Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An Encounter

He entered the hospital waiting room while the nurse was measuring my height and doing some other preliminaries.

“Have you grown taller?” he asked, smiling

I was taken aback by his friendliness as well as by the question.

“Oh, I wish,”
I replied.

After the nurse had left, I asked him if he was there to see the same doctor. He said, yes, and that it was his third visit.

“You mean, he didn’t cure you on the first attempt?” I asked, attempting a bit of humour.


“I’m just here for follow ups. I had a brain tumour removed. And I’ve to follow up to ensure everything’s ok up here,”
he said, tapping his forehead.

I could have bitten my tongue. But he didn’t seem to mind my weak joke. I noticed there were faint dark crescents below his eyes. Old battle scars.

“That must have been something,” I murmured.

“Well, yeah,”
he said, “it was a benign one but it was causing pressure on the brain, so they had to take 80% of it out.”

“And what of the remaining 20%?”
I asked

“Well, that’s still there. They’re monitoring it. It’s been 2 ½ years now, and it’s behaving itself. Who knows what the future holds…” he trailed off, still smiling.

The doctor came out of his chamber and asked me to step in. He noticed the other person in the waiting room and waved at him, recognizing him. He waved back.

He looked up and smiled when I came out. I muttered a ‘Good Luck’ before leaving.

20%, I kept thinking. Imagine walking around knowing there’s a latent volcano inside you.

I just wish I’d asked him his name.

3 comments:

bluespriite said...

That was very poignant.. I wish you meet him again.. :)

fillerman said...

I am an occasional visitor. This story touched my heart... My aunt has 2 brain tumours both of which can only be 80% removed. This gentleman you describe is lucky. I pray his luck and his good humour never desert him.

Leela A said...

Bluesprite: Thank you. I hope so too, under better circumstances though :)

Fillerman: Thanks for your comment, and for sharing about your aunt. I hope she's doing well. You know, it's ironic you use the word 'lucky'. I thought I was lucky when I met him. And strangely I found him saying he felt lucky because he had a great doctor and that the tumour hadn't spread.