September 2004 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman -  Contact  Current Month  Previous  Next  Index  Software

Synopsis

So where have I been? Well, it's a cumulative story that I'm not going to go into in detail. Let's say I've been on strike. My access to my computer was limited, so in the end I just stopped.

It's difficult to remember what happened in an average month if you don't note it down as you go. In brief, my sinuses started to play up again, so I more or less banned myself from The Watchman and TGIF. They have no extraction, and are consequently full of smoke. To compound that I had too much to drink one night and cursed out Suresh, the owner of the Watchman over it, thus reinforcing my own ban.

In the search for less smoky watering holes we discovered Tiger Bay. I say discovered, well I already knew it was there, but had thought it looked rather expensive. It's on the third floor of a yuppie shop on MG Road called "The Bombay Store". They'd had a poster outside that mentioned oysters, so one Sunday lunchtime we went in to check it out. Turns out it's prices are about the same as TGIF, and it's a seafood restaurant which is a plus for Terry, and it has a nice quiet bar with extraction. So now it's a favourite.

At some point in the month I got a boil, or probably rather a carbuncle just above my right shoulder blade. Don't know why, I'm not usually prone to that sort of thing. Of course I ignored it for a week, hoping it would go away, but by then it was looking pretty angry. We asked the neighbors which was a good hospital to go to, and on a Saturday morning, went to the Manipal hospital on Airport Road.

At first, all went well. They gave me a dinkie credit-card style registration card - or rather sold me one - and I got to see a general surgeon pretty quickly. As I expected, he said he'd have to cut it open and clean it out. But from that point things started to go downhill. We were asked to wait, and did so for an hour or so, then there was talk about keeping me in overnight, and finally someone came to take me for an ECG. At that point I developed both impatience and visions of a large and escalating bill, and we left.

As an alternative, we went to the Cambridge hospital, right at the end of our street. It doesn't look much from the outside, but inside it's clean and friendly. Once again I got to see a doctor almost immediately. She agreed with the other doctor, and as he had done, asked me if I was diabetic. I said in both cases that I didn't think so. The first doctor said I should get checked sometime. The one at Cambridge signalled to the duty sister, who brought a blood sugar testing machine and fed it with a blood sample from my finger. She looked at the result, and said no you aren't.

Then she took me upstairs, stuck me on a delivery room bed (Cambridge is primarily a gynecological hospital), pumped me up with Novocain, and slit it open. She didn't like it, though it felt a lot better when she was finished, and I was told to come back on Monday evening to see the surgeon there. He didn't like it either, and told me he wanted to cut it out completely, and that I should fast and come back at seven in the morning so he could do it under a GA. Visions of the medical bill re-appeared, but this time I turned up dutifully, and the deed was done. I was out by early afternoon the next day. The bill was RS 5000 - about $100, for surgeon, anesthetist, and an attendant theatre sister. My attachment to India was augmented - you can't fart in a US hospital for that. The antibiotics etc. to follow up cost RS 300.

During the following weeks I went back daily to have the dressing changed, and soon got to know most of the people who work there. The dressing change was RS 30 a shot. It's good to know there's somewhere like that barely five minutes away.
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