First Day At Work

First Day At Work

4 mins 8.8K 4 mins 8.8K

She was about fifteen years old. Nothing special about her. Ordinary. With ordinary dreams and desires, ordinary longings and loathings, an ordinary lifestyle, an ordinary family and a desire to lead an ordinary life.


He was about twenty-three, a bungling idiot, a narcissist, who, by some twist of fate had become a doctor. How- he himself wondered about that. So, here he was, almost four months into his compulsory rotatory internship (aptly named because it included a great deal of rotations and revolutions in the wards) going for his first day in the medicine ward. It was, incidentally, Doctor's Day.


She was there since three -four days. It all started with a low grade fever with body ache that progressed to a high fever with vomiting and a persistent headache that felt like her head was going to blow. She was treated at the local physician's. However, she got worse. Started drifting in and out of consciousness. That was when, by consultation with the knowledgeable ones in the village, she was brought to the medical college.


He reached the ward a little late, a process which he progressively upgraded to 'a bit late', 'quite late', 'late late' and 'didn't come at all'. But that is about the future. He went and searched for the registrar and presented his joining letter which she traded with a sermon on punctuality. Sermon over, they went for rounds.


She never saw him. No one knows what was the last thing she saw. But it is certain she never saw him.


He saw her immediately on entering the cubicle. An unconscious girl, with unseeing eyes, writhing in agony, choking in her own secretions. He and one of his senior colleagues brought the suction machine and suctioned off the secretions from the throat. Her breathing eased. They gave her some injections and some fluids. They continued their rounds.


She was in her own world, moving in and out of consciousness, trying to gather her thoughts before she lost them again and again. Somewhere far, she heard her mother calling out to her. She couldn't see her. She tried to speak but words refused to form and be heard. She slipped into unconsciousness again.


He was bored. Same routine everywhere. Following a hot shot who thinks himself to be nothing short of a king discoursing on an obscure disease with an even obscure name. Same everywhere. Rounds over, they all went to the Doctor's room where a lunch was arranged on the occasion of Doctor's Day. Glutton that he was, he feasted to his heart's content.


She was practically living on the injections and fluids that were being pumped into her. She remembered food, a distant aroma wafting from somewhere. She tried to locate the source of the aroma but failed. She slipped back into the fog.


He went for evening rounds at around five. There were three other interns with him- two girls and one boy. And since it was thought unsuitable for girls to be working nights, it was up to the boys to be doing alternate nights. It fell on the other guy to do the first night's work, so he felt spared for the day. Only he hadn't taken into consideration the acting skills of his female counterparts. They were excused feigning some obscure female illness which the female registrar was prompt in acknowledging. So, he was stuck till ten, all alone pondering about all the situations he could get himself into without even trying.


She felt it. She had been feeling many things, touches and movements -whether she was supposed to feel so was another matter. But it was different. She felt a fear within. She tried to scream. She couldn't. She gasped for breath. Air refused to come inside. She slipped back.


He was called to attend to the girl. She was again choking. Another episode of suctioning. She seemed able to breathe. Her pulse. Feeble. Blood pressure. Falling.

Oxygen. Decadron. Dopamine.

Cellphone. A call to the senior colleague. A shake of the head to the patient's family indicating a bad prognosis. The wait.


She felt a bit better. But it was getting dark. Night was creeping. She was feeling so sleepy. If only she could sleep.


He was there constantly. Checking for the slipping signs that still bound her to life. Her limbs were cold. Blood pressure not record able. He could feel her pulse though. Or was it his own pulse? His heart beating fast at the thought of losing his first patient?


She was feeling too sleepy now. She was yearning for it. Sleep, blissful sleep. Only if she weren't feeling this cold.


He saw the senior come. A few quick checks. One or two last step measures, done for the sake of routine rather than with any hope. The declaration. The paperwork. The crying relatives. The sadness in his heart, her image imprinted upon his memory.


She went away.


He looked at his watch, saw his replacement at the door. Time to go, he thought.


He went away.


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