On Jan 11th Scott rode by ambulance 1.5 hours to Manipol Hospital in Panjim. His friend Joel and I rode along with him inside the ambulance which was a beat up old panel van without shocks but allowed Scott to lie prone for the long ride. With no air conditioning. While we were enroute the driver made a sudden stop and the doors of the ambulance opened to reveal a local ambulance chaser: Sanjiv’s smiling countenance greeted us. Without Sanjiv’s help we would not have organized the enema, the oncologist, and so much more. Now he was just checking on Scott’s comfort and planning to rendezvous with us at the hospital. Joel and I were awed by this but Scott said that’s typical Sanjiv!
So when we arrived at the hospital and were asked if we wanted a private room with a/c of course we said yes. Scott, however, was in that room for only ten minutes as his ultrasound and the paracentesis procedure were done in the operating room. I slept for nearly two hours in the private room while waiting for Dr.Salkar, the only oncologist in Goa , to begin Scott’s procedure that would eventually remove 10 liters/22 lbs of ascites fluid from his abdomen. 22 pounds!!! Scott struggled with the decision to do this procedure…because the fluids will return, because the risk of infection was real, because the trip to and fro was arduous, and because the procedure can be repeated only 2 or 3 times and will last only 3 to 15 days each time.
Dr. Salkar (seen here in the photowith Scott) does the operation frequently but had only done it on two cancer patients prior to Scott so naturally all the senior hospital staff–nine sets of wide brown eyes–were in attendance at the foot of Scott’s bed. The tube went in a small incision under local anesthesia and drained the ascites fluid into a liter bottle at first and eventually into a huge plastic bucket. I watched as the blue bucket filled with what resembled foamy laundry detergent. It took slightly less than an hour and a half to empty Scott’s froggy belly. for the first time in weeks Scott could see his family jewels and take a deep breath. After a few hours of recovery he was ready to take the long ambulance return ride to the Sur La Mer Resort in Morjim. During the recovery period Sanjiv took Joel and me to lunch and dropped us off at Fabindia, a cool boutique whereI could purchase some authentic clothing for the celebration ceremony scheduled for the next day. I tried not to let doubts enter my head as to whether or not Scott would have the energy to go through with it as planned.