A Student For Life
A Student For Life
An ambulance had just arrived at the door steps of Mr. Radhakrishna’s house and few paramedics wearing PPEs got off and hurried indoors. Within no time they came back carrying Mr. Radhakrishna on a stretcher and as soon as they laid him inside, the vehicle zipped off. His Son and Daughter followed the ambulance in their own car, to get their dad admitted in one of the well known private hospital. His wife Madhuri who was struggling all this while, to control her tears from flowing, burst into sobs and ran inside the house.
The pandemic was at its peak and in spite of taking stringent care Mr. Radhakrishna fell prey to the COVID-19 virus. Two days ago he took a PCR test, as some symptoms were noticed and his treatment was started at home even before his test reports were out confirming he was Covid-19 positive. Presently based on Doctor’s advice, he was being shifted to a hospital.
He was half asleep or half awake when he was taken inside the ICU, but after he was shifted on to a bed and was being connected to devices that measure various vital parameters, he was wide awake and aware of his surroundings. This 30 bed COVID-19 ICU was fully occupied with patients at different stages of recovery/deterioration, with various tubes, oxygen masks and connections to a variety of monitors. It was intimidating and unnerving. Just then, there was a commotion at one of the beds and there was hectic activity behind the closely drawn curtains around the bed but in the end the patient could not be saved. Within 30 minutes everything was cleared and a new patient occupied the bed. It was as if nothing had happened!
A chill ran down his spine! He felt utterly lonely in the midst of so many people. For the first time it occurred to him how our relationships like layer around a layer offer us security and comfort. The more the layers, the better we feel. Unfortunately we take them for granted. This COVID-19 ICU could be the only place where an individual is totally cutoff from the near and dear, with no one being allowed to visit you when you need them the most amidst Death lingering in the air. This is a place which can break you if your mind becomes weak. He closed his eyes and focused all his thoughts on the Higher Power while chanting Omkar. Slowly he regained his composure and opened his eyes. Suddenly his eyes caught a kind and graceful face, with strikingly benevolent eyes, three beds away from him.
He presumed that the person could be a doctor and waited patiently for him to come to his bed. He never knew when he slipped into deep slumber while waiting for the doctor but Radhakrishna vaguely remembered that the doctor stood close to him and lovingly ran his hand over his head. Radhakrishna was relatively stable the next day and spent his time observing the happenings around him as two more patients lost the battle. As much as possible he spent his thoughts and energies on prayers. He noticed that the kind faced senior doctor was present besides a patient’s bed when the condition became critical and when the body of an expired patient was being moved out, he would accompany till the door. His presence gave enormous amount of strength and peace. Radhakrishna tried to find out about this doctor, at least his name and specialization but was unsuccessful as either the nurses and ward boys whom he was trying to enquire were busy or his words were not clear to them.
Third day Radhakrishna’s condition was critical with spo2 levels below 80 and other associated complications. He started getting agitated and delirious, with irrelevant and incoherent talk. He was given a mild sedative and the doctors were contemplating providing a ventilator support for him. In his half-asleep state, he felt a genteel touch on his hand and he opened his eyes to find the senior doctor at the foot of his bed with his charismatic eyes smiling kindly. Even as he was trying to start conversation with the Doctor, the sedative started showing effect and he slipped into deep sleep. Fortunately he started to show improvement from next morning and ventilator support was not required..
At last the day of discharge arrived and as he was being shifted on to the stretcher, he overheard two young medics animatedly discussing their recent experiences. They were puzzled as to why young, fit and apparently healthy adults could not survive while some patients who were considered unlikely to survive, walked back home. The discussion continued as Radhakrishna was wheeled out of the ICU. A sad smile broke on his face as the voices of those young doctors were getting distant.
He had stopped enquiring about the Senior doctor since the time it had dawned upon him as to who he could be. It was the Divine presence whose Grace is always showered on everyone irrespective of who they were. However Karma catches up and we get what we deserve. He must have done some good Karma to deserve this recovery of life. Or he may have to payback for some bad Karma in this life time! Only time will reveal. He felt sad that it took such a close encounter with death to be able to seek and experience the Divine presence and His Grace. Radhakrishna felt that he went through this experience to learn these lessons and consequently he has emerged a stronger and better human being. Life is a tough teacher no doubt, but the lessons it teaches are invaluable.