Pavan and I have been in the hospital for the last three days, fighting a bout of Dengue. This is the first time that I have known the big, strong Pavan needing support from anyone to deal with basics of life. Dengue can be serious, but thankfully Pavan is recovering well. He sleeps most part of the day, leaving me alone in the hospital room to ponder about life.
When I unpacked my bags in the hospital room, I had planned to catch up with work. For some reason, I thought a hospital room would be the best place to close all pending action items. I was wrong. Even though I have tried to focus on work, my mind keeps drifting. Sometimes it wanders to kiss the hot forehead of Pavan and sometimes it longs to hug my children. After a few phone calls to check on family back at home, as the mind calms itself down, it chooses to takes me back in time, to the days when I was a child and my father was hospitalized. Most of the memories that I have of my father are from hospital rooms or doctor visits. Was his illness so prolonged or does my sadistic mind choose to remember only these memories? I am not sure.
It is no surprise that I I have not chosen to visit these memories often. They have just been sitting as an unwelcome book, collecting dust, in one of the drives of my memory hard disk. I have always known that they are there but I rarely bother to read them, leave alone analyse them in any way. That is, until now. Three days of sitting numb in a hospital room can change a lot of things.
Involuntarily at first, I started looking back into time when my father was fighting multiple organ failure in a remote place called Vellore in Tamil Nadu. My sisters and I went to meet him occasionally in the hospital room. The nurses were always kind to us. Considering the long time we had been there, they were good friends with our little family. I was too small to understand the meaning of the words Organ or Organ Failure. Life for me was, thus, quite simple.
I do not feel happy or sad when thinking of those days. They are mere data points in my timeline. Nonetheless, sifting through those memories made me draw comparisons between my life of today and that of my mother 30 years ago. We both, in our own time, were waiting beside their husbands hoping and praying for recovery.
Given that one similarity in our lives, the rest of the facts are starkly different. I am sitting in an air conditioned room in one of the finest hospitals in the city. Our insurance pays for it all. I don’t have to worry about my children or my home as they are in good hands of my in-laws. All though it hurts to see Pavan so sick, I know it is just a question of time before he recovers. A few more weeks of care should definitely see him back to his energetic self.
On the other hand, even though my memory is not so strong, I definitely remember my mother not having enough funds to take care of the endless hospital expenses. I remember the faint stories of selling gold and property to get the funds together. I definitely remember, she not having any support from a home front to take care of her children. She used to cook, clean, send three of us to school and then rush to be near my father in the hospital. As hope of recovery diminished each passing week, I definitely remember she crying alone, deep into the night, when she thought we were asleep.
In essence, what I am going through today, is nothing as compared to what my mother endured in those days. However, had I not experienced the pain of having my spouse hospitalized, I would never have come close to understanding my mothers pain of those years. I would have never got a glimpse of strength and courage with which she fought in those years. Above all, I would never have been as thankful to God as I am today for keeping my family away from such harm.
Surprising isn’t it, when I was coming to hospital, three days ago, I was asking God – why us? why Dengue? Three days later, I am thanking God for it is just Dengue.
Thank you Mom! Thank you God!