Shabo's story, chapter 3
The next few days were not so calm for Shabo. She had the money and she was well-determined to undergo an abortion but she was too scared. She was still too young to embark on an operation all by herself. Then she finally, one quiet morning, she summoned courage to the family planning centre to do the deed.
Since abortion is illegal, such procedures are performed secretly, often by people who are very poorly qualified for the purpose. What is more, the perioperative conditions too are often very substandard increasing the risk for so many complications. What is worst, there is often nothing that can be done in case of anything going wrong. But for Shabo and girls like her such issue, for obvious reasons, carry less importance than the fact that they must get rid of their illegitimate child.
The woman, upon seeing Shabo with the money in her hand, smiled and said, "very good, got the money? Come along with me." She was certainly thinking that the money had come from her lover for whom the pregnancy was a problem as well but who was too embarrassed (and scared too) to accompany the girl.
Shabo was taken to a very small, dingy almost dark room. Despite being so small, the room apparently served the purpose of a fully functional, make-shift surgical suite. When you entered the room, on your right, there was a bench--- the waiting area. Right in front of you , curtains stained with dirt and blood hung down to cover a rusting patient bed--- the operation room. On the left, there was a cot (charpai)- apparently the recovery area.
Shabo was lucky, since the surgical suite did not appear too busy on the day. There was no one in the waiting area or the recovery area. A woman seemed to be lying on the bed inside the curtains. Shabo could hear someone, apparently a staff member (nurse), talking to her, asking her to calm down and not to be afraid. Shabo could, however, not hear the patient herself.
The lady took the money from Shabo, counted it, and then giving Shabo a confirmatory smile put the money in a cloth purse that was hanging down her neck, with a thread too long to be seen normally. She then asked Shabo to wait for her turn. She sent her assistant asking her to lock the facility so they could start their work.
The next couple of hours were an episode of indescribable horror for Shabo. All she heard were cries of the woman who, it seemed, as if she was cut into pieces. She was crying inconsolably and interspersed in her cries, she could also hear the technician and her assistant talk to her, calm down it is going to be over, relax, relax, it is almost done, and talking to each other, give me this equipment give me that, cotton, wipe the blood. The procedure finished, the woman was quiet, not because she was not in pain, but because she was fainting.
Now it was Shabo's turn. Her face was not pale with fear, it was white. She could not say a word, she did not even ask if it would be painful, perhaps she already had determined what would probably happen to her.
And this she mounted the couch without speaking word, or showing any sign of relief or distress.
The technician undressed her lower torso quickly, without even asking for permission, without even telling her to relax. She herself was perturbed, not for Shabo but for the previous patient, who now looked more dead than alive. She then draped Shabo in a sheet of plastic leaving exposed only the area where her surgical field was.
The procedure commenced without any words being exchanged between Shabo and the other lady. Shabo was so nervous, she perceived the touch of the fingers of the lady like stabs of knives. Curiously, however, she did not utter any sound in response. She cried however when the technician applied suction (to suck out the contents of the pregnancy), at which point the helper was called so as to hold Shabo back from interfering with the surgery. In the meanwhile, the two also talked about the other patient, occasionally removing the curtain to have a look at her.
Shabo's procedure was much less invasive as her pregnancy was just over five weeks. She was not like the previous patient whose pregnancy was advanced and whose procedure, therefore, was more complicated. Since the procedure was 'small', Shabo was not given any post surgical instructions, except that she kept a pad (they called it a pad, although it was just a piece of shabby cloth) down there until the bleeding had completely stopped. She was also suggested to run a pregnancy test in one week to confirm it was not there.
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