The last week was a very eventful eye opener. I realized for the first time that my husband too could have health problems. Touch wood he does not have hypertension or blood sugar. He has maintained his weight for the past 37 years and it has not crossed sixty kilograms ever. So I was naturally under the impression that with all the luxury ailments affecting me I was the one who needed to be enquired after and pampered. So, Imagine my shock when on our return from our morning walk, he, who was opening the door of our flat suddenly fell down without a warning and remained unconscious for... well, may be a minute. He had hurt the back of his skull and blood was trickling down. I was just a few steps behind him and when I rushed to him his eyes were upturned for a moment and even when he opened them he did not seem to recognize me. He smiled and asked whether it was six o’ clock already. Only when I shook him up did he remember that we had returned from our walk and that he had fallen down. He claims that he was fine when we climbed up and attributes his fall to gas in the stomach. I have no doubt that he was fine when we were returning since he was talking of Kalmadi and Kanimozhi and was indulging in his favorite Congress bashing on our way back. His 5’ 7” frame falling like a tree that is felled in one stroke, shocked me to the extent that I kept brooding over our future in Jamshedpur. In this otherwise pleasant city, medical facility and connectivity are not the best. My children in distant shores may not reach immediately even if they tried and what if one of us needed special medical attention? Those who wish to help us among our friends may not be able to move us out if the situation so demanded.
These were questions that kept haunting me when a second incidence shook me for a second time in the week. Relaxing during summer vacations was not destined for me I suppose. A neighbor, who lives in the floor above ours, suddenly took ill. She perhaps had a heat stroke since she spoke of having attended a house warming the previous afternoon. It was about 10:30 in the morning when we heard someone banging her door. We could hear her wailing from within. The door was bolted and she could not open it. My first thought was whether she had burnt herself. Soon there were four of us trying to coax her to open the door and all that the helpless woman could do was to scream incoherently. Thank God for the second rate material used, the door gave way and we entered. The lady had managed to wrap a night gown over her body and was writhing on the floor screaming like an animal in pain. It took us a while to understand that she was asking for glucose water. Her son was sent for and we rushed her to the hospital where she was administered glucose intravenously. She had loose motions in the morning and was severely dehydrated. She complained of severe chest pain too. Once she was in the hands of doctors, we relaxed. She is a widow having lost her husband when her son was seven years old. The boy is now 25 and is yet to find a suitable job. He is simple and naive unlike the street smart youngsters one sees these days. Luckily her son’s former tuition master is like family to them and she managed to ring him up for help. She is now better and has been discharged from hospital.
As if this was not enough a third incident had to take place that depressed me more than the other two. Mr. S mentioned in this post of mine had met with an accident a few days ago and the family planned to take him to Kolkata for further treatment. His daughter and son were sent for. The daughter works in Kolkata and had brought an uncle along to help her escort her father back. An auto - rickshaw had been sent for and they were about to leave when their son picked up a quarrel with his sister. Both parents were helpless when the boy flew into a rage and threatened to throttle the girl to death. The pleadings of the mother fell on deaf ears he just would not let go. The uncle finally managed to pacify him and gently took the father down. The mother also accompanied them but the boy stayed back threatening to burn the house down and he sounded as if he would do it. We could hear him scream for the next hour and cool down later.
These incidents indicate how helpless parents have become. We complain about not having any of our children in India but are those that have children at accessible distances any better? The boy mentioned in the third incident was my son’s play mate and grew up like any of the other children of his age. But the temper tantrums that I had earlier attributed to teen troubles persist even now. He is around thirty years old and instead of being a support to his younger sister is yet to take up family responsibility. I can imagine how helpless his parents must feel.
Society too has changed. The widow had to ring up her son’s tuition master living around two kilometers away for help. This only shows the kind of isolated lives we lead. Social visits have become a thing of the past. Neighbors do not share their problems with each other. It was my servant who told me that Mr. S who was on a two wheeler had been hit by a speeding vehicle and has sustained a head injury. Were it not for her information I might have taken show of temper as the regular thing that happened in households with a hot headed son. I do wonder whether the senior citizen’s home would be a better alternative to deal with the aloofness that has become part of society?