It's been 68 days I left home in India. There have been times when I think of the times, I spent at home after a span of 4 years. I feel dubious about whether I should be sad about what I had to witness or feel lucky that I was there when it happened? I sway between the moments he came to pick me up at the airport to the morning where he was fighting to breathe. Between the heat and the iodoformic smell at the hospital, father was recovering, soon after the procedure. He had started just to eat and sit up on his own.
In public hospitals, someone has to stay with the patient at all times. We were all taking turns sitting beside father. My uncle and Mohan were staying the nights with father, sleeping on the chair next to his bed. It was inconvenient for them, but everyone came together to help and do it all for him. The doctor decided to observe father for the initial week as his kidneys were not well so he wanted to make sure that they haven't been damaged any further during the angiography. The dye used to check the blocked arteries can be quite harmful for kidneys. Me and mother were going back and forth, staying the days at the hospital and going to one of my uncle's place at nights. My family will always be courteous to theirs as that couple did a lot for us while father was in the hospital.
Mother was stressed all the time. She stayed at the hospital while having sick days herself. Devastated, she couldn't go in to see father much but she spent all the days in waiting area until it was night and then she used to leave with me, leaving my elder uncle and Mohan behind to stay with father, just to be back the next morning. There were 15 other patients in the same ward and everyone made sure to check up on everyone else. 4 days had passed.
On the fifth day, it was 3 PM. I was sitting beside father having a talk, while all of a sudden we heard a scream. A patient was in a lot of pain and he was shouting an alarm at the top of his voice, pleading for someone to save him from dying. He had his procedure done the night before and had stents put in his arteries. He was in a critical condition when they got him out of the operating room and transferred him in the ward. He was hooked up to all of the machines and medication while he was unconscious.
After spending the whole night unconscious, he woke up around noon and started to yell in an abhorring tone. All the resident doctors and nurses rushed to his aid. They tried everything they could, but he sank back to his bed, never to rise again.
I witnessed every moment while father had his back up against the wall. He couldn't see anything but he listened to the cries. He kept asking me about what was going on to which I didn't respond. I could see him praying under his breath for the departing soul.
After almost 2 hours of deploring cries, that man fell unconscious. His heart had stopped working. The doctors started CPR, resorting to defibrillator but it was all in vain. A human died right in front of my eyes and it was eating my heart out. The whole hypothetical scenario about having a heart problem and what can happen to someone within a fraction of seconds was just witnessed. I sensed how much could have gone wrong for father during all these weeks. I was thankful that my father had recovered.
They summoned the patient's family which was waiting outside and announced the bad news. The family was breaking down in front of me while I stood there, gazing. My uncle who was talking to one of his family members found out that the person was only 50 years old and was fine 2 days ago. He had a heart attack the day before and was brought in to the emergency.
At times, even after placing the stents, the human arteries can still get clogged with the clot stuck in them, which can cause a heart attack.
They wrapped up the body and took him to the morgue. His bed was soon occupied by another patient who met the same fate. He was transferred out straight from the OT and soon he stopped breathing. The staff performed a CPR on him and within a couple of minutes of using the defibrillator, he was declared dead.
I spent 4 days in that ward with father so I kind of knew most of the patients there. I saw that man eating, talking and sitting, up and fine just hours ago before his procedure and an hour later, I saw him dying.
With 2 people dead right in front of my eyes within couple of hours of each other and on the same bed, I couldn't help but wonder about the fragility of human life. A life long of moments, happiness, sorrows, anger and ego takes only a couple of seconds to depart from this world to another.
I prayed for the departed souls and paid my deepest condolences to the family while hoping better times for father.