Dadu! You again landed up with a fracture!...my shriek almost gave another heart attack to the cardiac patients admitted in the adjacent Cardiology ward. I was standing near the hospital bed where my grandfather was lying with a Plaster cast across his right foot.
‘Oh! These hospital people were missing me…so I had to visit them’ Dadu replied nonchalantly.
So, what’s the current count now? 18 or 19? The sarcasm in my voice was evident.
'This is my 19th fracture, but this is a minor one, only a hair-line crack on my toe' I would not have believed him if I had not known his case-history. He was suffering from acute osteoporosis. Thus, even a small knock or twist resulted fracture of his brittle bones. This deficiency developed in later part of his life and even multiple shots of external calcium supplement didn’t helped to improve the calcium count of his bones. He first broke his bone in the year 1967 when he was still working with Defence Accounts Department of Central Government. That accident changed his whole life. He fell down in a slippery part of his bathroom and broke his left femur bone. Those days, in a small town like Allahabad the medical amenities were too rickety. The government hospitals expressed their inability to procure an orthopedic within stipulated number of days so Dadu has to rush to a private nursing home which claimed of providing orthopedic help to the distressed patients.
That femur fracture required a surgery. However, that hospital very neatly botched up the whole procedure. His bone was wrongly assembled which resulted in shortening of his left foot by 1.5 inches. Yeah…he was never able to walk straight after that! They did couple of rectifying surgeries after this mess but it was futile. Not only that he was crippled for lifetime but few of the nerves of his leg also got affected. Thus the blood supply to that particular limb was also weakened. Not only the hospital messed up the surgical part but they also failed to provide a decent post-surgery support. While his stay in hospital, his family members noticed a small boil on his left ankle. It was brought into the visiting doctor’s notice but they never paid much heed to it. That boil remained there for few months and after that opened up as a wound. However, this was not a simple wound. It refused to get heeled because of lack of blood supply to that part. So, Dadu has to carry that wound on his body which sometimes reduced in size but never heeled completely for rest of his life except once, i.e. next thirty five years!
The only time the wound was completely cured by the help of a bit advanced technology, i.e. skin grafting. A sample of skin was pitched from his thigh muscles (donor area) and placed on the open wound part of his ankle. This procedure was done in early nineties when modern & advanced healthcare facilities have started knocking the door of common man of India.
Modern Day Healthcare has indeed arrived as a boon to the mankind. The advanced medicines & vaccinations, diagnostic tests with the aid of superior machines, Hi-tech surgeries, all these factors has elevated the chances of human race to live a aware, healthy and fit life. Today, whenever I come across any news, article, post about the modern healthcare amenities like this, my heart squirms in pain and helplessness for my grandfather who fought an unyielding battle for three and a half decades. I wish if the present day healthcare infrastructure would have been there to aid him to recoup from a bungled up fracture treatment, the precious thirty five years of his life would have been so different.