This lockdown we have failed humanity and our senior citizens
My 88-year-old grandfather and 79-year-old grandmother were on their regular doctor’s visit to Gujarat just four days before the haphazard lockdown was announced. My family is based in Goa but since we have an ancestral house and a few family members there, they like to visit Gujarat once in a year. Although this time my grandfather had his doctor’s appointment in the second week of March. They were supposed to head back home in the last week after visiting my extended family but since transport was halted all of a sudden and they were left immobile in one place.
Our ancestral village Dakana is 60 km away from Bhavnagar District. It is situated in interior parts of Saurashtra, Gujarat. Underdeveloped and many villagers have left for bigger cities in search of jobs and good opportunities. The village hardly has any transport connectivity and with each day we see many empty houses. Initially, they thought it is ideal to live there but as summers set in, he suffered from extreme heat stroke. He was rushed to nearby OPD in a close-by town of Talaja but doctors advised he be shifted to a hospital with a better medical facility.
In regular times, patients are shifted to a city hospital in Bhavanagar but it was loacted in a red zone and was too risky for the elderly couple to move there. The cases in Gujarat were rising at a rapid speed. Since their age makes me vulnerable to contract COVID-19, almost all relatives refused to even help them.
A feeling of helplessness is killing us
One month has passed, people who we knew since years have given several reasons why they cannot help my grandparents. As of today, my grandfather is critical, with perhaps just a couple of weeks to survive. That’s the last word a doctor treating him has now told us. As his family, we could do very little from Goa apart from begging our friends and family there to help but alas! They are reluctant and we are helpless.
As I write this, I am wondering the fate of many such patients in India, awaiting medical assistance for different ailment apart from Coronavirus. On social media, I see even the privileged class being turned down due to a shortage of doctors or a shortage of beds in the hospitals. In my grandfather’s case, it was lack of medical facility. For the lack of the better word, I would say- he was left to die on his condition. The relatives and friends couldn’t help given their own safety and here, I am hoping to see my grandfather again. The announcement of lockdown was so sudden that we could do very little to bring them back. Even a day’s notice would have helped us to bring them back with us. But now since the condition has worsened, he is advised against travelling.
Life with and after Corona
How is life supposed to pan out from here on? The fear of contracting the virus from a person unknown or neighbours or someone who needs help has made us reluctant. My grandparents need their children closer but that is so difficult in the current situation. Their cry for help has crippled us. We are pinning our hopes on doctors whom we interact frequently over telephones. This is about just one case closer to me but currently, in our country, there are millions and millions waiting for medical attention with no source of income and no availability of doctors. I wonder where are we heading from here. As a community and as a society overall, this virus has made us hostile towards one another.