Behind Costumes

The sky was calm but everything around me was chaotic; something major was about to happen. There was just one bird floating around in the vastness of the sky. Hospitals always reminded me of Comic-Con; just a sea of characters in costumes. Doctors in white, nurses in green or pink, and patients with their casts, eye-patches, bandages, some pale, others flushed. Parents or guardians dressed in worry, concern, concealed fear and the like.

Then there was me. This was my fifth time at this show. After walking through a buffet of CT scans, MRIs, ECGs, when nothing could be determined, I returned to my bed and stared out the window again. In addition to the already existing fever which never came down from its resolute standing at 104 degrees, last night the breathing difficulty started. My father who was by my side for the past five days had begun to show signs of weakness. It was not easy for anyone to see twenty-two blood samples being extracted from an arm which had more needle pricks than freckles. But the occasional jokes on me being a lab rat lightened the mood.

Initially they concluded that something was wrong with my brain. Yes, there was more than one conclusion and each time the new one was more confident than the last. Of course they were all wrong, but the determination with which they showcased their knowledge about all the diseases that could happen was both commendable and ridiculous. No, I did not have viral meningitis, or a tumour hiding somewhere. I did not need a biopsy for the strange swelling that had appeared at the back of my throat which had swelled up and blocked my windpipe almost completely.

All I needed was one actual Superhero amongst the fans strutting in copied costumes. One genuine face behind the mask, who could actually save me. Luckily for me, she had returned after her week’s leave and after an endoscopy, a lollipop and 250mg of steroids, the growth subsided and in twenty-four hours, vanished without a trace. Mononucleosis was the antagonist.

Hospitals will always remind me of Comic-Con- the crowd, the costumes and the chaos.

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