EXPRESSIONLESS EYES4 mins 197 4 mins 197
“No, I don’t want to get cured of this disease. I don’t want anybody’s sympathy. I just want to run away from this hospital …… from this life! I want to escape and go to some faraway place …I am fed up with this damn life ….” Those expressionless eyes of the teenage boy made me depressed. I tried to understand him seeing through the eyes of a doctor as well as a mother. But I failed miserably.
“Sandeep, what is your problem? Tell me” – I asked him with an affectionate smile. “Nothing much, Doctor! This damn life is a burden to me. Why is my heart beating regularly without fail? For whom am I living? I wish I could die…… Let these heartbeats and breathing stop forever ….” He looked away and sighed. I could see the deep anguish in his eyes…. Those tearless eyes…
“Do you have pain in your leg?” I asked him. His right leg was severely infected with a disease called Osteomyelitis. Pus discharge was flowing from the exposed wound. But surprisingly he seems to be ignoring it. The pain inflicted by wounds in his heart seems to be troubling him. Life has given him only sorrows and irritations. A teenager like him should be full of vigor and fun enjoying life. Here he is bedridden with a handicapped leg and disappointed due to the problems of life.
“Why are you bothered about that boy, Doctor? Do you know? his family has a very bad reputation. He does not deserve our sympathy” Nurse Sudha’s words arouse curiosity in her mind. “Please tell me more about his family”- I requested Sudha.
“His mother ran away with her lover. Sandeep is the eldest of the children. He has two small younger sisters. His father is old and weak and he cannot work much. They are struggling to live. On top of that, they are facing cruel criticisms of society. Poor Sandeep! Just because his mother is bad, his whole family is suffering. Is it all fate or some curse?”
“Stop Sudha, I can’t hear more” – Tears were running down my cheeks. I am a sentimental doctor and I get easily affected by the sorrows of my patients. Why did God punish the young boy for his mother’s act? Why so much pain is given in his share of life? Living a miserable life, facing
criticisms and teasing from students, friends and neighbors. Sandeep must be cursing his life. Now the painful disease called Osteomyelitis…. The poor boy is like a bud that is crushed before blossoming into a beautiful flower.
I sent him home, as per his desire, as a case of ‘discharge against medical advice’. Days and months passed by. The boy Sandeep remained as a painful memory in my mind.
One fine morning, the telephone bell dragged me out of my deep sleep.
“Dr Aruna, Good morning! I am Sister Sudha speaking from the Surgical ward. Do you know? That patient called Sandeep… Do you remember him? He committed suicide last night! He jumped in front of a running train!”
I got a shock of my life. I shuddered to think that the poor boy, my favorite patient is no more. Drops of cold sweat started forming on my forehead. “Hello, Doctor…Hello!” The phone receiver fell from my hand. I felt giddy. My husband held me from falling. “What happened darling? I know the news. Nurse Sudha spoke to me in the morning. I know you will react like this. That’s why I always tell you not to get emotionally involved with your patients. It is only because of your sentimental attachment to patients, that you are in pain now. Look Aruna, a compassionate doctor like you will always be in misery. Don’t get attached to your patients” – My husband scolded me with love. I cried on his shoulders like a small child.
“Hari, I hate his mother. She is responsible for his death. Yes, she only killed the poor boy. To hell with her love and lover! Poor Sandeep….” I kept on talking to myself. My husband embraced me and pacified me. “Don’t worry Aruna darling. It is his fate. Just don’t worry”.
I tried to calm down and closed my eyes. Yes, I am a compassionate doctor. In my mind’s eye, I could see the poor boy’s face …. those miserable eyes…. those expressionless eyes asking me “Why this happened to me? Why only me?”- those seemingly expressionless eyes had grief underneath them. Those eyes haunted me in my dreams.……