Rich Went Missing – I Found Him in the Hospital!

Mysore, Karnataka, India – At 5 a.m. this morning, I awoke to the sounds of Rich getting sick in our loo. This happened at Colva beach, so I was not too concerned but then he told us his back hurt on the left side. You could tell the pain was really bad because Rich was trying to walk around the room but could not stand up due to the pain. Rich sat on a chair for a while, while Kate and I hypothesized as to what his ailment could be.

After about an hour, the pain got too bad for Rich, so he and Kate left to go to the hospital. By 10 a.m. neither of them had returned and we were being kicked out of our hotel room in two hours. So, I went to go find us another room. I wandered around Mysore looking at the town and finally got us a decent room in the city center, only there were no locks on the windows. I went back to the Ritz, packed Rich’s, Kate’s and my bags and as I was leaving, I got this brilliant idea of how to lock the windows in our new room. I took out my Swiss Army Knife and cut a 2-inch strip off the full length of the bed sheet. I then quickly grabbed all our bags, locked the door and exited, jumping into the first available rickshaw I could find. When I arrived in our new room, I took my strip of fabric and promptly tied the window shut making our room burglarproof. After dumping our stuff on the beds, I decided it was time for my walking tour of Mysore.

Still no word from Rich and Kate but I had left them a note at the Ritz telling them where our new room was. I went walking around the city and at about 12:30, I found the hospital, so I popped in to see if Rich had been admitted that morning. I walked in and noticed a crowd of about 20 people standing around something in the middle of the hallway. I walked to the crowd to find out what was so interesting and was shocked to find them gawking at a man in a wheelchair who looked like he just been in a car accident. His leg was wrapped up in gauze and he appeared to be in a great amount of pain, but everyone just seemed to be looking at him. No one with any medical type training appeared to be helping him at all.

I passed this crowd of rubberneckers and made my way to the admission’s desk. The desk was swarming with short Indian men all gabbing away at the clerk, but seemed that I towered over all of the local men by at least 4 inches. He asked me what I wanted. I asked if an American man and a British woman had come to be admitted to the hospital early that morning. The guy said no and when I asked him to look through the records for the day to check, he told me no Americans had been admitted that day.

I left the hospital and went back to the Ritz to see if the note had been picked up by either one of them. The man at the desk said a girl had picked up the note, which really confused me because they were not at the hospital. The note said for Kate to meet me at 4 o’ clock for tea at a specific café. So, when 4 o’ clock rolled around and Kate did not show up after an hour of waiting, I really began to get worried. I was thinking things like, Rich was anesthetized and Kate could not leave the hospital because they were going to perform surgery on him and she was not going to let them. I was trying to figure out how I was going to get Rich to Bombay or possibly to Hong Kong to get proper medical attention. All sorts of wild thoughts went racing through my mind, so I went back to the hotel room, grabbed all the rupees I had left, a brick of about Rs1200, and decided I was going to go to every hospital and clinic until I could find them.

I went back to the main hospital but instead of going to admissions, I stopped two nurses in the hallway and asked where to go if an American man had been admitted that morning. “Stone building” was the response I received. Since every single building in the complex was painted bright yellow, I was confused as to what the hell stone building was.

I walked in the direction the nurses pointed and after seeing nothing resembling a place we put sick people, I stopped another nurse and asked my question. Stone building was her answer and it was not until two nurses later that stone building translated into ‘”Hospital ward No. 1″. I finally found the gray stone building, entered and began wandering around. All the signs were in Tamil, so I was just poking my head into some of the different rooms.

I found Rich in a ward with twenty seven other beds all occupied by locals with various ailments. Twenty seven beds in one room, it reminded me of one of the world war I field hospitals rather than a regular hospital. There were two nurses wandering around, looking rather nurse-like in their white saris. Kate was there with Rich and she explained that they had had a sonogram of Rich’s kidney done three hours earlier and they were waiting for a doctor to look at the results. Kate is a medical student at the University of Edinburgh, three years done with two to go and she had figured out from the sonogram that Rich had a kidney stone. I thought kidney stones were only for old people, evidently not.

We sat around talking for a few hours and after Rich and Kate had been waiting five hours to see a doctor, Rich had a nurse give him a shot of painkiller and the three of us got up and left the government hospital. When Rich requested his painkiller, the nurse came at him with a clean needle, which we had given to her and she tried to put it in his ass and he kept telling her I want you to put it in my arm and she kept gesturing to his bottom and he said, no I want it in my arm, so the nurse kind of shrugged her shoulders, administered the shot and Rich screamed in pain because apparently the painkiller was a thick serum.

While Rich was sitting in the government hospital waiting, I sat on the bed with them showing them pictures I had taken around Mysore and from Gokarn. When I heard this horrible banging on the outside of the building, I looked up over Rich’s head and there was a window cut in the wall that had no glass. It had a few bars going across horizontally and it was then covered with a bit of burlap sack. The banging on the outside of the building was heavy construction going on at the hospital with no regard to the sick patients inside. As I was talking to Rich, I noticed it was getting dusty and smoky and I could not understand why. I finally worked out that they were banging on the building outside and bits of stone and rubble were falling on the windows and then bouncing on to the floor next to Rich’s hospital bed. I could only imagine what else could happen in that room.

Once we had left the government hospital, Rich’s pain had subsided and we had drugs to kill the pain for a few days until we could get better medical care. Right after leaving the hospital, we got a rickshaw out, out to a private hospital for their help, but were told by the doctor out there that the urologist was not in until 4:30 Monday. This was a Saturday and to just take drugs until then. After this ordeal, we went back to our new room and all had our first full night sleep in eight days.

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