Since the first of April, I have been getting text messages from The Ministry of Health And Family Welfare, Government of India, that I am now eligible to take what it called the “Precaution Dose” of Covid Vaccine. I was waiting for my Club to organise the vaccination program like they had done in July but, seeing no advice from them about this, I decided to go to a local hospital to get it done.
So, off I went this morning escorted by Ranjan to Ruby Hall Clinic, a famous hospital of Pune, where I had previous experience of two surgeries. All went like clockwork though navigating through parked cars to the vaccination centre was like an obstacle course and in a matter of minutes, I was vaccinated and the proud owner of this certificate too. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.
And the icing on the cake was the very attentive nurse who vaccinated me addressing me very endearingly as “Uncle” to remind me how avuncular I am.!
Have you been boosted yet?
I received an article in WhatsApp with the same title as the one for this blog and my mind immediately went to two doctors who gave me the right advice at the right time.
The first one was my late wife’s cardiologist, who is also a personal friend of our GP, who advised us to not hospitalise her but, to ensure that she took her medication regularly and at the prescribed dosage and time at home. This ensured that she lived a life of comfort in her last days in familiar surroundings and among people she was familiar and comfortable with.
The second one was an amazing Nephrologist who unlike many other specialists in the city where I live advised me to keep my late father at home rather than in a hospital during his last days. This of course meant that I had to provide nursing care at home but, he was comfortable and content in his last days and died in his sleep at home.
In most similar cases, the medical professionals advise hospitalisation for what I suspect to be financial benefits for themselves as modern private hospitals give revenue targets to them to practice in their set ups. Had I not been fortunate enough to have doctors with different value systems, I would have perhaps spent two fortunes in hospitalisation for both my late wife and late father in their last days.
I have been hospitalised five times for major surgeries and know what it means and I have instructed my son and daughter in love that no matter what happens, I should not be hospitalised again ever. I am at an age where such thoughts must be clearly worked through and a course of action in case needed drawn out well in advance. I have also drawn up a living will about which my son is fully aware.
It is not a pleasant subject but, one that people of my age must read and understand and take appropriate action. My readers can access the article under reference https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/ideas/nexus/.
I recently developed a severe tooth ache and luckily was able to get my dentist to see me on a Sunday to see what was wrong and to remove the discomfort.
She diagnosed it as a root canal problem and put me on medication to prepare me for the treatment and to manage the pain.
The next appointment was for Wednesday and during that visit I was told that there would have to be three more visits before the treatment would be over. I seriously considered getting rid of the tooth but she advised me to save it by the treatment. I agreed and am now under the regimen of medication and waiting for the next visit due on Monday.
Being the impatient fellow that I am, I simply cannot understand why such a long duration treatment is necessary but am assured by my GP and some friends who have undergone root canal treatment that this is SOP.
When I expressed this impatience to a friend, he suggested that I act my age and to buttress his advice sent me this image.
Mike’s post of the same title inspired this post from me. Please read the comments from me and Mike’s response to it too.
Just a day after that I received this in a WhatsApp message from my sister.
Yesterday afternoon, I received news that my friend, philosopher and guide of many years HI died following a failed chemotherapy session for cancer.
Last week was news of the death of a classmate and dear friend.
On the 10th inst, Nick wrote about biographies and autobiographies. I commented there : “I am not and never was into bio/autobiographies. Somehow, I just could not get interested in that genre. My own kind of biography is perhaps my blog just like yours is yours.” Nick responded with “Yes, blogs are very much a form of biography. Not at all chronological, but revealing all sorts of personal details.”
Little did I know that I was about to read an autobiography, and what a one!
Later yesterday, I received a forward of a video of a Cardiologist talking about life and death and how to manage our lives where he referred to a book called When Breath Becomes Air. I got a Kindle version and started reading it and just could not put it down.
Most of my readers here are senior citizens and quite a few are avid readers. For these, I strongly recommend this book. The most poignant and elegant book that I have ever read about a person’s last days written by himself.
A friend called me up to inform me of a misadventure that another mutual friend SC and the latter’s wife had had. He could not give me the full information as his had come from second hand sources.
I therefore called my friend who took some time to answer the phone but, on seeing my name on the caller id slot, started off by letting off a big laugh. This surprised me as I was expecting anything else but this as his opening. When he had calmed down, he said that he was glad that I had called and that he was planning to call me any way to share his misfortune with me.
The story that unfolded was that the 80 year old SC had slipped and fallen in their bedroom two days ago. He found it difficult to straighten himself as he had fallen between a dresser and the bed and also was hurting badly. His wife, hearing his shouts came to rescue him and in trying to, also fell down and had broken her fore arm bone in two places. Now, both were in agony and on the floor and unable to get up but, luckily, SC was able to lay his hands on his cellphone that had fallen below him. He called his neighbour who had to break down their entrance door to gain access to their flat and in the process gathered a few other curious neighbours as well.
The whole crowd came up with many suggestions culminating finally in one of them calling for an ambulance from a nearby hospital and finally the two were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.
I could not hold myself back any further at this point and asked him why if he had undergone all this he laughed as he answered my phone and his response showed why we are friends.
He said, that for the past two days, he had been reviewing all that had happened and was shocked at the response of the crowd that had gathered in his room before he was shifted. In his words, it was mostly morbid interest on how both the oldies had got into the distressing situation. He said, instead of those ghouls, had I been there, I would have lightened up the situation, taken charge and pointed out the comic side of the drama. He therefore was planning to call me to give his comic version when coincidentally, my call had come in while both were still in a hospital room. He just burst out laughing impulsively and was glad that I had called.
Both are well on their way to full recovery albeit with bruised egos and lighter wallets. Both however are facing their misfortune with humourous fortitude if that is the term to use in the situation.
The question in the title for this blog post has been asked by Shackman. For him perhaps the new normal is strange and perhaps even awe inspiring as he lives in the USA,
For me, at my age of 78 and with health issues that have made mobility quite a problem for me for the last few years, the new normal is not something that I will have to get used to as apart from the need to wear a mask when going out and maintaining social distance, my life style is unlike to change much. I have been confined to my city and even there, to within my home for the past five years and so the limitations imposed by the pandemic have not seriously affected me bar some minor inconveniences on and off like the barber shop or the pedicurist being shut on lockdown days.
Leaving my personal life alone however when I see the trends around me, I can see major thrusts in the way people work and move about in day to day life. Increasing use of the internet and AI will radically change things and the immediate casualty that I foresee will be a collapse in the housing and business property businesses with many buildings already built not finding buyers. Sale of automobiles will also very likely take a hit as commuting will become less necessary and the travel and hospitality businesses will also see drop in volumes.
Health related businesses will change to be better equipped to meet emergencies having learnt from the stress undergone due to the pandemic. I anticipate more training institutions coming up in the areas of medicine and nursing as shortages were felt during the recent past.
This likely scenario is unlikely to seriously affect me personally and with that observation, I conclude this post with the question asked addressed to my readers. I look forward to hearing from them about how the new normal will be for them.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 3 On 1 blog posts where Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.