“For next 48 hours no solid or liquid food, not even water, we need to do more tests on your Mr. Juggernaut” said Dr. Eswaran. The doctor appeared kind, respectful and intelligent.
Forest Park in St. Louis is a wonderful place for recreation. Juggernaut spent most evening in the park walking. He was visiting his daughter living around Forest Park area. During one of his walks in the park, Juggernaut felt a sharp pain in the abdomen, immediately he got admitted into a nearby hospital. The hospital is a well known teaching hospital in the country known for clinical excellence. The doctors are kind and knowledgeable.
Juggernaut was sharing a room with another patient, a middle aged man admitted from overdose of a prescription medication. The patient has a singing talent alright; he started singing intermittently throughout the night waking up Juggernaut. He sang “working my way back to you “by Spinners. Shortly after, he sang “let’s just kiss and say good bye” by Manhattans. His voice was melodious but it was too late into the night for Juggernaut to enjoy particularly on an empty stomach. During early morning hours, the patient got off his bed and started dancing in slow motion with an imaginary person singing “you are everything” by Stylistics. All these early 70’s music brought back memories to Juggernaut when he was much younger and more importantly healthier. Juggernaut was happy to see the patient go after two nights of serenade.
In the morning, a young intern Dr. Hegde came to see Juggernaut. After checking the vitals, she explained some medical issues with Juggernaut. For Juggernaut, it was like being treated in an Indian hospital with so many doctors, either interns, residents, fellows or consultants of Indian origin dropping by for every few hours to check on him.
With the singing patient discharged, Juggernaut hoped to get some sleep, but not so, as another patient was wheeled in to share the room. This patient suffers from schizophrenia; he kept talking to himself loud nonstop, sometimes changing his voice to impersonate another person. The two way conversation discussing a variety of subjects went throughout the night.
Between taking vitals and blood samples, the nursing students kept Juggernaut waking up and the fellow patients, the singer the first two nights and the schizophrenic, the following two nights kept Juggernaut sleepless and tired.
“The intravenous antibiotics combination you are getting should take care of your stomach infection, Mr. Juggernaut”, said Dr. Sharma, a pleasant and friendly face. “If all goes well, you will get to eat from tomorrow morning, only clear food though,” the doctor’s voice was comforting.
It was almost 5 days in the hospital, Juggernaut was anxious to get out since he was feeling fine and having some solid food to eat.
“We could only let you go once you have a BM” said the nurse.
“You know bowl movement,” explained the nurse.
The next several hours, the nurse came checking to hear his belly. “I hear no murmurs yet,” she left.
Another day passed, “Any BM yet?” asked the attending doctor.
“Not yet.” The pressure is mounting on Juggernaut.
“Shit”, thought Juggernaut loudly. On a second thought, “yeah, that’s what has to come out.”
“Your brother-in-law called from Illinois, he said he is a general surgeon, he was asking if you had BM yet” the nurse gave the message.
From past experience Juggernaut understood how much it cost to stay a day in a hospital, around three grand. With BM costing three grand a day and the tiny veins on the hand became port of call for young nursing students to practice placing IV, all Juggernaut was thinking about was BM.
“Well, Mr. Juggernaut, for your own safety and our own concern, we cannot discharge you until you have at least one BM, irrespective of your current normal vitals and blood results,” Dr. Kumar was apologetic.
“I understand,” said Juggernaut disappointingly.
“It is BM now or three grand more later,” Juggernaut thoughts slipped him slowly into sleep.
“But then, it happened.” Juggernaut pulled an emergency help cord in the toilet to let nurse know that he just had a BM. Juggernaut can hear uproar at the nearby nurse station.
The consulting physician Dr. Sharma returned with a big smile and looked at Juggernaut as if he accomplished something big. “Well, now you can go home, Mr. Juggernaut, all the best and take care of yourself,” he said with a pleasant voice.
“I just relieved myself,” said Juggernaut to his wife on the phone.
“I am relieved too,” said Juggernaut’s wife with excitement,” we don’t have to pay extra three grand for a day in the hospital waiting for BM.”