“Sorry Latha, Dr. Shashank is in surgery, Can I take a message?” Receptionist Uma was apologetic.
“Uma, tell Shashank to call me as soon as he can. I am worried.” Latha sounded tense. “Chintu is not well. He is very sick”
“Chintu baba not well? What happened?”
“His day care teacher called me, he was complaining of stomachache and I had to bring him home. He is crying hard and screaming and is in lot of pain.” Uma could hear the boy crying in the background.
“Oh. I will page to doc immediately. Or do you want to talk to Dr. Guru; he is free and available now. “
“No Uma, I will wait for Shashank. Just convey him whenever you can.” Latha hung up the phone.
It was the wife of Dr. Shashank, the most successful and famous pediatric surgeon in entire state.
He was in Operation Theater at the moment as on every single day except on Sundays. He has a very tight schedule year round. Patients from far off places go to him. They believe if he takes up the case, parents can sigh with relief. They have so much faith in him.
When he finished the main part of the surgery and handed over to the junior doctors and went to wash hands, Uma gave him the message.
“What is it Latha? Chintu is sick? He was fine in the morning. Call him I will talk to him.”
“Oh, Shashi, he is in a lot of pain. He says he cannot talk,” she was almost crying.
“I am coming home right away. See that Chintu does not move much.”
Chintu is their four year old, their only son and the light of their life.
He was chatting like a parrot and playing in the morning when he dropped him off at day care on his way to hospital. Whatever has happened?
Being a pediatric surgeon and having seen many cases of acute illnesses Doctor Shashank was going crazy now. His thoughts were going very which way. What if it is acute appendicitis, or pancreatitis or pyloric stenosis? What if he cannot make it? Anything can go wrong if he has to go for surgery: bad reaction to anesthesia, blood loss, what if he cannot come out of Anastasia. He has seen it when kids died during surgery. “How do I make sure everything goes fine? How? How? Dear God help me.”
He was their only child, born after many years after marriage. “God help us please.”
“This stupid traffic. Why is it not moving? “
“Oh god pardons me for all the mistakes I made in my life: For not caring about you, for not praying ever in my entire life. “
He took out his cell phone and dialed to his father in-law,
“Pa, You wanted to do that ‘aaushya homa’ for Chintu and we were saying no, Please call the priests and do it right away. “ The sworn atheist was thinking god should be brought into picture now.
“Shashank, is that really you who is talking?” His father in law could not believe it.
“Yes pa, It is me, Chintu seems very sick.”
“OK. My son, don’t worry. I will talk to the priests right away. You don’t worry too much. Chintu will be all right”
Then Shashank Called his mother’s number.
“Ma, Chintu is not well. Latha brought him home from school. He is not even able to talk, looks like severe stomach ache. Ma, I am worried”
“Oh Shashi, don’t worry my boy. This is common in kids this age. He will be all right.”
“No Ma Latha told he is having a severe pain Ma.” Now Shashank is almost crying.
“Shashi don’t worry I will tie 101 rupees to god in Chotu’s name.”
“And we all can pay a visit to Tirupathi and I will offer Chotu’s hair and my hair to Venkatesha Ma.”
“What? “Kamala could not believe her ears. All his life he never listened to her and never visited any temple and made a single prayer, now ready to offer hair to God ?
“Shashi, get to grips my son. Everything will be all right. “She could not digest the fact that an expert surgeon and a UK trained reputed doctor losing his cool.
When Shashank reached home, he ran to his son. He was lying on the bed clutching his tummy and screaming at the top of his voice.
“Chintu My little angle,” Shashank pressed Chintu’s tummy and checked with stethoscope, took temperature, when he pressed Chintu stomach, the kid was squirmed with pain.
“See how much he is twitching with pain. Did the vomit?” He asked Latha.
“Yes, morning when I gave him a Dosa, he vomited. I thought it is his usual thing: whenever he doesn’t like something he vomits. “
“Latha this is appendicitis. I am damn sure. We have to scan it and confirm and we have to do appendectomy”, saying this Shashank rushed out.
“I am going back to the hospital and will send the ambulance. I will go ahead and arrange for the operation. I have to call the Anesthetist and check the blood bank etc. And I will ask Guru to do the surgery. I cannot do it myself “He was shivering and in tears when he thought of cutting open his own child.
“Shashi, Drive carefully.” “God, take care of my little son. Latha was also crying.
After half an hour, after making all the arrangements for surgery he called Latha. “Ambulance will be there any time now. “
“Oh Shashi, at this very second I was about to call you” Latha was very calm and sounded relieved. “We don’t need an ambulance or surgery.”
“What? What are you telling?”
“Your mom came here, she checked Chintu and then when I was in bathroom, she took him to the doctor’s clinic on our street corner, and got him enema and Chintu is fine now. He is playing outside. “
“My goodness, ma is — she is great!
“Of course she is. And Shashi, you will look cute with clean shaven head.” Latha was laughing.
“Ma told about your Tirupathi promise”