Himansu Mohapatra

A year has passed. A year ago Swarnarenu, my beloved wife, had a surgery performed on her lower back to fix a problem caused by a slipped disc, known in medical parlance as Prolapse of Intervertebral Disc. She had had difficulty walking for the past couple of years and had suffered from acute and continuous neuropathic pain for the past three months. Surgery had been advised. We saw Dr Siddharth Shankar Sahoo on 23 September 2019. The effect of this consultation was magical. The surgery was going to be performed in four days, that is, on 27 September 2019. The doctor was confidence and competence personified. So even if the future appeared a dark void, we chose to take the leap into it with faith in God and trust in our doctor. It was a seven-hour long surgery performed by Dr Sahoo, Neuro and Spine surgeon, at CARE Hospital, Bhubaneswar. While she sank into the bottom and stayed there for seven hours, I stayed afloat in a sort of death-in-life state, waiting for her to bob up to the surface. And she did as the sun was down. The doctor appeared in his blue scrub outside the Operation Theatre as if to signal the return of life. He said that the complex three-part surgical operation involving Discectomy, Laminectomy and Instrumented Fusion had been successfully performed. I saw her briefly at the ICU where she would be kept under observation that night. Dr Randhir Mitra, who had administered the anaesthesia to the patient, was present there and walked me quickly through the process. The night did end. Call came from the ICU, asking me to be at the hospital to assist with the shift of the patient from the ICU to the ward. Cutting into the callerโ€™s voice was the much welcome background voice with which I was too familiar. Yes, the day had indeed broken. My last word must be a โ€˜thank youโ€™ shouted out to Dr. Sidharth Shankar Sahoo whom I have never had the courage – because too traumatised to do so – to thank publicly – for his great tact, his unshakeable confidence and his supreme efficiency as a surgeon. He had told us three days before the surgery that the patient would recover well enough to be able to travel to the US 4 months later to see her about to be born grand daughter. And she did – matter of fact, we both did. What is more, she also made the journey back, and under conditions, rendered more stressful by the pandemic, five and a half months later. Thank you Dr Sahoo. This gesture was long overdue. Please take my written testimony as an expression of my Swarnarenu too.