When our country started getting affected by the pandemic, I realized that we needed to do something about it. My parents were reluctant to let me go and do my duty because they were scared for my safety. They asked, “Why you?” to which I replied, “If not me, who else?”
I was born in a village to a family of farmers, who considered studying to be a doctor as a prestigious ambition. My dream took roots from there since I wanted to make my family proud. I will never forget one day of my first year of training. I became really hungry in the middle of taking inspection rounds since I skipped breakfast that day. I asked my teacher when we could have lunch, for which I got a sound scolding. While I thought he was being unfair then, I later realized he was training me for the work that came with the responsibility of life and death. Those learnings and training have made us efficient for such a situation.
I steadily climbed up the ladder to become the head of the department of pulmonary medicine and critical care in Chirayu hospital. Being a doctor and the head of the COVID-19 team, I have certain responsibilities I must fulfil. One cannot run from their fears and not expect it to catch up with them one day. I was afraid of accidentally spreading the disease to my family and arranged for my wife and five-month-old son to stay at my brother’s place as I shifted to the hospital itself. I missed my son terribly every day. My wife was quite understanding of my plight. Being a doctor herself, she suggested a video call whenever I was free so that I could keep in touch. At the hospital, I don’t have a particular schedule to follow, the only schedule is tending to the patients till they all get better! A doctor’s job doesn’t have work hours. We are there whenever the patient needs us, it can be even 2-3 AM in the morning. We make sure that the patient’s complications are caught early. It is not easy, especially if you are wearing your PP kit. You cannot remove it randomly because it has to be discarded immediately after use. Hence, sometimes you stay in it for 6-8 hours with no food and water. Often it happens that I am about to remove the kit but get information that an ambulance with a new patient is coming. Then the entire cycle repeats itself. I feel blessed that I can serve my people and country when it needs me the most. I didn’t become a doctor to treat people only when things are good. I became one to save lives no matter how good or bad it goes. The situation is challenging for sure but gives us a lot of learning.
I tell my subordinates that this is a great opportunity for them. So that someday when they are in leadership positions, they’ll know exactly what to do. We received a lot of help from the State Government. When the news of the displays of hostility towards medical staff came up, I was initially scared at first. But I knew in the back of my head that saving lives is more important than caring for self. I try to make my patients as comfortable as possible. You cannot treat them well if you don’t develop that trust and rapport with them. The medical team acts as an immediate family and friend till the time the patient is here. More often than not, we develop long term relations. Being able to cure them successfully gives me a sense of accomplishment nothing else could. I don’t think anything beats the satisfaction of knowing you saved someone from a near-death situation and helped them live a few more years healthily and happy.
Also, most importantly, a lot of people worry about whether they’ll get out of it. Trust me, the doctors and the entire medical staff are more worried about you than you are. They will do everything possible to save you. We even give up family priorities to make sure that you are doing okay. You just need to follow what they say and take all precautions. It’s like getting into a bus for a trip, once you board it, you don’t tell the driver how to steer it. You trust him to drop you safely at the destination. That’s what we expect from you. Stay safe and be prepared. And trust the expertise to bring you out of the trouble if you fall into it. I am pretty sure we’ll win this battle, India is a strong country. The situation is tough and may go critical but we will all persevere out of it with the cooperation of the citizens.