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It is almost a month since the junior son fractured his wrist. It is now time to have the plaster cast removed. So off go the Mom and son to KIMS. That’s Kerala Institute of Medical Science for you. It is a long drive from home. They make it in good time. Having completed the formalities at the reception, Mom glances at the slip of paper she has been given. ‘Token number 3’ it says. Ahhh, this will be done soon and Junior can be off to his college, thinks the Mom the innocent babe-in-the-woods that she is. She congratulates herself on successfully waking the sleepy-head of a junior son and making an early start.

The doctors make their appearance only at 10 a.m. The waiting room is still empty save for a couple of middle aged men. How different the waiting room looks and smells from those of an earlier era. ‘And where are the pretty angels of mercy in their white frocks, the short ones at that??’ the wistful eyes of the men seem to suggest as they watch a few of the ‘angels’ flit by in their uniform trousers and shirts.

Slowly the room fills up. Most of the arrivals have various types of plaster cast. There is a small child of about three who has his left hand in a cast. His mother smiling and cheerful tries to cheer the obviously tense child with loving words. Grandma is also there to lend a helping hand. There is a teenaged boy who walks in with the help of crutches. A middle aged lady sits in a wheel chair, her foot in bandages. There are many more with obvious and not so obvious difficulties.

An hour passes. Mom and son are bored now. ‘I should have brought that book!’ Mom tells son. ‘Too late now. The doctor will be here soon’ replies son. Mom sighs and decides to follow son’s example and immerse herself in music. Both now have their ear-phones plugged in and are enjoying the music, son from his ipod and Mom from her mobile. As is usual, something strikes the Mom and she smiles to herself.

Mom (turning to son with a mischievous glint in her eyes, adding to the already existing glint from the light reflecting off her silver-capped pre-molars): “Do you know what must be going through the heads of the rest of them here??” (inclines head to the rest of the waiting crowd)

Son,: (pulling out ear-phone from the ear nearest to Mom with a questioning look): “What??”

Mom: (trying to keep a straight face) They must be thinking, ‘How sad! Both the mother and son seem to be hearing impaired!!’

Son: (laughs, shoulders shaking in silent mirth)

Mom (thoughtfully, valiantly sticking to the straight face): They probably think its hereditary!!”

Mom and son now dissolve into helpless laughter much to the mystery and indulgent amusement of the waiting crowd

At last the doctor makes his appearance. Soon now, thinks the Mom, yep, still the babe-in-the-woods. She is getting impatient. She is pining for her blog-world of which she has not had a glimpse due to her busy schedule. Newcomers are walking in, being shown into the doctor’s room and walking out. At token number three, Mom and son are still waiting their turn with the rest of the crowd in the waiting room. This is puzzling. The wait goes on for an interminable 2 hours. Now son turns to Mom.

Son (pointing to the FRCS (UK) and DNB (Swiss) tags written below the doctor’s name): What do they mean??

Mom (thinking what a dud her 19 year old son is): That he got his FRCS from UK and the other degree from Switzerland.

Son (thoughtfully pointing to another name-plate): Do you mean to say that he got his MS from Ortho and those other string of letters from Hand??

Mom (startled looks to where son points, finds MS (Ortho) and ‘string of letters’ (Hand) written below the doctor’s name)

Mom laughs as son joins, while perplexity level of the waiting crowd rises.

The hospital administration seems to have a great sense of humor, decides the Mom. They have thoughtfully and prominently displayed boards that the patient patients and those accompanying them are forced to stare at while awaiting their turn, if you are not attended to in 45 minutes, you may take up the case with the authorities, they say. When you object you are helpfully told ‘You should have taken an appointment!’ Oh golly, now I get it! You take an appointment and then you will be attended to within 45 minutes. How naïve of me!! And why aren’t we told when we are given slips with ‘token number 3’ written ever so grandly that we’ll be seen by the doctor only if there is a cancellation or gap between appointments?? Oh that!! They shrug their shoulders as if it’s a minor matter. Where can I complain?? Mom asks. Another shrug. Second level, PRO’s office says by the now indifferent front desk. Luckily for everyone concerned ‘token number 3’ is the next one to be ushered in. Doc takes a look. Time for the cast to go. Instructions are given about taking care of the wrist in the coming weeks.

Tired and hungry, Mom and son rush back to where the car has been parked only to find the Omni boxed in by cars parked on all four sides. Ahhh, what civic sense people have especially those with the biggest luxury cars!! Luckily one has a chauffeur asleep in it and Mom wakes him up. He obligingly moves his vehicle a little backwards. Now she has to do some skillful maneuvering, egged on helpfully by a couple or more of friendly chauffeurs who have joined the scene. There is a coconut tree on one side, a Chevrolet Optra on the other and just enough space to squeeze through in between. Gulp!! The helpful strangers enthusiastically chip in with their bit. “A little to the left, …now straight, no worries, keep your wheel straight, ….good, good…. Keep on going…” She makes it, phew! and drives home to some well-deserved lunch and a dekko at what the rest of the bloggers have been up to in her absence.

Reposted from shail-mohan blogs @ sulekha.com