If you want to really face yourself, go admit your loved one in a hospital.
A frail old lady admitted with high blood pressure and anemia develops a lung infection, goes into respiratory distress and is put on ventilator support.
She’s a widow with only one daughter (and in India having only a daughter is considered quite unfortunate). The daughter in turn has only one daughter (legacy of misfortune continues) who did not conceive even after almost 8 years of marriage(!!!). After elaborate treatment, and an IVF procedure, she conceived and gave birth to triplets. Baby 1 died within minutes of birth. Baby 2 died in another week. Baby 3 was being closely monitored in an incubator. Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction!
This was obviously and understandably too traumatic for our frail old lady to endure and her blood pressure shot through the roof, eventually landing her in hospital. Since the daughter was busy nursing her own daughter, the task of attending to the old lady fell upon a nephew.
After three weeks of watching his aunt lie there in a vegetative state, and having to pay weekly hospital bills and daily medical bills, said nephew started getting restless. So when the doctor put the old lady on some very high potency (read that as high cost) antibiotics, he eventually decided to have a talk. There is no privacy in an intensive care unit, and I was there when he proposed ‘My aunt has been on a fast for the last year. She eats only on alternate days. Can we give her the medicines also on alternate days? I don’t think her constitution can handle such strong medicines.’ The idea of administering antibiotics on alternate days was so preposterous that we were all stunned. (Incidentally it is this incident that triggered one of my earlier blogs Michchhāmi Dukkaḍaṃ)
Let’s be fair to the nephew though. For three weeks he took really good care of his aunt. But when he saw no improvement he had to take a hard call. Who merits the expenses?
Logical dilemma: A grand child who may or may not survive, but if she survives, will have an entire life ahead of her, or an aunt who may or may not survive, but even if she survives, is only waiting to embrace death?
Heart’s dilemma: A grand child who you haven’t had the opportunity to fall in love with yet, or an aunt who you love like a mother?
The decision is rather simple from where we stand, but to stand in the middle of a hospital with people looking at you as if you were a money minded murdered, and with an onslaught of a lifetime of memories running through your head, believe you me, the decision was not all that easy.
May the old lady’s soul rest in peace.