Blogging Challenge – Day 11
It’s not only joy that binds people together. Sorrow does too… in the most unlikely of places. Have you been outside a hospital ICU waiting for news on a loved one? “Are his vital signs normal? Did he open his eyes? Are there chances of recovery?,” you ask the doctor after every round. While you pray that there will be that small glimmer of hope that will light up your day. Hope sustains, and you need to keep the faith, you keep reminding yourself.
The corridors of the hospital ICU is a grim place to be. Not more than one ‘bystander’ is allowed to wait. Others somehow sneak in because it’s your loved one struggling for life.
When Appa collapsed after a stroke, it was my first ‘real’ experience in a hospital. While we waited outside the ICU, we saw many people come and go. Initially, we didn’t want to say anything, our hearts were so full of worry and grief, that our mind struggled with words.
But there was always someone who would always come up to ask who was in the ICU. And say, “Don’t worry, we will pray.” This was a man whose wife was on the ventilator because she swallowed pesticide after a trivial fight. He had no money and had sold off part of his land to meet the hospital expenses. And he was telling us he would pray.
We would nod our heads and wait patiently for any doctor or nurse to give us some news. One of us would sleep at the hospital during the night. The next day, we would see a patient urgently wheeled in. Once it was a man who had been bitten by a snake in another district. His entire family including his wife who had just given birth to their second child were there. His condition was critical. One of the aunts, a nun sat down beside me and held my hand as I sobbed. She said, “I will pray for you my child.”
Then there was an old man who was hospitalised after a massive heart attack. His sons would come over and talk to us and we would exchange notes on our loved one’s health. We were happy when a little child was transferred out of the ICU to the room. For we all prayed, that whoever was in there would survive the ordeal. And our turn for good news would come too!
The woman who swallowed pesticide and the man who was bitten by the snake both died and it was heart-wrenching to hear the wails echo through the corridor. The old man survived the heart attack and went home. Every time we heard the ambulance siren, we would hope that there was no casualty.
Appa passed away after being in the ICU for 21 days. Even though we were inconsolable, the experience reinforced what I have believed in all along – with joy, also comes grief – and there will always be people who will be with you along the way. We just have to constantly learn – to keep the faith!