Monday, January 8, 2018

Another curious nurse - II

The nurse seemed to have a persecution complex and seemed to feel that everybody was always talking about her. For example, she will sometimes clean the tracheostomy tube in the morning thinking that Jaya is not at home.  Jaya will come to my room after some time maybe to tell me about a guest who would be coming home later that day. About an hour or two later, the nurse will suddenly ask me why Jaya was displeased about her cleaning the tracheostomy. I will be surprised since the topic had never come up.

She will crib to me about such matters when Jaya is not around so I will not be able to clear the air. But I think even if somebody was around to clarify matters, she would not have been convinced since she was always right. She seemed to have an inferiority complex in front of Jaya which she countered by adopting a superiority complex. Like Neetu Singh, she used to keep saying,  ‘I know everything!’

Once Jaya had some health issues and the doctor told her to lose some weight. Accordingly she joined a gym which increased the nurse's ill-feeling towards her. The reason was that she used to see Jaya going alone to the gym and wondered why she was not taking me also along with her. She was convinced that if I did the exercises in the gym regularly, I would become alright! She would mention her idea to the physiotherapist who would just smile. She concluded that the physiotherapists were useless - she was giving them such great suggestions which were not being taken seriously!

She was fond of buying lottery tickets and would look religiously in the newspaper to check if she had won. (One of her favorite movie scenes was regarding a Malayalam comedy actor being fooled about a lottery ticket.) She is the only person I have met who had won a lottery. She used to win small amounts like Rs. 500 or Rs. 100 quite often. She would tell me that when she wins a large amount, she will buy me a wheelchair! She was convinced that nobody bothered about me. Although I don't know why she decided on a wheelchair because I never heard her criticizing the one I have.

She would imply that my feeding had not been proper and now that it was 'proper' after she came, I didn't have any excuse for simply lying on the bed without speech. She would say, 'If you don't speak, how will the nurses who come after me be able to understand you?' It didn't seem to occur to her at all that she had been here for only a year while my stroke had happened over 18 years ago.

A reason why the nurse thought that nobody was bothered about me was that Jaya often avoided coming to my room when she was present so that arguments are avoided. Jaya tells me that whenever she comes to my room, her eyes will immediately fall on the one thing that was not ok! It may be the feeding vessel that had not been washed properly, a bit of the medicine still sticking to the porcelain bowl in which the tablets are crushed, etc. The nurse will never agree that she is responsible for these things so when she is not around, Jaya will set these things right.

It is said that on Krishna's hint, Bhima tore Jarasanda's body into two halves and threw them in opposite directions. Listening to the nurse's comments, I would be similarly torn between the opposing emotions of wanting to keep my cool and wanting to 'snap' at her in irritation. In Very Good, Jeeves, when Bertie Wooster realises that Jeeves was actually steering him away from a soup when he had thought that he was being led into it, he says:
It was like those stories one used to read as a kid about the traveller going along on a dark night and his dog grabs him by the leg of his trousers and he says, 'Down, sir! What are you doing, Rover?'and the dog hangs on and he gets rather hot under the collar and curses a bit but the dog won't let him go and then suddenly the moon shines through the clouds and he finds he's been standing on the edge of a precipice and one more step would have - well anyway, you get the idea...
As so often in the past, my equivalent of that faithful dog was my lack of speech. I would try my best to be like a well-bred statue and would just try to contort my facial muscles into what  I would hope approximated a smile. I would not always succeed and I would sometimes go over the edge of the precipice much to my regret later because I must admit that she ultimately did stick on for one and a half years which was a lot more than what many other nurses managed. Also she was the only nurse in the last 4 years or so who got up at night when I wanted to pass urine.

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