Monday, October 10, 2005

my father

Today is my fathers b’day.

It was August 8th 1999, he breathed his last and transcended to another altar. I was with him when it happened, literally till his heart rate started dwindling and ECG became a flatline. That incident i will never forget for the rest of my life.

We all were been told by doctors that the end would come after all the medical efforts were exhausted to pull him out from fatal onslaught of acute pancreatitis (it’s irony that he inflicted from this disorder despite being teetotler all his life).

ICU at Breach candy hospital is strict in terms of hygeine and discipline. No one is allowed to enter outside visiting hours. It was afternoon and all relatives were dozing in the outside chamber. Suddenly I was awakened by a jolt. This does happen to me on and off. I was told that missing a heart beat does that. I don’t know if I missed a heartbeat this time but I did have a courage to open an ICU door and ask headnurse about my father’s health despite a fear of possible rebuke by her for an unapproved entry. She was engrossed in her work but as soon as she saw me, she asked me to call the near and dear ones as the end would be approaching soon. It was as if I made her realize that the final moment could have been slipped from her attention.

When we entered the room, all curtains were rolled in with nurse’s one hand on my father's wrist to measure the pulse and one eye on watch. Heart rate was hovering around 40 but as soon as we entered, it started plunging downwards. I was too dazed to see the clinical death approaching in steadying faschion with all human endaver succumbing to god’s will. My father was under the ventilator support and sedation so the end was prominent by his vital signs than any other physical pain. I had seen cases where a flat line of heart rate was resucitated with artifical respiration, pounding of chest by fist and elctrical shock. Nothing of this happened here.

It was a culmination to his struggle of 11 days during which he showed signs of dramatic recovery only to plunge into a situation of hallucination. In last few days, he only reacted by movement of his eyeballs to audible instructions. His tangible recognition of my brother was his last physical reaction that he demonstrated. My brother’s coming all the way across the continent was worth just for this event.

One never knows the meaning of the word 'loss' until you lose somone in the family. That person is part of your existence and loss of physical presence is difficult to fill the void. But it may sound strange, loss of physical space is taken by all past memories that refuse to dim. If at all, they become more vivid in years to come. I still ache for my father but somehow he seems to be very much part of my existence. Perhaps, philosophical approach over last few years have enabled to accept every loss with poise and equilibrium.

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