© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
At about 7 PM, I was about to finish the OPD at Ruby. One last patient was waiting, I could see her in the waiting hall outside.
My N95 was on since 10 AM, and I hadn’t had an opportunity to drink even water since I entered hospital at noon. Fatigued, thirsty and heavy-headed, like most doctors today.
‘This isn’t fair’, I was thinking, ‘I don’t deserve this torture after so many years of hard work. This pandemic seems unending, this stress is piling up on my mind and body now,. The world seems to have come to an inhuman standstill’.
The last patient walked jauntily in, a young girl of 27, her eyes smiled excited. She’s been my old case of epilepsy since last three years. She works in a virology research set up, and had told me six months ago that she’s working on Corona. Her parents are working as labourers in a local government factory.
“How are you?” I asked, mustering a smile she couldn’t see.
“All fine Sir, no fits at all. I just came to share a good news. An American University has liked my virology work and offered me a job for three years. I am leaving in three days. I will begin a new life, I have decided to spend it for virology research. I just came to say bye to you. I will of course keep in touch, but I will miss you there” and she touched my feet.
“God bless you. Stay safe at all costs. I am sure you will reach great heights and win a Nobel. Don’t forget your parents. Let me know if you need anything anytime “. I said what I could.
I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy for her career leap, and sad that such a brilliant scientist was leaving India.
I was startled that she had shaken away my fatigue and the pandemic rust that was accumulating on my mind. A sign of youth, she had taken the burning world around her as an opportunity rather than being cowed down by it. She was going to wear a mask almost all her career life, and the thought didn’t seem to affect her. She had accepted the reality faster than anyone I knew. A mind made for the future, she was travelling to the US (she has reached now) at a time that the world was locked down.
The world hasn’t come to a standstill, I realised. It is picking up. It will thrive again and boom in few months. Till then I must keep all negativity away. Till then I must do whatever it takes to survive and live the best life possible even in a pandemic. She had unknowingly come to deliver that special message before she left.
She left teary eyed and yet with a smile. My tiredness was gone. My spirits felt rejuvenated, I was grateful that she visited. Like every doctor who gets up and puts on his mask every morning for seeing their patients catch on with their life again.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
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