Corona – Infects
Hospitals – Suck
Doctors – Helpless
Patient – Succumbs
Dependants – Loose their loved ones & Money.
“True Life Story”
Mukundan is a simple, humble person leading his retired life to manage and maintain his family and support his married daughter.
He has recently finalised the wedding proposal for his son and was happy about it. After so many years of hard life, he felt, that the fresh air is blowing.
He has a ailing mother at home and who looks up to him for every moment. How he managed his retired life and managed everything around him in a efficient manner is a good point.
Suddenly, he feels discomfort in his breathing and his children have no clue what to do? None of the hospitals around his place is willing take him and they run helter/skelter.
Left with no options and considering the difficulty the father is facing, they take him to the “hell on earth” Government Hospital, Chromepet.
They get horrifying experiences and bad treatment still, were requesting to save their father. He is given oxygen support and they are asked to fill up some forms and arrange Ambulance to shift him to a five star hotel, sorry Hospital.
As they finish these arrangements and come back to see their Dad, they get surprised that he is gasping for breath and someone had closed down the oxygen supply. They start shouting and the oxygen supply is resumed.
We have helpers & abiders of these 5 star hospitals these days and they very tactically make you fall in their trap. Similarly, these young boy and girl, in a desperate attempt to save their father agree to pay token advance of ₹1.50 lacs for a chest congestion & breathing difficulty.
He is rushed to the hospital by the ambulance and they get their uncle to be at their side and support.
Surprisingly, as they get him down from the ambulance, the stretcher is brought and he was removed from there in a whiff to the ICU Covid ward.
The children were asked to go the reception and pay the advance money before they could know where their father is gone.
They make the payment and were directed to the ICU Covid ward.
Without any test, why did they sent him to the Covid ICU is a mystery. The Doctor comes now to take the patients history. The poor children starts narrating the last two weeks incidents and the duty doctor asks as much tactful questions as possible, to make it possible for every scan and test possible.
Then, they are given a set of papers to sign which they mention as ICU Covid patient requirements and literally make them sign the death summary.
They can do nothing now, as their lovable father is already inside the Covid ICU and they are not allowed to see him or talk to him at this juncture and they should come the next day.
The duty Doctor very casually mentions in caring language that the Covid test will be taken in the morning and all treatments will happen after that and meanwhile, the MRI, CT Scan and Xrays will be completed.
The Children not having the knowledge of the subsequent series of events are relaxed that, in spite of their financial state they have admitted their father in to a good hospital (hospital without heart).
Next day they wait anxiously outside the ICU for a briefing by the attending Doctor. The attending Doctor very nicely elaborates the kid that their father is having a congestion level of 70-80% and they would consider it as typical Covid symptom.
He further mentions that, even if the results of Covid test prove otherwise (that is negative), they will treat it as Covid only, considering the level of congestion.
He then goes on to elaborate, that their father is in stage 1 and is under the support of oxygen and if he does not improve they will go to stage 2 which will be tubular breathing support and stage 3 will be ventilator.
The message is given so casually and nicely that, it pierces the heart of the hearer and they will have no alternative, except to say yes for everything and toe the line of the Doctors.
Having made them totally timid, the Doctor gives them all medical names that their father will be given Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and the Tocilizumab costs about ₹40,000/- for one time administering and if not improved will go fpr second dose and still, if there is no improvement, Plasma is a good option and that would be tried.
Now, he throws the best bouncer possible. Covid is a dreadful virus and very few patients get saved out after getting admitted to the ICU and they would give all the best treatment to save the patients as their only intention and purpose in life to save the patients.
Inside the Covid ICU (1st day evening) & 2nd day.
Mukundan after getting some oxygen support feels comfortable and starts looking around to note that he is in a glass room.
No one to talk and no one to interact and just one nurse coming in to the ward in a PPE suit. Mukundan gets surprised as he had heard of such PPE suit through the news channels and they are Covid Warriors.
But, why am I in this ward? This thought of getting Covid makes him worried at his age of 70 and he starts crying and sobbing not able to control himself.
The nurse consoles him and tells him that all will be well soon. He impresses upon the Nurse to call his Children and he should go home immediately.
He is administered some medicine and he goes off to sleep. Next day, Morning he gets up to get surprised that he is still in that glass cage and they have linked him to some tube for support.
Outside the Covid ICU (Day 2) –
The Doctor allows the children to see the father from the distance and through the video call. The children cry with love, at their father to recover and come home soon.
Mukundan replies that he is not able to understand what they were saying as the voice gets very feeble. The duty nurse gives back the phone to the children saying that all night & day he is just pleading to meet you and go home.
The Children having no clue about what is going to happen come home by late evening with a sore heart and sullen faces not knowing the next step.
They receive a call from the hospital and the son gets the mobile to their uncle to talk. The lady on the other side says that she is from the 5 Star Hospital and want to know the blood group of the patient.
The uncle having gone through horrifying experiences in his life with similar 5 star hospital for the same diseases of lung congestion and difficulty in breathing for his father 12 years ago and how he was fleeced for money to get back just the corpse and not his father after 60 days of expensive treatment.
Personally, he had a bad lung congestion about 5 years ago and how an efficient Doctor not having any stars cured him.
The uncle chided the children that, under their emotional outburst probably, it was a wrong decision as the Doctor without confirming anything have admitted the patient to the ICU Covid and gives a warning that, even if the result is negative still we will consider this a typical Covid case.
Having discussed the whole day all these and knowing well the tactics of these hospitals, the Uncle gets his blood shot up to the brain, when the hospital person asked him, as to which Blood Group, is the patient.
The girl from the other side, coolly goes to the next question that any one in the family is AB+ since the patient is AB+ and they will be required to come the next day for Plasma donation.
The uncle gets woked up and asks her does she ever understand a Plasma treatment and she replies that she is a non-medical person and just conveying what she has been asked to convey.
The uncle gives her a good piece of advice about Plasma treatment and still without any regrets she goes to say that the Hospital will have to source it from outside and it will cost ₹69000/- for 200ml.
Now, the uncle goes wild and starts yelling at the hospital staff as to how cheap have they become to market Plasma without even getting the results of Covid test.
Brief on Plasma
“Plasma is administering blood from a Covid cured patient anti-body to a present patient and get him cured. Though, this is recognised by ICMR, the complications are not ruled out.
The donor of blood might have a different virus or bacteria which could harm this patient and many other ifs & buts.”
Now, the Doctor who briefed them in the afternoon calls up to say sorry for whatever had happened and there was a confusion from the girl who called.
He now starts saying very cleverly that your father is having 90% congestion and they are exploring Plasma option and before their duty closes on that day they will write to the Hospital authorities to check with the concerned patients attenders for their agreement for such treatment.
They are so noble hearted and do their profession ethically and they live only to save the patients with all the risk of their life.
The uncle insists that this is not a decision on phone and how is that, from 70-80% it had become 90%. The Doctor goes for a defence that it is 70-90% and considered as critical and he is calling up only in the interest to allay the fears and to feel sorry for such stupid staffs and impress upon them, that they will give the best treatment.
Day 3 (inside Covid ICU)
Mukundan is finding himself in a glass cage and feeling as though all the Gods he has been praying have left him down and being a person who was centered around his family all these years and never stayed away from the kids more than 24 hours, finds it difficult to tolerate and prefers to remain in sleep.
The will power is lost and the disconnect from the family is itself a shortage of oxygen, for his lung.
He is not able to see anything except some blue PPE suit nurses moving here and there.
Day 3 (Outside the Covid ICU) –
The uncle is with the children outside the ICU. Thinking of various options and waiting for the Doctor to come for briefing.
Life of the patient in a ICU is generally difficult and in Covid ICU is worse.
Much worse, is the life of the attendees and relatives who are waiting anxiously for 23 hours and 50 minutes for a ten minute briefing.
Now, the chief Doctor arrives and narrates that the condition of Mukundan is not good as he is not able to respond to the first dose of medicine and still under total oxygen support and not able to breathe himself.
He mentions that Plasma is not very successful and just could be an option and only done at the approval of the family and with Mukundan’s health, it could be hard.
The Children get to see Mukundan whose face is turned to the other side and probably sleeping.
With total depression and agony the children come out and narrate the uncle what they saw through the video call was only their father who was sleeping.
Meanwhile, the news spreads around their family and friends circle and the phone call flows in from all direction and the children gets more tensed and worried and confused explaining everyone the series of events and the present situation.
Everyone gives their part of the suggestion and their knowledge and makes life for the patient family more complicated.
Day 4 – Inside ICU
Mukundan feels that he is now getting the much required rest having slogged the last 71 years in this World.
Even he does not have to strain himself to breathe and every thing is happening with the support of the machine.
He feels that all his anxiety about tomorrow and his son’s much awaited wedding and the love for their children have become a mirage.
A person who has lived with the family all through his life and only for their well-being and welfare, have reconciled to the fact that he cannot get back to that World and remain in rest until the last moments come.
Did he accept the defeat? Or the glass cage and the morose conditions around him made him to accept the reality of life.
He rewinds himself to his father’s preaching. Pray that one should never go to 3 places, in life. Police Station, Court and Hospital.
Mukundan felt the truth today, as he is in hospital with no hopes. His father had seen Courts and have lost wealth. Mukundan is at the Hospital, in the verge of losing his life.
Day 4 (Outside ICU)
The children with their uncle and now have one more for Moral support who is the future father in law of Mukundan’s son.
The briefing time comes and you have a different duty doctor who was only narrating bad news to the attendees of other patients.
The anxiousness increases as they have not been called yet for briefing. This Duty Doctor was so tough that, he mentioned to some relative of a patient that don’t stay here and just go home.
They will get a call if there is any emergency and just pray that you don’t get a call. If we don’t call then it means the patient is fine. What a Doctrine?
Now, Mukundan name is called and the duty doctor says that, he has gone unconscious and there is very little hope and if they like to see they can go inside the patients room with the PPE suit on.
The children get tutored by the uncle to go and check at the fingers and its moments and if there is some life.
They make a decision that they will shout loudly to bring him back to life talking about the wedding plans and how they all are waiting for him and he should come back.
Inside the ICU
The children in PPE suit come in one by one and start telling mukundan in loud voice and with shivering tone, Dad please come home and we are waiting.
Mukundan though losing his conscious is able to get the voice feebly but, he can do nothing more except to drop some tears which flows out of his eyes.
Mukundan finds it difficult to come back to his routine. He tries his best and goes back to the pleasant state of unconscio
The children come out crying to their uncles and explain the sad state of their father and hard to believe that he did not respond after their yelling and the reply was only in the form of droplets of tears.
Day 5 (Inside ICU)
Mukundan is now cutoff 90% from his own World of family and Children and just relaxing in his semi coma state.
He is getting now the much needed rest and having understood that he has no chance of going back to his World and remains quiet.
Day 5 (Outside ICU)
The children and uncles are back and praying all Gods possible and chanting all hymns possible waiting anxiously for those ten minutes briefing after 23:50 hours.
The chief Doctor is there today and of all the people the most kind hearted Doctor, explains that the increase in C02 in the body have made the brain nonfunctional.
The lungs which need to be spongy have become like rock and not responding.
The heart beat is on and only God will have to make some miracle to save him.
He gives the permission again to the children to go and meet their lovely father in the PPE suit.
This time they have come with different videos recorded but, he can hear nothing.
They decide to call out the name of his loving granddaughter and this might bring him back.
Inside ICU –
The son tries his best to break him from the unconscious stage with his talks for no result.
As the daughter takes the name of his granddaughter the body of Mukundan shakes it up showing that he is helpless and have gone too far to a different World.
Day 6 (Inside ICU) –
Mukundan is sleeping without consciousness, like never before. No worry is troubling him. No concern for anyone and probably living in a World of his own.
The much needed rest for him after so much of running around over the past 65 years of grown up life.
He feels as though he is just one feet away from his final destination of this birth. The thought, welfare and worries about his family members, have become null & void.
Day 6 (Outside ICU) –
The duty Doctor informs the children and uncles that the kidneys have failed and now, it is just question of days before the heart beat could stop.
The Lung is choked, brain not functioning, kidneys have failed and there is no hope as per the Doctors but, their medical ethics will make them give medicines to the non-responsive patient.
Is it ethical or clearing off the stock of the medicines or charging the family members or the Insurance Company. So, pathetic.
The children have their shoulders and head down and are left with no alternative.
Calls start flowing from their friends and other family members & relatives and everyone giving a different idea.
It is hard to take so many suggestions and ideas when you are filled with mental stress & pressure. Still, anyone who calls do their part of advice.
They feel worn out and decide to go back home as the condition of Mukundan’s mother is not good. They have been advised by their uncle to see their grandmother for the last time before leaving in the morning.
He had told them that deep breathe from stomach is not a good sign and may not last long. On the way back, they get a call from their aunt and niece that, their grandmother is not breathing and pulse is not there.
First blow for the family and they rush home. They try every way to make her open the eyes and react. All in vain. Uncle confirms the death as body had gone cold.
Now, the challenge starts. To plan for cremation, you need a Doctor to certify and no Doctor comes forward to come home and check and there is no way they can take the grandmother to the hospital.
After one hour of running between the hospitals, a 24 hour hospital sends a nurse to come and confirm and the confirmation is done.
Meanwhile, during the day the municipal people come and mark the building as Covid prone as they received the test report advice from the 5 star hospital a day prior.
No one wants to support and everyone in the family feels that they are untouchables because their father is declared Covid.
How the global pandemic have created a divide among all classes of people and the fear of life is appalling.
Preparations were made for the smooth cremation of their grandmother with an excellent service by a good hearted Samaritan who took up all responsibility from arranging ice box to the cremation ground including all religious formalities.
Day 7 (Outside ICU)
The children with uncle & aunt & their mother is busy in preparing the final journey and rituals of their grandmother.
It was so tough a situation, as the loving son is lying in the ICU and does not know about this and the mother was missing her son the past few days and somehow knew of his bad state (telepathy) and decides to leave before the son.
Cremations and immersion of ashes done with the support of uncle. The children now run towards the ICU and uncle follows 2 hours later after completing the rituals.
The briefing time is over and the Doctors were requested to meet them and the Doctors say that, the situation have become precarious and chances are very minimal.
Meanwhile, they get a call from billing section to make a payment of another ₹1.50 lacs.
There was an advance payment of ₹1.50 lacs, backed up by Insurance cover of ₹5 lacs and still they demand another ₹1.50 lacs for 6 days. Strange World.
The uncle arrives and ask the children not to pay anything as after the second day, the hospital never updated them with any bills.
Day 7 (Inside ICU Covid)
Mukundan is having a very different experience of his life. Everything looks pleasant for him and all his worries have vanished or made to vanish from his memory.
Were these 4 days when the brain stopped functioning, were the best days of his life?
The four member team – 2 Children and 2 uncles ask for the bills update From the billing counter and they produce an approximate bill for ₹4.81 lacs and give a caution that, insurance May approve only 50% of the total claim and they should be prepared to pay the balance.
The tentative bills show a stamp on each page saying these are approximate bills and final bills will be presented, only during discharge and the Fees for Doctors not included in the bill.
Imagination and tensions gets built up as to what would be that astronomical figure.
The uncle convince them that, he will use all his best influence in the city to get the bill reduced to the best level and fight until the right amount is arrived.
On the way back home, the uncle taking cue from the words of the family pandit that your father will return soon and will perform all rituals of the departed mother.
He uplifts the total morale of the children and everyone back home that let us all of them to be positive that, Mukundan will come back and all will be well.
This positive words spread positivity and fresh air all around and the house breathes fresh air after nearly 6 days.
Everyone sit together and have dinner and resign to their own activity with some confidence that the good news & change will come soon.
Suddenly, the mobile shows a call from ICU and all the happiness is gone and everyone gets eager to listen to the news.
The ICU team summons them to reach as soon as possible and Mukundan have had a heart failure and they are giving CPR and all that.
They rush back to the hospital, only to get confirmed in few minutes that Mukundan is no more.
Having cried the all 7 days the strength in the body had gone and the 2 hours positive talks before dinner have built up some strength to take this loss.
The duty doctor shows them the face from inside the glass room of their beloved father as the last view of their life.
He starts briefing about going to municipality with the hospital death summary and book the health inspector and decide which cremation ground he recommends and follow the covid norms for cremation.
They asked to go and alert the billing section and reception to close the billing and get it paid before they could get the body.
Inside ICU –
After 4 days of lovely time away from these Worldly worries Mukundan is brought back to reality and feels heart pain and succumbs.
He could see that all the wires over his body is removed and he has been dressed up and they start packing him up in a PPE bag.
Having come back to his own World & place and out of sedation, all worries start catching up with him and could not accept that he is dead.
He shouts at the top of the voice that do not pack me like this. Please call my children and I would like to go home and be with my mother, wife and children.
No one could hear him and he is already packed and sent to the mortuary.
Outside ICU – The uncle with children go to the reception to keep the billing at the earliest in the morning:
The person at the reception was least bothered about the feeling of these children and tells them that, the staffs will come by 9am and talk to insurance for final settlement and arrive at the final billing and they could make the payment which will take about 3-4 hours.
Day 8 (Outside ICU)
The children arrange with the health inspector to arrange the final journey of their beloved father.
The Children Reach the hospital with their uncle for final settlement and some good news come from the Government about banning some hospitals for over charging.
The hospital gives the final bill which is just a shade over the estimated bill and no extra Doctors fees or charges and thanks to the TN Govt.,
The ambulance comes in to the hospital to carry Mukundan to the special crematorium for Covid patients.
Mukundan’s body is brought out from the Mortuary and kept in the ambulance. All take the final glimpse of the departed soul and the journey starts.
After reaching the crematorium, they keep the body out in the PPE bag and ask them to light camphor before Mukundan could be thrown to electric fire and burnt totally.
The heat gets increased and Mukundan realises that his body will be burnt and starts shouting don’t burn me and open the bag, I want to go home.
He keeps repeating and somewhere he gets to hear his mother’s voice mukunda, Mukunda.
Mukundan shouts Amma, Amma and his wife throws some water on his face.
His son & daughter shakes him saying that, papa what is happening getup it is already 8am and why do you see such horror movies and cry like this in sleep.
Mukundan open his eyes to realise that the whole thing was just a dream and feels relaxed.
He narrates the story to his family and tells them to listen to the Government’s direction.
1. Wear Mask
2. Maintain social distancing
3. Inhale steam
4. Have enough vitamins
5. Eat hot food
6. Check your oxygen levels
7. Stay healthy till the vaccine arrives.
“Lokha samastha sukhino bhavanthu”.
Jai Bharat! Jai Hind!