Have you experienced a moment when your world turns upside down in a single night? I hope it never happens, but when it does, it arrives without any warning. For me it was one day in October of 2010. It was a normal day. I arrived home from work cursing the traffic. My father took Chhavi and went to the neighborhood shop to buy her chips.
After coming back he complained of a headache. For a while he said he was fine but soon we realized he was not. We pleaded with him to go to the hospital. He agreed after a lot of resistance. We, the Dwivedi family, have a legendary resistance to doctors.
At the hospital he threw such a fuss that I got scared. My husband was joining a new job the next day, so he was soon out of the equation. For me it was a first hospitalization of a family member and I felt completely unequal to the task.
My grandfather never spent a day in the hospital till he was alive. My father got hospitalized at a young age when I was a small child. After that he too never spent a night in a hospital. Given this background I just did not know what to do. My father was adamant that he wanted to go home, the doctors told me if I took him back we would surely come back later at night! The decision was entirely mine.
I was scared that if I forced my father to stay at the hospital, he might end up having a heart attack! So, I decided to take him home. Then in the night his condition started deteriorating further. He was still absolutely adamant he would not go the hospital. It was about 2.00 am. I then decided to call an ambulance and let the medical professionals deal with him. I followed the ambulance in my car.
He was admitted back again at about 3.00 am. The same doctor was on call but he never mocked me when he saw us again. After a while they shifted my father to the ICU. My father who had never spent a day in the hospital all through my adult life was suddenly in ICU and I was responsible for his care!
It took till the next day afternoon, for the extremely competent team at the Columbia Asia Gurgaon to diagnose him with bacterial meningitis. When I went in for a talk with his attending doctor, Sunil Singhla, he told me they had already started the treatment. He said we would have to wait and watch for the next 48 hours. If the medicines would work …” I asked back, so what if they don’t work, what was the plan B? He replied with a dead face, “There is no plan B.” He also added that if I did not relax I would myself fall sick! My young nephews and my sister helped me out with the hospital stay.
While he was in ICU I saw all kind of tears. I saw people crying in happiness when a baby was born. I recognized tears that still had hope in them. And I knew the hopeless tears of the people who got the fatal news. I had to somehow cling to hope all this while.
It was my luck that DR. Sunil declared my father out of danger in less than 48 hours. He was going to recover. His attending doctors, Dr. Sunil and Dr. Satish Kaul were a marvel. I said to Dr. Sunil once that it was so unexpected, my father just got back home with my daughter before he collapsed. He replied, “Don’t worry, he would be doing all that again.” My father was already 70 then. But Dr. Sunil was right, he still does all that!
All of us were capable to pay for the bills, we had had the foresight to put away cash every month for just this sort of emergency. Actually my father was a Railway Employee and he never planned to move out of our native place. He was covered in the local railway hospital. We were extremely lucky that we got a competent team of doctors and we could afford the treatment. I have been in and out of hospitals as a caretaker a few times after but this has been my most scary moment in life. I understood what it means when they say, “Your life can change in a moment.” I was lucky and prepared that it passed too!
I wrote this after five years after watching the video above and believe me it was not been easy even now. Not only if you are a parent but even if you are responsible for your parents do get them insured before it is too late. It pays to have a #KhudKoKarBuland thinking when it comes to our family.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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