A housecall… and a trip to the hospital

Yesterday, Sammy woke up with a terrible pain in his leg. He experienced excruciating pain every time he moved it in the slightest. By late afternoon, we became concerned that it was not just a pulled muscle or a bruise. We needed to speak with an orthopedic specialist or take him to an emergency room. The problem was that we have never used a doctor here in Bangalore and don’t really have an idea which hospitals were good and which ones were not. There are world class medical institutions here as well as places where the care is substandard. Added to this was the fact that this was a Sunday on a long weekend (today is Republic Day). I started to google, but that was just added to the confusion.

So at Siva’s suggestion, I walked next door to Raju, our neighbor. Although a researcher, he is an MD and might at least know who is good and where to take Sammy. Raju immediately picked up his cell phone and called another neighbor a couple of streets over. This neighbor, Dr. Chakravarti, is a well known orthopedic surgeon here.

Dr. Chakravarti, or Chukie as Raju calls him, stopped by our house to take a look at Sammy. He told us that he could not be certain without a battery of test, but Sammy likely had an infection in his hip. He picked up his cell phone and contacted a physician on duty at Manipal Hospital. He ordered blood samples taken, an X-Ray and ultrasound. He then told the fellow on the other end of the line that we’d be there in 45 minutes. We quickly packed – including Sammy’s toy leopard – and took Sammy down to the hospital.

We got into a minor fenderbender in front of the hospital gate (an idiot T-Boned our car, but that is another post for another time). I did not care and just pulled into the hospital parking lot anyway. We carried Sammy in into the front door, past the Ganesh shrine in the main lobby and into the pediatric emergency room. As we waited for the colleague that Dr. Chakravarti had called to come down, several nurses (called “sisters” here) stopped by Sammy’s gurney to check on him. This impressed the little guy:

This is a good hospital

The duty physician quickly came to the same initial assessment as Dr. Chakravarti. They drew a blood sample from Sammy and sent him for an X-Ray. We left Daniela with Sammy overnight as the nurse was off getting pain killing syrup for him. Apparently they had a full program. He had an ultrasound at 11:30 PM and Dr. Chakravarti called Dani at 3AM in the morning to give her a status update. At around 4AM, they started him on antibiotics.

He has fluid buildup in his left hip, possibly from an infection. His blood seems relatively normal and according to the X-Ray and ultrasound, there is less fluid buildup than expected. This is good news. In the worst case, they might have had to open the joint and use a syringe to drain it. I’ll be going to the hospital in a couple of hours to take over from Dani. I’ll post an update later.
The irony here is that we had planned to go down to Nagarhole National Park this weekend and do a jungle safari. I had called around to the various lodges and everyone was booked out. We had been disappointed, but now we are sooooooooo glad that this did not happen while we were in Nagarhole. This was serendipity. For that matter, it was a huge help that Raju knew who to call, that Dr. Chakravarti stopped by and that he took the case seriously enough to call Daniela in the middle of the night.

I think we have to send flowers to a few people when this is over.

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