(This is the fifth part of a fictional short story - In you we trust. You can find the first part here.)
"I can't believe no one told you yet!", said Aparna. Dr. Jha's face was very serious. Aparna came to meet him before her session. It was a week since the incident had happened. Nothing was done about it. She came to Dr. Jha to check what he was going to do about the incident. No, not the alarm. Alarms happen all the time. Even air detector alarms. But a senior technician slapping a junior technician. That couldn't be allowed!
Dr. Jha asked when this had happened. "Exactly a week back. Last Friday. In the evening shift.", Aparna replied. Dr. Jha immediately understood. Of course no one would complain. Who would? The junior techs? The patients? Who would take on the mighty technician and risk his wrath?
"Aparna", Dr. Jha continued, "are you facing any problems in your dialysis?"
"Ok, then you forget about this. I will deal with it."
"Don't worry. I will deal with it. I am telling you na!"
"Ok Doctor." Aparna got up to go to the unit and get started. As she was leaving the OP room, Prakash was entering. They avoided eye contact. The last two sessions had been similar. No eye contact. Prakash would avoid all conversation. Aparna also did not say a word. Nothing much changed inside the unit. The junior was back the very next day. Everything seemed normal.
Aparna wondered why no one had complained to the Doctor. Well, patients would definitely not complain. For one, they had nothing to do with it. And then, who wanted to upset the lead technician? But what about the staff? The staff were probably too scared to complain against their senior. He had all the power in the unit. Dr. Jha fully trusted him. The patients loved him. So, was nothing going to be done about this? Perhaps. Unless Dr. Jha puts his foot down.
Prakash entered the unit after about five minutes. He went and sat at the nursing station. Aparna was waiting for him to come and start the session. He got busy on the inventory register. After a couple of minutes, he called out to the junior tech who had assisted him last Friday. He whispered something in his ear. The junior looked surprised. He came over to Aparna's bed and said he was going to start the session as Prakash sir was busy. Aparna's heart became leaden. So this was what happened if you complained!
Luckily the session started without any problems and the cannulation wasn't bad either. But Aparna felt her eyes become heavy once the session was on and the tech had also moved away. She fought off her tears.
After a while Dr. Jha came on his rounds of the unit. Prakash accompanied him as he moved from bed to bed. When he came to Aparna's bed, there was no discussion about the incident or the complaint. After the session, Aparna went to his OP room but he had left. She was about to dial his cell phone on her way to the car. But she disconnected when she realized it was 9 in the night. What had the Doctor told Prakash?
She couldn't sleep until late that night. She kept thinking about the last one week. She was wondering if she had done anything wrong. Now that she had complained against Prakash, would he never cannulate her? Would she always be cannulated by the junior techs? What if she ran into complications during the session that couldn't be handled by the juniors? What if Prakash refused to help? Should she change her unit? The others were too far away.
Aparna called Dr. Jha next morning and asked him what he had told Prakash. Dr. Jha said he had sorted the matter. Prakash would control his temper and not slap anyone in the unit. "That's it? No punishment?", she asked.
"Aparna, this is not a school where we can punish students. I counseled him on how to behave with junior staff. After all he is very good at his work. A few rough edges for sure. But nothing that can't be corrected. How are you feeling?"
"Fine doctor. Thank you. Ok bye doctor." Aparna said as she hung up.
On the next session on Monday, Aparna dreaded what was going to happen as she walked towards the dialysis unit. When she went in Prakash was cannulating another patient. She checked her weight as usual and went over to her regular bed. After a few minutes Prakash came over to her and started the process of beginning dialysis. Aparna felt a little relieved. They did not speak anything. But at least he was starting her session.
The next session when she entered the unit Prakash greeted her and asked her how she felt. She smiled back and responded. Within a few more more sessions, both were normal. The past was forgotten, Aparna felt. In her own interest, she must be on good terms with Prakash. Let's face it, I need him more than he needs me.