Even in the hospital Dad couldn’t help himself. He was still the same old man, who hated the societies preferential treatment to the have’s and the have not’s. As he had “Dr” in front of his name all the attendants and nurses treated him well. Unfortunately, his neighbour was not privy to the same, sometimes even the basic requests were ignored. The guy next to him related to us that couple of nights ago, he had no water and the nurses had just ignored his several requests, Dad almost had a tumble trying to give him water from his jug. Dad had even shared some of the food that mum had taken him. That guy was so grateful. But dad was annoyed and a tad bit ashamed that he was treated well and the other not so. If Dad was alive and living in Australia now, he would have been so happy. So, happy to note that there was a society where you are an equal in a Public Hospital. In fact you are an equal in most places.
I wrote letters to my uncles who were living far away, telling them that Dad has pulled through, that Dad was coming home tomorrow. What a whirlwind of events. But, we knew, it was a long way from us returning back to TRI (Tea Research Institute) or to a normal life. There was suggestion that he could do light duties in Colombo with the Tea Board. We knew he was still fragile, but he has pulled through the biggest hurdle. We will make sure that he doesn’t set back in his old workaholic habits. We will take care of him. Dad’s 53rd birthday was coming up at the end of the month. We will celebrate it, as we never have. I saw a funny birthday card in the shops, something about old age, so I bought it then and there. Life was good again.
I was thinking this was going to be our last evening visit to the hospital. Dad was coming home tomorrow evening. How sweet does that sound. Dad had worked out what needs to be done. He wanted mum and Cuz Sulo to come in the morning with several cakes from “Green Cabin” a popular cake shop and some good tea(leaves)from Tea Research Institute. He had a list of doctors, nurses and attendants to whom he wanted to give gifts.
He asked Velu (a man assistant given to us by TRI), Thangamma (our long time maid) and myself to stay back and clean the house, as he expected many visitors. He told us the number of people he had invited to our house in TRI. Not just for a meal, these invitations were for them to come and stay with us and have a holiday. He was in an elated mood. So were we. Much better than him confused and disoriented. I shake that memory off, just celebrate girl, that was just a bad dream, I said to myself.
*Note: for the benefit of those who have not read the first 6 parts of this story, at present we were living in Colombo in one of my cousin’s house, our usual place of residence is Talwakelle (upcountry 4.5 hr drive) where TRI is situated).
The driver was a touch late to pick mum and cuz Sulo. My cuz wanted to be in the Hospital before the surgeons finished their rounds, so she could speak to them. So she asked to be first dropped off in the hospital, before the cake purchases. Mum, decided to follow my cousin to the wards, so she could pack dad’s clothes, toiletries etc and take it with her before going for the cakes. Her thinking was so when taking dad, their hands would be free to concentrate on taking dad to the car safely.
The clock had turned back again. The blaring horns of the traffic outside my window sounded the same that night. It was humid, hot and uncomfortable as always. There was no signs to say that the clock had wound back sixteen days. There were no signs at all to say that the roller coaster was now on free fall.