Dance Of Death

It’s been a week of roller coaster emotions…I don’t know how many of my readers have seen the macabre dance of death…up front and close.

While most of India was celebrating Independence Day on 15th of August, I got a call from my Mom, telling me that my Aunt had a fall, lost consciousness and was in the ICU. I told her that I will fly out to be with her & Dad. My Aunt & I share a relationship which is like a mother – daughter relationship. She was the one who brought me up when my parents moved from one end of the country to another…this was because my Dad was in the army.

In the ICU I came across three kinds of patients. One set of patients who are fighting for their life, willing themselves to get out of the agony and take life head on. The other set, who have given up on life & are willing themselves to die. Then there is the third set of patients, who want to live, are looking towards you for help, but don’t have the physical energy to go on.

It’s the third category that makes me feel so helpless. My Aunt belongs to that category. There is something that is pushing her to fight..I don’t know what it is. Physically, she is unable to do so. What is gut wrenching is the silent plea in her eyes that I don’t want to give up…so help me!

How does one help? Watching the monitor flicker, the ECG go up and down creating patterns which even the doctors are trying to understand, hearing her breathe, her attempts at conversation and wanting to understand why is she in this condition… it’s only fair to share with her as gently as possible what her condition is.

The wait & watch situation can be trying on both, the patient and the family. In the last few days I have seen my own family trying hard to understand what is the next step as far as my Aunt is concerned. The human mind finds solace in concrete answers & situations where an individual feels he is in control. My deeper question – are we really in control or do we just feel secure when we have the feeling of being in control. My family wants to know when she will move out of the ICU, when can we bring her home, when is her heart going to recover… When her doctors don’t have an answer for all these questions, how can they give a road map?

We seek answers where there are none, we want assurances when they can’t be given by anyone…we hate the thought of being in the dark. We are ready to battle the dance of death any which way possible. I salute the human spirit that never wants to give up!!!


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