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Gaming at the surgery

Advait, 8, had a hole in his heart. During the summer holidays, his parents and doctor brought him to see a cardiac surgeon and was slotted to get a patch sewn on to his VSD — our fancy name for the hole.

Apart from a few painful pokes by the nurses, it was not a bad experience for him. Then one day, things seemed a bit different and his mother appeared distracted. He wasn’t given any food in the morning. When he started to get a little cranky from hunger, his dad let him have his cellphone.

I found him sitting cross-legged on the operating table, amid the beeping monitors and under a brilliant overhead light, poking on the phone screen without a care in the world. I said hello and admired his gaming skills before asking him if I could put the face mask with oxygen on him. He nodded, his demeanour being “Do what you got to do, just let me play my game.” In truth, it’s a volatile anaesthetic gas mixed as vapour with the oxygen. My smile may have reassured him, because he soon went back to his game.

He was sliding his fingers swiftly on the screen, notching up points, while I held the mask covering his nose and mouth, careful not to obscure his vision. He kept scoring well, judging by the stars flying around on the screen. Then as I scanned his vitals, I heard an alarm, with the word “Fail” flashing on the screen. That was Advait falling unconscious.

If all goes well, he will go home at the end of the week. We get annoyed at our children for playing with gadgets but on that day, this gizmo was on my side.

drhemanair@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:31:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/gaming-at-the-surgery/article30890299.ece

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