Less than a week before I’m back in the States.
This morning Sapna got all teary-eyed as I was preparing my carry-on bag for Monday’s departure. She asked, “You will call me, right?” I told her I would. She says she never took care of ‘such an American girl like me’ before and will think of me often. I’ve been in this situation before, (circa 2008-Anita, Dr Marda, 2009-Jai Ram, 2010-Dayanda Ashram…the list goes on). Everyone involved feels some level of sadness and within a week, will be back to his/her regular schedule. It happens. Time and again. The attachment is natural; we are around one another every day for months, until one day we’re not. The memories fade. Sometimes people’s feelings get hurt and we move on with our lives.
I nod my head assuring Sapna that we will be in touch, even though inside I know it’s a lie. This morning I asked if I could take a picture of her so I could remember her. She happily agreed and I quickly snapped a pic on my iPhone. So check out Sapna as my picture for the day. Even if we never talk again, I’ll remember this.
At the clinic there is a young female therapist that has been working with me since December. She’s sweet and naive. I found her to be good company and we would chit chat in between sessions; topics ranged from my physical progress to the best places in Bombay to shop. As my time at the clinic became increasingly difficult to tolerate and an unhealthy place, I decided to leave for good. I sat down with the doctor’s assistants and gave my reasoning. I said as easily as I made the decision to come, I decided it was time to leave. They listened, argued, listening some more and finally we shook hands. The young physical therapist expressed how hurt she was by my decision (‘I thought we were friends! I never thought you would do this to me!’) but I knew–and she did too–it was a long time coming. The clinic knew my issues with them from Day 1. I adjusted, accepting the notion that, ‘This is India, deal with it,’ which was so often thrown my way during tough times. That place was no longer for me for so many reasons. Part of me felt guilty for the way everything has ended, but that was short-lived. I spoke my truth and if I may say so myself, exited gracefully. I was proud of the way I handled the situation, in a clear almost peaceful manner. Although still 26 yrs for another month, I felt the maturity in that moment. 27 came sooner than expected! I did not blame them nor myself for not trying hard enough.
In India–or let me rephrase that, at THIS clinic in India– patients’ rights don’t count for much. I’m aware of my rights as a patient whether in India or the US. Once that settled in, I knew I had tolerated too much. To BLAME INDIA is NOT a solution. It is careless. ‘Turn a blind eye and accept this,’– is exactly what I was told when I first arrived. There were TONS of solutions to the clinics on-going problems. But the way in which they chose to deal with them was to not. The staff lives in fear of ‘Sir’, the main doctor who runs the joint. I can appreciate hating/fearing/respecting your boss, but this was on another level. The clinic’s weakness are due in part to ‘Sirs’ protocol. I eventually came to understand this was what I took issue with, prompting my decision to discontinue therapy there.
The clinic will be moving in April– a brand-spanking, shiny, new, spacious place completely devoted to rehabilitation. It will no longer handle all of its operations (business and otherwise) in an unventilated basement like it does now. I congratulated the doctor and offered him a challenge for the new center: consider your patient’s decency, always. The doctor said nothing. His assistant agreed she would and we said goodbye.