“Deepu,” Dr. Rao said gently, “we are going to do something to help your heart work properly. Soon you will be able to run and play and do the things other boys do.”

Deepu snuggled into Daddy's arms' He smiled a tiny smile of hope. “My son will be well,” Mummy said as she took one of Deepu's thin little hands and looked at it.

Deepu could not understand all that Dr. Rao was saying, but Mummy and Daddy were nodding their heads, asking question.

As Deepu leaned against Daddy a happy feeling came over him. “I'm going to be able to run and play cricket and race, like Sanjay and Andy and the others. How lovely that will be! And I'll be able to go to a regular school with them. Oh! Dr. Rao, thank you, thank you....”

Ever since he could remember, Deepu's life had been different from his friends. There was something wrong with his heart. His parents told him his heart could not send enough blood all over his body because some of his blood vessels were blocked. So he could not do many things like run, climb stairs, or walk fast.”

“Welcome Deepu,” smiled Dr. Rao, “we've got Room No. 7 ready for you. This is Nurse Gentle. She will take special care of you.”

The room was neat, clean and air conditioned with a TV and bright pictures in it.

Deepu had a problem with his heart. The left side of his chest would hurt and the pain would travel down his left arm. Then Mummy would put pillows and prop him up. His heart would beat loud as a drum, and-give a little flip now and again. Deepu did not like those days.

“Goodness gracious!” said Great Aunt Prema who was visiting on one of Deepu's bad days. “You must take the child to Dr. Rao. Everyone says he is a good cardiologist. That's a heart-doctor, little one,” she explained to Deepu.

That is how Deepu came to be sitting Dr. Rao's consulting room. From the beginning Deepu liked Dr. Rao. He was gentle and encouraging. First, they did some special tests. After looking at them carefully, Dr. Rao knew what the problem was. He flipped through the file, then spoke through the intercom to someone. Then he looked at his diary and said, “Bring Deepu to us on Monday. We'll be ready to help him.” Mummy looked at Daddy and nodded. Monday came and they drove to the hospital with Deepu's things packed in suitcase. Dr, Rao and Nurse Gentle were waiting.

The next two days were spent in all kinds of tests. They checked his temperature and something called “blood pressure”. They took drops of his blood to see what kind of blood he had. “Blood group” they called it.

Deepu could not remember much about the operation itself. Except that the nurses woke him early to get him ready. They put him into special hospital clothes, and tied, a cap around his head. Then they put him on “a bed-on-wheels and wheeled him to the operating theatre.

At the operating theatre, Dr. Rao and Dr. Bala were waiting for him. They grinned and gave him a thumbs-up sign. “Deepu, you're a trooper! Now we're going to make you sleep and when you wake up, the operation will be over and you'll be in a special room we told you about.”

Hours later, little Deepu woke in a large bright clean room. It was filled with other patients like himself. And he noticed many children. Somehow he did not feel scared. Deepu could not move. There were many tubes attached to his body and a special machine to help him breathe. Another machine showed his heart-beat. Nurses flitted everywhere, checking the patients and touching them gently. Deepu was in pain... but Nurse Gentle was always ready with the medicine to help.

“You're doing fine, little Deepu,” Dr. Bala said, “You are one of our best patients.” In some ways the pain seemed to go on and on... but Deepu did not complain. He knew that he was getting better. One day he was surprised to find himself telling Mummy, “I want something to eat!” She gave him a big smile. Even the hospital attendant who brought the food gave him a mock salute, “Little boy getting better,” he smiled, “I bring special porridge.”

“I feel like Baby Bear,” Deepu joked weakly.

“Darling, soon you'll be as strong as daddy bear.”

“Oh Mummy! I'm already so much better.” Mummy nodded.

“You will be allowed a few visitors today. Great Aunt Prema is coming.”

Days later Dr. Rao received this letter from Deepu's father.

Dear Dr. Rao,

Deepu's Mummy and I want to thank you for the wonderful care you gave our little son while he was in hospital. I am writing to Dr. Bala also. Please thank him for the successful operation. You will be glad to hear that in the months since he left hospital, Deepu's health has continued to improve. He is still rather thin and delicate-looking but the miracle is to see his finger-nails, hands and feet looking pink and healthy. He makes everybody notice this. He says he just loves hospital because the doctors and nurses there helped him get well. His hearty laughter is music to our ears as he runs up and down the stairs. Thank you again for everything.”

Keywords: Children story