(This is the sixteenth part of a short story which is entirely a work of fiction.)
Dr. Som got back into his daily routine soon after the project so close to his heart was shelved. This was the best way he could help get over the heart-break he suffered. Within a couple of weeks, things were all back to normal between the couple and at Narayana Hospital.
One evening, after a particularly gruelling day at the hospital, as Dr. Som took off his shoes and socks at home, he noticed that his feet were swollen. He thought it was due to the long hours he spent on his desk without walking. He made a mental note to walk around his room every hour or so. The next day, during his OP hours, he got up every hour between two patients and took a walk in his room. He felt a little tired within a few steps. He found that weird. He ignored it however and just stood up, took a few small steps and then continued to see the patients.
This went on for a few days. He however felt that his discomfort was getting worse. One evening, as he completed his consultations, he got up and as he was going towards the door of his cabin, he suddenly felt a huge rush of blood towards his head. He felt suffocated. He reached out to hold onto something. He felt his vision becoming blurred and then totally black. Within a moment, he lost consciousness and fell onto the floor.
Hearing the noise of his falling, the office buy rushed in. He was shocked to see Dr. Som on the floor, lying motionless. He rushed to the intercom telephone and called the ICU. Within a few minutes, Dr. Som was rushed to the ICU and the intensivist attended to him.
Dr. Som opened his eyes after about fifteen minutes. He was surprised to find himself in the hospital ICU, Vasudha looking over him anxiously and almost all the senior doctors of the hospital surrounding his bed.
“Sir, don’t worry. You must relax. Your BP was high and you collapsed.”
“What? My BP? High? How much?”
“Sir, please don’t worry.”
“What, don’t worry? Tell me. What exactly happened to me?”
One of the senior most doctors who was to his right responded, “Sheshadri, it was 210/110. You collapsed. We have put you on…”
Dr. Som drifted to sleep again.
The next time he woke was after about an hour. By then the doctors had drawn samples of his blood and sent them to the lab for testing. This time, only Vasudha was by his side apart from some nurses. He asked her, “What’s happening Vasudha? Where is everyone?”
Vasudha responded, “Sheshu, you are fine. They have drawn some blood to get some tests done. Dr. Murthy is at the lab and he will be back with the results soon.”
At the lab, Dr. Murthy couldn’t believe what he saw in front of him. Dr. Som’s kidney function was severely compromised. For the first time in his life, he had encountered a doctor, and that too a nephrologist with kidney failure. He was at a loss now. How would he explain this to Dr. Som and his wife? What would he say to them? How would they react?
Dr. Murthy immediately called a meeting of the senior nephrologists in his cabin and updated them about the test results. He assigned the senior most among them, Dr. V. Sampath, the chief duty of treating Dr. Som for the moment. They decided that the two of them would go to the ICU and talk to Vasudha first.