It is tough to see your loved ones go, it is tougher to see them going painfully and dying each moment and toughest when you have to deal with the exorbitant prices of medicines along with it all thinking it may work like a miracle when you know there is no hope. Not to say that I don’t believe in miracles if it keeps that last shred of hope afloat but there never has been anything that was born and will not die. I have encountered death, up close and personal of dear ones. My bro-in-law my best friend was cruelly snatched away in an accident and my cousin and father-in-law died slow painful deaths courtesy cancer. It was a feeling beyond any measure of pain seeing them suffer, seeing them search your eyes for a glimmer of hope, them getting in and out of ICU almost every second day. Don’t know who to blame, cause doctors were doing their job flogging them to life and care givers their duty by spending lakhs so that they could live and breathe just a few breaths.
My question is what was more important at that time? Making them comfortable and letting them go peacefully under non intrusive loving care OR keeping them almost lifeless with life supports. When both the parties; the medical fraternity as well as the care givers knew they were at the point of no return. It is difficult for the family to give up sometimes, at the hospital I heard stories of families coming over from the village having sold off their agricultural lands and living on streets just so that their loved ones can live last few days in the ICU bereft of being around families!!
I did the same. Even when I was told by a very sensible doc about end of life care. I also chose to put him on ventilator all the time saying “all we want is that he goes away peacefully”. I plead guilty. I do not know if all those meds running in his veins that had made him groggy and oblivious to the world, helped. I would never know. All I saw and felt was when I took my son, papa’s fav person this side of the world to the ICU to meet him a day before he passed on, his pools of eyes gleamed with joy and he held my sons hand in a grip. That was a flash of life. Sometimes I wonder if he was home, would he have been happier? His passing away has left a vacuum in our lives like it does when a parent passes away no matter how old they are or you are. But I was happy for him. I know he is in a better place. He was a fighter, a man whose laughter used to resonate and fill the entire house. Life of a party, he never stopped even when he got his knees replaced, never stopped playing with my son games like TT and cricket, the best dadu in the world. I was upset he was reduced to being a mere shadow of himself in the last weeks. I was happy in the knowing that he would have found peace.
I introspected a lot. I thought of myself and if I may say so very selfishly it has brought me to a decision. I would want to go in peace, I will like to die being aware, being happy, please do not tie me to life supports, do not spend hours counting down. After I am gone celebrate my life, donate my eyes and organs let someone live a better quality of life. I came across a video by Indian Association of Palliative Care and I pledge my support. I pledge for palliative care.