I cautiously walked into the ICU. My careful steps and observant eyes passed through all those who even the doctors would say, were waiting for their turn. All of them so lonely, so much in pain, with maybe so many questions and unachieved dreams in their lifeless, expressionless eyes.
Meeting naani is never depressing. She is always chirpy and becomes excited seeing visitors. When asked why she was feeling low, she told me that since the others in ICU were critical cancer patients, she too was kept in that silence and solitude and wasn't allowed TV. Her report says that the cancer which had been sucking her from inside for past two years had now infected her bones too. When her hemoglobin touched 3, about four days ago, none of us thought we would ever see her that cheerful…but there she was - smiling in all that pain while living a chemo and drug dependent life.
Naani hated the ICU. When finally moved into the hospital room, she sighed relief. She had hated the last three days as she could not do her morning chores well and was badly missing a hand and body lotion. The only complaint from my 74 year modish grandma: “I hate these wrinkles. I know its age for me, but the wrinkles are suddenly getting worse”. Thank God, I have learned to hold my tears.
Everyone at the hospital had the same story. The disease that pushes one towards his/her end slowly, painfully had infected many. The lonely patients in the room weren’t saying that there was no one for them. There story said that to assist their treatment at the hospital, their family was really slogging hard. Quality treatment in our country is a privilege. A day in the hospital can rob you of your monthly salary and even after spending all that money, what one can guarantee is a little less painful death. But death, for almost all the admitted patients there, was a soon approaching reality. The time, which money was buying for them, was only to ensure that everyone gets ready to face the loss.
Death, just like their pain, is inevitable.