Monday, February 15, 2016

The Malady of Ageing

There was a half hour wait at the doctor's office. A little boy with big, bright eyes showed up with his parents. On asking him what had happened, he showed me his right arm, which had a huge, black burn scar. The rongmoshal er baaji (colored fire cracker) went off in the wrong direction and burnt his arm.

Despite his injury, the little fellow seemed to be in high spirits, enjoying the attention everyone was giving him. The medicine shop owner gave him a disposable plastic injection cap to play with. He first turned the cap into a makeshift pistol, standing like a cop, hands on hips, and pointing at everyone. Then, he pointed at the doctor's office and said, "daktar kaku ke injection diye debo" (I will give the doctor an injection shot). When the fellow went inside to get his wounds dressed, we heard loud screams and wails. A candy or two would have been nice to pacify him, but all I heard was the doctor's rather scary, baritone voice saying, "noro na noro na, rokto porbe" (Don't move, you will start bleeding again). Rokto! Blood! What a morbid thing to tell a little child.

And why was I there? Because I have no real ailment, except perhaps the malady of old age. I was there with the reports from my blood work for a battery of tests- Blood sugar, urea, thyroid, creatinine, cholesterol, and the other usual suspects. I was pretty convinced that nothing is wrong with me, but science relies on data and not instincts. I have no issues with sleep or hunger, I could eat anything and fall asleep anywhere. But I am in that age bracket that demands that I get myself checked from time to time. I was there at the same doctor 16 years ago when I had a real injury, like the little one did. I had slipped and fractured my leg. Dad had hauled me up on his shoulders like we do with babies, and carried me to the doctor's. I was no lightweight back then, but being lifted seems unimaginable for me now. I was instructed to rest for a month, and what a ball I had. Friends visited me every now and then, signing "get well soon" notes on my pink plaster, turning it into a mural. I was almost sorry to let go of my plaster after a month.

The nature of my ailments was different then. Now, I go to the doctor to make sure that my heart, lungs, kidneys, and innards are working fine, and I am not at a risk of having an unforeseen heart attack, collapsing on the streets, and dying out of the blue.


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