Every time we visited him in the Intensive Care Unit, he mouthed the line “Just take me home.”
We wanted the same. It was our prayer in every moment that we would be able to take him home. But how would we transport the things that were attached to him? The things on which his life depended – monitors, strong medications being infused through syringe pumps and the beeping robot that was supporting his lungs? Even if we transported those, who would man these gadgets and modulate them as required? The first step was to get him to breathe by himself. It was happening in bursts. Some days he looked so bright that it was easy to believe that it wouldn’t be too long before we could. Other times he seemed tired, simply from the effort of breathing. Of course, they were trying to help him come off the ventilator but sometimes it was too much for him. Despite their good intentions and gentle demeanour, it was too much for him.
One of the young residents encouragingly said, “Sir, we want to send you home soon. That’s why we’re making you work hard.” He pointed skywards with a wry smile, “That way?”
In the end, it was a long, slow goodbye.
“We’re all walking each other home.”
– Ram Dass.