Thursday, 10 September 2009

Safety in Delhi?

I made a friend recently. Elsie, I'll call her, runs the antique stall in the village. A real eccentric, smells wonderfully of expensive perfume, hugely charismatic and jolly in the extreme, she asked after Zach. 'How's your boy?' she enquired while Monk, my waggy Max replacement, bounded up at her in joyful exhuberance. She knows Zach. When he's reasonably sane he takes Monk for walks on the Heath. He passes by Elsie's stalls and stops, no doubt to louchely light a cigarette and chat to Elsie or to talk with Ken her partner about the latest football stories.

I imagine Zach there on a cold winter's day, collar up, huddled over lighting the fag, while Elsie regales him with the latest local gossip. He's charmed her. When she saw me after Sam had returned from Delhi, she then too enquired about Zach. 'Where's your boy? I haven't seen him for weeks...' I told her what had happened to him. The journey to Leh. The meltdown. The drugs he had apparently been fed by the 'friends' he had made while they watched him as one does a clown or the funniest comedian. Her face fell and tears reached her eyes. 'I know just how you feel,' she said to me. She didn't have to say much. I could tell that she really could empathise. 'You know,' she continued, 'it's not his fault. When you start to lose it, the distance between the time that you can stop and do something is so small, so very tiny that it's almost an impossibility to do anything about it...' So she knows a lot about this, I thought.

Today, after being dragged around the corner by the ever-affectionate Monk, almost knocking over the bric-a-brac and pictures and into Elsie's arms, she asked again after Zach. I considered the question. How do you answer it? 'He's safe,' I said. She looked up at me and smiled. 'Well, that's something, isn't it? At least he's safe.'

I suppose he's safe. We're, what, five, six thousand miles away? We have to trust the hospital, the consultant, the attendants, nurses, Ragesh... We don't really know what's happening there but then we didn't know what was happening to Zach when he was in hospital in Greece or Ecuador or Thailand. Various people gave us feedback. The only feedback we get from Zach is that he 'shouldn't be there.' When asked by Sam why, his answer was that he should still be in Leh, 'fighting the fight in Iraq/Afghanistan...' Whatever that means. Still delusional, is the reply.

So safety is paying hospital bills and bills for Ragesh and extra bills for Ragesh to go and buy food for Zach because Zach refuses to eat the food at the hospital and then there's more clothes to buy for him and... Well, it's still safer him being there than here because at least we know that he's not knocking around the streets of Delhi, making his home in a market and scoring as much as he can from the local dealers. Well, at least I hope he's not...


Anonymous said...

Respected Mam,,,,,,,
Don’t know what exactly is happening to me for the first time in my life,,,,,,,,,I m not just able to write,,,,,,,,o writing is one of my favourite pastimes but here I am confused but I think I would better start with assuring a mother that her son is safe and absolutely in good hands,,,,,,,his treatment is going well,,,,,,his manic symptoms are subsiding,,,he is more co-operative and amenable to instructions…..his psychotic symptoms have disappeared completely,,,,,,all in all a good recovery.
Now let me take on the cynic……this part is a little easier,,,I just have to let it go with the flow. Firstly mam, let me tell you something about this hospital called vimhans …..this hospital may as well be surrounded by slums which in fact is not true only a very small gheeto near one boundry wall…….the women may be found bottoms up on the streets,,,,,the lanes (which in fact is just one lane not so commonly used to access the hospital ) may stink,,,,,,but still VIMHANS is the best with the patient care and the psychiatry. Its one of the centers ,,,,,the mecca ,,,,of psychiatry were the international standards of practice are employed. And ya mam,,,,,,the doctors are not monsters either nor are the staff or the attendants.
Oh don’t I remember my consultant giving zach money for his extra needs so many a times,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and don’t I clearly remember hospital ( RACIST) attendants and staff heeding to his every need,,,,,,taking his aggression in a very nice way………ordering food from canteen for him……….and let me tell you mam I was not day dreaming.
I don’t know about zachs dynamics of his relationship with his I-pod wielding,,,,,,Addidas shoe wearing “MONK” friend ( it’s the last thing on earth he is like,,,,,a monk )…….nor do I want to comment,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he is staying with him and that is enuf for all of us now,,,,,,,may be we can discuss it further once zach is back home.
Its dead of night may be Its nearing morning,,,,,,had a bad night at hospital……..the new admission is troubling all the staff……need to go and diffuse the crisis…………………………the doctor goes to work.

Ros Morris said...

Dear Anonymous,

Having just read your comment, I appreciate your views. It would be nice to discuss more with you but I don't know who you are - the thing speaks for itself.

So far I am very impressed with the hospital and the doctors. From my perspective, it would appear that the staff have a 'handle' on 'Zach' that few others have had hitherto.

I hope that the new crisis was diffused. The environment creates such.

Not being there, I can only go by what I am told...