I was just starting understand the meaning of “that life was not meant to be easy”. In each turn, there was yet another hurdle. And you had this constant fear, that you were going to tumble over one of them any time soon. Mum and I were mentally exhausted. The surgeon, who was supposed to be the Island’s best for this particular surgery was not willing to take over dad’s case. The reason being he was going away to the UK in two weeks time and he was concerned that he wouldn’t be there for the post op consultations. The norm was, the surgeon who performed the surgery continued the post op and there after.
So, my cousin Sulo went in search of the next best surgeon. Cuz Sulo is another person in my life that earns a big salute. A salute of admiration, respect and complete indebtedness. In spite of her disability (she was affected by childhood polio and one her limbs was affected), she was physically and mentally a force to be reckoned with. Doctors, especially the surgeons of Sri Lanka are usually an Egoistical lot. And to get anything done in that country, you need to have the right connections. So having a doctor to lead the way to the surgeons room was a great thing. Thinking back to how I was treated, how things were done in Sri Lanka, to how things are done here in Australia, I see such a vast difference.
Over here in Aus, the doctor will come out side to the waiting room, call your name, shake hands, take you inside, offer you a seat and close the door behind you. Over in my old country, a guy would be at the door, who would bark your name, or the barking might come from the inside. Then you go inside pensively. By this time you might have done some home work on the doctor, to work out if by any chance you know some one, who knows the doctor, some connection to establish that I require some good attention as some one I know, knows you as well. And you would open the conversation with “do you know so and so…”
Anyway, we didn’t know anyone of this 2nd best surgeon other than the fact that my cousin had done some work under him when she was doing her internship. It was better than nothing anyway. My cousin showed him the angiogram and other test results. The aneurysm was in a tricky spot. This man didn’t like what he saw. I was standing on the corner of the room and having a battle with my tear ducts. He opened his mouth by asking why wasn’t Dr. Selvadurai (the top knotch surgeon) performing the surgery? “He is the best at this…” almost saying “I can’t help you here”, both the surgeon and I could feel the disappointment and hopelessness in my cousin’s voice. I don’t think I was feeling anything. Then from the corner of his eye he saw me, a young girl, struggling to hold her tears back, who was begging for her fathers life and humanity returned back in him. He said “ask Selvadurai to do the surgery, he is the best at it, he should do it, I will do the post op”. Cuz and I had to hold back so hard not to give him a big bear hug. I was sobbing and smiling all at the same time.
The battle doesn’t end there. We had to now convey the message to Dr. Selvadurai and convince him to go ahead with the surgery. We were informed that he was fully booked until his departure to UK which was in a couple of days and he had ceased consulting. The only way we could meet him was to catch him outside the surgical theatre. So, that’s what we did. Again, my cuz being a doctor and knowing a few people around helped. We managed to send him a message from outside the theatre. In between surgeries, he came to see us in one of surgical rooms. He came out with blood and gore, and spoke to us while washing up. He looked so casual, as if he had just cut up a fish. Anyway we explained what happened between Dr. No.2 ( sorry I don’t remember his name) and his suggestions. He smiled and he mentioned that he was fully booked and then scratched his head, and said “no I think, we can do it”. He was going to have a day off before his trip, but he decided to do my dad’s surgery on his planned day off.