By: Kerrie Olejarz
Right on time my driver showed up and whisked me off to the hospital. In typical India fashion, the streets were chaotic but not nearly like Mumbai. Within minutes we were at the hospital; the driver (whose English was limited) said he would wait for me. I headed into the hospital and checked in with the girls at the front desk. As I waited for Dr. Shivani, a familiar face walked in: the ever-popular Shilpi, from the surrogacy blogs. Shilpi was an assistant to Dr Shivani. She was dressed in western garb with six-inch stiletto heels! She saw me and introduced herself, then took a seat for a few minutes with me. Soon after, she guided me to the basement to meet Dr Shivani. I could hear Dr Shivani’s voice as I went down the stairs. Within a few minutes I was finally able to meet the wonderful doctor with whom I had emailed and spoken on the phone over the last few months. She gave me a great big welcoming hug in the hall and invited me into the ultrasound room to see what was happening in my ovaries. We chatted and chatted as she prepped the ultrasound wand. As she slid the condom over the shaft of the wand, she looked at me and said, “Welcome to India!” What a laugh we had!
In advance of this trip I had heard many great things about Dr Shivani and the most important was her medical skill. I was prepared for her honesty and matter-of-fact bedside manner, which I relished, after all we had been through. The ultrasound showed some good follicle growth and I was delighted to know that my Internet drugs were doing the trick. I was telling Dr Shivani about my accommodations and how I was uncomfortable there but I found the humor in it while telling her, as did she. We finished the ultrasound and went to the office next door. In very thorough fashion she detailed the next steps and expected timelines based on what she saw on the ultrasound. She put it all on paper for me as well so I would have reference later. I was more than impressed with her at this point. There were no doctor secrets and I felt not even a twinge of white coat syndrome. She mentioned to Shilpi about my accommodation and Shilpi quickly called the owner on my behalf. She certainly did not have to do this, but she wanted to see if we could have some of our money refunded. Again, I was so impressed with the service level. We had booked this accommodation on our own and the fact that the doctor and Shilpi tried to help was above and beyond what we could have expected. Sadly there was no refund, but the effort was appreciated. Plans were set to meet again in two days for my next ultrasound and that was that! I headed out to find my driver and start my move.
Once I got into the car I explained to my driver that I needed to move and he gave me a blank stare. He apologized that his English was poor and told me he is learning English “since the summer.” Well, this did not help me at this point and I continued to try and explain in simple English that I had to move my bags to a new place. He was still lost, despite his efforts to understand me. Then, his cell phone rang and he was very excited, looked at me, and said “It’s Rahul!!” He was relieved and passed the phone to me. I explained the move situation to Rahul who then explained to the driver. Whew, crisis averted! We headed to the apartment and gathered my bags. I gave the servants some chocolate and said my thank yous and good byes. My driver, NandiKrishna tried very hard to locate my hotel. He drove in circles, through alleys and the small streets of New Delhi. Finally, he stopped in the middle of the road and got out to ask for directions. Here I sat in the car, in the middle of the traffic wondering if he would ever get directions or if we would just continue to drive around. He came back to the car with a smile and stated that he now knew where to go. I clapped my hands! He was grinning from ear to ear and within less than a minute we arrived at Shervani Nehru Place. Such relief for me! Nandi grabbed my luggage and helped me to the front desk. I quickly signed off on Nandi’s bill for the day and he left me to check in.
The hotel was so, so nice. Reception was lovely and the check-in was quick. I was escorted to my room by the general manager, who gave me a quick lesson on all the plugs and switches in the room. The room was clean, modern, and warm. The manager checked the temperature of the fridge in the room with me to ensure my medications would be ok, and he was super helpful, ensuring I was comfortable with the temperature. Soon after a young boy brought my luggage, which I felt very bad about as it was super heavy! I gave him a tip of one hundred rupees and he asked where I was from and what the weather in Canada is like. He thanked me for the rupees and was on his way. I jumped into the bed and it was perfect: crisp white lines, lots of pillows, and a firm mattress. I gained Internet access and emailed Mark to let him know I was moved and comfortable and that the scan and meeting with Dr Shivani was perfect.
Soon after settling in I received a phone call from Amit to see if everything was ok. This guy is amazing! Not only does he set me up with new accommodations in minutes, but then calls to make sure I am ok. We chatted briefly and he mentioned he would be in New Delhi this week so we could have a proper visit. I was just thrilled to see him again! I had brought him some Canadian coffee and chocolate and was really happy I would see him in person soon. Later I ordered room service and just settled in to my new short-term home. I had a hot shower, watched some TV, and chilled out. I was at ease –stress free and feeling very relaxed. The day had been eventful, nerve wracking, fun, and exciting. All this in under 24 hours…welcome to Delhi!
[Photo Credit: Flickr Member Runran]