A Week in Hospital

Before you read the rest of this post: My dad is back home in India now, recovering well, and getting stronger every day. Also, there’s no explicit medical details here but if hospital sketches bring back tough memories, skip this post.

Last month, my parents became to visit me from India. 5 days later my dad ended up in an ambulance that took him to Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose. First to the Emergency Room, then to Intensive Care, then through a pretty significant surgery (especially for 86 year old), and recovery. In the week that he spent in hospital I sketched in the long stretches of time I sat there. These are a record of that week, in the order in which they were sketched.

It takes a lot of stuff: tubes, wires, and machines I don’t know the names to, (Also, blood transfusions, saline, and medication in drips.) to keep a patient alive. My dad, in his hospital bed (not a big man but always a big personality) was dwarfed by it all.

Below is the only sketch I did of my parents when they came back home. Only a walker my dad used for a few days and yellow non-skid socks give away what transpired before this.

Two weeks later, the surgeon gave my dad the go-ahead to fly and my parents headed back home to Goa, India. It wasn’t the trip they envisioned, but they got back home safe.

Through the time, I sketched: it wasn’t something I gave thought to doing. I did it because it’s what I do. But I didn’t have it in me to post these then.

It was a week from hell. That bit might show in my sketches. It was also a week in which some incredible people in the medical system made things happen for us that pulled my dad through. That, sadly, isn’t in my sketches. I feel like we all held our breath for a while, fumbled through, and people we will never know navigated us through it all. In the fog of the process, I tried thanking who I saw, but there were so many more.

So the next time you deal with a doctor, nurse, the technician who draws blood, the person who cleans a room you’re in, or the case worker who helps you through a medical maze, please say a little thank you. For you, and for me. And to all my friends who brought coffee, meals and had long phone calls with us sharing advice, I cannot thank you enough❤️

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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17 Responses to A Week in Hospital

  1. Suhita, I just went through a similar experience with my husband who is 80. Your sketches brought it all back. I didn’t have the energy to sketch in the hospital, but yours tells the same story I agree about all the wonderful people who surrounded us and kept us alive. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lois Stevens says:

    So glad that this ordeal had a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Suhita, I’m so happy to hear that your dad was given the best of care and is recovering wonderfully after his surgery.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rhodadraws says:

    Thanks for sharing some of the trauma as well as the good outcome. Real life offers many opportunities for sketching, even in the worst of times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patrick says:

    Suhita, so sorry your Dad had to go through it and happy he came out the other side well. Thank you for sharing the sketches of that difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Y.B. De Ridder says:

    Glad he made it and it must have been a horrific week for you all. Enjoy every moment and wish you and your family a healthy life. Thanks for reminding us how important health care workers are!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary Lou Peters says:

    Suhita–Oh my goodness! Such memories captured in your sketchbook! I’m glad your Dad is safely home now. Such an unforgettable trip for them! And for your Mom and you and others. Bless the health system workers for sure! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Helen Frey says:

    I went through a similar experience with my husband
    . Your sketches capture the looks and feelings of the environment. I went through this several years ago, so I am able to look at your work. The first year or two that would not have been possible. You were so kind to warn people that it might be difficult to look at your sketches and if so to skip this post.
    I am happy that your Dad has done so well and is back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pamlopez15 says:

    I am so glad it all ended well, Suhita! It must have been very hard in all of you. Are you glad he was in the US when this happened? Would he have had the same quality of care in Panaji? It’s amazing that he was given the green light to fly back to India. It can’t have been an easy trip, as it’s sooo long! How did they manage? My dad had a severe asthma attack on the flight back to Kenya, from Goa, and had to be whisked into hospital right away upon landing. That was way back in the 60s!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Louise says:

    Amazing series. So much heart. Glad your dad is okay and all of your family. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Diane Winters says:

    Thank you for sharing this and I’m so glad you all came through it so well. I’d thought you seemd not qutie present (in your blog) and now understand why. I had a similar experience in Mexico, with hospital nurses whose dedicaation and compassion went beyond anything I’d seen before, though the outcome in that case was not successful like you father’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hemant Joshi says:

    It’s good that your dad recovered and is back home. The sketches are lovely and have a lot of creativity. !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jankto says:

    Thank you for sharing the journey with your dad through this scary medical maze. I’m glad that it was a positive outcome and that you have these powerful drawings of such a significant life event.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. KarenVC says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Hopefully your sketches helped you cope with and make sense of what was likely a frrightening experience. And yes, hospital staff, the nurses and various therapists and doctors do work we can’t thank then enough for and often carry their own emotional burden while offering us comfort and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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