Travelling is perhaps the worst possible time for you to injure yourself seriously, especially if you are far away from the comforting words of mommy, and the ‘I told you sos’ of daddy. Be glad, because unlike you readers, I learnt this lesson the hard way.
The night was cold. Like the hearts of people who chomp down an entire chocolate bar without sharing. The pain was unbearable. Like the faces of the people watching others chomp down an entire bar of chocolate without sharing. And finally with my life hanging in the balance, I entered the government hospital of Sukkhar.
You see I was travelling from Karachi to Lahore with a bunch of friends, when I met with an accident midway and needed urgent medical care. To make things interesting, fate decided to test my patience in one of the remote places of the country, where the word doctor meant a man with wild hair throwing sand at you to cure you of the evils within, that made you develop that weird case of diarrhea. Of course my biasness may be due to the fact that I had to be taken to the neighbouring city of Sukkhar 45 minutes and countless potholes away for treatment.
After the life threatening accident, when the ambulance first arrived, my shock had subsided to give way to pain. But nothing prepared me for what was to follow. The stretcher, ready to carry me to the vehicle, was a piece of cloth stitched within two wooden poles. Now the Lord has blessed me with ample umm body mass, so I do not criticize the poor people carrying me, but the leg that was dangling from the rest of me, did just that.
By mercy of the Lord and the heroism of my friends, I arrived at Sukkhar’s government hospital still alive and in one piece. But the nightmare had just begun. In severe pain with a dislocated bone, the emergency staff were clearly in the mood for some fun. When the jumping excuse for a stretcher brought me inside, I was on my stomach, but what joy is it to see someone suffering, when you can’t really look at their sad eyes? So I was patiently told I had to turn. The nerve of the people being patient with a patient.. who wasn’t really in the mood for patience?
However not being in a position to do what I loved(argue), I heaved the remaining bit of strength into turning over my back. Oh it still wasn’t over. Two fat injections of what I am hoping were drugs were pumped into me, and away for Xrays I was taken. Apparently turning over wasn’t enough, my poor disjointed leg had to be straightened too. Did I mention I am a screamer yet? Well so I am. God bless my friends who endured a slew of curses coupled with the highest frequency of screams as they tried to straighten my leg. I was later told it took them nearly half an hour to do so.
Then began the poking and prodding. I also do not like being touched. Especially by weird looking men in creepy hospitals, particularly when drugged. While this was unfolding, my companions found time to ‘make calls’. I happen to be travelling with some really connected people who knew people who also knew people. And then of course my parents were informed, who also knew people. By the time I was shifted from the Xray room to another paint peeled room, more than two dozen people had gathered. And I told every single one of them I loved them. Yes you read that right. Maybe it was the shock, more likely the drugs from Sukkhar. Take note weird stalker if you are reading this. The only thing you need to make me profess my undying love for you is to get me high on medication from Sukkhar.
For my friends, clearly saving my life wasn’t enough. They had to bear all the love which had by now replaced the blood pouring from my wounds. Oh and it was January. Nearly freezing, if you like me are from Karachi where winter starts the minute temperature drops below 20 degrees. Seeing me shiver like a rickshaw on a joyride, my friend went to ask a nurse to get me a blanket. But well nothing happened. After asking for the umpteenth time, a nurse promptly appeared with one adding that while the hospital was under equipped and they had no extra blankets, she took this one from another patient because one of the ‘people’ had told her to make arrangements. We all decided it would be better to survive the cold.
It was well into the night and the doctor had yet to arrive. The ‘peeps’ did their magic once again, and soon the doctor showed up very jovially, happy to be there at such late an hour. Such miracle workers those people were. Long story short, I finally received enough medication to dream of unicorns, or were those rhinos? When I woke up next, the pain was gone, I could hear nothing and it was pitch black. Great I thought. This is the end of Sidra Rizvi. Looking for the ‘white light’ or Satan more likely, I called out ‘Am I dead?’ ‘No!’ replied a friend, ‘we are all here’. Oh perfect, that meant I was blind. Nope came back the reply. The electricity was out. In a hospital!
So by then I was patched up well enough to be taken back to Karachi and by Fajr the next morning, I was loaded onto an ambulance to disappear into the night. Sukkhar had seen more action in those couple of hours than it would in a full year, in what was one of the most high profile cases in that hospital’s history.
Looking back at it all, I cannot believe how lucky I got. First with amazing friends who risked their precious lives to save a mere meagre mine. Second, getting healthcare in a place where people have to wait hours and hours for doctors to grace them with their presence. As relieved I am to live in a place with a well established medical care, it saddens me deeply the plight of those poor citizens at the hands of the government. How many people die just waiting for doctors, or from lack of proper facilities? That X ray machine alone was older than me. I was well ‘connected’, so I got a bed, a blanket, and a doctor who wasn’t planning on coming before 8am the next morning. What of those in worse shape than me, without any outside help. Poor people, with no one to turn to but God, to save their loved ones? Who helps them? Who comes to aid them? Do they even get enough drugs to turn them amorous for every moving thing they see? Is it too much to hope things can ever improve for them? Or will I too soon stop thinking about it and go back to being immune to other people’s suffering?
PS all those who helped me throughout, not a day goes by when I am not thankful to you all. You know who you are! I really do love you, I say this without taking the drugs.