Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Traumatic Experience

The good news is that I do not have stones in my bladder or kidneys. The bad news is that I had to go through two of those ultrasound-scan thingies to make sure. The memories of the ordeal are still fresh in my mind although it happened yesterday. The stout hearted may opine with scorn at my marked pusillanimity, but one must trust me that this whole business of having one's innards judged by this ultrasound contraption is not one to be anticipated with relish. If one had a wide-ranging bouquet of emotions to pick from before the whole exercise, my personal recommendation would be a single Silent Trepidation.

Most painful procedures (like eating at in Bangalorean restaurants or talking to Hutch customer care) are preceded by a protracted waiting period, which by no means is more wholesome than the subsequent gory proceedings. This rule, regrettably holds true for ultrasonography too. The waiting business however has never fazed me. I have been in queues of different flavours and have (in all modesty) performed rather well in all of them. I had once been in the queue for tickets at a movie theatre, vying for the tickets for a cinematic abomination called Barsaat. Due to my unbridled enthusiasm and my go-getter attitude in the field of movie-ticket procurement, the friendly neighbourhood policeman who had been appointed to keep the peace in the area was forced to draw the conclusion that beaning me with a stout stick was the only way the peace could be kept. He then had proceeded to bean me. Still too, I had managed to get tickets and even did tolerate a quarter of the whole movie. Using this pointless anecdote, I intend to impress upon the reader that when it comes to queues and waiting, I do not cower and I do not quail. The sad truth however is that during the wait for my ultrasonography, I did both in rather generous portions.

Let me put forth the points. The biggest problem in queing for a ultrasonographic scan is the competition. The other members of the waiting party are all expectant mothers, and walking into the waiting room is very much akin a sudden, uninvited appearance at a rather sombre slumber party. As soon as one trickles into the scene, the assembled gaggle unleash a barrage of glowers at one. These glowers then proceed to intensify in malevolence with the passage of time. I am sure that there is some warning on the wall outside which attempts to outline this particular peril to the unknowing man, and I in my customary pig headedness, missed it. If I have would have known that I would be at the receiving end of such persistent looks of disapproval from such a formidable assembly of pregnant women, I would have taken the easier way out by braving those pleasant little kidney stones. It is not that I have not been at the undesirable end of a look of disapproval before. It is an established fact that women hate ugly, balding men and I do fit the ugly, balding profile to a tee. This combination of alopecia and lack of visual appeal on my part has led to many a disapproving glance and I have handled them with aplomb. This phenomenon however was brand new -- whereas one has had to brave one withering look at a time, this was more of a concentrated community effort -- A sort of democratic movement to wither one's soul. I therefore, respecting the popular sentiment, dutifully folded. I started with some quailing and followed it up with some serious cowering.

The above mentioned community driven brow beating exercise however is not the only blood curdling detail to the wait. The second part to it is as weighty as the first, if not heavier. The secret to a respectable standing in the ultrasonography world is the fullness of the bladder. That sadly is true. One might be brimming with sterling qualities, but if one does not happen to have a bladder with the precise degree of fullness, one's name sadly is mud. The path to a full bladder however is not an easy one. The whole process involves the imbibing of indecently huge amounts of water and then gritting one's teeth through the subsequent effects. As an additional test of character, the waiting hall is always adorned with roughly seventeen signs pointing to the numerous restrooms in the vicinty. One must trust me when I say that it is not one of the most enviable situations to be in.

When one has survived the waiting period, the actual process might begin. The actual act is rather benign compared to the hellish aura which precedes it -- It involves the plonking of cold jelly and some severe prodding of various parts of the anatomy with a cold metallic thingy, on the part of a sombre gentleman. The problem with the above mentioned prodding is that the prodder is not really interested in what he is prodding at. The merry individual absentmindedly gives one a poke or two at regular intervals, while gazing into a screen which throws up strange fuzzy images. I do not blame the poor man. If I was in his place, I too would not have liked to look at me. I too would pretend to be interested in the soap opera on that malfunctioning television. The only problem however, was that I was not in his place. I sadly (as I have been all my life), was in my place. Occupying the status of the irritating commercial break which interrupts the airing of a rather gripping hazy fog is not exactly one of the most desirable situations one hopes for. When the credits for the hazy fog (equally hazy), finally started showing, the couch potato turned to me and said in a voice full of scorn -- "Your bladder is not full enough. Please come again tomorrow when you are aptly prepared !" Although tears were in order, I gave the man a stoic, wan smile and walked away. I just had been subjected to yet another new form of rejection.

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Ph said...

Ah, he is back. And SO much to read now.