Pandemic has changed the outlook of many, lives of many and memories of many. The intention of living is to create good memories, sweet memories for all – living and departed. Hence there is and will be a constant pursuit of happiness – however you experience it or how long you experience it – whether a time comes to leave this world or a time comes to live the world to the fullest.
The time to leave the world comes unexpectedly for some and some may get enough time to contemplate on it to prepare for it. Both are lucky as one gets to leave the world quickly and peacefully and the other has the wisdom to embrace it to welcome it peacefully. But those who depart unexpectedly leave an empty void that sometimes feels like to exist forever for those who are affected by such a sudden departure.
I thought of penning few words of comfort for those who are left with such an empty void to deal with, but are unable to do so, perhaps, languishing on the thoughts of what could have been done differently or what should have been done differently by the system that is caring for those supposedly. This feeling is deep for those who had constraints of all kinds to deal with, be it be economic or social or emotional, during the course of caring for those who have fallen sick.
The most anxious times are spent on both sides of the person who has fallen sick – those who are giving care to cure the sickness and those who are waiting for the cured to come home. During the escalation stages of getting care when the care moves from least intrusive treatment to most intrusive treatment, the decision making capacities are tested intensely. At this time the system that existed to provide the support to ease such decision makings got my attention.
I draw my experiences from two different occasions. The first one is several years back and the second one is quite recent. Both experiences are from a single nation, a democratically governed nation. Both experiences are from well-known and well-respected hospitals. Yet, I found that the processes often fail both sides – those who are involved in giving care and those who are getting the care.
My premise is that care means both patient and those who care for the patient are invested in a desirable outcome as transparently as possible. Such lack of transparency may often lead to – could have, would have or should have scenarios putting enormous stress on everyone concerned. I do not wish to deviate from the main purpose of this blog by giving evidences of such a failure, but I hope I am entitled to form such an opinion from my experience to share the same with the readers of this blog.
Drawing some parallels to the swiftness with which the government meeting places were modified to continue having the same governing style irrespective of the disruption caused by the pandemic is a testament that the same can be done to cope with all altered life styles for its citizens too. Importance given to an individual health is as important as community health for a nation, and is not necessary to make one suffer for the other because of this altered situation due to the pandemic. Primary stress therefore should be in the domain of public health. One cannot, however, leave that to the public to decide as the public did not decide on the health systems created to care for them, as it was the job of experts to decide on such types of health care systems.
When patients are admitted to the hospital to receive care, the provisions are made for the loved ones to be still be with them till such time the treatment options are evaluated. The same cannot be done if the patient is covid positive as they need to be isolated. What if isolation can still be provided to give access to loved ones as before through some sort of separation either by plexi-glass barriers or some other transparent barriers? Those who committed serious crimes get this face-to-face opportunity for a conversation across a transparent barrier, then why not the same for those who are not even responsible for such a separation to occur?
When doctors are dealing with aged patients, it seems they rely heavily upon the family members to make a decision for the patient. However, if and when a patient is capable of communicating, then why not enable conversations that help both the patient and the family members to assess both pre and post treatment traumas together?
It is true that over time, the departed have given insights into the short comings of the health care systems that were put in place. It is true that the world is now a much better place than any other time before. But it is also true that the arguments surround more on the survival of the institutions offering care than the survival of those receiving the care. Is it not self-evident that if there are no survivors, the institutions become abandoned places like many abandoned facilities that exist today ringing forewarning bells to such catastrophes?
Is it not satisfying to receive, in millions, a Thank you dear world notes than a Good-bye cruel world notes to become a pride of the community or a nation than to become an abandoned institution? Does health sector having ‘health’ as its primary service be distracted by the ‘business’ of providing that service to be called a business sector? I think not. Other sectors supporting businesses should become donating sectors to the health sector for their own survival – pandemic present or not. I am certain that every departed soul would like to say ‘thank you dear world’ than say ‘good-bye cruel world’.