7 Book Recommendations to improve understanding of Mental Health. Books, in my opinion, are the best gateway into somebody else’s thoughts and world that not only provides a way to escape but also helps in dealing with one’s own life better. There are a lot of lessons that I have gained from my habit of […]7 Book recommendations to improve understanding of Mental health.
I came across “The Plague” by Albert Camus in many book forums and decided to give it a read, although I have been having it for quite some months now. To be honest, I felt it is a bit self-destructive to read such a book in these times. You read to escape your daily lives and to escape into a world that mimics the never before seen current times is definitely self-destructive but I still went ahead and did this as I felt it is an important book and this is the best time to fully learn from such a book, and reading it now will give a greater resonance to the story.
The book is the story of a small French town that goes into lockdown because of an outbreak of Plague. At first the officials do not admit this is a problem even as the Doctor raises an alarm, and are hesitant to call it a serious issue (surprise, surprise!), and later when the number of cases rises, it becomes too grave an issue to ignore and the towns borders are sealed. The writer very beautifully portrays the changes in people’s attitude towards each other during such a period of social isolation and quarantine. Although believed to be an allegory of world war II, it very aptly describes how communities respond when faced with a public health threat such as this.
The book is full of philosophical, hard hitting quotes, that makes you feel the need to pause and reflect. One such is: “A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure, therefore we tell ourselves it is a bad dream that will pass away, but it doesn’t always pass away. It is men who pass away, the humanists first of all because they haven’t taken adequate precautions. The townsfolk go on doing business, arranged for journeys and formed views and did not give thought to a thing like plague which rules out ant future, cancels journeys and silences the exchange of views.”
This book although written in 1947, still holds true and makes us feel that human reaction in the face of disaster is essentially the same. Except perhaps, the exchange of views doesn’t stop now, thanks to technology.
The book has several main characters- the Doctor who is also doing his best and giving his all as the Plague warrior, an outsider who comes to the town and works tirelessly and sets up sanitation teams, a clerk who wants to do good and volunteers to help, a journalist who thinks the plague isn’t his problem as he is not from the town, tries to escape but eventually joins the fight. There is a criminal who feel remorse but also fears captivity and for him plague is a sort of redemption from his past deeds and a chance to do good. There is also a priest who thinks the plague is what the community deserved and got due to its lack of faith.
There are various reactions to the plague/lockdown explored. Each person of the town is facing the same thing, but each one is affected differently. There are those who commit suicide, those who want to help, those who want to escape, those waiting it out and those in denial. With each passing sentence, the book gives an eerily familiar picture and touches deeper.
With a lockdown and the fear of plague looming over their heads, the people become more detached and listless as they can no longer plan for future. With time, the realization dawn that this is not just something that needs to be waited out, but one that will constantly affect the lives of the townspeople for a long time, shaking the order of life.
I can’t help but feel the same way now, and we seem to be heading there. Many of the people around us think the coronavirus pandemic is something that needs to be faced for few weeks and then it will be gone for good. For many it is a mere inconvenience or a time to rest and recharge. I call this the attitude of the privileged. The pandemic will be over, but the virus is here to stay, just like the plague bacillus that resurfaced and caused havoc many times. Perhaps, it is time to acknowledge that life as we know it, with the mindless consumerism needs to be reconsidered and rebuilt with a new world order, new social habits and a more sustainable living.
Going back to the book, as it progressed; funerals had become isolated events- strictly burial with no room for mourning. In the initial days of plague the people moved to religion for solace but with the epidemic showing no signs of relenting they moved towards pleasure.
Many people, including the journalist, only wanted to come out into the other side of the epidemic with their beloved, in the hope that things will come back to normal, but eventually, the plague changes him. It had forced on him a detachment he couldn’t shake away.
The narrator ends the story on a contented note, having defeated the plague and life returns to being normal but changed, with all the memories of plague. “Nonetheless, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of final victory. It could only be the record of what had to be done and what would have to be done again in the face of terror by all who refused to bow down to pestilences and strived their utmost to be healers.”
It is amazing and scary how a book written 73 years ago is resonant of the current times and gives us a window of opportunity to learn from. I hope we as a collective race come out of this stronger, more resilient and more compassionate. I hope this awakens us out of our listlessness and apathy. I hope this makes us shun the mindless consumerism. I hope it gives us the wisdom to act better in face of other calamities in future, for they are sure to strike again.
Starting yesterday, lockdown-2 or so we call it, has begun. It is a much needed extension of lockdown, however inconvenient it may seem.
I haven’t been writing much the last couple of days because I have been busy studying and also because of a general lack of motivation. I generally cannot write when I feel demotivated and had to get back into the grain to be able to write.
I have been trying my best to stay motivated and prepare for the upcoming, uncertain MD exams while working too. Another thing that I picked up in an effort to motivate myself is Yoga. Yoga is something I have grown-up seeing- my mother and sister both are yoga practitioners since a long time, but I never thought of myself as a yoga person. I recently came across Yoga with Adriene by Adriene Louise and loved the sessions. My sister was very happy when I told her I have started practising yoga and it turns out she has also followed the sessions by Yoga with Adriene before, but I never knew about it. I have tried to follow yoga previously but never found it appealing enough. Or may be I just wasn’t ready for it until now. As they say, When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I’m definitely going to practice and learn from my mother once I meet her after the lockdown.
Since the extension of the lockdown, there was again a mass gathering of daily wager migrants at the Bandra Station in Mumbai, looking for ways to reach home. I feel terribly sad for these people as they are truely helpless. The administration and the community has failed them terribly by not giving them means to be reassured of their safety and security. Or may be the reassurances aren’t enough to convince them, because they are so accustomed to lead a daily-basis life where they could only think of the day and the next and now they are forced to wait out for an uncertain time in the future hoping for things to be normal.
Another matter of concern that I have been thinking on the last few days is that there are so many instances of people affected and their families being ostracized by the community on being diagnosed with covid-19, in some cases even after recovering- thanks to the privacy breaching, insensitive reporting by the media. It seems like among the community, the fear of repercussions on being affected by covid-19 is stronger than the disease itself. It is important that we speak up and call out the stigmatization of the disease as that will only make the battle more difficult.. The history of public health has seen the havoc that is created and the issues that continue to be created by stigmatization of diseases like TB, Polio. Leprosy, Mental Health Diseases and so on. Such stigmatization only puts us months or even years behind the ultimate aim- which is to beat these diseases.
Lastly, just a reminder that these lockdown days may take a toll on our emotional and mental health; and can affect our relationships too. Let us remember, firstly, to love ourselves and not be too hard upon ourselves. Secondly, to understand that others need this love too. Together we can conquer this. Be Safe, Healthy and Happy.
12 days since lockdown. I have been trying to keep anxiety at bay by sleeping, reading, studying and being busy in work.
The current book that I am reading is “The Plague” by Albert Camus, Although this book is believed to be an allegory of World War II, it very aptly describes the way communities react when faced with health situation such as this. The book is about a plague outbreak that grips a town called Oran and is faced with a lockdown where nobody can enter or leave the town till the epidemic subsides. I am not sure if this was the right time to pick up such a book when one is already faced with such a situation and to immerse myself in another world that is similar seems foolish but I also felt now is the only time one can learn lessons from such a literature, and being in the field of Public Health I wanted to get some learning out of it too.
Lately the narrations and news surrounding the pandemic that has gripped us has turned so negative and horrific, I wonder often where we are headed. I keep calling up near and dear ones for my own as well as their reassurance. A very good quote from the book I mentioned is “We are talking about General Public Welfare but isn’t public welfare a sum-total of all the private welfares of the people that constitute the public?” Unfortunately public welfare doesn’t work that way and private welfare of individuals takes a backseat. Irony of it all is that this in turn affects the other aspects of public welfare as well.
What hurt me though are the many incidents of violence against doctors, ASHA workers in various parts of the country for merely doing their job. These actions are something I have been unable to justify no matter what explanation is provided. The lack of adequate PPE is no less than violence itself and this will be detrimental to the population in the long-run as without proper protection, the health-workers are bound to be infected sometime or the other.
An adjective I heard someone use one of these last few days for the present situation was “Kafkaesque”. Having never read a book by Franz Kafka, I never truly discovered the true meaning of the word but knew it to be a word thrown in for undesirable situations or procedures but I decided to discover the meaning of the term. What I came across, reproducing verbatim as per an article of New York times was- “Kafkaesque is a world that is surreal, where all our plans, control patterns and behaviours fall to pieces and we find ourselves facing a force that does not lend itself to the way we perceive the world. “ I felt, nothing describes the current emotions that a lot of us are facing than “Kafkaesque.”
I really hope we emerge out of this sooner, and once we do we may rethink our lifestyles, existing social and economic systems, and reform for the better. But sadly, history and earlier pandemic are proof that we as a race are slow to learn and quick to forget.
Today, the 12th day of lockdown, as requested by the Prime Minister- we too, at home, switched off all the lights and lit a lamp at 9 pm for 9 minutes. This act seemingly seems insignificant but when done by all the people around, has a profoundly uplifting effect. The PM has been criticized by many for asking people to do such tasks when we have a bigger issue at hand, but I feel people sitting at home should also not be ignored and such acts of solidarity only boosts the community feeling and gives a sense of belonging in the face of an unprecedented crisis. However, such show of solidarity is only good when its purpose is understood fully by the people and it was annoying to see people make a mockery out of it by bursting crackers and making it an excuse to come out of their homes, making it a show of celebration rather than solidarity. I had to remind myself to focus on the positive and not get affected by these fringe elements. Also, such acts are only symbolic and the importance and urgency to ensure personal protective equipment to the front-line workers should not be ignored. Lighting lamps, at the end of the day, will only motivate, but not provide protection to those facing the situation everyday.
Lastly I would like to end by saying what Dumbledore told his students at Hogwarts at the start of the 3rd year when they had to suffer the happiness-sucking dementors for a year: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
7 days since lockdown. Haven’t been able to write much in the last 3 days as work has been keeping me busy. Writing with a heavy heart today after an overwhelming day. Lots of reasons for the overwhelming but will not mention them all.
The number of covid-19 affected has crossed 8.45 lakhs globally and 1345 in India are affected. Today we also saw the largest number of additions in a single day. Globally, as well there is no evidence of a receding trend. (Source: Worldometer)
Over these disheartening numbers, there were two stories that really bothered me- A super-spreader hotspot detection at Nizamuddin in Delhi in a mass congregation that saw more than 3000 people gathered on 19th March, 2020; at a time when the State Govt. had already evoked the Epidemic Act which prohibits mass gathering of more than 50 people. The other story was the incident of a religious procession in Solapur, Maharashtra at a time of National lockdown, where on being stopped by the protecting Police, the people began attacking the police instead.
Both these occurrences show that the seriousness of the situation hasn’t yet seeped in the minds of people despite a lockdown. If the spring-breakers of the western world value their freedom over health and life, here we have people who value religious rituals over health. I say religious rituals because if it was praying to any form of God that was important, there wouldn’t have been need to gather in masses. I yearn to see the day when health and life in all forms will be a matter of concern for us.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I feel, social distancing in our country is a privilege that only some classes among the masses can afford therefore it is all the more important why these privileged class needs to be utmost cautious in following it and enabling the lesser privileged in sailing through to the other side of the lockdown. The tragedy of the mass movement of migrants is unfortunate, whose effects will only be fully clear in the coming days and weeks.
I am a hopeful person, and I hope that through this pandemic we come out better and wiser. Stories of people, doing their best to help the lesser privileged out, distributing food and collecting funds and doing what is possible in their strength is really heartwarming. I ended the day on a higher note knowing about the goodness that is emerging out of this.
This pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong health system and the need for a greater health budget. Let us learn to demand greater commitment towards health system strengthening and a greater budgetary allocation on healthcare. Let us give the ownership of health to the communities. Only if we learn to fight our elections based on real issues like Health and Education, can we hope to become more resilient and face the future threats, for there will be more, better.
Lastly, I hope you all are taking care of yourself and following necessary precautions. Stay safe, stay healthy and help those who depend upon you, to stay safe and healthy as well.
It has been 4 days since the lock down. I had a 12 hour day-duty in emergency yesterday. Attended to many patients with anxiety symptoms. On speaking for a while eith them, and probing a bit on their symptom onset it was evident the anxiety is a direct result of the lockdown, fear of coronavirus and fear of the future. I also realized giving them words of comfort, reassurance or just merely listening to their fears goes a long way in alleviating their fears.
Today saw many scary news images of migrants and daily wagers scrambling to move away from Delhi, Mumbai to their homes in UP and Bihar. It made me both scared and angry at seeing this mass frenzy amidst what was supposed to be a lockdown. If these movers take back the virus to their villages, it is needless to say it will be utter chaos. As I thought more about it, I could understand the fear of those people- fear for their present and future and their helplessness. I also feel if despite the reassurances of the government that their needs will be taken care of during the lockdown, this mass frenzy to move only shows that we as a Nation and society have failed them as we were unable to alleviate their fears beforehand. All I hope is we come out of this stronger and better.
I have not been sleeping well lately due to worries of what will happen in the coming days, fear for my family and friends I can’t meet despite being in the same city, for the family and friends living outside India as well as for my parents who are living in Kerala, one of the states with the highest number of cases. But in all this what helps is that I have been working more and have been talking a lot more than I used to, to the people I love- my friends and family.
Some useful tips I have been following that helps dealing with the uncertainties and anxiety better are:
- Reading: It takes you to places when you are stuck in one place.
- Talking to people: If you or someone near to you is anxious just talk to someone or lend a listening ear.
- Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which are ” Happy Hormones” that instantly lifts your mood up and also helps in long-term happiness and fitness. Also, more fitness means you are less likely to fall sick.
- Clear the Clutter: Cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing is therapeutic. It not only helps in improving your surroundings but clean surrounding helps in clearing the clutter of the mind as well.
- Learning: Try and learn something new, a new topic, a new skill or update your existing skills or bring back a forgotten skill.
- Writing: It may be a few sentences or a page, but it also helps in organizing your thoughts.
So what have your mechanisms been to deal with this? Wishing everyone good health and hopeful wishes for the future days.
On 24th March, 2020 the Prime Minister announced a lockdown of 21 days as a necessary step to flatten the curve of Covid-19 pandemic. As you all know, this pandemic has caused widespread global devastation. This is our only chance to limit the devastation, and each one of us must do what is in our capacity to prevent the disaster unfolding in front of us, by practicing social distancing, hand washing and following the recommendations and advisory. A temporary inconvenience is better than a long-term devastation.
As a doctor and student of community medicine, I have been spending a lot of time reading, learning, updating myself on the situation and working as per my role as a health care professional. What needs to be done has to be done, but at the same time it is important to take care of our mental health and cope with the stress.
With this in mind, I decided to take solace in writing and revive my dormant blog. Writing, you know, is therapeutic and helps relieve the buzzing thoughts in mind. I decided to document my thoughts during this period as a personal anecdote of thoughts. Hoping it will relieve my own stress and also help anyone else if it can.
Being a doctor means, stay at home isn’t always possible. Had an emergency duty today- a night duty of 12 hrs from 8 pm to 8 am. Geared up for the duty during the day with ample of sleep, a bit of reading and an attempt at studying.
My MD exams were scheduled for May, right now, I don’t know when it will be, but gearing up all the same. With the plethora of calls from family and friends, work responsibilities and the pandemic situation buzzing in head, it gets difficult to concentrate on studies with the same dedication that was possible until a couple of weeks ago(How time changes!) but trying to do as much as possible anyway.
21 days of lockdown and social distancing for an introvert like me is bearable but that is perhaps because I have the comfort of being at home with my husband, and whoever I want to see or speak to is just a video call away. While we are spending time at home with families, it is important to think of those who are not and help them as much as we can.
I also took up another comfort activity that helps me de-stress- Reading. I am a bookworm through-and-through but have kept myself away from non-academic books in the last 4-5 months in order to prepare for MD exams. But I couldn’t bear the separation any longer, my waiting books were calling out and I picked up my habit again. I feel reading works wonders at stress relieving. Now that I have picked it up again, I wonder why I ever stopped- because even 15-20 mins bed-time reading, which is all I can manage now, works wonders at calming me down. I decided I will never entertain the thought of giving up on books, whatever exam looms on head.
Returned from Emergency duty and spent the day sleeping, talking to friends and family. Me and my Husband have a ritual of sitting in the balcony for evening tea and talk, the ritual continues. We listened to the birds chirping and observing their evening flights- A sound made more prominent with the absence of sounds of human activities, vehicles, flights etc. It almost seemed as if they felt free at last.
I tried to do some more studying today, and was successful in doing more than I did yesterday. I sat thinking about the patients I saw during the emergency duty. Many of them inconvenienced by the lockdown and threat looming over our heads. I wondered what would happen to all those routine patients of chronic diseases, elective surgeries and those seeking routine health services like antenatal care, immunization etc. While covid is a big threat and the actions are necessary to contain it, it becomes even more necessary to flatten the curve as an overwhelming rise in cases means that routine healthcare is compromised. That is why, I urge all those who can and are privileged to do what they can and practice recommendations so that those who aren’t can be safe and access care.
I am reading a book called Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse. I love Wodehouse humour and thought it is much needed right now. This is an unusual Wodehouse book. The story revolves around an Earl of England who visits Hollywood and a child star. Both are under anesthetic( laughing gas- which was common in those times) when a strange thing happens- their identities or rather souls are swapped in the fourth dimension and they are forced to lead each others lives. What follows is the narration of the events that occurs due to their swapped identities.
Reading the book got me thinking- whose life would I want to trade my own life with for a day if given a chance. The book nerd that I am, I rattled off a dozen names until I had to remind myself that these are fictional characters and not real.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all hibernate to a fourth-dimensional fictional world till the real world gets rid of Covid-19?
This is obviously the Imaginative Me thinking this and the Doctor Me knows that the only way the world can overcome this pandemic is by continued, co-ordinated action. But that’s the hard truth and that’s why we have imagination to unwind at the end of facing the realities of the day.
I have always enjoyed reading mythological re-tellings. Sita- from Ramayana is one of the most revered women in Indian mythology- the epitome of feminine and spousal virtue. Sita has been popularly portrayed to be a simple, submissive and innocent character. But there are varied portrayals of Sita in literature, and reading some of these re-tellings made me feel there is more to Sita than what we read commonly, see or hear.
I read these 3 books in 3 consecutive years- Liberation of Sita by Volga in 2017, Sita- The Warrior of Mithila by Amish Tripathi in 2018, and Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Diwakaruni in 2019. While Amish has shown Sita as a Warrior and Leader, Chitra B Diwakaruni has shown her as a Healer. Volga, on the other hand, has portrayed her anguish and as a voice of other wronged women.
In Volga’s interpretation, we see Sita’s anger and her suffering. We see her transforming from a young, gullible girl to a wise, experienced woman. In her journey of self-realization, she not only learns from her own life experiences but also begins to understand other wronged women. She becomes the voice of anguish for Urmila, Ahalya and even Surpanaka. I remember reading this back in 2017, and thinking that this is an important book that should be read by everyone.
In 2018, I read Sita by Amish Tripathi after reading Ram. I was earlier, highly impressed by his Shiva Triology. While the Ramchandra series has received lukewarm responses from many readers, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading Sita’s story as told me Amish. I really liked her portrayal as a warrior and the Chosen Vishnu. Amish’s Sita is a strong woman, adept at warrior skills. She is an equal partner in her marriage with Ram. She is also a Princess and a Minister who understands state matters and knows how to lead. As Amish’s story is still to be completed, I feel there is more of Sita to be discovered in the coming books. The relationship between Ram and Sita has been portrayed beautifully. I have always thought that to support Sita, you cannot be supporting Ram, but this book managed to change that thought. Also, the story borrows from the current social milieu and is therefore, relatable.
In the Forest of Enchantments, which is Sitayana in the truest sense- depicting her from Birth to Death, one gets to see many sides of Sita. Sita as a child, feisty teenager, love struck young lady, wife, companion, captive, queen and a mother. But most importantly she is a healer throughout.
This Sita was the most believable one for me, because she is flawed. She has her strengths and weaknesses and her moments of regret. But she rose above it all and endured. Endured- as women have always done- her captives, her people as well as her husband’s decisions. This Sita also explores and understands various forms of love. She understands the depths of relationships and how they can become your strength as well as your weakness. She loves her husband, despite never understanding the wrongs he subjected her to. she hates her tormentors, despite understanding the feelings behind their actions. Above all, this Sita understands forgiveness. She willingly bestows this forgiveness not only upon her Husband but also Kaikeyi, Surpanaka and even Ravan.
She silently endures her hardships and banishment, but is also dignified enough to emerge strong and make the most of her forest life- a forest she loves dearly. She raises her sons with the humility of hermits, but with the skill fit for the Princes that they are. She doesn’t let Love weaken her, but respects her love’s decision towards her. But when the time came, she spoke against the injustice. For she knows, that if she doesn’t, no one will and her women will forever be subjected to judgment for their every action.
What I love the most of mythological re-tellings is that they show each character in a different light and force you to see the same story in someone else’s perspective. Something we must all strive to do in our daily life. Surprisingly I read each of the three versions of Sita when I was in three different emotional states. I read Liberation of Sita when I was perpetually angry at things happening, may be that compelled me to see the anguish within Her. I read Sita-the Warrior of Mithila, when I had a rebellious attitude within me, so I was drawn to the Warrior and Leader within Her. I read Forest of Enchantments, when I had developed an attitude that I will face all that life throws at me calmly and patiently, thus drawing me to the Sita that endures. Although I did not pick up the books with any preconceived notions in mind, I would like to believe that, I too, have grown up a little bit more by reading each of these versions.
Does it often happen to you, that you’re drawn to books that echo with your state of mind? Which other re-tellings would you recommend? Which is your favourite?
That time of the year is here. Diwali – The festival of lights. I have always loved Diwali, not for the crackers and the noise and the pollution (which by the way is there all round the year, but becomes more prominent at the time of Diwali), but for the dazzling lights that are on every window. Each showing, its uniqueness and yet showing a common thread that binds. As a kid, I used to love wearing new clothes, lighting those lamps, and playing with firecrackers. Growing up, the fascination with crackers gradually ebbed off but the love for lights and colourful diyas still holds on. There is a child in me that refuses to grow up 🙂
The story of Diwali has been told to us since childhood. How Ram saved Sita from Ravan and returned to his land after 14 yrs of exile and the joyous moment was celebrated with a grand welcome with lights. How good always triumphs over evil.
The greater significance of diwali, though is about Illuminating the “Inner Self” and “cleaning” our souls like we clean our houses. In “modern” times, the disparity between good and evil has lessened; we have slowly discovered that the world is not just black and white but has many shades of grey too. This makes Illumination of the Inner Self a much more difficult task, doesn’t it?
As kids, we loved asking questions and never ran out of the Whys and How’s. As adults, we often continue the questioning but rather than curiosity , the questions become whiny- Why did that happen? What did I do wrong? When will this end?
If we actually do check our thoughts, we may realize that often we are too hard on ourselves and by doing so we are in turn hard on others, and thus the vicious cycle continues. Nothing in this world goes to the undeserving. You always get what you deserve. You always attract what you radiate. And unless you truely believe you deserve, you will never be truely enlightened. Yet, sometimes, we may want and believe and work yet things will not turn out the way we expect it too because such is life.
For me Illumination and Enlightenment is about knowing and accepting this. It is about changing the whiny how’s and what’s to its original curious form. It is about knowing your own worth. It is about remembering that you create the world you live in as you grow. Because Diwali is not just about the victory of good over evil but also of Knowledge over Ignorance.
This Diwali, while we clean our houses and adorn our finest clothes and light up our homes with beautiful diyas, let us all stop for a moment to think about why we are doing this. Let us also clean our planet and our mind, our one True Home.
Think about what you are doing to this planet. In each thing that you buy and use, do not just picture it in your house in all its glory but also think about where it came from and where it will go when you are done using it. Every time you buy a diya, ditch that super mall and buy it from the local roadside seller who waits all year for this time of the year. You might just illuminate another home by doing so!Most of all, spend some time in self-reflection. Cleanse you mind and rid it off all the negative thoughts. Fill the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. And be accepting of the knowledge of others as well.
This Diwali, let there be Light in the truest sense 🙂
A very strange thing happened yesterday.
As part of the PG curriculum of community medicine, I’m required to be posted in other departments for a while to get some hands on experience in them.
There was this one patient whom I distinctly remembered from my medicine posting which was in December. She had suffered hypoxic brain damage, had a tracheostomy tube and depended on nasogatric feeds. She was in this chronic debilitated state since almost a year. Her daughter-in-law was her dedicated care giver and I had helped her in finding a home nurse for her mother-in-law’s care. I had developed a special affiliation to the old lady during my posting as she reminded me of my Achama(Dadi). Despite this state, she was always smiling. My medicine posting ended after a month and with that ended my interaction with her.
Yesterday, out of the blue, for no rhyme and reason, I remembered her and for quite some time I was occupied with the thoughts of the lady and wondered if she is still alive or not.
I’m now posted in Paediatrics and I had night duty yesterday in the same. I had gone to the emergency to attend to a Paediatric call, and in comes this lady wheeled in by her daughter-in-law, to insert an NG tube as she had pulled it off. The daughter in law spoke to me and asked me about my well being and all. She told me her mother in law is still the same, chronically sick but smiling and happy.
It struck me as a strange co-incidence that this woman had come to the emergency at the exact time that I happened to be there, on the very same day that I just happened to think of her nearly 10 months after I last saw her, as if to assure me and put a rest to my wonderment about her condition.
This may just be a remarkable coincidence, but as I sat wondering about it, I realised I have often experienced this in the past. People that I don’t talk on a daily basis to, happen to call minutes or hours after I suddenly think of them. Does this happen to you? Have you experienced such seemingly psychic connections? Do share your stories.