Thursday, September 20, 2007

my first hospital stay

I have travelled the world and have been to numerous hospitals all over the world to see patients and accompany others etc. The incident noted below resulted in my first Hospital stay overnight, though one can hardly call it overnight been warded at 2.30 am and discharging myself around 2pm.

I have the utmost regard and admiration, first for the nurses, who were impeccably dressed, very pleasant, professional and curteous and firm. The doctors who were thorough in examination. Remember I was seen by 3 different doctors in the space of 8 hours.The cleanliness of the rather dated building. While I was there the ward was swept three times.I was a little disturbed at the level of tolerance of the dogs, but I understand that all hospitals have an infestation of dogs wondering around the place where the wards are open. The new tower blocks will not have that.

I was not told what medicine was administered, and in my case I had to swallow the pills, which I later understood to be pain killers, without water.

The male orderlies were a slovenly lot.Lazy to boot always picking on the nurses!! Talking more than working.The patients were very docile and accepting of all orders without a murmer.

Most of all this is free health care, with no request for any money or bribe at any level. Full marks Sri Lanka National Healthcare system. I am proud to be Sri Lankan.

a salutary lesson on life

I was assaulted on Saturday, hospitalized on Sunday, went to the hearing for resolution on Monday, and the subject handed over responsibility on Tuesday and vacated the premises on Wednesday.

In my capacity as an unpaid director of an organic plantation, Paradise Farm,Kitulgala,I was told the superintendent had refused to accept his letter of interdiction on Saturday morning September 15th, signed by the chairman and delivered by the person assigned to take over temporarily. I called a lawyer friend of mine and picked him up in my bone shaker Tata cab from Colombo, but by the time we reached the Kitulgala Rest House it was 9pm. I met with 4 people who had been sent by the chairman and decided to go to the Farm to stay the night at the Tourist Bungalow at the farm. On arrival seeing the gates locked I walked up to the manager's bungalow and met him and requested that I stay at the rooms above the bungalow, but the manager and about 6 goons, who I suspect were all under the influence of alcohol, assaulted me and chased me down to the gate hurling all kinds of abuse. I had never expected the man who I had known as a civilized person of behaving like this.

I reported the incident to the Yatiyantota police, where only one person was on duty as the rest had to go for presidential security, as there was a rally in Kegalle the next day. I obtained a Medico legal form for my injuries and went to the Karawenalla Hospital by 2am where I was promptly seen by a doctor and admitted to ward 6.I gave Amila by wallet and got a sarong and a polo shirt to wear and only had my mobile phone with me. The ward sister on duty at that time told me to find somewhere to lie down. It was only the floor available to me as all other, beds and benches were occupied. I took off my 20yr old Italian Bally shoes, and folded my 10yr old English Aquascutum polo shirt ten times so I could make an improvised pillow and and fell asleep around three on the floor with lights full above me as it was a verandah.

I had to be up by 6 as the floor was being swept and a doctor saw me at 8 and another at 10 who said the JMO(judicial medical officer) only could give me the discharge, as he had to complete the medico legal. With no JMO expected on Sunday. I did not fancy another day on the floor, and my left leg was in pain (twisted muscle) and the floor would only have made it worse. So I discharged myself and returned with the lawyer.

We went the next day for a meeting at the police station, where we decided not to mention the assault, but stood by the original request which the officer presiding said was perfectly reasonable, and under threat of arrest over the other incident,the manager who at first resisted, agreed to hand over power on the morrow.

I expect to go to the farm today to stay in the bungalow tonight. My pain in my leg has not gone away. Have not been able to find a walking stick to use so the estate labor all 90 who signed a petition in favor of the suspended manager, can be aware of who they were supporting.

I realize now going at night unannounced, was a case of bad judgement.In Sri Lanka, 25% of the male population is under the influence after 8 and one cannot see reason with such a person, and those have told me a knife or other object could easily have been used in the assault, resulting in deadly consequences, even though I came in peace.

a cruel world

Thats Menika and daughter on the left, the clothes Menika is wearing is all she has other than one set of work clothes.
The person who cooks for me and cleans and does laundry as well as take care of the home garden is known as Menika, though her real name, which she prefers to be known is Geetha Sriyani. She also takes care of the Gotukola beds for my weekly sales. She also doubles up as the shop assistant.She has a 18yr son Kasun Mangala Kumara who lives and works close by and a 11 year daughter Danushika Maduwanthi who goes to the local school Subharathi.Her husband Victor drives a lorry for a living and is also an alcoholic and prone to violence, who has recently had his license suspended owing to an injury accident, and is absconding from the enquiries.

On Monday night (today is Friday) while the mother and daughter were away at the grandmother's he had burnt all their clothes including the little girl's school uniforms. He had also burnt a lot of the furniture which they had and most of it purchased with the mother's hard earned money. The house is in the mother's name. None of the son's personal possessions were harmed. I am told the father is scared of the son!

Menika had to report this to the local police, on Tuesday, who promised to take action, which hitherto has not been done.She has not been to her house since for fear of being attacked and worried I would be attacked if he comes looking for her in the farm. He was seen on the farm on Tuesday with a knife, at about the same time the woman was reporting the incident to the police.

When she came to work on Wednesday with the daughter who only had one dress, a yellow party dress and Menika also only has once change of clothes. She washes this in the farm to wear on the way to her mother's in Padukka after work.

While I do not like to get personally involved in other people's domestic disputes, I had to make sure that the child was given money to buy enough cloth to tailor three school uniforms. They will hopefully be ready today so she can resume going to school on Monday. Her house is two minute walk from the school, but she has to now come from her Grandmothers, which is now 10km from the school.

As I have noted earlier, alcohol abuse is a serious problem in Sri Lanka, and no one appears to do anything about and and just washes their hands hoping it will go away.

its hard to communicate

Today September 21st, morning. I was up at 5, I completely scrubbed and washed the shop verandah as well as the kitchen section sink and counters as they looked very dirty and had completed the task by 7.15am when the shop was opened for business in Godagama.I showered and took the bus from Godagama, 21 KM from there to my sister's in Pamankade. The bus fare 26 rupees or less than 25 US cents. It took me one and quarter hours to get here, by 9am.

This is my third attempt in the past two weeks to blog. First the computer or ADSL line was down, second time, while I was on line, the power failed and everything crashed. I appear each time to be prevented from this communication.

Just another noteworthy point. On the walk from the bus stop to the house, there was a water puddle on the side of the road and a bus went screeching past into the pussle and the ladies in front of me in theie sarees going to work I presume, were drenched in the pot hole water. What can I say? who can they turn to. Will they not look slovenly when they arrive at work? They probably have already spent the better part of two hours to get to work. The people in power as I always say have no idea of the people without power and what realities they face.

There are so many simple things in life we should try and resolve before trying to sort out the bigger picture. In my opinion the simple things when resolved will make the bigger problem go away too.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

disappointed in man friday

Amila who I have referred below as a trusted friend, still puts his personal stuff before mine. Though he is valet, salesman and general everyman, when he needs to go and take care of his personal stuff puts that in front; his girl friend makes the demands I guess.He left on Thursday morning by bus taking him all day to get to his home leaving me with all his and my work for the next three days. Pics above show him scraping coconut for the sambol for dinner and sawing the coconut rafters for the kitchen construction.