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 ?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Suicide...hmm thats the easy way out of all the struggle. But why choose such a painful method...Anyway I do know Kerala has the highest rate of suicide..may be we are just bunch of cowards who can't stand up and fight the adversities...I am praying for her to recover as soon as possible for her childrens sake...

pophabhi said...

Touching...Sometimes I feel that I shud have been a doc to realise how fragile the whole thing called life is.

And judgements. To look at one side, you did the positive thing..But just as you told...the judgements that we make makes rejudge ourselves.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

HI Doc,

U r back!!I was so anxiously waiting for ur come back...U r so good with words that i acn literally imagine th ehospital, th epatient and u standing and consoling the patient.


Aashi said...

yes even i had seen burn cases as a housesuurgeon....and the pain they suffer is unimaginable!...even now i get goose pimples when i think about that lady...
Anu...u better take u!

Bhavesh said...


Life said...

tough job doc :)

keep it up and i knew how its tought to be in a situation

good job doc
how ru?? after long time

Take Care

silverine said...

Eventhough her body is charred, the mother in her is still untouched! Hats off to her spirit, hope it will carry her through. Where is the husband...I wonder...

Beautiful writing as always!

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

oh..bad.. hope she recovers soon

contemplator.... said...

Nice post, very deeply touching and an excellent blog. I am Surya Kiran, and accidentally landed on your blog and found it very interesting. Do u mind if i add your address as a link on my blog?? my address is and . The Second one being my poetry blog. Keep writing... cheers

mathew said...

it is strange for someone attempting suicide it is perfectly reasonable for that cant reason with them for their deed..but u can defintely help them reclaim life..and inspire for a new beginning..

pray for a quick recovery and wish she has the resolve to have a purpose for moving ahead in life..

Anonymous said...

hmmm.... its sad, and i have no idea how to respond to this.

i hope you are doing well now.

long time since i came here

Sujit said...

its hard to talk at such moemnts, we may never know what the words will deliver, how the person takes the words..! but good.. she took in a positve sense..! and certainly no one can;t judge!.. unless she tells!

Aashi said...

Anu...iv posted pics on my blog....u are invited....whenever u are free...

The Common Man | പ്രാരബ്ധം said...

Hey angel doc..
Shud thank Silverine for guiding me to ur page...
I m new to ths world....yet enjoying every new life revealed before me...

all smiles..:-)

abhishek said...

I am reminded of an episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye tells Hunnicut, "All we can do is stitch them up." Your patient is potentially a victim of circumstances beyond your control. Some wounds are too deep to heal from the outside.

I doubt that it was a suicide, but I only have the information you have here. But I hope you are able to find someone to help her, whether it be an abuse hotline or a pyschologist. Sometimes, slipping a contact card into someone's hands is enough. After all, how will she know if someone is willing to listen to her unless someone speaks up?

wanderlust said...

very touching. what would have prompted a caring mother to attempt soemthing like this? well, who knows what goes behind each closed door!!