Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Lobby of Fear

The Nurse opened the door and as the four of us (whose name the nurse had called) entered, we saw a long lane lighted with dim lights. Walking down the lanes, I realized I had never perspired their quietness ever before – quietness that entails a fear ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and a hope ‘Everything’s gonna be alright.’ Though the illness might not be serious but when it comes to walking past the lobbies of medical test centers it always conspires a fear within us.

And as I walked down the lobby, my eyes went searching each room that I passed by, looking at each person around and keeping my ears open for every word that went in the air – all of it to really understand what was in there. I came across an old man asking for water from another nurse because in his words he was ‘scared to death’ with all those tests being performed on him. Then I realized that one of the four of us was an old woman. She slowly walked supporting herself with a stick and holding her man’s hand. Their grip was tight as it would have been all these years of togetherness. We walked a few more steps and then one by one, we were all shown changing rooms to dress into the blue patient gowns. It appeared in the next second I would be laid on a stretcher and taken to OT, a mask on my face as the stretcher would move, a light from the ceiling would go past my eyes almost blinding me, and then several human figures would appear with masks and blue gowns, the only difference between me and them – I lay on the stretcher, they stand next to me with each carrying a pair of scissor and forceps and all other medical instruments. No nothing as such happened, though I’ll take the glory in dramatizing it highly.

After I changed I waited in the dark and grim lobby sitting at the end of it and watching people go and come (I used ‘go and come’ because you felt relaxed when you left these dim, fearful lobbies) and of course wearing the Blue Gown. I watched people come in, each one with fear hidden or uncovered which I saw through Mr. India glasses. As I waited there I tapped through the quietness of these lobbies and they served a prelusion to my fear (and where this title/story came from).

Each face unfurled a different story. And as I said, each face had a fear and a hope. I saw it in the face of the limping woman who found her confidante in the nurse accompanying her and whined about the leg that troubled her all the time. A little later I found it in the man who had entered the lobby with me. Though he carried a smile, yet the eyes could not accompany the smile well to make a perfect ‘nothing to worry’ man in him. And the most obvious story was on the face of the lady who came in with kids. She had her mouth covered with both hands and then she looked at her kids, probably aged 1 and 3, with no one to accompany them while she underwent the tests. She made them sit on the bench in the lobby and spoke to them convincingly probably asking them to wait there. Though she spoke convincingly to those little fellows, she herself did not appear convinced. She seemed so very scared.

I wondered how the employees work there all the time relaxing patients with their pleasant smiles and composed conversation. At all these places even if the doctor wasn’t wordy but just the regular questions came from them in such a comforting voice that all the fear you gathered in the lobby went running back and hide in the lobby corners saying ‘Sorry, I guess I caught the wrong person.’

Also there is one thing that I need to mention essentially. There’s a lady at the reception of one of these centers. When you speak to her you find certain calmness and the fear lying within you escapes as if she had just asked it ‘Please leave right away.’ I wish to strike a conversation with her and hear her talk for eternity. Whenever I have visited the center, I have always felt like telling her about it and add to it that the job suits her so much. Someday I will gather the audacity to say it to her.

Though I am not sure about others but I have come out of the lobby with clear reports that accompanied my persevering hope that everything’s just fine. I wish never to peep into those lobbies again and never to perspire the quietness.


  1. Well... its an experience altogether when you go in an OT, hear nurses or doctor speak. Though the surgeon would try to convince but you only remember the red bulb glowing outside OT as shown in movies and you only see a doctor coming out and saying "I am sorry" :) . The perspective changes depending on which side of the table you are.