Bed number 19.

I never really left. I was always there. At home with my folks. Even when I flew across oceans, a part of me remained at home. The part that refused to leave. The rest of me has been homesick since that day.

The first time I was to leave my Motherland, India, twenty-three years ago, my dad noticed I was close to tears at the airport. He said, “Chin up my dear. Remember who you are and how proud we are of you.”

Two weeks back he had a routine surgery on his neck that has left him unable to breathe adequately for now. He has received all the support he needs in a timely and gentle manner. For a while he was sedated but when he came out of it, the first thing he verbalised on seeing my mum and I was ‘I love you.’

Two days back I left him again. This time in an Intensive Care Unit bed. Bed number 19. I left his doctors, my brothers, my mother and all the extended family in-charge of him and of each other. I left a list of plans, strategies and resources. I left not knowing what happens next. I left as I breathed and meditated and pleaded with the Gods to heal him.

Once again, I see the fragility of human life. I witness people and situations in a constant state of flux, the tide of hope rising and plunging, our uneven shallow breaths and his, our collective helplessness, the tentative stepping forward and standing back, the engagement of distant Healers, the comforting holding and massaging of hands, hours of sitting in air-conditioned rooms and waiting, second-guessing other’s needs, the tender wetting of lips and applying Vaseline, the daily mid-morning updates that set the tone for the day.

Walking purposefully through hospital corridors is something I’ve done a lot of. But this time it’s me who’s walking through them, lost and vacant.

After four weeks, we hope to return home for a longish time. The very thought makes my heart sing. May Mother Nature do its magical, mysterious dance – make things worse and then, make them better again.

6 thoughts on “Bed number 19.

  1. I wish your Father a speedy and full recovery, God willing. And I wish peace and patience to you and all your family members at what I know must be a very stressful and anxious time for you all.

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  2. I love your writing and pray that you will see your dad again on your return.

    The mysterious dance of Mother Nature, such beautiful words, thank you

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  3. Such beautiful writing in a time of great anguish for you. I pray for your Dad a full and quick recovery and God’s blessing on you all through this difficult time.

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    • Dear Lesley, thank you for your kindness. I am looking forward to seeing him again next month but in the meantime it is comforting to know that he is stable and slowly, steadily improving. He’s gaining in strength and able to enjoy seeing his loved ones when they visit. Small steps 🙂

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