Published on: April 30, 2014

When we published a blog about the article by Bindu Nair in the Hindu, Mr Trilok C. Srivastava from Jodhpur posted a comment about how he got introduced to palliative care, when his mother was unwell and in advanced stages of breast cancer.

But how many lakhs of Bindus and Triloks must be in agony in the country because we do not do care about allowing people to live and die without needless pain and suffering? How many mothers and fathers must be screaming in pain as we write this? How can we turn our backs to the issue till the issue is forced on us in our own families?

But first, read what Mr Trilok Srivastava has to say.

“The article ‘For a tranquil farewell’ published in the Hindu dated April 13, 2014, made me somewhat emotional.

My mother at the age of 56 was ailing of some Orthopedic problem that had made her movement a little difficult. We were shocked to hear from the doctors that she had stage 4 breast cancer and wouldn’t survive long. We were totally indecisive about the path of medical treatment. Finally, the operation took place at SGPGIMS in Lucknow. There, in the cancer ward, I saw the most horrible stages of human life. Time passed; my mother was counting her days as several therapies went on, we helplessly “attending“ to her…

One day, we were all to get photographed for our Voter Id Cards. I requested my mother to come along with us. She replied softly, “Now it is of no use for me”. The reply shook my soul and harshly exposed me to the ultimate reality of life. Gradually, she developed other complexities like breathing problem and even sudden bouts of unconsciousness. One day when she fell unconscious and we rushed her to a nearby hospital, Dr Mahesh Balani,the physician at Jeevan Jyoti Nursing Home at Jodhpur, advised me to go for “palliative treatment”. I was hearing this term for the first time in my life. We followed the advice. One day, she opened her eyes after a bout of unconsciousness and with a feeble smile, told me, If this had been death, this is the way I would prefer to go, with peace and tranquility. I had no words either to endorse or to negate her statement. After some time, the condition deteriorated…all of us were helpless with no hope…ultimately, with deep sorrow,I prayed to the Almighty to call my mother to Him.It was not easy to pray for my beloved mother’s final journey.

On Nov 30,2007, she was brushing her teeth by herself in the morning. Some moments later, we noticed that her hands were still, with the toothbrush still in her mouth. We immediately rushed her to the hospital where she remained unconscious for the whole day without any recovery. My father was sitting beside her. All of sudden, she opened her eyes and looked for a moment at my father’s face with full eyes and then slowly closed them. I rushed to the doctor. Dr Balani came hurriedly, checked the pulse, looked at the ECG on the screen and declared her departure forever.

The article by Ms Bindu Nair reminded me of those days with my mother. It is true that we can’t own the disease and pain of our loved-ones, but we can certainly share their tough times. We can certainly mitigate their level of pain by way of palliative treatment.

Thank you very much, Ms Nair.”

Mr Trilok Srivastava is an Asst. Administrative Officer in the LIC of India and is presently posted in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Deeply concerned about social issues and having witnessed the tragic journey of a cancer patient, after obtaining his professional qualifications, he did his MA in Human-Rights.

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