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THE WARD BOY

Updated: Aug 24

Let me share an inspiring story from my recent 24 days stay at the hospital. Those were the days when I lost my minimum strength to go to the toilet even on an oxygen-supported wheel-chair. So, everything was happening to me on my hospital bed.

One morning, a ward boy came with a bedpan, and after placing it under me, left immediately promising to come back and clean me within 5 minutes. But his 5 minutes soon became 15 minutes and he was nowhere to be heard around. When I helplessly shouted for him, the female nurses on duty told me to have some patience.

In India, female nurses or ward girls generally don't clean male patients. So, I had no option but to wait for the ward boy's mercy with a soiled bedpan under me. And on top of it, I had an oxygen mask on my face, a bottle of antibiotics going into my right-hand vein and a painful swollen left hand placed over a pack of dry-ice. In such a horrific circumstance, I could do nothing to vent my frustration—not even shout.

This physical and mental torture went on with me for almost an hour until the ward boy finally arrived. "Sorry sir, I got a bit late," he said, and quickly pulled my soiled bedpan and put it under my bed. "Please turn around, let me clean you," he said as he pulled a toilet paper roll from my drawer.

I got really angry at him and started cursing him for being so inhumane. "How could you be so irresponsible?" I yelled.

But the ward boy said nothing to me, instead he continued to clean me, now with a wet tissue.

I continued venting my anger at him until he stopped and looked at me compassionately. "Sir, there is no other ward-boy on duty today. All the other three are on leave. One of them tested positive too. So, I have been running alone from the 1st floor to the 4th. And each floor has more than 20 male patients," he said, reflecting a bit of his frustration. "One patient at the ICU was very serious, the doctors wanted me to remain with him as they were trying every last minute possible measures to save him. Hence, I got stuck there badly, sir."

I, silently, kept listening to the ward boy as he almost finished cleaning me.

"But that patient went off you know, we couldn't save him! I have to quickly go back to the ICU now and wrap his dead body," he continued and then left with the bed-pan after pulling the curtains around my bed open.

For the next few hours, I remained in an utter shock state trying to evaluate the calmness the ward boy manifested in his behavior. There is genuine respect I developed for him and his entire medical community. This world will always see HOPE till such selfless brave human exists among us. Thank you dude for cleaning me every time during my bedridden days.


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