Recently I spent nearly twenty days in the ICCU, when my father was hospitalized. It had become a regular routine for me, to go to the hospital every morning and come back in the night. I spent most of my time there during these days. The ICCU was always bustling with activities, with critical patients being brought in all the time. Being an intensive cardiac care unit, there was always an emergency, 24/7. Though my dad was quite stable, overall it was quite a mind-numbing experience. I used to stand alongside my dad’s bed most of the time and witness all the action happening in ICCU, merely as a spectator. But I believe that every incident, person and situation brings in valuable life lessons for us to grow and evolve spiritually. My experiences there have certainly made me more humble and grateful than before.
On the very next bed to my dad’s, there was a 13-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with a hole in his heart. The family was poor and did not have enough finances for the surgery. They waited for two long months, before they were ready for it. The little boy was admitted and the surgery was scheduled for the next day. The boy seemed to be quite unaware of his situation and the happenings around. He had a very cute and innocent smile on his face. He was busy playing mobile games, while his mother kept asking him to sleep and take some rest. She was continuously stroking his head with lot of love and concern.
When I came back the next morning, the bed was empty. “Has the boy gone for the surgery?” I asked the nurse. “No sir, he passed away in the morning!” She said with a sad face. “What..???” I just could not believe what I heard. I could feel my heart shatter into thousand pieces. The least I could do was to sit there silently and pray for his soul.
There was another couple who had come from a village in Punjab. The wife was to undergo an open heart surgery. The man had sold all their property so that his wife could get the new lease of life. It is really sad that medical facilities are so expensive and unaffordable to the economically weaker section of the society. She underwent the surgery but developed complications thereafter. Her husband was very nervous and requested us to pray for his wife. In the hospitals, generally, the patient’s relatives develop an instant bond with each other, as they are going through common issues. By evening there was an emergency with the lady; while the doctors were trying to resuscitate her, relatives of all patients were asked to wait outside. About an hour later, the doctors announced that the lady was no more. Her husband was inconsolable.
During my visits to the hospital in those twenty days, I came across a lot of shaking, heart-rending, and overwhelming stories. There were a few intermittent emotional moments, when I saw rakshabandhan being celebrated in ICCU. One sister tied rakhi to her brother who was in a critical condition. She tried hard to hide her tears, wore a forced smile on her face trying to hide the feeling of uncertainty that this could even be their last rakshabandhan together.
While I saw quite a few deaths happening there, there were patients who bounced back to health and left for their homes with their loved ones. Overall it was an indelible experience.
This time spent in ICCU reiterated some of the life’s important lessons to me:
Lesson # 1 : Live every moment fully
All that we have is the present moment. Most often we forget this and spend all the time worrying and fretting about things that may or may not happen and loose the precious moments that life offers us. Life is only happening NOW. Live it fully.
Lesson # 2 : Be grateful for the smallest things in life
Consider yourselves blessed that you are still breathing and alive. We often forget all the blessings bestowed upon us by life and only focus on the lack. But such incidents like the ones mentioned above, help us realize that just being alive and healthy itself is a huge blessing and a big enough reason to be grateful for.
Lesson # 3 : Find your purpose and follow it
If you are still breathing and alive, means you still have a purpose to be fulfilled on this planet. We all have a purpose in this lifetime. However it is important to discover that and work towards it.
Lesson # 4 : Life is transient. Be humble
Death is inevitable; irrespective of your position and socio-economic status. So always be humble, as you cannot fight this mighty force. Being humble keeps you grounded and keeps your ego at bay. You realize that you are not the doer. It is the universe that is working through you and you are just a medium for the larger plan of the universe to be fulfilled.
Lesson # 5 : You don’t carry anything to the grave, except your deeds
Be kind and good to all. Don’t be judgemental. Respect and love others unconditionally. Don’t do anything that will make you regret and feel guilty later. Your deeds, are the only things that you are going to carry to your grave.
Life is your best teacher. It will always bring you challenging situations with a hidden and priceless lessons. Be conscious and open to learning those and you will never look at life with the same eyes again.
So, here’s me signing off, wishing you a healthy happy and a regret-free life.