If there's one thing that I wish will change after this #Covid19India #lockdown, I hope it's the Indian tradition of visiting a patient admitted in a hospital. This has, over the years, become a specific kind of social norm, at least in our part of the country.
Patients, and, more often, the patient's immediate family members, are offended if all the relatives that they consider are "close," do not visit in the hospital when they are admitted - for whatever reason.
This "visiting a sick relative in the hospital" is a ritual that has acquired a definite social standing.
There are some compulsory steps that have to be followed:
1) You most often have to fight with the hospital security people to violate visiting hours.
2) Bring some fruits.
3) Leave all your footwear in the corridor outside the room/ward where your relative is admitted. Because going into a sick person's room with footwear on is disrespectful.
4) Crowd into the room. Occupy all the furniture, including the patient's bed.
5) Expect the patient's family to give you some refreshments, usually tea/coffee from the hospital canteen.
6) If it's a newly delivered baby & mother that you're visiting, expect sweets to be given. And give gifts. Usually, soiled rupee notes thrust into the infants' hands.
7) If your relative/friend/acquaintance is admitted in a restricted area like an ICU or post-op unit, fight with the hospital personnel for special visiting privileges.
7a) Pull influence and show what a big shot you are and who you know who can get you privileged access.
8) Ask uncomfortably intrusive questions about the disease details to the patient, if they are able to answer, or to the immediate family members.
8a) And get offended if they are not fully forthcoming with all the salacious (to you) details.
9) Demand to talk to the highest-ranking treating doctor so that you can figure out if they are doing all that is feasible for your relative/friend/acquaintance.
9a) Question the competence of that doctor, his team and the establishment if this access is denied to you.
10) Offer unsubstantiated, usually 3rd person anecdotal evidence (at best), of better treatment options that you have heard of and why the family are fools for not opting for those.
11) Refuse to budge from the bedside when nurses/doctors come on regular rounds.
12) Pick a fight with hospital security when they come and inform you that visiting hours are over and that you have to leave.
13) which happens for the vast majority of the time with very few exceptions,
Talk ill of the hospital/doctors/treatment in your social circle.
This is the ignorant and burdensome "visit the known person admitted in hospital Indian culture" that I hope will change after this lockdown.
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