“In India two roads become four.” That is what my husband and I talked about on our way back from the hospital where he underwent an endoscopy this morning. It was a test our doctor in Berkeley had recommended before we headed to India but the co pay for it with our health insurance was almost three thousand dollars there,and, two days before our departure from Berkeley, that was a bit hard for us to rustle up on short notice. So when the doctor in Pune suggested the same test, we decided to just get it done. A friend of a friend of a friend offered to watch the children for us. I did not just make that sentence up. A friend of a friend of a friend watched our children for almost three hours when my husband and I were in the hospital.
The hospital was at the end of a cul de sac. He had to be admitted at the emergency ward which was a little unnerving. Of course my husband is a curiosity in India bigger than I am in America. Everyone in the hospital was kind to us even the orderlies who I sensed bit back sharp words when I asked too many questions. After waiting for a half hour we were escorted up to the operation theatre where I was asked to remove my shoes and then asked to wait outside. I peeped through the window at Tom sitting in pajamas and a shirt too small for him. I don’t think there are many 6ft 3′ wearers of that uniform.
When the doctor came, I was summoned in and he explained the procedure to both of us before taking him away. I looked around me at the beds covered in blue tarps apparently clean though all of them seemed stained in orange hues, a line of thought I did not want to pursue when I was sent back to my waiting post.
The results were important enough to warrant a detailed explanation from the doctor post procedure and not scary enough to detain or hospitalize him. The cost- eight thousand six hundred and forty rupees. In other currencies that would be one hundred and fifty dollars.
On the way back from the hospital, my husband and I talked about Indian roads and how four rows of cars managed to drive parallel to each other in spaces meant for two. I was thinking about these roads, when it struck me- a friend of a friend of a friend whom I had never met watched the girls this morning. Maybe India is like that- space on the road, in a heart, in a home, always, for more even when it is the unknown.