The Covid-19 Pandemic has left an indelible trail of sorrow all around us. It also had forced us to make hard choices. Choices you are compelled to make but somehow can never be certain about their correctness.
My Grandfather, Grandmother and my Father – all of them – started exhibiting Covid-19 related symptoms at my ancestral village in Bihar. I had to immediately rush to them as the SpO2 level of my father was deteriorating and there was little support structure available in the village to nurse them back to health.
I had to leave my young daughter at home with my wife alone in Mumbai in midst of this raging pandemic. All this while, me and my wife have been furiously guarding each other and our daughter from potential exposure by taking all evasive action. My visit to village would breach the castle of Bio-Bubble we so assiduously created for our young family. To make matters worse, me or my wife weren’t vaccinated either owing to the immense shortage of Vaccines for 18+ age group.
The very thought of leaving my young daughter unattended moved me to Tears. She is the greatest gift I have every received. Her arrival has bought immense joy to my life. How do I leave her ? My wife had her own apprehensions about my visit and rightly so. What comes first ? Duty as a Father , Obligations as a Son or Commitment as a Husband. There can be no right answers. My love for my daughter and wife is immense but sometimes circumstances forces you to make hard choices.
Finally, I decided to visit my ancestral village. I took the next available flight to Darbhanga and booked an onward cab to my Village. The situation upon reaching there was critical. My Dad was nearly bedridden with Spo2 level precariously hovering around 90. There was no way I could give him Oxygen support in case his oxygen level dips further. Sitting in Village, all I could do was to pray for their health.
Health infrastructure in Bihar was always in a state of disarray but this pandemic has bought the crumbling health infrastructure in the state at its knees. To exacerbate matters further , some of the villages , at least mine in Shyamsidhap, are still to be connected to arterial District roads by all weather links. In case of an emergency medical condition, It would have been nearly impossible to access a good hospital timely.
Given that my Grandmother and Father’s situation was equally bad and little support of my distant relatives I had in the village would evaporate the moment I shift them to Darbhanga; I was again faced with a tough choice . Is it right to take my father alone to a district town while leaving my Grandparents at Village with her daughters ? Is that correct ? Given a choice of saving lives of your immediate relatives , who would you chose ? Someone relatively Young or Old. Your parents or your Grandparents. I wish there were easy answers.
I bought my father alone to the district town of Darbhanga in the hope of stabilizing his condition and to be able to be in a position to access a quality healthcare facility at short notice. I did what I could do for two days- something which required me to be in his physical vicinity . His vitals started improving though he was visibly weak. My younger brother also arrives in the interim. I now wanted to go back to my family.
My daughter and wife were helpless all this while. My wife was concerned about the possibility that I might catch Covid-19 infection from my father- given that I was unvaccinated so far. My daughter was searching for me in every corner of the house thinking that I was playing hide and seek with her. Every time I saw her on calls, I was moved to tears.
I decided to go back to Mumbai now that my father was recovering and my brother had arrived. I broke the news to my father who was too weak to be able to say anything. He couldn’t get up to say me Good bye. I was trying very hard to hold back my tears. Never have I seen my Dad so weak. I couldn’t even hug him saying that I will be back if such a need arises. I wasn’t even sure that whether I was seeing him for one final time ?
I went back to Mumbai after getting another RTPCR test done. The results were negative . I reached home and I am currently quarantining myself in a separate room. I can see my wife from a distance but cannot hug her. I can hear my daughter’s footstep but cannot hold her in my arms.
I am feeling weak and feel that I have a sore throat. I dread that I may have caught the infection and concerned that I may spread it to my wife and daughter. I am quarantining myself to reduce the possibility of spreading infection. I love them immensely and cannot imagine my life without them. I pray to Goddess that this ordeal ends well for my family.