Thursday, September 17, 2015

I do believe angels exist

I love to talk when I'm in the mood. And the best thing to get me into mood is to set up a good conversation. Last Monday proved one such day when I was having a conversation with a junior budding physician from Kolkata Medical College. We talked on various topics and soon it turned to society and our perspective of it. I have to admit although of my being bit of a pessimistic person in this matter but the conversation tickled many grey cells and later I received an email from his side detailing one of his many experiences as a trainee. I present it here with his due permission:

"He spake well who said that graveyards are the footprints of angels" - H. W. Longfellow

What’s the relevance of this quote with my status update??? 

Oh yes, there is. In these 6 long years of my life as a 'junior' doctor, I have witnessed the fate of several patients. Some have been cured; some have died while some others have survived only to lead a mere future life of hopelessness. Many of these souls have become too closely attached to me. And one of them is undoubtedly that small boy of our very own Paediatrics Department...the one I have always talked about: the HIV infected youngest friend of mine about whom I had written almost a year back. 

My last day out with this little friend of mine was 8 months back when he came to our hospital with the same old complaint of fever and diarrhea and got admitted. But since then there has been an uncanny silence from his end and I got no trace of him through calls or letters. The ice was finally broken when I enquired about his whereabouts from the nurses of our Medical ward where he was last admitted. And what did I come to know was that he is no more. He left this world 5 months back! He went into a deep slumber from which he will never wake up. 

I went silent for a moment. I looked down at the envelope in my hand in which I had brought the money to give him so that he could have a great time in the festive season. But all was a waste.
What's the use of the money now...

I feel helpless and hopeless at times when I lose someone close to my heart. I ask myself, ‘who are we? Next to God or next to nothing? We take pride in making new drug discoveries or when we heal a patient physically. But can we heal him from within? Can we help him adapt to this filthy society and live the life with dignity?’ 

The answer that creeps up every time is a big ‘No’.

We don’t in most cases. But surely we can. Curing someone isn’t merely restricted to healing of a bed-sore or relieving Acute Kidney Injury through Hemodialysis or prolonging the life of a cancer patient by 5 years. To heal someone means to heal with the power of love. Even if medical therapy fails to resuscitate a dying person but the touch of love can surely let his pain be eased in the last few moments of survival. I don’t know if I will ever emerge as a stalwart in my professional arena, but what I am happy about is the fact that I have given all the love I could to my little friend who would always have a shining smile on his face upon catching a glimpse of me. Now he will rest in peace forever in my sweetest memories. But the war he fought so far should never go in vain. 

The money that I failed to give him before he breathed his last still lies in the locker of my bank account. And someday, I want to use it for building a centre for the welfare of HIV infected children. You can call me a dreamer because ingle headedly it’s surely a difficult task but I hope people from this very society will join me in this venture over time. I do believe angels exist—even today...

Courtesy: Dr. Avik Basu