Chapter  6, Pt 3 of 5


We tried to live up to our reputation of being good patients and avoided pressing on the bells or calling the nurses unnecessarily but one night we blotted our copybook completely. It was about 10.30, and I was settling down to sleep, after lying awake in the dark, thinking for about half an hour. Suddenly I heard a terrific bang, which startled me. I could not switch on the light to see what had happened. “Are you all right, Mrs Hockley? Did you hear the bang?” and in the next minute we all shouted for the nurse and pressed on our bells as hard as we could.

Within a few minutes we had the whole night staff in our ward. All the lights went on and everybody seemed to be talking at once. Poor Mrs Jones, she had fallen off her high bed, and it took four nurses and a doctor to put her back in position. They feared that being a heart patient, the shock might be too much for her. The doctor examined her thoroughly and took her blood pressure, but found no ill effects on her heart, although she was bruised all over.

It was a long time before we settled down again for that night. But when we talked to Mrs Jones about it in the morning, she seemed very surprised. She did not remember a thing about the fall or the commotion she had caused. We had to tell her all about it.

Mrs Jones was removed to another ward after that, and Mrs Hockley, who had made a quick recovery, was allowed to go home. Then the life became dull and somewhat boring for me. As usual the nurses wheeled my bed on to the balcony every day and I watched the same old road, the movements of the buses and the people walking to and fro. I saw the green fields and the impressive buildings beyond. But all that view had become very stale for me and I longed for a change, for home surroundings, and to be with my dear ones. Two months seemed to be a long time to be away from them.

Mr Maingot was very kind in giving me permission to go home for the month of July, but I was made to understand that I must not put my foot on the ground for that time, and must return to the hospital for the delivery.

It was good to be home after nearly two months’ absence from it. Sheel, Mrs Smith and Jessie had been busy turning our drawing room into a bedroom for me. They even fixed an emergency bell over the bed so that I could call them any time, but I did not have any need for that during the day, our Vijay was always coming in and out of the room and helping me in his small way.

I had had enough training from the patients in hospital to try to overcome my disability, and to make the best of things. I persuaded Sheel to get me a wheel chair so that I could be mobile. It came, and now I had to train myself” to get into it without putting my foot on the ground. My son solved that problem for me. He brought the chair near me and held it while I shuffled myself into it, then off we went. He would be delighted to wheel me from room to room.

The person who won my great admiration and sincere thanks in those days was our daily help, Jessie Radford. She took it on herself to give me the bedpan whenever I needed it, and to keep it clean for me. It was not her job and she could have easily said “no” to it, but she did it with a smile and I shall never forget her kindness.

The month passed away very quickly and it was in the small hours of the morning of 6th August that I had to press the emergency bell under my pillow. Sheel was down in no time. “We cannot take any risks,” he said. “Let us get ready.”

I moved my arms and hands and collected a few things from the table and the bureau. He came down all ready, lifted me into the front seat of the car and we were on our way to hospital once again.

It was a stormy night and we encountered thunder and lightning all the way. It was still dark when we reached our destination. Sheel must have telephoned them beforehand because there were two nurses waiting with a wheel chair just outside the casualty ward for us.

So you were back in the hospital. You held back your tears and kissed your husband “Good Night”. You heard him say the same words. “She is in your hands nurse.” Yes, you belonged to the hospital now. You were one of the cases. You were wheeled into a lift and then again into a very small room adjoining the labour room. Here you changed into a hospital gown, they took your temperature, felt your pulse and so on, gave you a cup of tea then left you.

You thought of all sorts of things, mishaps, dangers, etc. You were afraid that your case was abnormal, that is why you had to come to the hospital. You yourself believed in plenty of exercise during pregnancy, especially during the last few months of it, and yet you had not put your foot on the ground for the last three to four months. So you could not expect a normal delivery. What would they do? Use forceps? And if worst came to the worst, do a Caesarean? You knew that that would be serious for you and your baby.

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