When I opened my eyes, I was lying on bed no: 407 of Medicare Hospital, Chabahil. I was only half-conscious; things appeared hazy to me. After a while, Dr Chakra Raj Pandey, Dr. Raj Rana and Dr. Bhaskar Panta approached me. They congratulated on successful surgery.
It was a bit painful, my knee was covered with bandage, drops trickling from saline water bottle, and blood draining through a pipe attached to the bed. It was much awaited surgery of my knee. I was diagnosed that my knee's meniscus was torn apart. Dr. Pandey told me he has made my knee advanced. I thanked him.
The operation took two hours. I was told to undress and wear a gown-like dress. Then, as they told me to lie on operation bed, they asked me if I wanted to watch my operation. I repeated a big NO. Dr. Nilmani Kafle who I saw for the first time, asked me in jest: Do you drink beer? I replied: I do, occasionally and it was in New Year's eve. I added: Now, I am having in my operation eve. Then, he injected something and said: That seems inadequate. Now, I'll add some whiskey. Quite un-surgeonlike lingo, I thought. Then, they anaesthetized me for the operation and a while later I was unconscious.
Nurses came, inquired and jotted down something. I could barely move my body. My brother was answering my cell on my behalf. My colleagues had called me up, but he didn't hear the buzz. At 5 pm, a very special friend of mine made it to my cabin. She brought Cadbury and Lays. My brothers enjoyed the Cadbury while I ate the chips the next day. Thank you, little lady for your kindness and empathy. In the evening, when Dr. Pandey asked me if my colleagues from Nepal Magazine paid visit, I ruefully said: No, they didn't. May be they were busy. At around 6 pm, my friend Keshav came to see me. My colleague Saroj called me in the evening. Most of the time, nurses came to inject, inquire etc.
In the adjacent bed no: 408, a teenage boy from Pokhara, who had broken his hand while playing volleyball, was staying. He was already familiar with hospital blues. It was the first time in my life I've been admitted to bed. At around 7 pm, Dr. Pandey arrived with the team of surgeons. He said: You don't look like you've been operated. He assured me, I'd be fine very soon.
Monotony was in the air. I am a person always on move; I have to go here and there. But, I was there stuck in a bed. At around 8 pm, when my brothers had gone out to take fresh breath of air, I was all-alone in the bed, a cheerful nurse appeared, asking in Hindi: Akele Aap? I retorted: Akele Hum, Akele Tum. She broke into peals of laughter. It must have been a bolt from the blue. Sensing her cozy attitude, I complained about being unable to move. She said: Oh, even lord Budhanilkhantha has been sleeping in one position for ages. I told her it was unfair to compare human being with a statue. The debate was settled, but her memory lingered until a tad later. This chirpy lady was a breath of fresh air.
Next day morning, Dr. Bhaskar and nurse Kamana came for dressing. They also removed the drainer, to my relief. After a while, physiotherapists taught me exercises.
Then, as I felt a bit better, I started to walk around, peeked into the cabins of other patients, a suffering lot. At around 6pm, I was discharged, I thanked the nurses but they did not acknowledge me. For me it was a big event, but for them everyday occurrences. Raju, my brother's friend, whose succour I can never forget, assisted me to get inside a cab. We headed for Ghattekulo. In my room, I have a life of my own!