The Sacred Duty of A Man
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
One night after the ward rounds, just as I left the hospital, I received an urgent call. The patient, a lady in her late 50s, had become comatose. She was admitted three days ago under a colleague for bleeding in the left side of her brain, that had caused right sided paralysis. She was drowsy since admission, but that day she had some vomitings and then became deeply unconscious.
She was already in the ICU. The most common reasons for drowsiness in admitted population above 50 years of age is either medicines or low sodium levels. Her sodium was very low, we started the treatment.
Her elderly husband walked up to me as I came out of the ICU. Extremely worried, but still maintaining his calm, he asked me “Will my wife be okay?”
I explained him the situation, and reassured him that though there was no threat to her life then, the recovery from paralysis was unpredictable.
“That is okay doctor, but she must survive. We don’t have any children, she has looked after me all her life. I will do anything for her” he said with a heavy voice.
They came from a village 5 hours away from Pune. Mr. Arvind Gandhi was a retired pharmacist, surviving on his savings, with his wife Mrs. Aparna, till this calamity hit them.
That was four years ago.
Since then, he became her complete attendant and caretaker. He took care of her in that bedridden state for over a year, cleaning her and feeding her many times every day. He took her regularly every day for physiotherapy, and brought her for consultation to Pune as frequently as required. He learnt taking care of home, cooking, housekeeping etc., and never shied from the medical expenses although his sources were limited. Thanks to his extreme dedication to her care and extraordinary will power, Mrs Aparna Gandhi has now recovered enough to independently carry out her daily routine, and also helps her husband in cooking and other tasks.
“When I saw my wife in that condition, I was heartbroken. Then I thought, it is my duty as a man to fight for and take care of the woman I married. I changed overnight and decided to win this situation rather than giving up or asking for help”. Mr. Arvind said today when they followed up.
“Looking at his dedication and love for me, and his effort to make me recover, I developed a willpower too, and decided to recover and take care of him again” his wife replied with a smile.
As doctors we commonly see that many men treat their wife and her health problems as ‘not so important” issues. Many in fact drop their wife to her parents’, to be treated and sent back after the ‘repair’. Many take it for granted that the lady’s parents should pay for all her medical expenses even after years of marriage. In fact, many even compel their sick wives to continue with cooking, housekeeping etc. shamelessly claiming that there is no option. There are no laws about any of these.
We also come across such rare ones like Mr. Arvind Gandhi, who fight with the fate with all they have with the simple yet golden mentality of caring for the woman who cares for them. All men are thankfully not the same, and there indeed are simple and humble men like Mr. Arvind Gandhi who set examples of what a man should be. In the growing market of meaty and arty men flaunting everything except culture and kindness, these examples are easily drowned. Hence this article.
While many pundits fight for the correct definitions of life and love, let us congratulate Mr. Arvind and Mrs. Aparna Gandhi for their extraordinary struggle, willpower and the victory.
©. Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Gandhi for permission to share this story.
Please share unedited.