The evenings at the isolation centre are peaceful. A walk in the park (A luxury I didn’t have at my native), a bit of stretching and some interesting conversations about culture and life. That evening it was different. I was asleep till 5:40 PM, so I skipped the stretching and went for a stroll on the lawns after I woke up. After the walk, I was sitting by an old man, probably in his 60s. I couldn’t help but overhear his phone conversation (Thanks to the loudspeaker on his phone). From what I could make out, the discussion was about someone in the ICU.
Someone tested positive for COVID 19 and the situation escalated quickly and they were admitted to ICU. I heard two ladies speak. I guess it was a conference call. One woman(His mother I believe) said I am just praying to god he walks out of ICU safely. The other lady comforted her saying, of course, he will walk out safely, but you take care of yourself. You’re still recovering (possibly from Covid-19). Just leave the burden in god’s hands and he will take care of everything.
I had a smile on my face. I am a rational person and logic is my go-to weapon for dealing with any situation. Had I overheard this conversation a week before, I would’ve thought they are mad. But such is the power of time. 10 days ago, I was in that same situation. Praying to whoever is willing to listen to my rational, atheistic self to not put my father in any danger when he tested positive for COVID-19 and the symptoms didn’t subside after 8 days.
The Serendipity Of Life
Since our entire family was recovering from the loss of my father’s sister (my aunt) just a few weeks ago, the fear was even stronger. Our family wasn’t ready for another tragedy. I wasn’t ready. So I prayed, prayed hard. Bugged every doctor I knew and spoke about symptoms and what would be the best course of action.
The beauty of death is that it is certain to come but the irritating part is the uncertainty around the time of arrival. We all think we have ample time but it comes knocking at times we don’t expect.
I was aware of this but how do I convince my stubborn father. How should I tell him that we should consult a doctor right away and not sit at home plugging thermometers and oximeters at odd places?
I don’t know what changed, he agreed to move out of the house the next day. And almost like a godsend, someone informed my father about an isolation centre a few kilometres from home. The isolation centre had 24*7 doctors care and that’s precisely what we wanted. We admitted him on the 19th of May after battling Covid for over a week by then and as I write this (Wrote this on 30th May), he has recovered completely, barring a case of sore throat. Mom, brother and I tested positive the next day. So we got ourselves admitted into the same isolation centre a day after my father’s admission.
Just a couple of days ago, I was talking to the doctor. The doctor said that he got the right treatment just in time. else he would’ve been admitted to the hospital. The situation in Hyderabad at that time was beyond depressing.
God’s Role In Death
Is the act of Death rational? Does someone truly weigh the pros and cons before ordering someone to depart from this world? When people say, someone’s time has arrived, how do they conclude that?
But certainly, you don’t know when it comes and in what form.
It could be a tiny virus or a heavy truck whose brakes failed or a mid-sized pothole or a hole in your heart? You never know. But when in danger, we are told to pray to God, for he is the ultimate authority taking a call on who lives on. I used to believe it is a ridiculous act. Sitting down and praying to someone who we don’t know exist in the face of danger when you can try your best and gather all the resources to throw at the problem.
But the time in the isolation centre changed my thoughts on this. I heard bad news so frequently that the only way to keep my sanity intact was to say that it’s gonna be alright. It didn’t give any assurances in reality but calmed my brain down to think through the problems.
That’s the whole purpose of prayer.
When someone in the family is suffering, you don’t have the comfort of evaluating a ton of options to choose the best course forward. You need to act quickly and when emotions run high, your mind doesn’t make rational choices. So prayer in a way helps you calm down. Like that comforting note that god will take care of everything. Leave the burden in his hands. It doesn’t matter if he exists or not. But I’d take this advice a step ahead and say, let god (or luck or natural energy or whatever suits your definition) take care of things you can’t control.
But about the things you can control, you should do your absolute best. Like convincing a mild symptomatic patient to get admitted when symptoms extend beyond normal. Like providing the best care you can give at those times. As Marcus Aurelius puts it,
There’s no need to get worked up by things that you can’t controlMarcus Aurelius
I wrote this post on May 30th but didn’t publish it owing to self-doubt. But I’ve been realizing that death can be a powerful tool. By being aware of the fragile nature of our lives, we can take conscious measures to LIVE instead of drifting along in spacetime. Hence posting it today.
This was a post on my thoughts on death, rationality, prayers from my days at the Isolation Centre at the peak of Covid-19 second wave in May’21.
That’s all for today folks!
Thanks for sparing your valuable time and hope you took something back from this.
If you liked this, these posts may interest you: On My Trip, It is Who I need to swim, The stories we tell ourselves.
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