told myself.. It meant that I had not trained my staff properly..
I looked at him.. He seemed to be frozen.. Shrinking each moment..
“Dint u knows about protection..?” I asked him..
“Why were you so irresponsible..?” I dint ask him that but that was what my tone suggested..
“I didn’t know doc.”. he whispered.. “Was too young…. In fact I was forced..”
My head started to spin.. Remorse and guilt washed over me..
“ The poor, poor boy..!”
I felt overwhelmed..
OMG!! I had not been prepared for this.. The situation was getting out of hand…
I collected myself. I had to reach out…
“Arjun I can understand why you kept quiet.”
No he wouldn’t look at me
This time I touched his forearm.. He flinched again and tried to pull away. But I strengthened my clasp
“Arjun.. You can’t handle this yourself.. You need professional counseling.. I have a friend in the AIDS center.. You must go and meet him” I spoke earnestly..
He just sat there his head bent..
“Are you aware that that Anti Retroviral drugs can prolong your life..?” I asked softly..
He looked at me..
“Yes Arjun..” I smiled at him
I had got his attention.
I wrote the reference letter..
“I shall phone him up in advance.” I soothed..
“You will need one or two more dressings.. Don’t worry i shall do it.” I told him.
He fidgeted.. He wanted to leave..
“Feel free to contact me any time you need help..” I pressed..
I felt bad after he had gone.. I had not handled it properly..I doubted if he would come back to me..
Docs are expected to be always sweet, understanding and soft to the patient. Anger .. even irritation ..is never forgiven
But he would go for counseling sooner or later.
I signed.. I had done my little bit.
I glanced at my watch. It was not noon yet. I wanted to see my boys.. Badly…
( to be continued)