18 August, 2022


Part II – A Hell Of A Ward!

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

I closed last week at the point that the Attendant shaving my entire body with a razor blade held between his fingers had created the opportunity for me to enter one of those faiths that require circumcision. As an atheist, that would have been a rather unfortunate fate, to understate the case!

Anyway, I was trundled back to my bed in the gurney that left something to be desired in the matter of basic cleanliness, leave alone the asepsis that one would except in a hospital.

In the bed next to mine was the young soldier who was awaiting the same procedure as I and, as is typical in such situations, entered into conversation with me.  He was, needless to say, more than a little surprised at the failure of the attendant to take him up on his offer of a new disposable razor at the time I had to be shaved.

Soon we were wheeled away to our respective fates in the Pacemaker-installation chamber!

I was placed, on my back, on a “bed” not wide enough to accommodate my shoulders and instructed to keep my arms horizontal, not letting them drop.  Try it sometime when you have the time and inclination to engage in such an exercise and don’t fail to let me know how you prevent an unsupported arm or arms from shaking uncontrollably! While this comedy was unfolding the assistants to the doctor who was to put the Pacemaker in were being directed to run hither and thither, putting on lights and extinguishing them in a manner that would have done the Keystone cops proud!

When it was finally acknowledged that both my arms needed support, a rough board was wedged on the side of the arm that was shaking uncontrollably to keep it still.  That worked!

Then began the actual process of installing the Pacemaker.

The anaesthetic was still working when the cut was made because I didn’t experience any pain. A trip down the internet highway to locate “Doctor in the house” a classic film of its time might prove most instructive and entertaining in the context of what followed however!

The exertions of the “Pacemaker-installer’s” conduct was uncannily reminiscent of Dirk Bogarde and company, as young interns, doing a pantomime of their curmudgeon of a senior surgeon (James Robertson Justice) closing up an operated-on patient, jumping up and down on his sedated body in order to get his innards where they belonged!

Anyway, let me return to the narrative.

After having rammed the pacemaker into the (inadequate?) cavity in my pectoral muscle, our worthy then set about sewing up the cut.

This required the occasional request from yours truly that he could feel the suturing needle going in and out of me and could he please do something about it? The response was that, since I had a heavy body, the dose of anaesthetic administered initially was inadequate and, in all fairness to the man, he did give me more of the fluid as and when requested thereafter. Also, prior to the commencement of the suturing and during the procedure, my shoulder was pushed as far inwards as possible, supposedly to ensure that the wound did not open later. In this the doctor performing the procedure had the assistance of his two helpers, fortunately neither of whom was a body-builder!

My travails seemingly over, I was wheeled back to the ward and soon my soldier friend and I had recovered from the sedation and began recounting our respective experiences of “the procedure that didn’t amount to surgery.”  Despite the fact that he was slim, verging on skinny, he too had had to request extra anaesthetic because the initial dose had been inadequate to numb the area of his body being worked on.

That evening I began to experience pain in the area of the incision.  This grew steadily worse and I texted, on my mobile phone that I had smuggled into the ward, the doctor who had performed the procedure. The garbled response appeared to suggest I use an oral anaelgesic (which I didn’t have access to). 

As there were no medical personnel in the ward, I inquired from a neighbouring patient where I could seek help.  He told me that the nurses were in their room which was in the space between the male and female wards.  I hobbled over there and the nurses who had finished their evening meal told me to go back to my bed and that they’d attend to me.  I did so.  When the pain reached unbearable proportions, I made my pilgrimage to the nurses’ room once more, only to be shoo-ed away by them again. Shortly thereafter I passed out on the floor accompanied by a degree of consternation on the part of the “care-givers” in that part of the medical institution I subsequently learned!

(Next week: the conclusion of this hospital experience!)

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Emil Aiiya, Sorry to hear you that had to go through the same , as what our sick Dalits have been and still going though, even in Sira’s poverty free Yahapalanaya………Just imagine how many Doses of Morphine, our suffering Dalit patients could have received, if Dr Ranil didn’t force the rich Muslims to pay his Yes Men in Kotte, the import Tax , which they would have to pay the Tax Department……..Anyway that is a another story……. I am surprised the current President, who had a 20 year stint as the Health Minister, didn’t know that our Dalit Hospitals didn’t have a decent stock of Morphine even, to relive the poor peoples suffering before he made that Statement about “Eliminating Poor People in Srilanka”……….BTW your Yahapalana mates here seem not interested in your Health……..

  • 4

    You don’t have to inform CT readers further on this saga. But you can turn the issue of the ‘endless member’ to a worthy cause. You need to join hands with the Thambi cousins and start an international movement against genetic mutilation of male children. This barbarism is still going on among Jews and Muslims. While Jews are promoting human rights and political freedoms everywhere for their advantage (in order to divide and rule), they do not care to bring order to their own ignorant house. It is the duty of self-acclaimed Renaissance Men like you among the Jews to throw some light on these ignorant tribal rituals like circumcision, blood oath and child sacrifice. You, living in a Buddhist country, in a civilisation that discarded such myths 3000 years ago are in the best position to inform your tribe. Hope you will earn some respect by taking up this advice.

  • 2

    Sumaney & Ethics Teacher:
    The little that is comprehensible from verbal diarrhea that you two (or is it the same … under two different pseudonyms?) is a pile of the usual racist claptrap. Is this all you adherents of a “2500 year Sinhala Buddhist culture” can produce? The Gautama must truly be turning in his grave when he sees the s…t being spouted in his name!
    If nothing else people of your ilk only go to show that, in some instances, despite their external appearance, evolution HAS left some bipeds behind!

  • 2

    Awww…hope you get better. What a suffering!

    • 0

      Ramona Therese Fernando:
      Was that intended to be funny? Even if it was, it fell on its face (AGAIN!) Even the term “gallows humour” wouldn’t cover the stuff you are responsible for but then I don’t suppose you know what that term means!

      • 1

        Emil Aiiya, You wouldn’t say that to Thadi Menike……… Would you……..Ramona seems to be a nice lady, who feel s sorry for the pain you copped , when the Govt Dr was suturing your Pectoral or what ever left of it…. Hope that Rilawa in Parrort’s Bene Rajitha books you in to Nawaloka, when you need new batteries………

        • 1

          K A Sumanasekera,

          :'( …..hope he gets better soon, anyway.

        • 0

          More “humour? You and your buddy, Ramona Therese would probably be in a dead heat in the stupidity stakes. But then what should one expect from a … but a ….! In this case, in stereo.

  • 0


    Your experience is not funny, but reading of your travails triggers the words of an old favourite…..
    Well now, I get low and I get high
    And if I can’t get either, I really try
    Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
    I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose
    You know it’s all right, it’s ok
    I’ll live to see another day
    We can try to understand
    The new york times’ effect on man

    Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother
    You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

    and on, and on it goes. Keep well, and keep writing.

    • 0

      Spring Koha:
      Thanks for that and if I fail to kick some butt along the way, it won’t be for lack of trying!

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