Five Stages of Dying

Several moments from the hit TV series House M.D. the philosophy of Dr House helped me hold myself together during the last one month of mother’s approaching death. Particularly Episode 1 of Season 2, Acceptance. A young woman in her 30s, Cindy, visits the clinic for some routine tests for her health clearance certificate for a new job. Dr Cameroon greets Cindy, takes a look at her chest X-ray report and a slight hint of worry comes across her face. In the next scene we see her consulting with Dr Wilson, Head of Oncology. Dr Wilson tells Dr Cameroon with … Continue reading Five Stages of Dying

When a Pillar Falls The Building Crumbles, The Family Falls Apart

26th April I have said and done a lot of hurtful things to my mother for which I am repenting today, will repent forever. But so has everyone else. My father, my sister. Such is life, we fight, we make up, nobody is perfect. Sometimes we say sorry, sometimes we don’t speak for days and then cook something special for the person we hurt and move on. The thing I cannot tolerate anymore is my eight and half years younger sister assuming a morally superior position and trying to judge me in order to defend dad. This is a mistake, … Continue reading When a Pillar Falls The Building Crumbles, The Family Falls Apart

13 Days Of Mourning & Healing Not Without Guilt

21st April The last time I had a conversation with mom about my career, studies she told me to drop the idea of getting a full time job. She said, “You don’t have to worry about money. You just do good work, do your photography, write articles. Its been so long you are not writing for Firstpost isn’t it? Why have you stopped? Get your book published. Study. Read. In between take up some wedding photography assignment that would pay you well.” She just wanted me to focus on what I am good at, my creative and intellectual pursuits. I … Continue reading 13 Days Of Mourning & Healing Not Without Guilt

She Died Within Few Hours of Going on Ventilator

17th April  1.38 pm Exactly a month ago, on 17th March mother walked out of home for routine check up with symptoms no more than of common cold. This morning she went into ventilator. They say putting a stage 4 cancer patient, with no hopes for treatment, on ventilator is a bad idea. It would only increase pain and suffering. In the previous hospital every night the head of ICU would call and try to convince us not to give consent for ventilator. Once such critical patient goes into ventilator they never come back, said the doctor. But we gave … Continue reading She Died Within Few Hours of Going on Ventilator

To Intubate or Not to Intubate?

15th April 2017 My mother wishes everybody a happy Bengali new year. She told me to put it up on her Facebook. Talk about patient – doctor trust and relationship, mother’s attending doctor didn’t even visit her today in his rounds. Didn’t even meet the family to tell us what kind of palliative care is required, what precautions we should take, how to ensure she doesn’t suffer pain. Nothing. He wanted us to leave, we are leaving, he couldn’t be any less bothered. Bengali new year didn’t bring any new hopes. We shifted mom to the new hospital yesterday but … Continue reading To Intubate or Not to Intubate?

Her Lungs Are Giving Up But She Won’t, She Will Survive

14th/April Morning: 17th March to today, mom’s condition is worsening so rapidly, I didn’t know it’s possible for any disease to aggravate so quickly. We have no time at all. All her body functions and organs are in perfect condition but her lungs are giving up. Just giving up. Before Facebook, it was not so in your face evident that while your world is crumbling and crashing, rest of the world goes by just fine without batting an eyelid. Our sorrows are our alone. 11.30pm After my morning update regarding mom’s condition, people got very worried. Some called and messaged … Continue reading Her Lungs Are Giving Up But She Won’t, She Will Survive

To Chemo Or Not To Chemo?

11th April 2017 Cancer is a disease. Chemo is a treatment. Quality time with family is a utopia. We are at the juncture now where we have to decide whether to give chemotherapy to mother or not. The attending doctor advised us against it. She is in stage 4 cancer and he is of the opinion that chemotherapy won’t help her much. It would be high risk. He wasn’t clear what this ‘high risk’ means. He suggested we take her home, give home nursing, palliative care, spend quality time with her and wait. Wait for the cancer to spread and … Continue reading To Chemo Or Not To Chemo?

Cancer The Misfortune That Fell On Us

3rd April 2017 Cancer. Not a disease but a culture. A major story twist. The deadly misfortune has been part of the most tragic films and literature. Mostly it would be the male protagonist, he falls sick and doctors tell him, “You have last stage Cancer, only few days of your life are left” and then an dramatic scene follows. “Ab inhe dawa ki nahi dua ki zaroorat hai (She needs prayers now not medicine)” is a much clichéd dialogue from hindi films of yesteryears. In real life however, among friends and family such misfortune was rarely heard. With advancement … Continue reading Cancer The Misfortune That Fell On Us

“Take Her To Another Hospital” Max Hospital Emergency Didn’t Give Treatment Because No Room To Admit Patient

A 63 year old patient with severe fluid in both lungs, rapidly decreasing oxygen saturation (90 to 85 to 81 percent within few hours) and increasing breathing trouble was not given any treatment at Max Hospital Emergency, simply because they had no room to admit her. “Take her to another hospital” said the Max Hospital Emergency doctor and person in-charge of admitting. My mother’s both lungs were filled with fluids. She wasn’t able to breath. Our ordinary understanding is that the fluids from her lungs needed to be drained out. We had with us two X-ray reports which clearly showed … Continue reading “Take Her To Another Hospital” Max Hospital Emergency Didn’t Give Treatment Because No Room To Admit Patient