A Girl With "Corona"
A Girl With "Corona"
A crackling sound broke my sleep, an incessantly howling sound of the dog made me restless, I had heard this siren before, as they bought her to the ICU in the very deteriorating condition. Suddenly, there was a rush in the hospital, doctors and nurses rushed to the ICU. I could see her tiny hands, she was choking, she wasn’t looking well, an inconsolable mother was crying next to her and the man standing next to the lady might be her father, was looking deserted. I could sense the fear, in my mind, yes I had trained my mind like that, always fearful and full of negativity.
A tensed night passed off, and the new sunny day came up with good news, I asked the nurse, "how’s that little girl, is she fine?" She replied, "yes, she is fine now."
This year, 2020 has been pretty rude; we are suffering from one of the deadliest pandemics in the history of mankind, COVID -19. And I am one of the infected patients admitted to RMNL hospital Delhi; I was brought here 5 days ago, but now my symptoms start subsiding slowly. We are all together, 18 patients are in the COVID ward, all with moderate symptoms, slowly and steadily we were recovering from the infection.
All 18 patients were bought from different parts of Delhi, but we all have bonded with each other very well. But something was missing; I didn’t know what it was? But, yes, it was there for sure.
Every day at 11 am there was a doctor visit for the routine checkup, after checking up, he went straight into ICU to check that little girl, the residential doctor Ajay, briefed Dr. Anil Kumar about her health. And told him they had already sent her throat swab for testing and waiting for the result, but Dr. Ajay was sure, she might be infected with COVID as her symptoms were just like them.
Dr. Anil said, "ok Ajay, and keep me updated", Dr. Anil enquired, where her parents were? Ajay told him, they were sitting outside.
"Have you taken their throat swab?" Enquired Dr. Anil.
Dr. Ajay replied, "yes sir, we have already taken their throat swab."
Meanwhile, nurse Chhaya came, she was in her 40s, she was very rude, and nobody likes her, she wasn’t friendly at all, her behavior was very upsetting for us.
Yet, she was always on duty and carried out her responsibilities pretty well. Chhaya, came mumbling in our ward: “These people, I am fed up with them. Every day I have to come here and see those faces and keep reeling under the fear of not getting infected, even I have a family”. I heard that, but I did not say a word, she was somewhat right, even she has a family.
Dr. Ajay who was in charge of our COVID ward was a very helpful guy. I could see the sense of empathy in his eyes for his patient, he was the motivator of our ward, he always used to tell us, this is just infection, you don’t have to worry. Everything will be fine, just follow instructions.
At 3 pm, the lab report came, Dr. Ajay went through it, and told her parents, "she tested positive for COVID, and you both also tested positive for COVID. "He immediately admitted them to our ward, but surprisingly, they had no symptoms at all but still tested positive for the COVID.
Somehow, they consoled themselves and asked the doctor, "is their little girl fine?"
Dr. Ajay said, "yes she is fine, she is under observation. Don’t worry."
One another day went like this, seeing the new patients admitting to the hospital. It had become a routine for us; the patient count has increased from 18 to 40 patients.
At night, I was staring at the fan; I could see a bunch of other people was doing the same. I don’t know about them, but I was literally thinking about, when I will get out of this, when I would be able to see my family, I was missing my family very much. One thing for sure, you need your family in difficult times. Somehow I fell asleep but didn’t know what was coming tomorrow.
At 8 am, again there was the same rush in the hospital, all doctors and nurses rushed to the ICU, the shivers run down through my spine, suddenly a whole lot of thoughts bombarded my mind, is she fine? What could have happened to her? The same expressions were in her parents' faces. Suddenly a stretcher came out of the ICU and the whole body was covered up with the sheet. Everybody was frightened, just like they had seen the death in front of them.
As the doctors took the body out, I pointed towards the body and asked nurse Chhaya, whose body was that. Nurse Chhaya, replied, "an old aged uncle, who was admitted to the ICU seven days ago, died due to COVID."
Dr. Ajay was also there, he was watching all this, he was on a call, and he informed his relative about his death. For the first time, I saw tears in Dr. Ajay’s eyes; I had never seen him like this. He was looking impatient and hopeless like he had lost the battle. Even I was feeling depressed, I was in a state of shock, Dr. Ajay was the only person whom I could rely on. And today, even he was feeling helpless and it was the basic human mentality of seeking reassurance from the outside.
Dr. Ajay was on a call, he was telling uncle’s relative, that he couldn’t keep his promise, I failed. Uncle told me that he wanted to go home, to meet his granddaughter for the last time, but I assured him, nothing will happen to him, he would be able to go home hale and hearty. Hearing that, even I felt the black hole in my heart. That day was the worst day to date. I never felt so helpless. Everyone in the ward was under the feeling of despair.
From that day everything changed, especially Dr. Ajay, the guy who used to motivate us, stopped motivating us, nurse Chhaya ‘s behavior didn’t change at all, she was the same old wine.
After three days, good news came from the ICU, the little girl who was admitted in ICU five days earlier was fine and doing well. And the doctors were shifting her to our general COVID ward; miraculously she had shown an intense recovery.
Doctors shifted her to the general COVID ward, I instantly connected with her, for the first time I saw her face, she was adorable and so innocent, and I instantly felt for her. As she smiled, I wondered, when the last time was? When I smiled like this. Her smile was like rain in the barren land.
I saw she wanted to cuddle her mother and father, but she couldn’t, as due to restriction of personal contact. But still, she was quite happy seeing her mother and father. Everyone in the ward had their eyes stuck at her as they had never seen a girl like her. She might be only three years old, I guess so.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ajay came, he came to check her, and after thorough examinations, he ordered nurses to take care of her. As Dr. Ajay ended up his examination, nurse Chhaya came, she called her name “Sia”. Sia, she came and started drinking milk, her mother could see her, “Sia” could also see her mother, though they couldn’t touch each other, I could feel the connection between them.
At night, she started crying, asking for her mother, both her parents waived at her. She wanted to cuddle her mother, she wanted to sleep in her lap, but the COVID had made it difficult for them. She cried for about half an hour, but then she fell asleep. Her mother could not sleep, she was still awake, she wanted to see her baby, she wanted to hold her firmly, but nothing much she could do.
The next day, when I woke up, I saw her playing in her bed; she was dancing on the bed, playing with the pillow. Means, she was so immersed with herself, she had no clue what was going around her. She did not care about anyone, she had found the happiness within herself, she was waiving at her mother, and pointing towards her moves and asking her mother to watch her dancing.
Making funny faces, teasing her father with her funny faces, she was a whole lot of chaos in the crowd but beautiful chaos that everyone would love to fall far.
I saw Dr. Ajay, smiling, after that incident he had stopped smiling and motivating us, but that little girl bought cheers to his face. Surprisingly, nurse Chhaya was also enjoying her performance, for the first time since I had come there, I saw her smiling. That day was the best day of my life during the quarantine period.
The next day at 11 am, I saw Dr. Ajay, came and took a brief meeting with all the doctors and nurses, and after that, he came to our ward, and said,
"During the past few days, especially after the death of the uncle, I was shattered. I know I am a doctor, but let me tell you, doctors also have feelings. This little girl “Sia” has truly changed my mindset. The day, when the uncle died, I felt like I failed in an examination, a life examination. I thought of why we couldn’t save him and fulfill his last wish. I was feeling like, I owe him something. But this little girl “Sia” made me realize that, that why take life so seriously?
Yesterday I was watching her playing and dancing on the bed, she didn’t even know, what had happened to her? Why she could not cuddle her mother? Why she was kept in the hospital? Nothing, she knew nothing. Yet, she was playful, enjoying, nothing matters for her, more than her smile."
"Don’t you guys realize one thing?" We all asked Dr. Ajay, "what?"
Dr. Ajay said, 'the “Smile”. We forget to smile for ourselves. We are so engulfed with fear and insecurity, we forget to smile, we forget to enjoy, we forget that we are the happiness, all these years we have been running around, to find happiness, but the happiness lies within you. Be like a child “A child will cry, will play, will love, will do everything which comes to his heart”. Guys, think about your childhood, how we use to do whatever we wanted to do, but today we have been circled by our insecurity, negativity, and fear. But the truth is, how we keep ourselves happy during this time is more important, I know the death and life will be there, they will play their part, but the important thing is how you live your life. Today, I want to thank this little girl “Sia” for giving me a reason to smile. I hope, all of you will let the child inside you to come out and play, enjoy, and “SMILE”.'
You know, somewhere between this vicious circle of life, birth, education, career, marriage, children, and death, we deny ourselves of that “me” time. We deprive ourselves of the compassion that we need for our body and mind. Take a pause from fear and negativity. Practice compassion and life will be beautiful forever.